I had long harboured a desire to visit Seattle with a vague notion of a spectacular marine landscape against a backdrop of mountains and conifer forests. I found all of this as well as some wonderful horticultural surprises as well.
I have had the pleasure of visiting the impressive French International Garden Festival of garden design for the last couple of years and can thoroughly recommend it to garden tourists from around the world. Those seeking ideas on garden design, new plant cultivars or simply a day in the French countryside with a garden flavour will all find plenty of value there. Continue reading
I have long been fascinated by the work of the late British garden designer Christopher Lloyd. So it was with great anticipation that I recently visited his Great Dixter garden in Sussex to the south of London. And I must say I was not disappointed by the extravagant use of interesting plant material throughout the landscape there. As a plant lover rather than a lover of landscape design I am a sucker for the perennial beds that Lloyd filled to overflowing with exuberant mixtures of foliage colours and textures. Continue reading
One of the unfortunate myths that have grown up around Australian plants is that somehow they should not be pruned on a regular basis, if at all. It is important to challenge this if your native plants are to achieve what you want them to in your garden. There should be no hard and fast rules when it comes to this subject because it depends very much on what you are trying to do with your plants. For instance, you may want a formal hedge or an informal screen or indeed just a nice compact free flowering specimen. Continue reading
One of the principal defining features of many of the great gardens of the world is their hedges. European gardens long ago elevated the hedge to an art form with centuries old plantings forming the backbone of gardens such as Versailles in France and Hidcote in England. All sorts of interesting trees and shrubs are used for hedging and topiary, but several species dominate, namely English box (Buxus sempervirens), Yew (Taxus baccata) and Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). Continue reading
I recently attended a workshop at the Rootstock Festival in Sydney on Bush Foods which highlighted how far bush foods have come in contemporary Australian culture. The workshop was conducted by the amazing chef Kylie Kwong who has been on a mission to use various bush foods in her recipes which are mainly inspired by her Chinese heritage. Kylie combined with Aboriginal bush food experts Clarence Slockee (Gardening Australia presenter), Redfern bush food café owner and educator Aunty Beryl as well as bush food growers Mike and Gayle Quarmby of Outback Pride. Continue reading
Tasmania and its gardens must be one of Australia’s best kept horticultural secrets. A coolish climate is often coupled with soils that are more often than not based on volcanic minerals that give them much better structure and fertility than many mainland soils. The result is a place where plants developed for northern hemisphere gardens can thrive to create spectacular displays that, in my opinion, rival some of their more famous European counterparts. Having led garden tours through some of the major gardens of Europe as well as a recent tour of Tasmania has given me the opportunity to make such comparisons. Continue reading
I recently visited a stunning garden entirely populated by Australian plants. The thing that struck me most was the difference that regular pruning had made to the display. Whether it was a hedge or a feature flowering specimen the results were absolutely spectacular. So how do you get to the spectacular specimens seen here? Continue reading