Meet our Papuan heath family member

This rather exotic heath, with flowers and fruits like a pumped-up blueberry, is four years old. It was propagated from a cutting by our nursery horticulturist Dermot Molloy. Until a month or so ago we hadn’t confirmed its species name, although we knew it was a Papua New Guinean member of the heath family and, we were pretty sure, in the genus Dimorphanthera. Continue reading

What’s wrong with my lemon tree?

‘What is wrong with my lemon tree?’ This question, along with the one about possums, is the reason why TV garden programmes changed from being about plants to being about make-overs and landscaping. Sponsors and advertisers, producers and presenters got sick of the same questions week in and week out, so the format was changed to stop the questions being asked. Continue reading

On the naming of plants

Like many students before me, I had to learn to identify a large and diverse range of plants during my formal horticulture training. As well as identifying the plants in tests, I had to write down the genus, species, variety and family for formal assessment by our lecturers. Marks were given for correct identification and likewise deducted for spelling and other stylistic mistakes. Continue reading

What’s eating my lilly pilly?

All down the east coast of Australia, gardeners with lilly pilly hedges have been noticing lots of chewed and damaged foliage. While it used to be pimple psyllid that most affected lilly pillies, causing those ugly pimply bumps all over the leaves followed by lots of sooty mould, there’s now a relatively new insect pest that’s doing as much, if not more, damage on Syzygium australe and its cultivars – a native green leaf-eating beetle called Paropsides calypso**. Continue reading

Review: Queensland Garden Expo 2016

Last weekend was one of the year’s biggest for Queensland gardeners.The annual garden expo in Nambour (approximately an hour and a half north of Brisbane) is the largest garden event on the Queensland calendar, and many thousands of keen gardeners from all over Northern NSW and South East Qld make the annual pilgrimage. Continue reading

Garden Delights of Bayview Heights

Nancy and Ted Shaw moved into an existing house in Bayview Heights in 2001 and have transformed their 0.4-hectare (1-acre) triangular corner block into a horticultural mosaic of garden types. The apex of this triangle sits up the hill behind the renovated house, visually holding the cascade of steep slopes that yield at the front to Pittwater views through the neighbouring trees. Continue reading

Narmbool heritage garden restoration

The heritage garden at Narmbool, outside of Elaine in Victoria, was severely damaged by a significant bush fire just before Christmas 2015. When the Australian Garden History Society visited in 2012 we thoroughly enjoyed the English-style gardens surrounding the bluestone homestead, and it was hard to imagine more than half of the lovely old garden destroyed. Continue reading

Year-round flowers for shady, subtropical gardens

Living in a hot, subtropical climate means that I feel a great need for shade in my garden. Our summers can be very long, hot and humid so the shade gives welcome relief not just for me but for the plants as well. I tend to find that many plants that might be considered as full sun in cooler climates prefer some shade here. Continue reading

The remarkable genus Camellia

For many gardeners around the world, the word camellia conjures up images of a reliable shrub that produces gorgeous autumn and winter displays of pink, red and white flowers or sometimes combinations thereof. These flowers come in a range of interesting flower types from the simple ‘wild’ types to the multi-petalled  ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ double types. The glossy dark green foliage also makes a wonderful backdrop in the garden as a stage for displays of other flowering plants. Continue reading