Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Around the World in 80 Gardens

Last night I stumbled upon an amazing BBC tv program called Around the World in 80 Gardens

It's basically a travel program ( obviously a play on Around the World in 80 days ) but the main focus is on Gardens and Landscape Architecture. It immediately sparked my interest and I can't wait to watch some more episodes. Last night's episode was in New Delhi in India, a place I had no previous interest in, now I want to go there!

Watch some clips from the Mexican episode :

Here is the host Monty Don talking about his book made from the series :

I especially like his statement " that gardens in the end are actually not about plants at all, they're about people "

The program airs at 8.30pm Tuesday nights on ABC1 in Perth. I think I'll be looking for the book at an ABC shop soon!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pirate's Palace

Although not really garden related, but this is a DIY story about a home renovation albeit on a miniature scale! My sister and I decided that after 20 odd years since our last attempt, it was time to give our old Dolls House a lick of paint.

BEFORE : A little worse for wear I think you'd agree. Prior to being in this state it had been covered in cream and brown spotted wall paper. Our dolls house renovations always seemed to coincide with when our parents were working on our real house. We would get hold of any scraps of carpet, lino and left over paint that were at hand.

We removed the roof and base as these were the most damaged. Then we painted a white base coat. Some spots were quite rough and needed poly-filling. Dad was happy to help with cutting a new roof and base. After all, he was the original builder of this masterpiece!

AFTER : History repeated itself and we used the colours my sister and brother in law are planning on painting the units they're building at the moment. So this became a kind of testing ground to see if they worked well together. We bought carpet and lino for the floors and the kitchen even has glass mosaic tiles.

The New Residents : A family of Pirates arrrgghhh!

Our Nephew playing with his new toy. He's only just getting to the right age for make believe so it was perfect timing. Here he is giving one of the Pirates a much needed bath.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Perth Garden Week 2009

One of the highlights of my gardening year is our annual Perth Garden Week at Perry Lakes. I think it's important for me to keep up to date with local Landscaping products and trends so I can pass this information on to my clients. Garden week gives me an opportunity to do this and have a bit of fun at the same time!

With gardens becoming smaller designers need to work with vertical spaces as well as horizontal ones. For this reason, wall art is becoming very popular. This beautiful piece was on show at the Miaflora Garden Centre display. These have now been sold but the nursery are planning on ordering some more in 3 to 4 weeks time. If you're interested the Nursery is located on Karragullen St Inglewood Ph. 9397 5518.

Another stunning wall mounted art work at the entrance of Zanthorrea Nursery's exhibit.

A new addition to this years show was 8 display gardens designed by the newly formed WALDA ( Western Australian Landscape Design Association ) members. These were definitely the most interesting part of the show for me.

' Villa Marrakesh ' a Moroccan style courtyard by WALDA designers. This one has really made good use of the available space with planter boxes, water feature, day bed, curtains and themed accessories. These elements made for a very inviting space indeed.

The Water Feature was supplied by The Complete Garden in Joondalup.

Agave and Sanseveria in a planter box with a decorative screen behind.

Steps leading up to a mysterious doorway creates an illusion of a larger space beyond. Garden week is on until this Tuesday the 21st of April. Here are some more of my favourite exhibitors : Gardener's Direct, Paradise Gazebos, Outdoor Decor

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yanchep National Park

It was my birthday this Easter long weekend so we had a picnic at Yanchep National Park to celebrate. This is the Yanchep Inn which has been renovated since our last visit. It now has a large modern breakfast room and beer garden behind.

Getting there early paid off and we managed to claim this picnic shelter near the lake for the afternoon.

My husband and I had booked a room in the Inn but they were kind enough to upgrade us to a Lakeside unit for the same price.

We didn't see the Easter Bunny but there were plenty of Kangaroos! At one stage we counted 27 of them grazing on the lawn in front of our room.

We sat on the balcony watching the local wildlife as the sun went down over the lake. Several flocks of Black Cockatoos flew over us.

Our accommodation package included a two course evening meal and cooked breakfast the following morning. The park has lots of activities including walking trails, Koalas and limestone caves. One of the caves can be hired as a wedding venue and there was a reception taking place on the night that we stayed.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Giardino Bardini

These photos were taken at a garden we stumbled upon in Florence during our travels last year.They are located within walking distance of the more famous Boboli Gardens. We probably enjoyed these gardens more, mainly because there were less people around and there was a better view of Florence.

This photo was taken from a small coffee shop where we rested our legs for a while. Florence was one of the few cities we visited where we didn't have to use public transport to get around. We did some serious walking that day!

Formal Gateway leading to a Wisteria covered arbor under planted with rare varieties of Hydrangea.

