Sanctuary garden

As you can see from the photographs, this garden creates a very private, sanctuary retreat for this new home addition that has windows on 3 sides. There were concerns for screening from the streets and the neighbours, which is why this green ‘living fence’ of arbor-vitae was used. Continue reading

Crassula casualty

Why is it that tradesmen can’t see the difference between garden and a driveway, or garden and a path? It’s a peculiar kind of blindness, which usually results in a size 12 boot standing precisely on the head of some dainty treasure you’ve been nurturing. When a tradesman arrives at your house, you’re usually so surprised and pathetically grateful that they’ve actually come to your house, it seems churlish to start pointing out all the things you don’t want them to do. Continue reading

Funny old thing, sustainability

Funny old thing sustainability. Of late it’s become a buzzword but for many switched-on gardeners sustainable practices have always just been, well, sensible practices. Personally I describe myself as a pragmatic-suburban-sustainable gardener (and homeowner). I’m not some starry-eyed ideologue; I look at what’s practical, financially viable and provides the outcomes I need. Continue reading

100 Gardens book launch

On Thursday night I went to a book launch, and on Friday morning I was still feeling on a bit of a high. Who would think that a book launch would be able to leave you feeling uplifted on the following day? Well, this one did! It was Jamie Durie presenting his latest book called 100 Gardens, showcasing 50 new gardens and another 50 that had been seen in his earlier publications. Continue reading

Tropical bulbs

It is also the time that a lot of our tropical bulbs emerge from their dormant period. Quite a few of them are native to areas which have the same wet/dry rain cycle we have here, so they retire underground in the dry, and emerge to flower as soon as the weather warms and the rains start. Continue reading

Tropical fruit and pink cassia

Isn’t this blog a great idea? Anyone who knows me knows I can rave on about plants and gardening virtually non-stop and here we have an unlimited audience. I hope you enjoy all we have to say – feedback would be great and all queries attended to. Continue reading

Wild tomatoes – let the harvest begin!

Just this week I filled my first big bowl of the season with freshly harvested, vine ripened wild tomatoes. Well, I like to call them ‘wild’ anyway. It makes me feel like some kind of nomadic hunter gatherer foraging on a random bush in the wild, but in actual fact, it was just one of those little cherry tomato bushes that sprung up next to the compost heap – you know the ones. Continue reading

Mud pies

It’s raining again – or should that be ‘still’. Scotland had the wettest spring on record this year and the wettest August for 60 years. Argyll was the wettest place in Scotland, and I bet our peninsula was the wettest place in Argyll.
You’d think that a garden on the side of a hill, with rock not far below the surface, should be well-drained. The water should find a few channels and flow happily down them to drain into the sea. Right? Continue reading


In 2010, and after twenty six years together, I finally had to admit the painful truth. We’d started from scratch – a new house surrounded by bare clay, building rubble, and not much else… and yes, I’d had fun. But now there was nowhere left for our relationship to go, nothing more to do. My garden was full. Continue reading

Watering and visiting

I started out this morning with some garden watering, as Sydney’s usually dry spring has driven some plants in my shallow, sandy soil to a nodding wilt. It’s time to make use of those 10,000 litres of rainwater collected from the amazing Sydney downpours that we both love and hate. We’ve got Continue reading

Rain, rain, come and stay

It’s another one of those terrific Sydney thunderstorm days, when it’s been really stinking hot all day and you’re so over it, and then suddenly woosh! in comes this amazing south-wersterly buster. It blows and blows and the rain buckets down, thunder rumbles and lightning flashes – I love it! Continue reading

Going clubbing

Yay! Today is Cottage Garden Club day. For those of you lucky enough to live in Sydney, the Cottage Garden Club meets in the St Albans church hall in Epping on a Saturday about once a quarter. It’s such an easy club to belong to; Sue Perkins is the autocratic secretary who has decided and organised everything for the past nearly 20 years, and that’s exactly the way the club members like it. Continue reading