42 degrees C is just too, too hot

I hadn’t seen these green, red and gold parrots at ground level in my garden before. Usually they come in flocks to chatter and chomp in the upper branches of our towering Eucalyptus leucadendron. This is almost 40 years old so they’re a long way up. You need binoculars to look at them closely. Continue reading

Back my succulents book – it’s irresistible

I have seen and know of an Australia that few people have ever seen and I feel a burning desire to share it with you. I want to produce a large nature book – a guide to Australia’s succulent plants. Many regard this continent’s interior as a wasteland, thinking that Australia has almost no native succulents except for a few barely fleshy weeds, unlike the well-known rich diversity of succulents in Africa. But I know that there are hundreds of spectacular and fascinating succulent plants out there, some of them so tiny you need to lie on the ground to see them, and others that show off their beautifully coloured flowers, stems and leaves. I want to tell you, and the world, all about them. Continue reading

The language of flowers

What do the flowers in your garden say about you, or to put it another way, what message are you sending out through the choice of flowers in the garden? For centuries people have attributed a meaning to flowers and out of that has arisen the language of flowers, or floriography as it is sometimes called. Continue reading

J Paul Getty Centre LA – central garden

When the painter and sculptor Robert Irwin was commissioned to create a garden at the $1.3 billion J Paul Getty Centre in Los Angeles he approached the project as another artwork. However, Irwin was the first to admit that he knew nothing about plants and Southern California nurseryman Jim Duggan joined the project, collecting plants from Irwin’s long lists, “plus anything else you think is interesting” and growing plants to trial their performance. Continue reading

De-icing road salt causes environmental damage

Salt truck Milwaukee Photo Michael Pereckas

Salt truck Milwaukee Photo Michael Pereckas

Smithsonian.com has reported on the environmentally damaging effects of de-icing road salt, a timely discussion given USA’s recent deep freeze. A staggering 40% of the country’s streams have chloride levels that are higher than what’s safe for aquatic life. Continue reading

Beautiful vegie gardens

We all have our pet hates, and recently Catherine Stewart wrote eloquently about the current craze for edible gardens. I laughed out loud at it, and at some of the replies. A $25 cucumber? Meh –a bargain! I daren’t do sums on my efforts! The irrigation system alone accounts for at least two year’s supply of vegies (think not spuds, but black truffles!) even before adding fertiliser and water! Continue reading

Using paint colour in your garden

You can use paint or texture finishes to add pizzaz to a drab area, disguise ugly bits and pieces that detract from your garden, unify a group of disparate elements or create colour focal points. Whether your garden makeover is on a big or small budget, one of the best parts about using paint in your garden makeover is that it’s not permanent. You can even do a complete colour makeover every season if you want to give your garden a fresh new look. Continue reading