Greenwall success needs long-term commitment

At this time of the year, my clients are coming back from their holidays filled with inspiration and ideas for their garden. Every few years a new theme for requested inclusions starts to emerge. Not that long ago it was water features, however more recently the most requested inclusions are for green walls. Continue reading

Book review – Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens

“A garden should be just a little too big to keep the whole cultivated. Then it gives it a chance to go a little wild in spots”.

Edna Walling’s charming observation, featured on the back cover of Richard Aitken’s Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens is a fitting analogy for the scope of this handsome new book, published to coincide with the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney’s 200th birthday celebrations. Not that Aitken’s book focusses particularly on the RBGS. In fact it’s somewhat challenging to pin down the purpose of this intriguing work. Continue reading

Exploring Koishikawa Kōrakuen, Tokyo’s Edo-period stroll garden

While the weather in Sydney has been really heating up, I’ve escaped to a cooler side of the world to do something I’ve yearned to do for a while now – see Kyoto’s autumn colour! Some connoisseurs say that autumn is even more beautiful than spring, but when I lived in Japan for 6 months a few years ago, I had to make a choice and spring won. But now I’m back with a vengeance! Raa! Continue reading

Review: Influential Australian Garden People: Their Stories

For a book about garden people, rather than gardens, to succeed and hold interest, they need to be exceptional people with stories that are relevant to and resonate with everyday gardeners. Dr Anne Vale’s list is impressive, covering garden communicators and educators in print, radio and television, as well as a range of garden designers from around Australia. Continue reading

A road trip with a botanical garden difference

Like so many other baby boomers, my husband Peter and I love to travel. We enjoy experiencing other cultures and are particularly attracted to remote places with wide open spaces where people are few and the countryside reveals its natural beauty. Peter, a geophysicist, is seriously into rocks and I am seriously into plants. We both like animals, but unlike plants and rocks, they rarely stand still so getting a good look at them on a road trip is often more frustrating than satisfying! Continue reading

Review: ‘Disobedient Gardens’ by Michael Cooke & Brigid Arnott

I first became aware of Michael Cooke in the 1990s when I was an occasional customer at his plant nursery on Sydney’s northern fringe. Belrose Nursery was, then, one of the last ‘proper’ retail plant businesses that grew and sold exciting and hard to get plants. Gardeners and landscapers would battle the intolerable Sydney traffic just to seek out his interesting range of perennials and other ornamentals. Continue reading

The Great Broad Walk Border at RBG Kew

I was recently lucky enough to sit with Richard Barley the Director of Horticulture, Learning and Operations at Royal Botanic Garden Kew, in amongst the plantings of the new Great Broad Walk Border at the end of its first summer. We talked about the history of this part of Kew, the development and design of the new borders, the plants that stop people in their tracks, seasonal succession planting and also the new pedestrian path surfaces now being used at Kew. Continue reading

How to design an interesting and elegant symmetrical garden

Symmetry in a garden design can look perfect and is easy to achieve. But the downside is that symmetry can also look boring and predictable. However there is a secret, used by all great garden designers that’s the basis of designing a breathtakingly beautiful symmetrical garden that will not ever make you bored, and now I’m going to explore it with you. Continue reading

Makeover gardens at Garden World’s Spring Festival

Many of the display gardens at Johannesburg’s Garden World Spring Festival are makeovers of older gardens. It’s a challenging design brief but one that’s very similar to what a designer can find in a residential situation, where you have to work with existing garden features. Here are two 2016 gardens that are makeovers of old gardens. Continue reading