One of my very favourite records is a 1965 recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto in E Minor played by Jacqueline du Pre with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli, himself a cellist. This is regarded by many people to be the benchmark performance of this much-loved work. The fact that this concerto is played so beautifully on an instrument crafted from wood only occurred to me when Ray Steward OAM took us on his excellent tree walk in the Australian Plant Communities on 23rd July 2013.
Caroline Zoob and her husband, Jonathan, rented Monk’s House, Rodmell near Lewes, East Sussex, from the National Trust for 10 years. This had been the home of Virginia Woolf and her husband, Leonard. They bought it in 1919 and took to the garden with passion. With Virginia’s help Leonard turned an ordinary cottage garden into something special.
On a cool misty November day, we drove into the Hillwood Estate and Garden car park and were soon registered at the Visitor Centre. The Estate is not a massive tract of land, but it is filled with many treasures, both in the house and in the garden. Outbuildings also house many treasures.
This book and its theme are timely and poignant. We won’t stop waging wars. Some parts of the globe have long histories of it with competition for resources, land, water, trade and souls. Dwindling water supplies suggest more will come. We also won’t stop gardening – for food, shelter, beauty, solace – and this book is revealing on why. What gardening does for us – something that seems worth pondering and talking-up, as peace-fostering.
For one raised and used to living in cooler, moister climes, living in Sydney can bring on ‘conifer-depletion syndrome’. Continue reading
In February 2018, I was bemoaning the loss of some long-established plants in my predominantly native garden in the Hunter Valley.
Gardens in the Monaro area of southern NSW need to be resilient and tolerant of droughts, frosts and snow. Here is the story of three gardens. Continue reading
Currently, Mexico is recognized as the fifth-richest country in plant and animal species, but expanding human population and legal and illegal logging are taking their toll.
While holidaying in Vietnam in 2010, I spent a couple of days helping out at the Da Nang Social Support Centre. This centre caters for people that are unable to look after themselves because of bad health, they are too young, or too old, or just too poor.
Islands are Nature’s kitchen and the Hawaiian Islands, sitting in splendid isolation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, are the perfect place to see where evolution has cooked up a smorgasbord. When the first humans arrived on the islands around 400 AD there were already thousands of plant and animal creations.
Australian wildflowers were the focus of a national competition, designed to promote awareness of their use in floristry.
Is the Hampton Court Flower Show on your bucket list? If not, here’s at least five reasons why it should be.
The Gardener, a documentary which reflects on the meaning of gardening and its impact on our lives, opened in selected Australian cinemas from October 11.