‘Terra Australis’ garden maturing beautifully

The Terra Australis Garden is maturing beautifully. It was opened in 2019 and is one of the Gallery of Gardens at the National Arboretum in Canberra. Here is an update from January 2024. Inception of the Terra Australis garden The Australian Native Plants Society (ANPSA) developed the garden as a stylised representation of the Australian … Continued

‘Rosella Rise’ – a habitat and collector’s garden

Here is a showcase garden, being Deb McMillan’s native garden, Rosella Rise, a habitat and collector’s garden. It is located in Melbourne and was authored by Rae Bassett. It is reproduced wth permission. Location and climate: Located in Croydon North, an outer east suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. Temperate climate with warm summer and cold winter. … Continued

A high country native garden at Cloudy Hill

Swapping jobs in the nation’s capital for a tree change to the high country and a shed with a view on a rural property, Fiona and Alex moved to Fitzgerald’s Mount near Bathurst in 2008. There they built a house and created a garden that flourishes despite the harsh conditions of the high country of … Continued

A truly habitat garden

Shirley Carn has created a truly habitat garden. About Shirley Melbourne members of the Australian Plants Society knew Shirley well. She was an amazing plants woman. In the time I knew her she had developed at least 3 gardens. The last two gardens were within cooee of each other in the beautiful volcanic soils of … Continued

Bev Hanson’s garden true to native concepts

Bev Hanson’s garden stays true to native concepts. This story was written by Megan Backhouse for the ‘Melbourne Age’ in August 2022 and forwarded by Bev’s daughter, Christine Zigga. The staying power of the ‘70’s If she was starting her garden over, Beverley Hanson says she would not do anything differently. And that’s saying something because … Continued

Creating a native garden from scratch

Bob and Dot O’Neill have spent 4 years creating a native garden from scratch. They moved to their current 0.4 ha property just four years ago. Their garden, begun from nothing (actually worse than nothing), is already well established. The growth of plants has been remarkable, so that the garden now looks twice its age. … Continued

Creating serenity in a native garden

My garden is a place of serenity, which I set out to create. Everything that follows is predicated on the idea that plants are integral to a garden. In other words, I’m not talking about a concrete jungle or a sculpture garden, or a Japanese stone garden. Creating a feeling of serenity I heard an … Continued

Design for climate change

Given the way the climate is headed, we should consider how to design our native gardens for climate change. I live and garden on a north facing hillside south-east of Melbourne on clay soils. The reality of climate change Apparently there was still debate in the community about the reality of climate change and its … Continued

Designing a tapestry garden 

An important part of designing a tapestry garden is to sketch up the concept. This allows you to see how the garden will flow and picks up the key features you want to highlight. What is a tapestry garden A lovely example of a tapestry garden in the US is that represented in this book, … Continued

Garden design for climate change

Back in 2006, we realised that we needed to alter our garden design to prepare for climate change. Happily we made a start and here is the outcome. Evolving garden design for climate change Our climate change imperative came in 2006, only three years after we began planting our Canberra garden. We attended a life-changing … Continued

Gardening in harmony with nature

Reflecting on the past It seems to me that enjoying seasonal changes in Australia has a lot to do with gardening in harmony with nature. We have recently sold our house and garden of 29 years. Looking back, I can reflect on the many seasonal happenings of that rural garden where conditions were often quite … Continued

Groundcovers in garden design

Not only are native groundcovers highly practical, they also play an important role in garden design. Australia has a wealth of choice of groundcovers Is Australia over-endowed with ground-covering plants, or does it just seem that way to me! I have been told that South Africa (and maybe other parts of the world) have more … Continued

Looking from the inside

I am fortunate to have a lot of large windows drawing my attention to what is going on outside. They give me views from the sky to the garden around the house. This article is about designing the outside garden so it’s stunning looking from the inside. Staying connected when inside Hot days, cold days, … Continued

My Southern Tablelands garden

My Southern Tablelands garden follows the style of many country gardens. It has formal garden beds and lawns rather than bush plantings and winding paths. Here is my design philosophy and how it is evolving. Location and site conditions My rural property in Reidsdale south of Braidwood NSW sits in open farmland between several large … Continued

Native plants to attract wildlife

Some Australian native plants have proven ability to attract wildlife. They seem to have a magnetic attraction for birds, butterflies and bees at both our home in Queanbeyan (near Canberra) and our newish holiday house at Tuross Head (on the New South Wales South Coast). I’ve found that the most effective drawcards are those that … Continued

Naturalising Melbourne’s waterways

The ‘Reimagine Your Creek’ project focuses on naturalising Melbourne’s waterways. Naturalisation is a growing initiative in contemporary urban planning. It has the potential to deliver better outcomes to our waterways than just drainage alone. As opposed to restoration, naturalisation is a pragmatic approach to return natural systems and experiences to our landscapes, within the constraints … Continued

Practical pruning of native plants

I have a practical approach to pruning of native plants. Historically there was no pruning Historically, pruning has not been a feature of Australian plant gardening. In the 1960’s when I began a native plant garden, there was a lack of knowledge. Also there were misconceptions surrounding low care bush or naturalistic gardens. There was … Continued

Pruning native plants for design

Pruning native plants for design is valuable for both practical and aesthetic reasons. It’s an opportunity to be creative! Pruning for practicality vs aesthetics Pruning is an area of gardening where practical concerns butt up against design considerations.  For instance, cutting ground-covering plants back from a path requires deciding between the practical and the aesthetic.  … Continued

Renewing a section of the garden

Many of us have established native gardens. But there comes a time when renewing a section of the garden becomes essential. Here is my critique of how my renewal process has progressed. Background to the renewal project Around twelve months ago, I decided to remove an old, woody, very large (1.5m high x 4m wide) … Continued

Stunning showcase at Melton Botanic Gardens

See a stunning showcase of dryland native plants at Melton Botanic Gardens. I have always wanted to visit this garden having seen images of its plants. About the gardens Melton is a relatively young, 25-HA, volunteer-managed botanic garden. Notably, it features dryland Australian native, South African, Californian, and South American species. A lake full of … Continued

The Wartook Gardens in the Grampians

The Wartook Gardens are located in the Grampians. We have progressively developed the gardens over the last 50 years. Here is a short story about our garden design and planting. Site location and conditions We live on the western side of the Grampians National Park where the rainfall is now down to about 550 mm … Continued

Transitioning to a native garden in Canberra

Len Dowling is a committed collector of native plants and is actively transitioning to a native garden in Canberra. In February 2023, members of the Canberra Day Activity Group and Garden Design Study Group visited Len Dowling’s Wanniassa Garden. Orientation of house and garden The house and garden are oriented south with a spectacular view … Continued

Using containers to trial plants in a beachside garden

In this small beachside garden, the owners are using containers to trial the suitability of plants before putting them in the garden. Designing a small bayside Melbourne garden In February 2022, I visited a garden in Melbourne that I hadn’t seen before. The garden is located in Hampton, Melbourne, about 800m from the bay. One … Continued

Weather is the wildcard for gardeners

Reflecting on the many impacts on both garden design and maintenance, Chris Larkin relates her experience that weather is always the wildcard for gardeners. This is irrespective of the garden’s location or the seasons. Chris outlines a few of the most important issues she learnt from observing nature and if applied will help make your … Continued