Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Creator, curator and editor of GardenDrum. Sydney, NSW.

Review: The Calyx reveals its Sweet Addiction at Sydney RBG

Newly opened at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, The Calyx is the purpose-built exhibition space that the Gardens has needed and wanted for some years. On the outside it’s an architectural and very beautiful structure occupying the site of the old glass square pyramid Tropical Centre and built on to the Ken Woolley-designed quarter-circle ‘Arc’ glasshouse which survived demolition. I like the way its stark and severe white ribs around the circular open courtyard area contrast with its green and leafy garden background, and also the wonderful shadow patterns they throw on the internal courtyard space. But what’s inside? Continue reading

Review: Link Edge metal garden edging

We’ve used DIY aluminium Link Edge metal garden edging in several places in our garden – edging the front lawn, between gravel paths and gardens, and alongside rendered walls. It’s easy to cut and join, it makes smooth curves and circles and crisp straight lines, and it can even be shaped underneath to curve down a slope too. A good-looking, very versatile and high performance product. It’s 2 years on now and it still looks fabulous. ★★★★★ Continue reading

Melbourne Flower & Garden Show 2016 – trophies, trends and titbits

As a show, the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) 2016 felt a little quieter than previous years but there were still many fine gardens. I like to stand back first for a while to get an overall impression, then examine each part of the garden more closely. Although good gardens have strong overall design qualities, they are always supported by interesting detail that’s not immediately obvious, but definitely adds to the sum of the parts. Continue reading

Review: why I don’t like Mayfield Water Garden

Mayfield, a huge, private, cool-climate garden near Oberon in the NSW Central Tablelands has been described as a “marvellous” garden and its public Water Garden as a “masterpiece” and “magical“. I first saw greater Mayfield in autumn 2010 and wasn’t that keen but thought it might just need some maturation time. However, after revisiting only the Water Garden last weekend with three family members, I’m still not a fan. Continue reading

Book review: ‘Celebrate the Seasons’

Celebrate the Seasons: garden memoirs from New England‘ written by Liz Chappell and photographed by Kim Woods Rabbidge is a delight, with lessons for all climate types. Here is a resilient Australian gardener who will charm and gently educate you. And make you realise (in the nicest possible way) that those tough challenges you face in your garden are pretty easy really.★★★★½ Continue reading

I win the Allan Seale Award! But who was Allan Seale?

Last night I won the Allan Seale Media Award 2015 from the Nursery and Garden Industry. It’s a prestigious award and a great honour but, although Allan’s name means a lot to me, I’d like to explain for those who don’t remember him who he was and what he did for gardening way back when. So I did some online research and was amazed to come up with…almost nothing. Continue reading

Bunnings’ blunders and bloopers

hammer over plantBunnings, the Australian juggernaut hardware and greenlife ‘box store’ that has been partly responsible for the demise of a quality independent nursery near you, offers these appalling clangers in its latest spring media release for creating a “zero fuss garden“. Continue reading

Why we must stop mass planting NOW

It’s an emergency. One by one, the toughest garden plants of the past decades are succumbing to newly-discovered, debilitating and often deadly pests and disease. Elm, ash, buxus, roses, horse chestnut, agapanthus, impatiens, clivea, lilly pilly, loropetalum…the list goes on. If you haven’t heard of problems with these plants in your part of the world already, you soon will, as globalisation eventually defeats even the most vigilant biosecurity measures. Continue reading