Peony perfection

The western world first learned about peonies from Marco Polo, who described them as “roses the size of cabbages”. I fell in love with these flowers when I saw them up close for the first time, in my daughter-in-law’s bridal bouquet. I want to grow some in my Mudgee garden. Knowing nothing about peonies, I…

Drought and roses: always on my mind

Where I live (Mudgee, central western New South Wales, Australia), it’s time to plant bare rooted roses. We’re struggling through a 1 in 100 year drought so conditions aren’t ideal. (To read about the drought and how you can help our farmers, have a look at 200 Bales, a grass-roots initiative of some wonderful Mudgee…

Thanks for the rain!

March was beautiful with a blessed 140mm of rainfall in Mudgee. Temperatures remain fairly warm and my garden has shown its gratitude in April. Some summer-flowering plants are staging a last hurrah, even as the elm leaves are turning yellow and the usual autumn flowerings begin. Following my last blog post, my gorgeous single white…

A garden of joys and simple pleasures

The Mudgee Garden Spectacular gave visitors the chance to enjoy the experience of exploring Claire and Greg Toole’s three-acre garden in south Mudgee. Pleasing, simple design gives this garden a sense of space and tranquillity. Understated brick and stone edgings meander along, connecting garden beds and defining broad areas of pebble and wood chip ground…

Metal and stone energise a bright spring garden

Of the hundreds of works on display at Rosby for the 2018 Sculptures in the Garden, the metal and stone pieces captured my imagination most of all. On display last weekend, in one of the Mudgee area’s major annual events, here is a selection of my favourites. “Jumpy”, by Edward Wilson, was full of springtime…

Blue sky and ice crystals- Mudgee in winter

On the central ranges of New South Wales you can choose your favourite from two types of winter morning: the ones like today, dawning crystal clear, a bright blue sky appearing as the sunrise colours fade, or still, and shrouded in mist, with the promise of bright blue sky to come once the mist burns…

A joyful garden

On their 400 acre property “Avlac Hills”, extending from the summit of Mount Knowles, and down its western flank above Melrose Road, Vicki and Arthur’s joyful garden, carved out of raw, rocky terrain, speaks volumes about their passion and flair for gardening. They’ve lived here for ten years- for the first three occupying a large…

Mudgee dazzles in autumn

In the town and the countryside, autumn leaves are bursting forth everywhere. Mudgee’s main street, Church Street, is lined on both sides by Manchurian Pear trees. They’re approaching their full display of vivid shades from crimson to buttery yellow. In private gardens, visionary gardeners have created autumn displays which are enjoyed by all.   The car…

Each tree tells a story

Step inside this old general store and you’re in ancient China. Known locally as the “Chinese Bonsai shop”, it’s the Lingnan Penjing Academy of Australia, an unexpected find in the heart of the quiet, historic village of Lue, 25km east of Mudgee, in central western NSW. Lingnan Penjing Academy, Lue, NSW Here, Philippe Tot, proprietor and…

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…