‘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

15 tips for a stunning native garden

Want to grow your own stunning native garden? Here are 15 tips for success, gleaned from long experience designing and growing native gardens. We are fortunate to live in a country with a unique flora, unlike that anywhere else in the world. And that provides the opportunity to create stunning native gardens. Here are tips for … Continued

A botanically rich shady garden

Bob Bannon’s garden is a botanically rich shady garden in Queensland. He shares about the evolution of his garden and design and plant choices through the years. Introduction We moved to our house at Bray Park in November 1976. Bray Park is about 26 km north of Brisbane. We received two pieces of advice on … Continued

A collector’s garden in Brisbane

Brenda Meehan has built a beautiful native collector’s garden in Brisbane on an 800 square metre rocky site. She has created an amazing mini botanic garden since 2011. Visit by Garden Design Study Group members After almost five years, Garden Design Study Group Queensland paid a return visit to Brenda’s garden. The garden is located … Continued

Adventures with vines

Here’s a story about my adventures with vines. I’ve been on a mission to find the best vine for arbour shade. The journey so far… Introduction to my adventures An arbour divides our north facing garden behind our suburban Brisbane house to create a shady path from the laundry on the way to the clothes … Continued

An honest critique of my garden design

Here is an honest critique of my garden design in Moreton Bay north of Brisbane. Critiques like this, where we share our design triumphs and tragedies, are helpful for us all to learn! Site conditions and analysis Location and aspect are fundamental for planning and design approach to any garden. What I am trying to … 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

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

Designing your native garden

Have you wondered how to go about designing a native garden from scratch? Here is a step-by-step guide to follow, as well as additional elements to consider as you go along. Garden design process Here are the steps to follow. Before you start: Set high level aims Before you get started, think about your overall … 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

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

Growing ferns in pots, for extra tranquility

Ian Cox recently shared his success in growing ferns in pots. He has a large informal garden in the northwest of Sydney, which follows a walkabout garden style. Yet on one side of the house, he has created a shady porch, with a pond and many ferns. However, over the last year or so, he’s … Continued

How to design a small wildlife garden

Ever wanted to design a wildlife garden, but were limited by space? Here’s a guide on how to design a small wildlife garden, by Leigh Murray. Despite having no formal training in design, I found the idea of designing a small 5 metre x 5 metre garden an appealing challenge and had a go. Clarifying … Continued

How to design spaces in your native garden

Are you interested in how to design spaces in your native garden? One of the key principles in garden design is the use of spaces, or voids. These are as important as the plants in between! Here are some tips in how to achieve that sense of space in a native garden. Defining space in … Continued

John Elton’s garden: a floral extravaganza

John Elton’s garden, Corymbia, in Kiama is a floral extravaganza. On two acres on the south coast of NSW just below Coolangatta Mountain, he has planted thousands of native plants. He has experimented extensively with design, colour and creating standards. John volunteers at Illawarra Grevillea Park and is an expert propagator and plantsman. Here is … Continued

Know your microclimate

You really do need to know your microclimate. It has the most significant physical influence on the planning and design of any garden. Microclimate refers to the multiple ways that the broad regional or macroclimate is modified by the specific conditions of a much smaller site. Essentially microclimate is the combined influence of the various … Continued

Light and shadow in garden design

Light and shadow in garden design go hand in hand. Together they are present in every garden, but often taken for granted. They may not immediately reveal themselves as garden attributes, but considering their passive roles in an overall design, they can be the backbone to the feel of a space. Light and shadow are … Continued

Lomandras in native garden design

Lomandras are excellent plants to use in native garden design. Wide variety of lomandras on offer With a range of sizes and forms, foliage colours and textures, interesting flowers and general reliability, Lomandra species deserve to be more widely grown. Known commonly as mat rushes, there are over 50 species available in Australia. They grow … 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 small native courtyard

As a result of building works, I needed to redesign my small native courtyard in Sydney’s northern suburbs. The courtyard is located between the front of my house and a pitched roof carport. Here is my design thinking and approach.  Site constraints and size My design thinking for my native courtyardd The outcome of the courtyard … Continued

Plants for subtropical garden design

There are a range of plants suitable for subtropical garden design. Here are a few for two different microclimates in the garden – one in dampled sunlight and the other in full sun. For more information on microclimates and subtropical garden design, see our stories page. Orchids for dampled sunlight Dendrobium kingianum and other orchids … Continued

Regional climate and microclimate in garden design

When embarking on native garden design, be sure to consider the regional climate and microclimate. This improves your chances of success. This article outlines the major regional climates, as well as how to identify the microclimates in your garden. Regional climate Australia, the world’s largest and driest island continent, has a diverse range of regional … Continued

Stunning NSW South Coast gardens

A group of native plant enthusiasts from Canberra visited a number of stunning NSW South Coast gardens. Here is a rundown of the itinerary and the gardens visited. Starting at Guerilla Bay Members of the Canberra Garden Design Study Group and the Australian Native Plants Society Canberra group met together in Batemans Bay, Burrewarra Point … Continued

Tips for designing a beautiful garden

Here are a few tips for designing a beautiful native garden. Some gardens make us say ‘wow!’ as soon as we see them. We recognise such memorable gardens within the first few seconds of seeing them. If you want to instantly pick up your camera and start taking pics, you know it is a garden … 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

Use sun and shade analysis to discover your microclimate

You can use sun and shade analysis to discover your microclimate. Here is how it works. The changing seasonal patterns of sun and shade across your garden have a major influence on garden planning and design.  Knowing these microclimate details is very useful for locating the functional areas of a garden – such as a … Continued

Using mounds and channels in your garden

Using mounds and channels in your garden generally results in successful plant growth and with Australian native plants very spectacular growth. This is helped by water channelling into depresssions during high rainfall periods. One of the prime elements of a great garden is good drainage.  In many natural soil profiles, over a period of time … Continued

What is your regional climate?

Before you start to design or redesign your garden, it’s good to identify your regional climate or bioregion. Each zone is different It is important to understand the constraints and the opportunities that each regional climate across the continent imposes on garden design in that zone. Each zone is different and the natural conditions will … Continued