Cool Sub-tropics gardening – see Sydney gardens at their best !!!

‘Clifton’ Hunters Hill … an 1890 mansion & garden

Garden Lovers, hoping you will join me at beautiful ‘Clifton’ in Hunters Hill for a Masterclass on cool subtropics planting to suit our coastal    Sydney gardens.

Felicity McCaffery, owner of ‘Clifton’ and Hunters Hill Open Gardens Convenor, has agreed to host my talk to shed further light across the dazzling array of planting bandwidth that fits between our cool subtropical goal posts.

‘Clifton’ balustrade serpentine of hydrangea

See a 40 minute keynote presentation with 20 minutes for questions, of a selection of my Sydney designs and the current home work garden ’Sea-Changer’ at Forresters Beach, Central Coast, on how to make a better garden in warm temperate, coastal, frost free growing conditions.

Cycads flank the facing entry to ‘Clifton’

Find out more about what cool sub-tropics gardening is and the exciting plants you could be growing that are a fit to our brief winters and long sultry, thunder storm filled summers to make your garden great again. Part Wendy Whiteley’s garden at Lavender Bay, expanded into seasonal colour blasts, year round textural contrasts, low maintenance and next to nil predation.

The Masterclass includes a cool subtropics mini tube plant to try at home, plus free admission to my         ‘Sea-Changer’ garden on Saturday 4th May 10am – 2pm, 21 Lavinia Street, Forresters Beach.

Hippeastrum hybrids at “Clifton’

Limited numbers for this exciting talk and something to look forward to after Easter Holidays!! To hold the event Felicity and I need to get an idea on numbers. To show your interest in attending, please click on the ‘leave a comment’ field at the bottom left of this post. 

WHERE: ‘Clifton’ 7 Woolwich Road, Hunters Hill

WHO: Garden Designer Peter Nixon – Paradisus

WHEN: 10am – 11.30am, Wednesday 1st May ’19

RSVP: to show you’d like to attend Friday 1st March

COST: $25 pp at the door

BENEFICIARY: L’Arche 4 Australia  

 

             

You can never have too much useful summer shade …

Make yours … Shade Hut supreme

Useful summer shade in Australian gardens is a must have … if we are going to enjoy them … right ? So if your Shade Hut faces north, you will also know low winter sun will shine under its roofing and to the back of the structure to make toasty winter seating for June/July when you need it. You might like to choose a hefty permanent climber, to ensure a nice cool high summer refuge, that’s spared burning sun for the greatest part of the year … no?

African Whytei’s Ginger Vine – Mondia whytei         photo: Nicola Dawson

Enter African Whytei’s Ginger (Mondia whytei) from sub-tropical Malawi and its luxurious glossy canopy, perfect for shade. Beneath the leaves open to easy view, hang dark cherry bunches of rather ornamental December flowers. Tends semi deciduous for the first couple of winters and fairly evergreen after that, with surging ropey leaders that would easily cover a 10 m wide structure. 

Juanaloa aurantiaca – Gold Fingers

For a smaller Shade Hut less than 5 meters across but still facing north, consider gorgeously sci-fi Gold Fingers (Juanaloa aurantiaca) from tropical Mexico. Usefully winter deciduous to allow June/July sun through, the stiffly arching habit is more climber/shrub than an entirely support dependent climber. Woody stems bare terminal bunches of curiously 5 sided hoods, concealing jaffa orange flower tubes that burst through each end. The slightest tap on the hoods release puffs of pollen and I notice there must be a symbiosis with a few ants that probably defend flowers from predators in return for nectar.

Senicio confusus – Mexican Fire Vine

And at the small evergreen twiner end is Mexican Fire Vine (Senicio confusus ) a bright, dainty light creeper that I find useful for covering one end of the laser cut panel that holds the Shade Hut’s N/W side up. Very butterfly attracting, I notice this would probably self seed a few little plants to give away to friends for its charming ultra orange summer daisies.

So if you’re finding more use would be made of the garden, if only there were somewhere comfortable to relax out of the fierce sun; I’m sure together, we could work out the perfect Shade Hut to make your dream garden even better 🙂 

Peter Nixon – Paradisus  … or call 0418 161513

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‘Sea-Changer’ treasures for your garden ..

Love your garden ….plant for your growing conditions ! Burst of metallic purple Strobilanthus dyerianus – Persian Shield across ‘Sea-Changer’s’ Entry Garden

Select plants to suit your garden’s growing conditions and let them do most of the heavy lifting for you. That’s always been my message to you Garden Lovers and really nothing’s changed. What changes all the time is the kaleidoscopic expansion of interesting planting to make gardens from across the Designer Growers Network. These are my go to Growers to kick planting winners between the cool sub-tropics goal posts we garden in.

Micro-climate gardening of minimum winter overnight temp’s not falling beneath 5 or 6 degrees, modified by close proximity to the harbour/ocean. Cool subtropics could have a brief dry winter but these days, rain could come at any time, so plant selection that will tolerate cool and wet conditions during the June/July period is a consideration. Elevated humidity levels above 70% between Xmas and April with persistent high summer temps above 35 degrees, with a dry spring is also very likely between September and December.   

Alcantarea patriae flowering scape bracts, from one of Mark Paul’s Brazilian Adventures picking up nicely against intergeneric hybrid, Ruttyruspolia ‘Phyllis Van Heerden’

And its not always flowers that bring interest. Don’t forget other parts of plants  that can catch the eye just as well. One of the most conspicuous of the Giant Landscape Bromeliads, Alcantarea patriae   has flower scape bracts of bright raspberry shades.

Euphorbia poysean Thai Hybrid has persistently colourful bracts that long out last the tiny centralised flowers

Some ‘flowers’ are really persistent bracts that surround the tiny central inflorescences. Very deserving of that unirrigated hot spot facing west, in-fact I don’t think mine have fallen out of flower since planting 4 years ago !

Cool sub-tropics support beautiful textural contrasts to bring interest also. The perfect radial of this Alcantarea extensa rosette, pops well against mini clouds of Ruellia rosae & Bellaperone guttata dwarf form
Clerodendron incisum, the Musical Note just catch the eye because they can !

Probably at the edge of the cool subtropical range, Musical Note- Clerodendron incisum, has an inflorescence so eye catching its hardly possible to miss it. Useful as a front of the border sub-shrub to less than 1m, its lacy charms are a high summer delight.

There’s just a suggestion ‘Sea-Changer’ MAY open again this year for ‘Planty Fierce’. Stay tuned for more information on this and in the meantime, consider making contact if you, your bestie since primary school, your 20 years long work colleague or brother is making changes at home. Whether a new house build, major reno or simply an upgrade to the front of rear garden space,  NOW is the time to make it known, so works can complete way before the Xmas deadline.

Peter Nixon – Paradisus www.peternixon.com.au  0418 161513 

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