The gardens are split into steep terraces with central formal stairways and landings. This ancient ornament is set into a retaining wall. There is a fruit tree orchard all growing espalier style on trellis.

Water source for a 'babbling brook' water feature which spilled down over a series of levels.

Statues and planting along the banks of the 'brook'. Have a look here if you'd like to read some more information about these gardens. You might also be interested in my previous posts about travel gardens: Monet's Garden and Hortus Botanicus.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Autumn Update

With the stress of summer behind us and the weather getting cooler, conditions are better for planting. Here are some new additions to my own garden I've planted over the last few weekends.

Salvia : Salvia ' Victoria Blue ' I replaced our Petunias with these hardy perennials. I'm hoping they'll last until Winter when I like to plant Pansies. These pots have had a purple theme this year. Perhaps I'll have a colour change next time?

Rosemary : Rosmarinus officinalis ' Tuscan Blue ' Part of my potted herb garden which also includes Thyme, Sage and Chives. I'm hoping for some lemongrass soon.

Thai Chilli : Burkes Backyard ' Colours of Silk ' Range ( ' Taste of Thai ' ) I definitely based my choice of this by its colour. Now I'm reading the tag which says it has a rating of 7 on the international scale. This scale is out of 10, so I figure they're pretty hot. Hope my dog who eats anything remotely palatable doesn't get hold of these, he might have a rude shock! I planted these next to our Buddha ( the original plants got fried in the summer sun )

Basil Combo : ' Limelight Basil ', ' Purple Leaf Basil ' and ' Sweet Basil ' More herbs for cooking. My husband has been using them in our meals. He has Jamie Oliver's ' Flavour Shaker ' which he finds does a good job of mashing up the herbs but they're difficult to remove from the ball and shaker if they're moist.

Pride of Madeira : Echium candicans A shrub I've been wanting for a long time. It's hard to find in nurseries so when I found some whilst taking plant photos at a retail nursery, I seized the opportunity. These grow to 2-3m high and wide with the most beautiful ( and enormous ) vibrant purple flower spikes. They're also very tolerant of dry conditions.

My Tomatoes are still doing well! See my previous posts at planting and an earlier update. I have since thinned the seedlings out and given the others away to friends.

Our Lemon Tree has grown! I love this new bright green growth. The leaves smell amazing too.

Cape Gooseberry : Physalis peruviana A childhood favourite, our Mum used to grow these which we nearly always ate unripe because we were too impatient! The taste is instant nostalgia for me. We went to ' Gooseberry Hill Primary School ' which is another childhood connection. I can't wait to introduce our nephew to these, at the moment he's too young to encourage strange berry eating!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Plant Pics

As a designer it pays to have as many visual aids as possible to help my clients imagine what their garden will look like. It's all very well using a botanical name, or even a common name but it's unlikely that they will know what I'm talking about, especially if they are non-gardeners. That's why I like to present them with photos of their planting scheme. For this purpose I have an ever expanding collection of plant photographs. Here are some of the latest additions to my ' Plant Database '

Pineapple Lily : Eucomis ' Sparkling Burgundy '
This one nearly came home with me, especially with the flower spike ready to burst into a pink spear. I restrained myself with the question " where would I put it? " Unfortunately my garden doesn't have much free space for planting anymore. Something has to go before I plant something new.

Cordyline : ' Southern Splendour '

A variety of cordyline I hadn't seen before. It has a nice pink and burgundy variegation. I try to include a tag in my photos so when I use them ( sometimes years later ) I can still correctly identify the plant.

Mexican Lily : Beschorneria yuccoides

Another new one ( to me anyway ). These would make a suitable alternative to Yuccas where structure is needed without the tall stem. A great feature plant or potted specimen.

Correa : Correa ' Wins Wonder' Brilliant ground covering form of 'Native Fushia' . This has a dense, spreading habit up to about 500mm in height.

Flax : Phormium ' Flamin '
This red hybrid stands out amongst numerous burgundy varieties of this popular grass.

Flap Jacks : Kalanchoe thrysiflora
It's good to see this one becoming more readily available.

Dianella : Dianella tasmanica ' Destiny ' A new dwarf form of Dianella. I'm excited about this one as it only grows 300m x 300mm. I have always liked variegated Dianella but until now they've been a bit tall in my opinion.

Acacia : Acacia howittii ' Honey Bun ' Gorgeous cushion shaped shrub growing to 1500mm x 1500mm ( small for a wattle )

All of these plants are currently available to tradespeople from Benara Nurseries, Perth's main wholesale plant nursery. They have a very helpful website for selecting plants. Ask your designer, landscaper or gardener if you would like to include any of these in your garden. Otherwise Benara also distributes to many retail nurseries around Perth and Australia.