Sub-tropical New Zealand

Heliconia bourgaeana, Russell Fransham's Matapouri Bay garden New Zealand
Heliconia bourgaeana, Russell Fransham’s Matapouri Bay garden New Zealand

Fellow Designer Russell Fransham at Matapouiri Bay, just north of Whangarei in New Zealand’s north island,

…where I found myself wandering around an impressive home garden of some 20 years or so. Interesting to see a few of the cool tollerant ginger family in heliconias like H. bourgaeana (shown beneath), H. subulata cv Thaysiana and H. tortuosa ‘Red Twist’ all flowering very well. I find the easy occurance of these in Russell’s garden very encouraging for us Australia’s east coast where minimum winter overnights would rarely descend beneath 7 or 8 degrees, against the Bay of Islands cooler 2 degrees and less.  

A nice smaller clumping palm in Dypsis baronii, (like a better version of Golden Cane Palm) combined well with bromeliads like Canistropsis billbergioides cv. Citron. and a lot of interesting tillandsia and vriesea aside from many spectacular flowering shrubs in Brugmansia hybrids & species like B. sanguinea.  

         

 

 

 

 

The Pig Garden

Restio festuciformis
Restio festuciformis

“Sea-Changer” Stage 2 – High Summer/Low Winter garden …

Moving onto a more challenging part of the new home garden this winter here at Forresters Beach, I’ll need to pay attention to a south, south western aspect where garden space receives harsh afternoon summer heat, contrasted with  shade at both ends of the day and only brief winter sun around midday for the June /July period. Add to this ocassional inundation (as have just endured during recent violent storms) over a sandy soil that usually takes a few days to recede and  this patch outside my new home office could be presenting a potential nightmare ….so I would call this The Pig Garden if it weren’t for a few good plants that won’t scorch or rot !!

A shorter Cape Reed Restio festuciformis seen here earlier this month in Auckland Botanic is  from Sth Africa’s Western Cape to around 40cm. It’s stolen my heart and will probably require replanting after the fourth year or so, sans its regenerating bush fires that burn the mother to make new growing space possible from seed stored in top soil. I’m willing to face this minor inconvenience, traded agianst a rusty shock of late winter awns that catch the eye like constantly moving flaxen hair in the slightest wind, (I’ve got it bad).

Might only be able to try with seed though, could be a deal breaker and most references say require year round sun … hmmm 

Watch this space.    

 

 

South American Bulb That Grows on Rock

IMG_2449Flowering bulbs are often associated with a cool temperate climate, did you know there are many interesting easy to grow bulbs better suited to Australian east coast growing conditions that love higher humidity and our wet summers? Hippeastrum aulicum actually grows on trees, in rock crevices or among rocks as in this Paradisus garden for John & Susan Trathen’s Balgowlah garden. Maybe there’s a sheltered spot for some of these swish Sth American flowers hippeastrum species, to add late Autumn colour to your garden too ..         

 

Designer RBG Sydney Planting for Your Garden

Exciting Designer Planting that are good garden “doers” for your home garden
THIS Wednesday 11th March 2.30pm-4.30pm at

RBG Sydney Growing Friends Nursery

(next to Maiden Theatre & Herbarium on Mrs Macquaries Road).

GROWING FRIENDS PLANT SELECTION FOR LANDSCAPE TRADE OPEN DAY  

Now this day is especially for the trade to increase awareness of the possibility of having plants grown under contract, why shouldn’t YOU benefit also …? Sales to home owners for their gardens also welcome !!  Production Grower Greg Lamont and I can answer questions you may have on these new plants I’ve helped select, that focus on benefits for use as well as their ornamental virtues as shown on the link above.

Near non-transparent from ground level, excellent fence concealer
Hibiscus insularis, near non-transparent from ground level, excellent fence concealer

So if you’re searching for something special for that difficult spot or just always on the look out for good garden plants, why not add something special from the Royal Botanic Gardens to your home garden ..

Exceptional Plants, new to RBG Growing Friends Plant SALE

Hibiscus boryanus
Hibiscus boryanus

GROWING FRIENDS PLANT SELECTION FOR LANDSCAPE TRADE OPEN DAY

Wednesday 11th March, 2.30 till 4pm

Dear Plant Lovers,

Click on the above link to reveal a recent expansion on RBG Growing Friends SALE listing, at the very peak of this lush high summer for exceptional plants for your garden. These are species I’ve recently been helping to release more availability to you at this exciting point of sale. Hope to see you there, where I’l be explaining more on how these durable and beautiful plants could be just the right one for that difficult location or to add extra sparkle as feature to your home garden. Sydney  Growing Friends Nursery, Mrs Macquaries Road adjacent to the Herbarium & The Maiden Theatre

Seachanger forges on… here in my new garden

Revealing times at Seachanger

… and as you can see, quite a view now of the rotary hoist and bedroom window next door across the northern boundary fence.

