Julie Thomson

About Julie Thomson

Journalist, writer, editor, television and book publicist, formerly with ABC Gardening Australia, passionate gardener, soil improver, digger, mulcher, living in acreage splendour near Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Subscribes to the Cicero edict: "I have a garden and a library, so have everything I need." Read my full blog at Julie's Garden Grapevine

Fools, failure and other F words

I started this post some weeks ago thus: “Yesterday, before I went to the beach, I potted fuchsias. I love the sound of that. Potted fuchsias. The fuchsia part I mean. It’s the shhchhhh sound that pleases me. Kind of like zhooshing, the onamatapaeic word that indicates something is being schmicked up, revitalised, given a style and look that will make people look twice. Fuchsias sure do that. They’re gorgeous, but it’s not without trepidation that I venture into the fuchsia world ….. and I hope it won’t all end in tears. It’s a relationship littered with F words.” Continue reading

Frangipani fervour hits this time of year

Nothing says “Christmas’’ to me quite like frangipani flowers. The soft, sweet-smelling “frangis’’ tip me into memories of balmy Brisbane summer evenings, with the pleasing umbrella-shaped trees dropping beautiful blossoms on the lawn and festive tables dressed with bowls of rich, creamy five-petal flowers, their fragrance permeating the house. Continue reading

Real gardening is not for pussies

Just as there are bedroom eyes, so there are garden hands. Like mine, which show that being a dab hand in the plot is not a good look from every angle. It’s been a biting, scratching, poking, lancing and itching time among the plants here lately, so the damage is multiple and varied. Continue reading

A good call

Like all the best procrastinators, my to-do list ever lengthens and the best incentive to pay it proper attention is mention VISITORS. The likelihood of people calling in to cast a reckoning look over the house and garden moves me faster than a dose of salts. Continue reading

Schools that grow on you

THEY can run NAPLAN tests ’til the cows come home, but if academics truly want to lift the education experience for young children, they need look no further than a scheme I spent time examining recently. It’s a program where children taste and smell the curriculum and one whiff tells me it should be compulsory for all primary schools. Continue reading

More power to real apples

Couldn’t help feeling sorry for the speaker at our last garden club meeting. He was operating 21st century technology, trying to convey his message about organics, composting, fruit and vegetable growing and all manner of soil and horticultural wisdom with a mouse and a laptop.
But he was standing in front of people with timeless curiosity who didn’t give a tweet for it. Continue reading

War and Peace

On a day when all manner of people turned out to publicly and conspicuously commemorate ANZAC Day, marching, singing, praying, dressing up in uniform, waving flags, wearing medals, beating drums, playing trumpets, bagpipes and horns, then gathering noisily with family and regiment mates in watering-holes from Gallipoli to Goondiwindi to Greymouth, I dug deep to gather my thoughts of war and the fallen in my garden. Continue reading

Coming to your senses

LOVED a touching little book on gardening I read recently, titled Philosophy in the Garden by Melbourne philosopher and writer Damon Young, which explores the intimate relationship between authors and their gardens. It is not a how-to book on what, when and how to grow. It is a joyful look at how the great writers, thinkers and philosophers including Aristotle, Marcel Proust, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson and George Orwell found life for their ideas in gardens, be it parks, their back yard or pot plants. The garden for them was variously a retreat, a place of solitude and an inspiration. Continue reading

To couch, or not to couch….

I HAVE a cup that reminds me to smile and be thankful every day. It has a quote from philosopher Cicero across it, saying: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need ”. It’s true. I do have everything. I have a beautiful space to walk and play in and books in abundance to enjoy, re read and share. But therein lies the rub. The two are in conflict.

Continue reading

Pining for the real thing

Nothing quite defines the Christmas tragics like the decision to fake it or cut it. Talking Christmas trees here. And for years I was in the curled-lip ”as if”’ camp when asked if our tree was one that stored away from year to year. “You mean an ARTIFICIAL tree? ”I’d sneer when it was suggested I’d have anything but the real McCoy – pine-smelling, needle dropping and misshapen though they were. Continue reading