Exploring Koishikawa Kōrakuen, Tokyo’s Edo-period stroll garden

While the weather in Sydney has been really heating up, I’ve escaped to a cooler side of the world to do something I’ve yearned to do for a while now – see Kyoto’s autumn colour! Some connoisseurs say that autumn is even more beautiful than spring, but when I lived in Japan for 6 months a few years ago, I had to make a choice and spring won. But now I’m back with a vengeance! Raa! 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

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!

Continue reading

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

Ninfa – is it worth all the superlatives?

It was at a meeting of heritage rose lovers that I first heard about Ninfa, a romantic, rambling, Italian garden built in the ruins of a medieval town. People spoke of it in reverential terms and my interest was piqued by their idyllic description – old roses and vines cascading from ruined towers and trees, scrambling along crumbling archways and overhanging crystal clear streams. Continue reading

Amsterdam’s secret: an enchanted forest and gardens

For a lifelong cyclist Amsterdam is heaven – once you get your bearings that is.  That skew-whiff grid of canals is totally bamboozling at first. The initial 24 hours completely did my head in. Utterly lost. Embarrassing for someone who prides himself on being able to find his way around. Since then however, the cycling has been sublime. Continue reading

A first botanic garden for Laos: enchanting Pha Tad Ke

Starting a new garden from the ground up is daunting even for an experienced gardener in a familiar environment, but imagine being a non-gardener, in a foreign country, on unknown terrain in a totally different climate and contemplating the creation of a 14 hectare botanical garden showcasing the indigenous plants of a country where botany is little studied and new species are still being discovered. Continue reading