Helen Young

About Helen Young

Helen is a regular garden columnist for the Weekend Australian, horticulture editor for Australian House and Garden, presenter on ABC702 radio's weekend gardening program, consulting horticulturist, author of 'Balcony Gardening', and garden tour host. Sydney, NSW

Book Review: Great Gardens of London

I’ve offered to write a review of this book, simply because I enjoyed it. Such books don’t always live up their hype but this is one I’m happy to add to my collection. And whenever I can get to London again I have a new list of gardens to see.

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Garden travel – how do you temper your desire?

Garden travel starts with desire…you want all the beautiful gardens and exotic locations, delicious new foods and intriguing local culture. But after 10 years of leading garden tours, I know that this desire will be best satisfied when its balanced by restraint, as that’s what will give you the most holiday pleasure. Continue reading

Chelsea 2015 Fresh: World Vision Garden

One of the Chelsea Flower Show 2015 gardens in the Fresh category that I loved was the ‘World Vision Garden: Grow Hope’, inspired by the beauty of Cambodia. It won a silver-gilt medal for designer John Warland, a four-time RHS medallist and a supporter of World Vision. It evokes the rice fields of Cambodia where children often survive, but are malnourished, on just two bowls of rice a day. Continue reading

Putting ‘garden’ back into kindergarten

Kindergartens in Ballarat are benefiting from a pioneering research project to study the effect of green play spaces on children’s behaviour and learning. KinderGarden: Putting the Green Back into Kindergartens is a collaboration between the City of Ballarat, Deakin University, UnitingCare, Flemings Nurseries and Eureka Community Kindergarten Association. Continue reading

Book review: ‘Garlic’ by Penny Woodward

I’ve just finished reading Penny Woodward’s latest book, ‘Garlic’ – subtitled rather lengthily ‘An organic guide to knowing, growing and using garlic, from Australian Whites and Tasmanian Purples to Korean Reds and Shandongs‘. When it arrived I pondered about the possible audience for such a specific subject, but by page 3 it had me in its grip. Continue reading

Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech has many of the features we’ve come to associate with Moroccan gardens, including that fabulous ‘Majorelle Blue’, a perfect backdrop for lush planting, vivid flowers and refreshing fountains. Built over several decades in the early 20th century, Majorelle should be on everyone’s garden ‘bucket list’. Continue reading

Great UK rose grower dies

Peter Beales

Peter Beales, RHS Chelsea gold-winning rose grower & the man who grew the Queen’s rose for her Diamond Jubilee last year has died at the age of 76. Peter Beales was one of the world’s leading rose growers and a multiple RHS Chelsea gold winner. Continue reading

Auckland to Ayrlies – with cocktails

Having been lucky enough to lead more than a dozen garden tours to various parts of Europe, Japan and Australasia over the last 10 years, I’ve recently returned from a garden tour of New Zealand by cruise ship. It’s my first experience of conducting a garden tour this way but I hope it won’t be the last. I thought I’d share a typical day with you, which also gives me the chance to write about one of the best gardens we visited, Ayrlies, just outside Auckland. Continue reading

Drum Beats – Akaroa NZ

NZ hanging baskets, Akaroa Photo Helen Young

Drum Beats – In the pretty village of Akaroa (near Christchurch NZ), the hanging baskets in the main street were made using sheep’s wool (‘der’ you might say, this is NZ). Looked great and I’d imagine very effective. (Are they dags hanging off the bottom???)

Got something special or unusual you’ve seen for Drum Beats? Send a photo and a brief bit of text to info@gardendrum.com

Real, or not? Dubai, Chelsea & Aalsmeer

Some things you see when you’re travelling are amusing or thought provoking, and it’s nice to have a blog like this to share them. I’m very lucky to lead a garden tour to Europe each year, taking in the Chelsea Flower Show and visiting great and small gardens in different countries. On a loose theme of “Is it real or not?” here are some quirky items from my recent trip.

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