James Beattie

About James Beattie

James is a horticulturist working in the Melbourne area. His work in the industry has included landscape planting design, hard landscaping, bushland management, garden consulting as well as extensive experience in the horticultural media. He worked for four years as one of the horticultural guns for hire behind the scenes at ABC TV's Gardening Australia program and has been a semi-regular guest on Melbourne's 3CR Gardening Show (855 AM). You can follow his whimsical garden musings at Horticologist

Epacris impressa – a history

The year 1958 is remembered for many significant events and milestones. Elvis joined the army. De Gaulle, bearing a more than passing resemblance to Peter Sellers, became presidential founder of the Fifth Republic of France. A child prodigy, Bobby Fischer, became the US world chess champion. In the antipodes the state of Victoria, by way of official parliamentary decree and with the blessing of one Henry Bolte, Premier, the pink form of the common heath (Epacris impressa), was adopted as the official emblem of the state. Continue reading

Lamenting the dwindling garden

Sometimes I lament the small size of my inner suburban block but I am usually quick to scold myself. I scold myself because in reality I should consider myself very lucky. Lucky because I have the space that I do and luckier still that I am able to live so close to the city. Continue reading

The unfashionable quince

Whenever I recommend to someone below the age of 40 to plant a quince tree I am often met with a blank stare. It seems that like the washboard, hatbox and moustache wax, quinces have been relegated to the dustbin of history. This is a shame and I think it’s now high time for a quince revival. Continue reading

Environmental weeds

I have always wished for a horticultural equivalent of the joke: Q: When is a cook bad? A: When he beats the eggs. I wish for this because gardening words are by their very nature only gentle or benign, even innocuous. We prune, pollard, dig, churn, plant, nurture, grow, irrigate and pick. We never slap or punch. Nor do we beat. Continue reading

Autumn colour

In the last two years Eastern Australia has seen a spate of wet weather that is in stark contrast with the preceding ten years of drought. Melbourne has been positively luscious of late, with plants of all kinds booming in the idyllic conditions. With the months of lush, colourful flowering now well Continue reading

More trees, please!

There are many services that combine to make a liveable city. Effective sanitation, accessible public transport, well maintained public open spaces and recreational facilities are but a few such services. Large amounts of council revenue are spent every year on such services, maintaining them as assets to benefit all citizens’ mental and physical well-being. Continue reading

The High Line of New York City

New York is a city that fires the imagination. This is probably because of NY’s reputation as one of the most cutting-edge cities in the world. Creativity and culture ooze out of the pores of every slab of concrete and brick, so much so that you feel the city could blow itself apart at any moment. Continue reading

Compost teas – do they work?

A couple of nights ago I had a discussion with a friend of mine who was extolling the virtues of using compost teas on the garden. Applications of said tea included soil drenching and foliar applications, the latter supposedly playing a role in disease treatment and prevention. It sounds great, I know, but do compost teas have any efficacy on plant health at all? Are the claims made by their proponents, who have included Australia’s premier horticultural TV program, Gardening Australia, true? Continue reading