Saturday, November 21, 2009

Plant Sourcing

A few weeks ago I worked on a project which involved sourcing some plants for a job I designed in Lesmurdie. I chose the stock by hand at two different wholesale nurseries to ensure quality and that the varieties were as close to ones I had specified as possible.

Left : Agonis flexuosa nana ( Weeping Form )
Right :
Dianella ' Emerald Arch '

There were a few that weren't available, unhealthy or too small. This meant I had to choose an appropriate substitute. The plants are loaded onto trolleys then delivery was arranged for 2 days later.

Left : Correa ' Wins Wonder '
Right : Dianella ' Cassa Blue '

The brief for this planting scheme was low maintenance / water requirements. The site also had a bush setting on an escarpment meaning that natives were a must. Many of the species chosen are dwarf meaning they won't grow too tall and block views or require too much pruning.

Left : Acacia ' Honey Bun '
Right : Correa ' Wins Wonder '

Ground covers were used to reduce evaporation from the ground and discourage weeds. Plants were grouped densely to give an instant garden effect and reduce water wastage.

Acacia ' Honey Bun '
This Acacia grows 1.5m high by 1.5m wide and is a fairly new on the Perth plant scene.

Hardenbergia ' Purple Spray '
This Native Wisteria was hard ( pardon the pun ) to find. I think I bought the last of the stock at the time. This one was chosen as a ground cover for a sloped area where I imagine it will cascade down nicely. It is commonly used as a vine.

Left : Lomandra ' Tropic Belle '
This native grass grows to 1.5m high with sprays of pale yellow feathery flowers.

Lomandra ' Tanika '
A smaller growing Lomandra at 700mm with fine foliage.

Callistemon ' Endeavour '

This wasn't the plant I initially had in mind for a position in front of 2 -3m high wall. However I couldn't resist the profuse flowers and the height of these specimens. They should also be fast growing and soften the wall in no time.

There were more plants for this job than I've shown. The house has a modern Mediterranean feel so we used a lot of succulents ( Agaves, Mauritian Hemp, Echeveria ) as feature plants. There were also some advanced Frangipanis, Olive and Grass Trees. Stay tuned for photos of the finished job.

I'm finding that there is more demand for plant sourcing at the moment than design. For a job as big as this one a design is essential. For smaller jobs where the garden beds are already established I offer a 3 hour consultation to write up a Planting List which can then be used to quote and supply the plants. Please let me know if you're interested in this service.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Northbridge Piazza

Saturday morning saw us heading into Northbridge for a Dim-Sum lunch at Northbridge Chinese Restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised to find that gone is the cliched out of date decor.It has had an interior makeover and is now quite modern.We didn't really need another reason to go there.

We arrived just before 10am to beat the rush, only to find it wasn't open yet. So we decided to go for a stroll. Northbridge is Perth's nightlife/cultural centre. It is a completely different place by day.I was excited to get a closer look at the recently streetscaped Northbridge Piazza.

This is a small part of a 3.9 million development by the City of Perth which is to include a giant LCD screen,performance stage and micro-brewery.The informal seats which glow bluish purple by night are white during the day.Kimberley stone has been used as both a paving and wall cladding giving the area a clean,uncomplicated look.

I like the way that the lawn has been mounded against a retaining wall here.This might have been a way to keep existing trees when the ground level surrounding them needed to be lowered.Too often trees are removed just to allow for ground level adjustments.

This green feature wall is 8m high and planted with vines.I really like the transperancy of these mesh panels that frame sections of the sky.

The street trees here are Gleditsia triacanthus 'Sun Burst'. I have a soft spot for these trees because my husband and I stood under one while we said our Wedding vows when it was just coming into leaf.We celebrated our two year anniversary last week.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ornamental Grasses

Sometimes too much emphasis is placed on foliage and flower colour whilst choosing plants. Often it is their texture which is their best attribute. Here are some grasses with a 'soft and fuzzy' appearance.

Purple Fountain Grass
This is available as an Australian variety (alopecuroides) and exotic (advena rubrum, setaceum rubrum ). Exotic varieties of this plant can become invasive in bushland areas. Listed as a weed in some states

longiflolia 'Tanika'
This Australian native grows to 600mm high in the sun or part shade

Great for mass plantings where a blue/grey foliage is required

poiformis 'Courtney'
Native 500mm tall ornamental grass

European blue/grey 300mm cushion forming grass

'Frosted Curls'
This 400-500mm weeping grass originated in New Zealand.

