Cushion Bush dreaming

One of my favourite Australian plants for the garden would have to be the cushion bush (Leucophyta brownii) with its amazing globe-like growth habit highlighted by the silvery glow-in-the-dark foliage and flowers. It is the perfect plant for salt-windswept coastal gardens and, well, really just gardens in general. Apart from being an almost zero maintenance plant that will win friends and influence passers-by, it is also one of a select bunch of Australian plants that can tolerate and even thrive in the alkaline soils that result from the limestone parent material that is often present where it grows in the wild. Continue reading

How to grow and use fenugreek

Today I’m talking with Ian Hemphill from Herbies Spices about a less commonly used spice called fenugreek. Botanically Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugreek is a legume, which means it’s part of the bean family. The seed’s characteristic bitter flavour is used as an important balance to the sweetness of other spices in Indian and African cooking and its leaves are a delicious cut-and-come-again addition to stir fries and vegetable curries. Fenugreek is a great plant for beginner gardeners and those without much space. Continue reading

Critics hit the roof garden


Critics hit the roof garden. Controversy is raging over London’s new ‘Walkie Talkie’ building at 20 Fenchurch Street. Although City planning permission required a ‘publicly accessible’ roof garden, it turns out the roof is a little less than garden, and a lot less public. Continue reading

Andrew Maynard rubs out the lines

Cut Paw Paw house Photo Peter Bennetts

Cut Paw Paw house Photo Peter Bennetts

I’ve written a gazillion times about houses that “blur the lines between inside and out“, usually meaning there’s just some large sliding doors onto a deck or garden. But here’s an architect who doesn’t blur the lines. He rubs them out. Continue reading

Garden makeover for a sense of arrival

I was contacted by some new clients who were frustrated that they could not sell their lovely home in Sydney’s leafy upper North Shore, an area known for its majestic trees, large block sizes and high-value houses. Their house stood among iconic trees for this elevated coastal district, such as dawn redwood (Metasequoia), Sydney blue gums (Eucalyptus saligna), large Deodar cedar trees (Cedrus deodara), and flowering crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia). Continue reading

Marsala colors my day

Aren’t these peonies luscious? The burgundy wine pink Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 color pick, is embodied in these peony selections. These yummy visions are from ‘Peony’s Envy’ collection. I can envision them growing in my garden and enlivening my vases. I need such feast for the eyes and soul this freezing Mid-January day. The wind chill factor creates a single digit number to greet me today. Continue reading

Singapore orchids

Singapore Botanic Gardens drips orchids. Almost literally, as they hang from trees, spill from rocks and dance among colourful foliage. Everywhere you look, there’s another spectacular display, with every flower at its peak. Continue reading