Pursuing the perfect palak paneer…

In the subtropics, winter is a great time to grow many cool climate vegetables.  The emphasis in my vegetable garden is always on fresh greens. Unless I buy them at a farmer’s market, I‘m not impressed by the freshness and diversity of shop bought greens. Many of my favourite winter greens such as corn salad, golden purslane, ice plant, tender butter lettuces, blanched moss-curled endives, raddichio and ice plants simply aren’t available commercially. Continue reading

Grow green flowers and learn from the florists

Green. We love it as the colour that symbolises life, and also the feelings of freshness, vitality and renewal that it inspires. In gardens, we love it in foliage and healthy stems but strangely have an aversion to it in flowers. Floral artists who are, I think, much more inventive when it comes to combining foliage and flowers than most garden designers, (OK Christo Lloyd excluded) started using green flowers in their arrangements and bouquets several years ago. Continue reading

Growing wild foods in your garden

I have written here before about my miserable efforts to grow vegetables. Nothing has changed. I am however growing more and more food in my garden. My family eat numerous subtropical edibles and lots of weeds. Not so many carrots and zucchini but plenty of highly nutritious greens. Continue reading

Reuse and transplant for an instant new garden

Transplanting exisiting plants is a great way to make an instant garden and it’s a natural part of the reuse and recycle approach that I bring to all my garden designs. In this garden there were several overgrown evergreen foundation plants at the front door that could have been consigned to the compost pile as they needed to be removed to make way for a new house extension. But by transplanting them elsewhere in the garden I could create structure and enclosure Continue reading

Morocco – land of kasbahs and palm oases

The land of the Berbers is a dramatic interplay of gorges, mountains, desert plains and valleys dotted with date palm oases. Amongst these, where there is water, rise ancient kasbahs* in various states of ruin or rejuvenation. Some kasbahs have been bought by foreigners, often French, who have renovated and re-designed them often as guest accommodation, usually with gardens attached – either surrounding the building or as an internal courtyard. Continue reading

Managing and changing an existing garden

When we purchased our garden, Timandra, in 2008, there was already a garden on the upper level of the property. The previous owners had formed this garden out of many different plants that mostly grew from seed, under a considerable tree canopy that was still establishing when we bought the property. Continue reading

Absorbed by garden detail

When I take time out at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG), there are two major options. I can walk…and walk…and walk some more, relishing the big picture. The history of the garden and its inviting design. The great variety of plant species. The way the big old trees interact with newer or smaller ones and set off the sloping expanses of deep green lawns. Continue reading