Australian plants for shady spots

One of the perennial gardening problems (if you’ll pardon the awful pun) is finding plants that will thrive in shady spots next to fences or underneath established trees. Even more difficult is to find ones that also flower well in these conditions. As a lover of Australian plants I want to share a few of my favourites. Continue reading

Flowers solace a heavy heart

All week I’ve been heartsick. The April 15th Boston Marathon Bombings and the subsequent Lock-down of Metropolitan Boston yesterday have been a distraction to say the least. Last Monday felt like a truly spring day –night temps were above freezing and days without the need for a heavy coat, hat and scarf. Trees and shrubs budding, spring bulbs flowering in the warmer southern exposures, winter’s siege seemed to finally lifting. It was a great day for the marathon—not too hot or cold. Continue reading

Villa Massei, Lucca, Italy

Villa Massei sits high on a hill overlooking beautiful countryside near the town of Lucca. It’s easy to argue that any garden would look spectacular in such a setting. When a 16th century hunting lodge, with its old bricks, faded terracotta plaster and French-blue doors is another part of the backdrop, how could you fail to produce something worth seeing? Continue reading

Favourite autumn flowering salvias

Dennis Norgate grew the Prairie Sage, Salvia azurea, for decades when he ran his justly renowned Norgates Plant Farm just outside Trentham in the central highlands of Victoria. I got it off him more than forty years ago and have always found a spot for it in the garden, sometimes planting large patches sometimes just the odd plant. Continue reading

Spring, and life, goes on in Boston

This morning as I finished my weekly posting, I realized how unimportant my words on mulch and organic amendments would be this week, but, like most Bostonians, I was not going to stop or alter my work because of a few misguided and soulless individuals. Continue reading

From darkest Peru to Melbourne

The little black salvia flower is very Melbourne. Dressed in black*, restrained and…cultivated (well it’s been planted in a garden). Salvia discolor is its name and it has just come into flower outside our living room window. I hadn’t noticed it until Lynda pointed out that a fairly nondescript plant with grey-green leaves had sprung black flowers. Continue reading