Bernard Chapman

About Bernard Chapman

Bernard is a consulting horticulturist and manages many large heritage gardens in northern Sydney, NSW

Art in the landscape in Provence

I have quite a fondness for the south of France, even when the days are cold, crisp, and still. Perhaps in Provence the lavender in the heat can no longer tickle the nose, but the shimmering autumn colour can dazzle the eye as you drive through the rolling hills.

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Wisdom from a plant whisperer

As a proud garden-variety (but trained!) horticulturist, who has tended gardens on Sydney’s leafy North Shore for almost thirty years, I have learnt a few things about my craft. Some of it has come to me by application on site, other gems have come from friends (often fellow horticulturists), and some were either learnt while I studied horticulture in the early 1990s or ongoing inservice, or have been gleaned from Google; or the many fine garden books I still possess. Continue reading

Hydrangea – surprisingly mostly white!

Hydrangeas are a well-known and commonly grown plant, but many people will be surprised at the different varieties that exist and are less well known. Although I will certainly mention the tried-and-true mop tops, I will also try to enlighten you about the other fascinating members of the Hydrangeaceae family, and the fact that most of them flower only white! Continue reading

Review: garden at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

In real estate the mantra is location, location, location! I actually believe this can be a factor in the success of a garden, too. I have visited gardens on busy roads where the noise and pollution has dulled the experience. On the other hand, I have visited gardens in an idyllic setting, and this has enhanced the enjoyment, indeed thrill of the visit. Continue reading

How to make an entrance garden

A wonderful garden, when first viewed, can be greatly enhanced by what the visitor first sees. An important matter when choosing the garden entrance is what the house looks like. Does it have a particular architectural style or character? If the house is formal, a structured entrance may be more appropriate. If the house is stone, probably the fence should be of the same material. A weatherboard house will probably be better complemented by a picket fence. Continue reading

Fairy’s Folly – an artist’s garden

Even as one enters this garden, it is obvious that the garden owner has a great love of colour. The front garden, while small, is filled with plants, which embrace the entire colour wheel. There are mature white magnolias, yellow roses and brugmansia, and also lovely shades of purple, such as in the dainty, fairy-like climber, Asarina barclaiana, which rambles over arches and other features. Continue reading

A garden in Provence

My partner and I decided to celebrate 35 years together by holidaying in Europe, mainly France. We had always wanted to see and smell the lavender fields of Provence during the heat of summer, so we rented a house in a hamlet near the village of Roussillon. The hamlet was not especially charming, but the pretty house had a lovely balance of creature comfort, French quirkiness, and stylish decor. However, what made the experience truly special, especially for me as a horticulturist, was the garden behind the house. Continue reading