The exotic gardens and culture of Spain

On my first visit to Spain, I ran around madly photographing Mediterranean herbs and flowers I’d seen in gardens but not in nature, stunning garden landscapes, and everything washed in that sunlight that has besotted so many artists over the years. What a place! I can’t wait to return to Spain in May next year to lead Australians Studying Abroad’s Gardens in Spanish Culture tour. Continue reading

Eden Unearthed: Sydney’s first ‘garden as gallery’ festival

I was delighted to be invited to launch Unearthed, the first ever garden festival at Eden Gardens in Sydney. It’s amazing to think that it was only 4 months ago that Simon Ainsworth first contacted me with an idea for a festival of sculpture at Eden Gardens along the lines of the International Garden Festival at Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. An ambitious goal, as the Chaumont-sur-Loire festival has been running for almost 25 years and attracts over 400,000 visitors! Continue reading

Celebrating the kangaroo paw at Cranbourne Gardens

After 35 years breeding and growing kangaroo paws I was delighted to be invited by Rodger Elliot on behalf of the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne to help plan and be involved with a unique event titled the Kangaroo Paw Celebration. The event is a month-long exploration of the Kangaroo Paw family, Haemodoraceae that also includes the cottonheads (Conostylis species) and blood roots (Haemodorum species) amongst others. 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

Two Madrid garden masterpieces

In Spain’s capital, two impressive garden works caught my eye and considerably enhanced my ‘art experience’. In a city justifiably renowned for three great art museums, these outdoor living works offer their own distinctive appeal and artistry. Continue reading

Have I got a deal for you!

A phone rings. It is answered.

Hello.
G’day Trev. You are ‘the’ Trevor Nottle aren’t you Trev?
Yes.
Well Trev, have I got a deal for you. Can you meet me at the airport coffee bar so I can tell you about it?
Who are you?
Sorry, Trev, mate, should have said. I’m Tom from Gotta Go Travel but every one calls me Gabby because I talk so much. Just call me Gabby Trev. Yeah, I’ll be coming through Adelaide next Thursday morning could we meet I have an idea to discuss with you.

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

A garden built on harmony and trust

Every garden tells a story, and this one in southern Sydney tells one of trust and collaboration that has created magic. When Joan Zande retired, her dream was to redesign her 40-year old garden. Yet finding a designer who embraced the site proved challenging. Against a rocky sandstone escarpment, a 10º slope, drainage problems and nowhere to sit, the site just seemed too hard. Continue reading

What is a botanic garden?

Welcome to the first of many articles by BGANZ members. BGANZ stands for The Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand Inc, the professional body representing the interests of botanic gardens in Australia and New Zealand. In this and future issues, we’ll showcase botanic gardens from ‘the inside looking out’ and highlight features that make botanic gardens stand apart from other public green spaces. Continue reading

Illawarra Grevillea Park: a plant lover’s paradise

The Illawarra Grevillea Park is arguably the best of its kind in Australia. It was established in the 1980s to house the Australian Plant Society’s wild grevillea collection. Since then the park has evolved and now has a broader range of Australian natives. Many of the plants are rare and endangered and have been grafted to enable them to grow in our more humid climate on the NSW east coast. Continue reading