Late December & a beachside Xmas are things that go together for a lot of Australians. A salty marine breeze with the drowsy drone of cicadas, bring on the great exhale. A chance for most of us to turn an undivided attention to beach umbrellas and a glassy clear wave to wash away the years that’s been.
Of course, some are lucky enough to live year round, close to the seductive charms of coastal living. This doesn’t mean a sea side garden has to be located close to the ocean to make a marine theme convincing. If a coastal combination pings hard on the must have qualities for a garden you’re thinking about, its just a matter of the right planting to suggest a coastal location to come home to every day.
Heat sink winter growing conditions facing north, store warmth and can incline minimum overnight temps higher to above 10 degrees, to encourage a micro climate that can allow for planting from the warmest sub-tropics to excel.
Make this summer the time you chose to make lasting changes in your garden, to your new build or reno. It could be a ‘sea-side’ garden with plants that will be a pleasure to come home to every day.
Special thanks to my dear client Tania Wilson, who kindly allowed these pix of her MacMasters Beach Paradisus design to be published in Garden Lovers Blog.
Summer days are upon us and as increasing warmth draws us poolside, you might be thinking of the best combination for your setting. Least obstruction to this enticing Balmoral outlook uses frameless glass, with the beauty of plantation hardwood decking and large limestone pave units for the least joins and greatest cohesion across a handsome combination of finishes.
And if every deck meter is precious entertaining space for you, why not consider a greenwall in a ‘Green-band’ horizontal orientation. Can be independently supported behind and above a glass balustrade, bringing soft-cover balance to the built environment without space consuming pots or the high maintenance that comes with them.
Leverage a foliage colour blast green-band, with deck up-lights for nocturnal glamour while your greenwall does double duty, providing visual buffer to give the deck experience more enclosure without reducing a desirable open sky aspect.
Simple textural contrasts in poolside planting can give the greatest impact year round without having to rely on fleeting flowers. Maybe the perfect radial of a Giant Landscape Bromeliad (Alcantarea imperialis ‘Sugar Plum’), against the ultra fine of Ice Sticks (Senecio cylindricus) and backed with a ‘living of fence’ of glossy leaved Viburnum ‘Quick Fence’ (that stays non-transparent unlike the basic V. odouritissimum it come from ..).
One end of your pools in need of focus ? Enter unframed laser cut panels, that merge and contrast with feature planting, without a harsh frame that would emphasise the panel rather that the planting.
Don’t forget to include an outside shower at the poolside, allows you to make the most of garden life so you can stay longer in your little piece of paradise.
Textural contrasts make year round interest without having to rely entirely on seasonal flowers … and if your only view out looks limited, its probably because the entirety is available to the eye all at once. So how to leverage textural interest you ask ..? Garden Mirrors can make interest, especially to ‘view in one’ garden space. Its just a matter of getting the mirror angle right.
I’m really taking about intrigue here and how that can transform limited looking garden space, by creating an illusion to satisfy the viewer’s eye.
A lot of intrigue relates directly to an effective impeller, to get Peeps to leave the floorpan of their own volition and go outside into the garden, beyond bi-fold or slides doors. A mirror carefully declined from the top and inclined from the left side, appears at first glance to belong to the rear screen planting. Viewed from the left side on approach, the corresponding planting from the right side is reflected back to the viewer.
Suddenly, it’s clear the mirror’s reflection doesn’t fit with its surround planting. Rather, it now appears as another light filled, walk thru garden space featuring plants different from the rear screen. The conceit is only made convincing once all mirror edges are obscured with planting. Serving this function in the case of this wee Mosman garden, are the screen shrub (Viburnum odouritissimum ‘Quick Fence’) flanking either side of the mirror and the Grow Cable supported climbers (Stephanotis floribunda) backing it.
Watch out for another post on this cheeky little duckling garden and how it will further transform into a graceful swan of beguiling charm.
Spring is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to change the course of your garden for many years to come !! (while protecting your investment at the same time).
Call Garden designer Peter Nixon 0418 161513 to discuss further.
Foliage colours and Textural contrasts …bring year round interest, especially when cold winter air falls on plants at this time of year making their winter colours show. Alcantarea odorata brings a chalky bloom over its strap leafed rosette, connecting with the sage green living sculpture of Madagascan Felt Plant (Kalanchoe beharensis). Inter-spaces of Foxtail Asparagus (Asparagus meyerii) are filled with bristly lime green tails for sense of arrival at ‘Sea-Changer’s’ garden gate. Flowers may come and go but for high focus spots as walk-bys in your garden, its best to rely on plants like these that give generously all year sans flowers.. !
Needing a winter fixer-upperer in your garden before spring rush ? Make a call and we’ll have a chat on how to make your garden even better for the coming summer.
Dombeya ianthotricha the climbing Dombeya, is a relative of hibiscus and now included into the extended Malvaceae, makes a useful if sprawling, small climber/shrub that lends itself as a kind of loose espalier here at ‘Sea-Changer’ or as a short run climber to less than 5 m wide. Delightful in combination with or alternative to camellias, in Sydney’s cool sub-tropics gardens. Makes an open twig work of arching stems bearing light as air, large fury round leaves like rice paper circles that move with the slightest July breeze. Bunches of persimmon coloured, pollen dusted bells dangle on thin strings, making this Madagascan super charming in the mixed shrub border as well.