An orange/brown variety

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sneak Preview

Here are a few glimpses of a recently built garden renovation that I designed for friends of ours. This project will be featured on my website soon so stay tuned to see more of it.

Front Garden :

There was a two metre slope down from the level of the house to the verge meaning that some serious retaining walls were required.

This was an existing Umbrella tree which we accommodated into the deck. My friend was given the title of 'tree hugger' by her husband for wanting to keep this tree. All of the decking for this job was done by another friend of ours who is a handyman by trade.

Transplanted Agaves in stone cladded Planter Box.

We chose to put the steps off to the side to create an open arc of lawn on the top level. Jarrah sleepers we used for these angular steps for some variety in materials.

Back Garden :The back garden was split into two levels without a means of easily moving between them. To solve this issue we created an intermediate level in the form of a deck. This also made a platform from which an existing pond could be enjoyed.

Timber Gates were added to match the Batu Decking.This house also underwent a complete interior renovation,outside painting,rendering and roof restoration.Our friends added a two car garage too.Their house has just sold for a record price in their suburb. I'm glad all of the hard work and effort they put in has paid off.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Broome Beaches

We've just returned from a weeks break in beautiful Broome. Here are some of the things we enjoyed there :
1. Sunset on Cable Beach
2. Visit to the Wharf
3. Scenic Flight over the Horizontal Falls
4&5. Another Sunset on Cable Beach
6. River mouth from the air

The highlight of our trip was the scenic flight we took over the Buccaneer Archipelago. Our friendly pilot was Andrew from Kimberley Aviation.
Our best meal was at The Old Zoo Cafe' where we tasted some local produce including Kangaroo, Emu, Crocodile and meat from a Pearl Shell.
We also visited the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park which put me off swimming anywhere other than a swimming pool for the remainder of our trip!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Farm News

It has been so long since my last blog entry that I have some exciting news from our friend's farm to share with you. When we were there one of their cows was ' with calf '. She has since given birth and he's been christened ' Elderado' and is a lovely chocolate brown colour.

What a beautiful boy!

The wet conditions in Western Australia during the last few months have been perfect for the vegetables we planted.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Long Weekend

Sometimes the best holidays are the unplanned ones. Last Monday was a public holiday in Western Australia for Foundation Day. It had taken us by surprise and we hadn't arranged to do anything. When friends invited us to their farm in Greenhills ( near York ) for the weekend we jumped at the opportunity because we've always had such a nice time there in the past.

Here is some of the fresh produce we picked and cooked with over the weekend. Some of the vegetables on hand were silver beet, chard, eggplant, chillies and capsicum. There is also a fruit tree orchard protected from birds by a netted enclosure. We picked some mandarines,oranges,lemons,limes and persimmon.

There are two prosperous vegetable plots and we added a third during our stay. We cleared a wheelbarrow's worth of weeds before planting seedlings of onions,broccoli,cabbage,basil and thyme. The whole bed was then mulched with hay.

There are two dams with Yabbies ( small fresh water crustaceans ). We caught some in traps baited with chicken. We set two traps twice and caught enough for an entree to feed six people for dinner. First we boiled them briefly before removing the shells and tossing them in a pan. Half were flavoured with butter and thyme. The other half with fresh chili, green capsicum and garlic. Both were delicious!
This has been a work in progress. Last time we came to the farm we helped with the bodywork on our friends ' Car-B-Q '. It has been sprayed since our last visit. Hopefully next time we can lift the bonnet and cook some Yabbies on it. If you look closely the temperature gage has been installed in the bonnet.
A collection of Recycled Bottles adorns this vine trellis.
This sunset was redder than this in real life. Maybe it's time for a new camera?
Painted wooden Magpie windmill.
The latest residents on the farm.There are two mothers with their calves.The one in the foreground is my favourite ' Daisy '.
Potted Jonquil bulbs on the veranda.Can't wait to visit again in September for our friend's 30th birthday party.You may also enjoy this story.