Hydrangea – surprisingly mostly white!

Hydrangeas are a well-known and commonly grown plant, but many people will be surprised at the different varieties that exist and are less well known. Although I will certainly mention the tried-and-true mop tops, I will also try to enlighten you about the other fascinating members of the Hydrangeaceae family, and the fact that most of them flower only white! Continue reading

Review: Collectors’ Plant Fair 2017

MORE!!! MORE!!! MORE!!! OH YES! Collector’s Plant Fair 2017 was splendid. It was bigger and better even than last year. MORE VENDORS = MORE PLANTS = EXCITEMENT OVERLOAD!! I love this event so much. I love arriving early, when all the plant crazies and fellow professional horticulturists come out and rush around looking out for the really unusual stuff. Continue reading

Fig tree foragers

On a warm summer evening, as I was taking some scraps out to the worm farm, a distinctive shimmer on the leaves of my fig tree caught my eye. Honeydew, a tell-tale sign of sap sucking insect attack. The culprit was scale insects, a variety that I know as pink wax scale. Continue reading

How to beat colour anxiety – white it out

Quite often I have someone admit to me that they suffer from what I’d call ‘garden colour anxiety’. They’ll take me into their confidence and whisper that trying to work out a colour scheme for their garden makes them as anxious as a visit to the dentist. Which is sad because mucking around with anything garden-related is surely meant to be fun? Continue reading

Floods sweep away our garden

My husband and I live in the upper Tweed Valley, northern New South Wales on 5 acres. A major creek traverses our property. For the past 8 years we have regenerated our creek banks with native vegetation and landscaped and planted a mix of exotics and natives in our house yard garden, making around 2 acres in total that we maintain. Continue reading

Australian gardening inspiration from South Africa

To me, the essence of Australia is deep blue skies stretching as far as the eye can see; rich red soils bearing dry, oxidized iron; the distinctive blue-green foliage of Eucalyptus set amongst twisting, mottled-grey limbs; perhaps a small family of roos tucking into soft, long grass in its dappled shade. Nowhere else on earth will you come across a scene like this. Continue reading

Say hello to the Redlove apple

There’s a new apple in the Aussie backyard. With their firm crimson skin and unique red flesh, these “revolutionary” beauties from Switzerland have already taken root across Europe, the UK and North America. And now, in 2017, they’re available for the first time throughout Australia. Continue reading

Climate change and seed collecting – is local still best?

How plants will cope in a changing climate makes for disturbing reading.  The answer, in short, is not very well at all.  While plant breeders and government scientists have been selecting plants with traits that favour a shifting climate for years (eg. new succulent hybrids and drought-resilient wheat varieties), our local, indigenous flora and revegetated areas don’t have the same luxury.  The idea that local plants suit the local environment has been central to bushland management and indigenous gardening for decades, but in the face of a changing climate, holding onto this idea could do far more harm than good to our beloved local plants. Continue reading

How to inspire ‘millennials’ to garden

As Baby Boomers continue to retire and downsize, a new generation of gardeners – the much-maligned Millennials – is poised to pick up where the Boomers have left off. They’re ready and able to grab a shovel, to grow their own food, and to decorate their own spaces – be it a backyard garden in the burbs’ or a studio apartment in the city – with funky and functional plants.  They just don’t know it yet. Continue reading

Extending the harvest (or avoiding the glut!)

Prolific vegetables – such as zucchini – produce more fruit each season than you know what to do with, but others bear for a short time only. Successive planting of vegetable crops is a reliable way of spreading the harvest through the season, but other tricks are less well-known. Read on for practical tips if, like me, you don’t religiously sow a line of seed every three weeks! Continue reading

Taking a chance on Eremophilas

Eremophilas can be marvellous plants in the garden, but their reliability in a variety of soils and climates is still being established by their many devoted growers. As so many eremophilas have been only recently collected from the wild and introduced into our gardens, they are still a work in progress as garden plants. Continue reading