A good find for your garden from specialist growers like Wes & Lorraine Vidler at Weslor Nursery from Plant Fairs like Plant Lovers Fair Kariong, 22nd to 23rd September ’18. If you’re looking forward to a lush high spring come October, now’s the time to get your garden in order with new planting, structural landscaping and other inclusions like led lighting and irrigation. If you’d like to chat about that, please make contact 0418 161513 and together we can make your garden even better !
Thought I would send 3 of the best this month, to help brighten your winter garden. Not that the cooler time of the year should be dull by a long shot and flowering interest for the June – July period abounds, if you know the plants that will bring a little sparkle. Especially of interest from the super floriferous Acanthaceae is a small sub-shrub
I first tried this plant thinking if could be rather cool sensitive. Contrary to my suspicions it excels in the cool sub-tropical winter of East Coast Australia and loses condition only in the worst summer heat. It seeds slightly but not enough to be thuggish and has proven itself a tried performer to less than a meter, beneath taller shrubs like iochroma, brugmansia and phymosia in lower light were few others would continue flowering.
Not unlike its close relatives of the justicia tribe, just mix in with other semi-shade lovers like the species Hippeastrum aulicum for lush appeal. If you’re facing challenges in the shade garden at home … even if its impacted upon by emerged bedrock this little sub-shrub is a star performer. Preparation now for the summer garden is perfect timing and if you’re planning to combine with other non-planted inclusions in paving, decks or shade devises please make contact so we can have a chat on how to make your changes sympathetic to your new garden.
See you in the next 2 posts of super interesting plants !!
Garden Lovers, did you know there’s another interesting near evergreen shrub to brighten the late garden that’s flowering now.. ? For an intriguing fresh chartreuse splash in the May garden, Holmskioldia sanguinea lutea or Gold Chinese Hat from the lower Himalaya & Myanmar is for you ! I’ve used it here in the ‘Sea-Changer’ garden in the Sun Trap plot that receives northern sun all year but it would also tolerate half day sun as a an upright to lax, 2m shrub with a cut after flowers to bring new canes for the following season.
Just nearby and for combined ‘pop’ at the same time of year, you could use Barlaria cristata ‘Lavander Lace’ as a really useful sub-shrub to around 1.5m with a cloud of pretty, striped, mini trumpets.
Soooooo pretty, just as the worst of the heat has passed and we look into the garden for some fresh seasonal change.
‘Planty Fierce ’18’ at the end of last month was a sparkling Autumn day, refreshed by an early shower and internet was high from all visitors, especially this young one having a closer look at the mirror Buddha on the long deck looking down to ‘Sea-Changer’s’ Shade Hut.
Nothing extinguishes interest and plenty of people arrived into brilliant sunshine in the Sun Trap plot where I spoke to many on questions around how to make their home gardens even better !
The 2pm ‘Walk & Talk’ brought forward many interesting questions, like how to make a ‘green-fence’ alternative to fence palings using Solandra longiflora over black pvc coated mesh. Thanks to all PF ’18 Helpers and Peter & Ruth Donnelly’s fabulous Coachwood sales tables loaded with new and interesting ‘must haves..’.
Cool sub-tropics gardens ‘Paradox’ and ‘Sea-Changer’ open for ‘Planty Fierce’ on the Central Coast (maps on links) … less than two weeks away !! Inspiration for your home garden or your client’s design and many plants from both gardens available for sale on the day. At ‘Paradox’ learn from Ray Henderson, the huge range of sun adaptable bromeliads that can be grown north facing when you plant them at the right time of year … Find out more about the kind of medium he uses, when to fertilise and how far apart your plants should be for best results.
So many beautiful sub-tropical offerings for your garden from Peter & Ruth Donnally’s Coachwood sales tables at ‘Sea-Changer’.
At ‘Sea-Changer’ Peter will give a 2pm designer’s ‘walk & talk’ on how easily new plants could grow for your exciting new home garden or for your designs. So get your gardening buddy, colleague horticulturist, landscaper or garden designer friend together by sharing the ‘Planty Fierce’ link. Be on the Motorway on ramp at Wahroonga by 9am for the hour or so jaunt up to the Central Coast for a fun day of garden visits either side of lunch in Holgate at Bamboo Buddha !!
Peter’s 2pm ‘walk & talk’ at ‘Sea-Changer’
‘Planty Fierce’ Saturday, 28th April 10am – 4pm, $10 gate each garden, children under 12 free, no dogs, easy parking.
Garden Lovers, see Facebook Event page for Planty Fierce details this year, bringing you two Central Coast gardens. Visit Ray Henderson’s iconic ‘Paradox’ at Glenning Valley in the morning and my ‘Sea-Changer’ after lunch at nearby Forresters Beach. Its a lovely day out of the city, to see a pair of exciting designer gardens as inspiration for your own, just an hour’s drive north on the Pacific Motorway from the on ramp at Wahroonga.
Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible, I’ll be giving a ‘ Q & A walk & talk’ at 2pm
Peter Nixon’s ‘Sea-Changer’ – 21 Lavinia Street, Forresters Beach plant sales by Coachwood’s Ruth & Peter Donnally
Ray Henderson’s ‘Paradox’ – 25 Curringa Close, Glenning Valley plants sales featuring sun tolerant bromeliads with designer companion plantings
NOTE: many of the plants you see at each garden will be for sale on the day !!