Richmond TAFE's winning garden 3 small gardens a landscape challenge

For several years now I have been judging this little landscaping competition. Three of Sydney’s TAFE colleges that teach landscaping, Padstow, Yallah and Richmond (there were four but Ryde now goes its own, independent way) bring in dozens of apprentice landscapers to build three small gardens at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The results are a little bit about design but mostly about stretching the skills of the students. Continue reading

Jason Cahill - Botanical Traditions one garden 4 ways to build the ‘same’ garden (+1)

place.grow.shift‘, the amazing little show garden from AILDM at last week’s Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS 2014) was one of the most innovative display gardens we’ve seen in recent years. But it’s not just a display, as these modular design ideas are perfect for those with limited space, those on a budget, and especially those who rent rather than own their garden space. Continue reading

Finding Inner Peace - styling detail Student show gardens, MIFGS 2014

The student gardens at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show always feel so fresh, maybe because they are not constrained by reputation. Although small, these gardens are not without their own difficulties and constraints and those students who take on the challenge are both brave and, I think, the smart ones of their industry. They know that they will learn a huge amount about the realities of constructing their design dreams. So if you want to find a new designer with energy, talent and business acumen, then here’s your list. Continue reading

Carolyn Blackman What’s hot & what’s not – MIFGS 2014

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (known to many as MIFGS) is a great place to see what’s trending in landscape design. Sometimes it’s more clear what’s no longer in vogue than what is a developing trend, but here’s a roundup of what was evident in the larger show gardens in 2014. Continue reading

Callistemon 'Perth Pink' Creating a hedge with Australian plants

One of the principal defining features of many of the great gardens of the world is their hedges. European gardens long ago elevated the hedge to an art form with centuries old plantings forming the backbone of gardens such as Versailles in France and Hidcote in England. All sorts of interesting trees and shrubs are used for hedging and topiary, but several species dominate, namely English box (Buxus sempervirens), Yew (Taxus baccata) and Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). Continue reading

spring The new ikebana – Yuji Ueno style

Not my mother’s ikebana! That was my first response as I beheld the beautiful cover of japanese ikebana for every season by Rie Imai and Yui Ueno with photography by Noboru Murata. You see I lived in Tokyo as a toddler. A US Army Officer’s wife, my mother took classes in Japanese Flower Arranging. When we returned to San Francisco I grew up with her ikebana arrangements of camellias or calla lilies with foliage that grew in our gardens.

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The ambient lighting encourages me to linger for longer Sitting in my garden at night

My biggest challenge as a passionate gardener is actually stopping in my garden to fully enjoy it all, and by stopping I mean for longer than 10 minutes! You see I’m a chronic doer. Lazing on the couch inside all day long is not my thing! Continue reading