On the look out for good flowering screen shrubs to around 3.5m that will remain non-transparent from ground level to conceal the fence again but soooo many I could be using.

 

Tibouchina sp.
Tibouchina sp.

What do you think, the freshness of this Tibouchina sp. an abundance of high summer amethyst Rotheca serrata or Holmskioldia sanguinea lutea the Golden Mexican Hat in cascades of late summer chartreuse… ? DECISIONS !!!!

Rothea serrata (left), Holmskioldia sanguinea lutea
Rothea serrata (left), Holmskioldia sanguinea lutea

Also, I saw this excellent Day Bed Canopy call the Nest designed by Steve Warner of Outhouse Design at Grand Designs…

Steve Warner's "The Nest"
Steve Warner’s “The Nest”

Perfect for the Winter Sun Trap space… should I ? should I !!!

ABC 702 Weekends with Simon Marnie

[Image] My Forresters Beach garden ….. before the stump grinder arrives next week for some “tough love” !

Starting From Scratch …. again!

Thinking about what to talk about with Simon Marnie on his Weekends program on ABC 702 tomorrow morning and what could be more universal than how to start a garden after moving … ?

So, that’s what we’ll be talking about if you’d care to tune in from 9am till 9.40am with your morning toast. Hmmmm… what to do with that grass and a fairly lack lustre array of inherited mixed shrubs. I think all those empty moving boxes still lurking in the garage might be involved for sure :0

Don’t forget after that, the RBG Growing Friends Sydney have their big spring sale on tomorrow, Saturday 11th October, 10am till 4pm at their:

Growing Nursery near The RBG Friends, off Mrs Macquarie’s Road
Chrysophyllum imperiale (each approx 50cm tall)
12 Euphorbia ammak, bare rooted and 1-2 metres tall
Clivia x cytanthiflora and about 80 Hippeastrum cultivars (some in flower)

CCPLF ’14 Coastal Planting Cornucopia

Plant Hunters EXTREME at CCPLF’13 last year, be early !!…my Coastal Planting talk from 1pm Sat with Mark Paul

Central Coast Plant Lovers Fair ’14 ….

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September, Kariong Mountains Primary School 9am to 4pm THIS WEEKEND !
Kariong, Central Coast, NSW

Such a FREE Speakers line up !! Both days of THIS weekend …
I’ll be doing a 2 hander on Coastal Gardening with Mark Paul on his Greenwalls from 1pm on Saturday.

Don’t join just to hear us, get there early for all the fabulous planting on offer, much of it you simply won’t see again until next year’s Fair !

Costa & me Give Good Rooftop…

The week before last, ABC Gardening Australia host Costa Giorgiadis (thanks huge Costa…) met me on this rather nice Cremorne Rooftop, to extol the virtues of dry sub-tropical gardening.

Joined by proud owners Noelene & Ian Dawes, (thanks huge-er Noelene & Ian…) it was a fun shoot as you can see on the attached link and I like to think much of the planting would adapt to so called “difficult locations” around your own garden, where harsh radiation, fast drainage and a high impact appearance are required with year round interest sans irrigation and not much maintenance.

And thanks huge also to the talents and flawless eye of Master Maintainer Glenice Buck, without whom this space wouldn’t be nearly so appealing.

Have a quick look if you missed it…

Paradisus No. 6 “The Sea-changer”.

Beginning again …. Paradisus No. 6 “The Sea-changer”.

Having spent all my 52 years on this planet in a Sydney setting in one way or another, the time has come to leave the confines of city life and embrace fresh surf air and sandy top soil beneath the sheltered but open sky conditions of my new plot at Forresters Beach (between Bateau Bay and Wambaral Lagoon) here at Spoon Bay on the Central Coast.

All that remains of Paradisus No. 5 the “Inner City Jewel Box Court” are these few pots. Three weekends of frantic pot ups have now passed in saving anything flicked out in haste before the move. After a bit of current house surgery, my roving eye now lands speculatively in regular spots around this new 725ish square meters ….. and ideas are beginning to form …

Watch this space dear reader, so you can check in on how this unsuspecting block morphs into a better life … beyond its wildest dreams !

MOOHAARRRR (said while rubbing hands together).