Jennifer Stackhouse

About Jennifer Stackhouse

Recently Jennifer Stackhouse made the big move from Kurmond in NSW to a Federation house in the little village of Barrington tucked beneath Mt Roland in northwest Tasmania. With high rainfall, rich, red deep soil and a mild climate she reckons she's won the gardening lottery. She's taken on an acre garden that's been lovingly planted and tended for the past 28 years by a pair of keen gardeners so she is discovering a garden full of horticultural treasures. Jennifer is the author of several gardening books including 'Garden', which won a Book Laurel for 2013, as well as ‘The Organic Guide to Edible Gardens’, ‘Planting Techniques’ and ‘My Gardening Year’, which she wrote with her mother Shirley. She was editor of ABC 'Gardening Australia' magazine and now edits the trade journal 'Greenworld' magazine and writes regularly for the Saturday magazine in 'The Mercury'. She is often heard on radio and at garden shows answering garden queries.

Comfrey for bones

A fall in the family means I’ve had broken bones on my mind lately. This particular break (my mother’s broken shoulder) is going to need the best medical science has to offer to make it better but in days gone by, people often turned to the garden for a remedy.

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Sweet pea breeding

Developing a new plant variety can take a long time. The packets of sweet peas I am going to plant in my garden represent a lifetime’s work for one plant breeder. Dr Keith Hammett has been breeding better sweet peas for more than 60 years – initially in England and for the past 50 years in his adopted home New Zealand.

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Going potty

When the weather’s cold, days are short and the soil is wet, there’s little incentive to get out into the garden. Winter needn’t be dull downtime however if the garden includes some large containers arranged in a sunny spot.

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Jonquils and other narcissus

Jonquils are in full bloom in my garden and the scent from a bunch I’ve picked is wafting through the kitchen. Jonquils are thought of as spring bulbs but these fragrant, yellow-flowered bulbs bloom in winter in my garden. In warmer zones than my Tasmanian garden they can begin to flower in late autumn.

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Botanic History in Tasmania

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is celebrating its 200th birthday this year with a series of events and a new publication. The Gardens: Celebrating Tasmania’s Botanical Treasure 1818-2018 has been released to celebrate the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden’s bicentenary this year.

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Outing weeds

After a deluge of early summer rain my garden has exploded with growth. The vegies look as if they are on steroids and so do the roses. Unfortunately, so do the weeds, which are making a takeover bid for the entire garden. Urgent action is needed to stop them in their tracks. Continue reading

Kowhai flowering in spring

There’s a large kowhai tree in my Tasmanian garden. Judging from early photographs of the garden, it is at least 50 years old and may be older. Right now it’s covered in clusters of large yellow pea-shaped flowers that are filled with nectar. As it flowers it discards leaves, which makes the flowering even more spectacular. Continue reading

Annual poppies and friends

Many different poppies spring up in gardens each year. Poppies and their relatives are annual or short-lived perennial plants that produce masses of long-lived seed. Some poppies are weedy, but most are desirable ornamental flowers. Poppies even contribute to the Australian economy. The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is an important agricultural crop in Tasmania and of growing importance on the mainland as well. This is one poppy that is illegal to grow in Australian gardens. Continue reading

How to grow spaghetti squash

One of the most widely celebrated April fool’s jokes of all time was a story broadcast in 1957 on the highly respected BBC current affairs show ‘Panorama’ about the annual spaghetti tree harvest. The TV segment showed a Swiss family supposedly harvesting spaghetti from their own trees. The segment is now available to watch on YouTube (see below). Continue reading