‘Garden Pests, Diseases & Good Bugs’ by Denis Crawford (ABC Books) – I have to put my hand up straight away and admit that I did work with Denis on this book and indeed championed its publishing with ABC Books while I was editor of Gardening Australia magazine. Denis wrote about pests, diseases and beneficial insects for GA magazine for many years and continues to share his knowledge with gardeners through his stories in many magazines. It seemed a natural step to turn his stories and information into a reference book. Continue reading
Read any recipe for a gourmet salad and it’s sure to include something crunchy for contrast to the softness of the usual vegie staples such as tomatoes and leafy greens. Usually it’s a sprinkling of toasted seeds or nuts that’s called for, but don’t stop there. There are lots of plants to grow in your garden to give your garden salad the edge and turn you into a masterchef.
I recently enjoyed a delicious salad made by gardening friend Sharon who served up a bowl filled with small cauliflower florets and finely sliced, freshly harvested asparagus all topped with lightly toasted walnuts and drizzled with raspberry vinegar. Continue reading
When I was growing up we had a red chow dog called Tanya. Chows have a thick furry coat so keeping cool in summer is a priority. Tanya made a shallow dug out area in the cool soil under the crabapple where she could stretch out on hot days. Some months after she died we noticed a mass of flowers under the tree right where she used to lie. Looking at them my mother remembered she had planted bulbs there many years before, but assumed they’d died.
It has been nearly five months since we sold up at Kurmond in the lower Blue Mountains west of Sydney and moved to northwest Tasmania to live. It was mid-winter when we arrived and we’ve had all sorts of weather since, so seeing snow on ‘our’ mountain – Mt Roland – this morning shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise. Continue reading
Here in northwest Tasmania the daffodils are painting gardens, roadsides and even paddocks yellow. Along with the wattles flowering in the bushland and by the roads, they are making sure that spring is celebrated in gold and green. Continue reading
It is early July and the first frosty morning this winter. The sun is just coming up and it’s distinctly chilly. The weather station in the kitchen is showing the temperature outside at 2 degrees C, but it is always colder at ground level so I’d say it’s around zero outside. Continue reading
I must say I’m really enjoying the red-hot pokers flowering in my garden at the moment. Red-hot pokers or Kniphofia to give them their genus name, live up to their common name by sending up blazing torches of red and yellow flowers just when the garden needs a winter warm up. Continue reading
A satin bowerbird has built its bower in a garden bed under one of our bedroom windows. It is partially hidden by an abutilon and a border of clivias, but clearly visible from inside our house. Continue reading
I am sure my love for hydrangeas is part of my genetic make up, even though they are disparaged by some as ‘nanna plants’, and others see them as water wasters. I don’t agree with either view, although my Nanna was responsible for my love of these fabulous summer-flowering shrubs. I’ve also discovered that hydrangeas are facing a very 21st century problem (read on for more on this!). Continue reading
We’ve long harboured a desire to live in a beautiful house and garden in Tasmania. It seemed like a dream – not something that would actually ever happen – but recently several things changed in our lives and we realised a big move could be a reality. Continue reading
It was May and I was travelling through Italy enjoying a feast of gardens from Sorrento in the south to Lake Como on the north. That’s late spring in the Northern Hemisphere, but the weather was still chilly and, surprisingly for that time of the year in the Mediterranean, it was also wet. But rain didn’t dampen my visit to a garden billed as the most romantic in the world – the Garden of Ninfa south of Rome. Continue reading
Each year the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) celebrates excellence with annual awards. Twelve garden centres were finalists for this year’s awards in three categories. As a judge for this year’s awards, my job was to whittle them down to one winner for each category.
The 12 finalists grouped under the three categories of Best Lifestyle Garden Centre, Best Speciality Garden Centre and Best Group Garden Centre. All are very worthy finalists and worth visiting to buy plants or other garden-related products. Continue reading
Here’s a cautionary tale. Bronze orange bugs are stinkbugs and they are around in large numbers on citrus trees in early summer – particularly on orange trees. I was outside picking up the last oranges for the year, which had fallen under my tree, when I sniffed the distinct smell of stinkbug. The perfume from the orange blossom almost masked it, but as I disturbed the leaves, the smell became stronger. Continue reading