In Flanders Fields

The 25th of April (ANZAC Day) commemorates the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915, during the First World War. The rituals of ANZAC Day, the day on which all wars in which Australia was involved are remembered,  are inculcated in Australians from their earliest school years. I…

Kandos Gardens Fair: Great Gardens Galore

This week I’m reporting on two more great gardens from the Kandos Gardens Fair, one at Rylstone and one at Kandos. One bursting with bright flowers, the other gracefully composed with the grandeur of mature trees. Both gave me new ideas and were a pleasure to visit. “Ache n Back Acres”- the name will strike…

Kandos Gardens Fair Showcases Great Gardens

The 2018 Kandos Gardens Fair has left me in awe of the gardeners in the Kandos-Rylstone area. What they have created, often in harmony with our unforgiving climate, is magnificent. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my observations and favourite photos of the inspiring gardens which I visited at the Fair last weekend….

Exciting Botanicals- Updated with Exciting News!

Do you love Australian native plants? Do you love gin? Good news! Botanicals are the essential ingredients of gin, and Australian distillers are capturing our imagination with the use of native Australian botanicals. And more news just to hand- Brookie’s Gin, created by Cape Byron Distillery (about which you can read more, below) has won…

Seasons of change in New England

The New England town of Uralla was buzzing last Saturday with the Seasons of New England Producers, Makers and Creators Expo. The Go Create New England display was amazing. Here’s a small selection of some of the craft works on display there. Vivid hand printed fabrics… Fantastic cards… Irresistible red shoes… Pre-psychedelic Hundertwasser- inspired reverse…

Summer’s end in an Australian forest

The Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve in the central west of New South Wales is a magnet for bird watchers and bushwalkers. I walked there last Sunday with my friends from Mudgee Bushwalking Club. The day began with a treat- an excellent sighting of a male Superb Lyrebird.  With his long, gracefully curved tail feathers, he…

Crimes of Passion

Be warned! Grafted passionfruit are a ticking time bomb in your garden, particularly in temperate areas. My coastal friends had a splendid grafted specimen, Nellie Kelly, which produced excellent crops for the first few years. Trouble started when they set off on an expedition to Tasmania. Returning home in spring, they discovered that all hell…

The garden of camellias

Would you like to see a world class camellia display, in a remarkable garden that makes you wish you were a child again? If so, you should head to Caringbah South, with a picnic lunch and any available children, where the E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens were established almost 50 years ago. Tucked away in…

How to grow roses: advice from a very relaxed expert

Tanya Scott is very relaxed. It’s a baking February afternoon, at the end of a nightmare summer. It’s the kind of day on which most gardeners would become hysterical if a stranger with a camera asked to have a look around. Tanya, however, welcomes me, and gives me a guided tour before letting me loose…

fire days

There are times when gardening becomes a luxury, when the forces of nature remind us that our understanding of our domestic environment, is tenuous at best. This past week has been such a time. Our scorching, drought-stricken summer has, predictably, delivered an onslaught of bushfires in the central west. For at least a week, my…

How to grow Sweet Peas

Named for their fragrance and pretty pastel colours, Sweet Peas found their way into our gardens (and our hearts) over 300 years ago. Today, there’s a vast range of flower colours available, including deep velvety shades of blue and maroon, crimson-and-white streaked, and ruffled floral forms. They are an excellent cut flower, easy to grow,…

Plants for winter drama (updated)

If you see winter gardens as drab and lifeless, you may need to adjust your thinking (or your garden!). In the still, quiet wintery world, evergreen foliage, bark and seed pods become as interesting as flowers are in spring. The colour palette changes to a more subtle beauty. Winter hardening burnishes the browns, silvers and…