Melbourne Flower Show 2018 – analysis & trends

I again made my annual trip to Melbourne for the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show 2018. As I’m a horticultural out-of-towner and a landscape/garden design specialist, I spend most of my time studying and analysing the big show gardens (as well as the boutique and student gardens). So what were this year’s standouts, disappointments and trends? Continue reading

Review: ‘More Great Properties of Country Victoria’

After growing up on a large property in central NSW, I can relate to the boom and bust nature of rural life. When admiring the grand homes and properties of Victoria’s Western District, it is easy to assume that the pioneers who built them were a little more fortunate and didn’t suffer the same trials and tribulations of drought, disease, rising costs and falling prices. Continue reading

Book Review: Dreamscapes

Dreamscapes is a stunning collection of 69 of the world’s most beautiful gardens photographed by Claire Takacs. It is a book filled with imagery and about gardens. If it achieves no more than inspire you to immerse yourself in open spaces at sunrise or sunset, with or without your camera, then it is well worth having, and a big part of its objective! Continue reading

Review: Robert Fortune – A Plant Hunter in the Orient

China’s burgeoning economic and political might in this century are quite a turn-around (one might say a return to form) from its cowed condition under the ‘Opium Wars’ (and Taiping Revolution – civil war) of the mid-late 19th century. Gun-ship ‘diplomacy’ was used to force foreign trade access to this vast country’s ports, to export the west’s craze product: fine tea. Continue reading

Book Review: Good Soil by Tina Råman

I think I can safely say that Good Soil is the only book I possess that has both ‘Pee‘ and ‘Poo‘ as chapter headings. Those chapter headings give you a clue to what sort of book this is: mostly, it is about how to nourish the soil with the macro- and micronutrients plants need to thrive (many of which abound in pee and poo), and it takes a chatty, no-nonsense approach to the subject. Continue reading