Survive this summer!

My summer survival plan is to stay indoors when the mercury climbs above 35C. If we get temperatures like February 2017, it’s going to be crunch time for some of my plants, but I plan to give them the best chance I can. And I’ll look after myself as well. My secret weapons? Mulch and books. I’m going to have to act…

Christmas in the Australian garden

Are there particular plants in your garden, or in the bush, which remind you of Christmas? Or maybe it’s the birds and insects that bring back childhood memories of the festive season. The iconic sights, sounds and smells that tell us that it’s high summer in Australia, and holidays are on the way. The enduring symbols Christmas…

Top Tomato Tips

Would you like to be eating heirloom tomatoes like these, rather than the supermarket “Gourmets” in your summer salads? Supermarket tomatoes are hybrids bred for efficient machine harvesting and long-distance shipping. They contain an introduced slow ripening gene which prevents full development of the natural sugars which are a major component of a tomato’s flavour. Don’t get me wrong. Supermarket…

Hot debate in the garden

There’s a controversy which can stoke passionate debate in gardening circles all over Australia. It’s been on the agenda for over 50 years, and it still has the power to generate heated letters to the editor in gardening magazines. Here’s a clue. A stunning Australian native plant, Banksia ericifolia (banksia), and an equally stunning exotic, climbing rose. In the 1960’s, a…

Mudgee school garden fair- sustainability in action

Forget “potted colour”, forget hothouse flowers that keel over at the first hint of winter frosts. Forget supermarket prices, too! Cudgegong Valley Public School’s 2017 garden fair was a great place to buy plants for anyone interested in sustainable gardening in our local area. Local knowledge is invaluable when it comes selecting the right plants for your garden. And the…

A garden with heart and soul

An Australian who led the way for women in broadcasting in America, and her American husband, who reported several major historic events of the twentieth century, have spent the last 17 years living in Mudgee and creating their dream garden. In 2001, with family bonds tugging at their heartstrings, Susan Bray and Ed DeLong left their home in Philadelphia and…

Sustainability made easy

Would you like hundreds of bright flowers, herbs and vegetables in your garden, which you haven’t had to plant, or care for? Which thrive in thin soil, surprise you by popping up in beds you’ve prepared for other plants, or materialise in remote corners of your garden? If you don’t have this, you absolutely can, and you…

Mudgee in the Spring- fragrantissima bellissima!

Mudgee may be famous for its wine and honey, but for me, nothing beats its spectacular gardens. And if your dream garden involves sweet perfumes in the air, you should consider some of the of drought- and frost-tolerant plant types that, right now, are turning on the magic out here in the Central West. Roses…

Sculptures in the garden

Does your dream garden include an expanse of perfectly trimmed, lush green lawn? Or do you loathe the very idea of the time, effort, and watering, you’d need to invest, to achieve one? In the absence of picturesque groups of frolicking children, I don’t see much point in large expanses of lawn. That is, unless there are…

Love this garden!

This enchanting Mudgee garden greets the October visitor with a message: Welcome to Spring! A brilliant display of flowering perennials is powerfully attracting, and there are secrets and surprises to be discovered as well. The main entrance is dominated by the prodigious, brilliant white cascades of a bank of May bushes. The blossoms catch the sunlight, and the…

My Big Gardening Weekend

There was a lot happening in my dream garden last (long) weekend. Soil chemistry, pest control, plant rescue, seed selection for my next project, and photographing the hardy survivors of our extreme Winter and my neglect. On top of that, confirmation that hard work I put in last Spring, has paid off. Some tried and true favourites- diosma, salvia, bromeliads-…

Farewell to an artist gardener

Who showed you the magic of gardens? Did someone encourage you to bury your nose in a rose and deeply inhale its fragrance, to taste droplets of nectar oozing from a spike of Grevillea flowers? To set the purple and red blossoms of a Fuchsia magellanica dancing like tiny ballerinas? To gently brush, with small fingertips, the furry sepals of an Iceland poppy bud about…