Tasmania’s Wychwood garden: a new beginning

It’s a scary thing to take on a well-known garden. It is even scarier to open it to the public after a major flood event. That what’s happening at Wychwood, Mole Creek, one of Tasmania’s favourite gardens. Earlier this year Melbourne city gardeners David Doukidis and Matt Bendall bought the property from its creators and long-time owners Peter Cooper and Karen Hall. 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

Open Gardens West Coast – my garden launches WA’s new scheme

My Perth garden is the inaugural garden opening with Open Gardens West Coast and I’ve been spending all my spare time making sure it lives up to the honour. The new, not-for-profit scheme will open three Perth gardens this year and a statewide program in 2017. Garden lovers are rejoicing as openings have been scarce in WA since Open Gardens Australia folded 16 months ago. Continue reading

Bringing the outdoors in: why you need plants inside too

Indoor plants have become a fast growing trend for many good reasons. However, with so many different plant species available it can be a bit intimidating for the first-timer or even experienced gardeners to know what plants are best suited for the home. I purchased my first indoor plant two years ago and I’ve never looked back! Indoor plants have become a whole new obsession of mine. Continue reading

Cloud forests and other wonders of Peru

Escaping from Sydney a few days before New Year’s Eve, a motley group of friends and family headed to South America for a month of adventuring. First Peru and Machu Picchu, then cycling in Cuba for 2 weeks, followed by 10 days sailing the Galapagos. A triple bucket-list trip!

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The hardware garden

Sometime back, I received a call from a Scottish woman asking for my professional help. The lady – let’s call her Morag – asked whether I trimmed hedges as she needed urgent help cutting one in her back garden. I was asked to do the trim as her husband – let’s call him Don – was suffering from severe back pain and was unwilling to climb their wobbly wooden ladder. Continue reading

Review: A tale of two Normandy gardens

A broad lawn sweeps downhill to a lily pond at lowest point, rather than being interrupted by the usual terracing of Continental gardens. On two sides of this lawn, woodland gardens of rhododendrons, herbaceous perennials and bulbs transition from humanised landscape to natural forest. On the far side, a series of themed garden rooms surround the country house and assorted farm buildings, leading to further woodlands beyond. Continue reading

Designer gardens at Garden World’s Spring festival 2016

Each year Garden World in Gauteng, to the west of Johannesburg, has its Spring Festival. This year there are more than 20 designer gardens on display until 4 September 2016. Many of these designer gardens are different from your usual show garden as some of them are revamps of the previous year’s garden and some are makeovers of a much older garden. This is good because it makes the designer see the show garden more like designing for a residential client where there are always things to keep as well as places for new ideas. Continue reading

Review: Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – The First 200 Years

I started to read this history of a garden and soon realised that what I was actually reading was a history of so much more – a struggling settlement, a growing city, and a developing nation. More than any building or natural landscape, this Garden holds the layers of Australia’s 200 years of European settlement as well as the lighter footprint of many more years of indigenous occupation. And it is a story well-told, with multiple voices adding colour to this woven tapestry of discovery and loss, exploitation and love, export and import, neglect and care, and loyalty and deceit. ★★★★½

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Classical gardens and contemporary art in China

Western thinking on garden history tends to be almost unconsciously European in focus – we might evoke the eighteenth century, and think of ha-has and arboreta, or perhaps a Renaissance Italian stroll garden, ornamented with classical statuary. But when mediaeval apothecaries were busy enclosing medicinal herbs in box compartments, one of our greatest cultures was quite literally moving mountains. In China, where the most exciting contemporary art is also to be found, gardens and art have been inextricably linked for almost two thousand years. Continue reading