Friday, August 20, 2010

Dog Friendly Gardens

We have a new addition to our family. Her name's Bonnie and she's a 6 month old Chihuahua x Jack Russell. She was adopted from an organisation called SAFE and we can't recommend the experience enough. Prior to bringing her home they conducted a yard inspection to make sure our garden was suitable for a her.

The first obvious danger was our pool. Bonnie needed to learn where the steps are should she fall into the pool when we're not home. Because it's winter at the moment we didn't have the heart to throw her in the freezing water. So in the meantime we put up a temporary bamboo fence to prevent her from gaining access to the pool.

They had a good look at our fences and gates to make sure she couldn't escape. Being a small dog she didn't have much chance of climbing these but we needed to make sure there weren't any small holes she could get through.

Bonnie had been with us for a few days when some not so obvious dangers came to light. I noticed her eating something outside which in itself wasn't unusual as puppies eat everything! On further investigation she had eaten a berry which had fallen from a Cape Lilac tree hanging over our fence. Knowing that these are poisonous I rushed her to the vet who induced vomiting.

While she was at the vet for observation I hastily cut the tree back to prevent any future incidents. The tree was on council land so we reported it to them because we were concerned that it was near a children's playground. It has since been removed.

When I was in the garden I noticed some more berry producing plants that are also toxic. I'd been meaning to remove these Asparagus Ferns for a while because, like the Cape Lilac, it's also a weed. It spreads readily when birds ingest the berries.

If you're wondering if any of the plants in your garden are dangerous to dogs, this is a good website ASPCA.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

We recently spent a week in Sydney to attend a friend's Wedding. It was planned as a holiday but ended up being a working trip due to the amount of work I had at the time. We did find some time to get out and about though. These photos are from our visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

The simplicity of this bed, a single Mauritian Hemp surrounded by a Succulent caught my eye.

Some Public Art amongst Beach Lilies with yellow Canna Lilies in the background. These seed sculptures were crafted by Bronwyn Oliver in 1999 to commemorate the location of the first farm in Sydney Cove.

A formal hedge bordered Herb Garden. This style of garden is surprising in a public setting and it was attracting a lot of interest on the day.

The gardens not so welcome residents, grey headed Flying Foxes. These animals inhabit the gardens in plague proportions and there are plans to relocate them due to the amount of damage they're doing to the gardens.

Definitely a highlight was Jamie Durie's succulent garden created in 2003 for 'Sydney in Bloom' and donated to the Botanic Gardens trust. I don't think I've ever seen such a varied selection of succulents and cacti in one location. They're planted in and against a stunning steel structure which really sets them off.

A wide flag stoned seat curves around the perimeter of the garden for rest and contemplation. It also helps keep visitors a safe distance from these spiky specimens. I couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for the grounds keepers here. I would want full body armour before tackling any weeds in this garden!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Work in Progress


These are the plans for a garden we designed in Bayswater. It's currently under construction and is being project managed by Mark Manolini from Source Architectural Products. He was kind enough to send me some photos to keep me up to date with the jobs progress.

Front Retaining, Screen Walls and Planter Boxes taking shape

Feature Stonework to Letter box

Feature cladded Screenwall for future poolside Cabana

Plenty of bricks on-site for future works


The back garden features a Skillion Cabana designed by Magorian Designs with Mark's direction. I'm looking forward to seeing the end result. Especially the mosaic tiled platform with water jets into the pool.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Planting Re-visited

You may remember a post I wrote about some plants we supplied for a job in Lesmurdie. Yesterday I re-visited the garden where they were planted and I'm pleased to report that the majority of the plants are growing well.

There have been a few casualties which is to be expected when establishing a garden especially with the very hot weather we've had this summer. The reason for my visit was to determine the cause of death and suggest a suitable plant to replace them with.

The problem seems to have been caused by reticulation issues. We've opted to replace them with a variety that is currently flourishing in the position. Dianella 'Cassa Blue' should be able to cope with both drought and wet feet from time to time.

This property has amazing views of the city from the escarpment. Care had to be taken that the plants weren't going to grow tall enough to block these views. The grass in the foreground is Dianella 'Emerald Arch'

The rate of growth of many of these plants has taken my by surprise. This row of Escallonia 'Iveyi' is ready to be hedged after only three and a half months! These were in 14cm pots but they were planted quite densely which has helped.

Echeveria 'Mauna Loa': borders this planter box with Cyca revoluta beyond.

Furcraea foetida 'Mauritian Hemp': under planted with Festuca glauca and cracked pea gravel as mulch.

Chrysocephalum apiculatum 'Flambe Yellow': adds a splash of colour beside the driveway.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Full Office Makeover

Late last year I was busy renovating our office. This involved numerous trips to IKEA and much decision making and deliberating. I knew I needed three large desks with overhead cabinets but had trouble finding ones to suit the dimensions of the room. The desks that came with hutches were too small for my purposes. IKEA has a very helpful 3D office planner, I also found the general home planner useful.

It was important that the desk and overhead cabinets were the same length and colour/finish. Having no luck finding a horizontal cabinet and matching desk it occurred to me that I could use a BONDE vertical shelf unit as an overhead by turning it on its side. I recommend seeking professional advice for the overhead cabinet fixings. These were paired up with VIKA MOLIDEN desks.

We needed a lot of filing space so I chose GALANT drawer units that have a file draw. I wasn't happy that the handles for the drawer units weren't going to match the EFFEKTIV filing cabinet so I bought some additional JIGGA handles after making sure that they were going to fit the pre-drilled holes.

Two of these vases were also from IKEA and they happened to match an oval shaped one I already had. I chose DRONA fabric storage boxes although there are others I could have used that fit with BONDE shelving units.

The filing cabinet was originally going to have white draw fronts but when I unpacked them there was no mistaking that they were off-white. The only option I had was birch or beech veneer. This led me to purchase some KNUFF magazine files and FIRA three drawer chests and a RIBBA frame in the same birch colour to repeat the accent. We found our very comfortable chairs at McLernons in Osborne Park.

This is a print that I bought as a souvenir on our honeymoon at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. Finally all of that carrying it in our hand luggage and trying to keep it flat has paid off! The colours for this makeover were heavily influenced by the notice board I had already made.