Sandi Pullman

About Sandi Pullman

Sandi was a horticultural advisor to ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has 21 years experience. She is a regular contributor to Vasili’s Good Gardening and Your Vegie Patch. She has also contributed to the Gardening section of The Age and to the Australian Garden History Society journal over the years. She is a founding member of the Friends of Burnley Gardens and now is volunteer garden co-ordinator for the Friends of La Trobe’s Cottage and is researching what plants were available from 1800 to 1854 to recreate an authentic garden of early Melbourne.

Strewth! Women gardeners, with no chaperone!

This year, 2016, it will be 125 years since Australia’s first school of horticulture the Burnley School of Horticulture was established by the wise men of the Victorian Department of Agriculture in 1891. In the beginning the school was for training boys however in 1893 women were invited to lectures but they were not able to actually study or graduate. This article is going to concentrate on the development of women in horticulture and admission of women to Burnley in 1899 horticulture, so if you would like more information on the history of Burnley, please refer to Anne Vale’s excellent articles. Continue reading

Heirloom versus hybrid seeds

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between heirloom and hybrids seeds? Gardening terminology can be very confusing and sometimes all these term just make your head spin and you wonder what in the world is everyone talking about. It is another language and so I am going to explain something about this secret language of gardeners. It is all about how plants reproduce through pollination, fertilisation and the creation of seeds. Continue reading

The history of bird baths

I’ve been part of group rebuilding the historic 1840s garden around La Trobe’s Cottage in Melbourne. I decided we needed a bird bath in the garden at La Trobe’s Cottage to help attract the birds but more importantly to attract the bees so they would pollinate our heritage apples – Malus ‘Ribston Pippin’ (1709) and Malus ‘Pomme de Neige’ (Pre 1800s) because last year (2014) we didn’t get any apples. Continue reading

Historic Separation Tree lost forever

I was very sad to hear the news that the ‘Separation Tree’, a River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) in the Royal Botanic Garden, Melbourne, is slowly dying due to it being ring barked with a gash 1 metre wide (circumference 3.8 metres) in 2010 and again in 2013 by some rotten vandals. I don’t care what their politics or whatever their problem was, it was a terrible thing to hurt the tree. Continue reading

La Trobe’s Cottage garden wins award!

The Friends of La Trobe’s Cottage are a band of dedicated volunteers and who entered for the second time into the Victorian Community History Awards in the category Historical Interpretation. This award recognises the unique formats of historical representation through the use of physical exhibitions, artistic interpretation, history walks and tours. And we won which is very exciting for all the volunteers that help at the cottage.

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Save Melbourne’s elms as a citizen forester

Melbourne is famous for its English elms (Ulmus procera) and is really lucky compared to Europe and America as we still have them intact. It is one of the few places in the world you can still see avenues and stands of these magnificent trees, which were once common across the UK, Europe, and northern America but are now limited in those countries to a handful of remnant and isolated trees due to Dutch Elm Disease. Continue reading

Punting on the lake

It was my cousin’s birthday and what do you buy someone who has everything? I know …a punt on the Melbourne Botanic Gardens Ornamental Lake. This is a new gig introduced in January by the new Chief Executive Tim Entwisle. I thought how wonderful and what a brilliant use of the lake, so I booked a tour. The day I booked turned out to be a Melbourne gem, as it was a beautiful sunny day. Continue reading

La Trobe’s romantic garden – an update

I thought readers would like an update of what the Friends of La Trobe’s Cottage have been up since last time I blogged. Our two major garden projects have finally been completed. The cottage is interpreted to the early 1840s using the George Alexander Gilbert’s painting of View of Jolimont, Melbourne, Port Philip 1843-44 and using that picture we have reinstated the lattice on the front veranda steps and the little veranda outside the dining room window. Continue reading

‘Silent Spring’ – 50 years on

I first learnt about the American biologist Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring (1963) from my lecturer of Horticultural Chemicals which I was studying at Burnley Horticultural Campus. We were learning about the development of the post WW II modern man-made insecticides – the organophosphates. Carson discovered that many bird species was on the verge of extinction, due to their reproductive ability being affected by broad acre spraying of DDT. Either their nests were empty or the eggs failed to hatch or the hatchlings died a few days after they were born. Continue reading

Glass lantern slides light up a garden’s past

I discovered Glass Lantern Slides when I catalogued about 350 for The Footscray Historical Society. I was blown away, as I had never heard of them before. The clarity was amazing. In some of them I could identify the plants. There were ones of pests, which were also mind blowing because they were so clear and showed the life cycle of the pests. Later I discovered many of them were photos from books. Continue reading

The Gallipoli Oaks Project

The Gallipoli Holly Oak project is a very important tree project happening which I think Australians will be interested in. It will commemorate the Gallipoli campaign in World War I, and is being undertaken by Victorian Branch of the National Trust of Australia and the Victorian Government Veterans Affairs Department. Continue reading

Great value in garden volunteers

You know, I think the world would collapse without volunteers, especially gardening ones. Volunteers save organisations thousands and possibly millions of dollars in labour, do jobs that otherwise would not get done and without them we wouldn’t have many of the special places we like to visit. Continue reading