May 012015
 

While the southern parts of Australia have donned winter pyjamas and flannelette sheets, the northern states are still revelling in warm, and mostly sunny autumn days. Regardless of the conditions in your little patch of paradise, there is still loads to do this month. Get set for those produce plants that need the cooler weather to grow. Continue reading »

May 012015
 

above our heads (2) (640x426)Green roofs are rooftops equipped to grow gardens. This innovative infrastructure offers an excellent prospect for inner city gardening.

Like any garden, green roofs can achieve multiple purposes. They can grow produce, boost and attract biodiversity or create specific landscapes and aesthetic styles. But because of their location, green roofs also achieve unique additional benefits. They help to control the temperature inside a building by moderating its ambient air temperature and by creating insulation, they filter and control the release of rain water, reducing stormwater pollution, and they boost the productivity of solar panels during the warmer months of the year. Continue reading »

May 012015
 

IMG_1770 (800x556)Some people might ask why SGA talks about sustainable gardening rather than just gardening.
The fact is that horticulture in the hands of home gardeners, gardening professionals, nurseries and garden retail centres can have wide reaching deleterious impacts on the natural environment far from urban gardens. SGA’s goal is to help you prevent these impacts and, at the same time, make your gardens joyous, healthy and productive places.

Here are some things sustainable gardening can do. Continue reading »

Apr 012015
 

The perfect month for chocolate lovers and practical jokers alike, April is also a top time to get into the patch! There is a little bit of rain around, the weather is cooling down, and shed loads of stuff is ready to plant! So, don’t be a bunny, get into gardening this April! Hop to it! Continue reading »

Apr 012015
 

frangipani tree low res (640x426)I was surprised to find a stunning Frangipani tree growing near where I live in the dry, hot climate of South Australia, so of course I took lots of photos and then thought, ‘I’ll be back in winter to take cuttings from you’!

My surprise was because I didn’t think Frangipani would grow (in the ground) so far away from its preferred climate of tropical and sub-tropical environs (it is a native of central America but not of Hawaii, as many people think because so many are grown there). Continue reading »

Apr 012015
 

IMG_0012 (640x480)Spent coffee grounds are increasingly recommended by professionals and gardeners as a sustainable way to improve your garden soil and provide nutrients to your plants. Claims include improved soil structure, an ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio, improved fertility and provision of nitrogen1. However, the scientific literature has not sufficiently assessed the impacts on soil and plant production.

Recent research conducted by Dr Stephen Livesley and Sarah Hardgrove from the University of Melbourne, has shown that fresh (uncomposted) spent coffee grounds, applied directly to gardens, can significantly decrease plant growth and development. This article reviews the case for using spent coffee in the garden and describes recent scientific findings and their implications. Continue reading »

Apr 012015
 

dirty dozen-400We are all aware that fruit and veggies produced commercially, unless they are certified organic, have been exposed to pesticides at some stage in their growth and that they may still contain residues when we buy them. But do you know that there are some which are more contaminated than others? If ever you needed an incentive to grow your own, recent analyses of pesticide content provide just that. The resulting listings of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen indicate which ones you will be best advised to grow yourself. Continue reading »

Mar 012015
 


March, the month named after Mars, the Roman God of War, is an excellent month to wage war on your patch. Be it ripping out the weeds, mulching up a storm, or popping in a plethora of plants, March is the ultimate time to launch a full scale (but well planned) attack on you patch! So, all you weekend warriors … March into action!

Continue reading »

Mar 012015
 

Just over a year ago we featured an article on Wellbeing Gardening that I highly recommend reading as a precursor to this article. It summarised the research regarding the strong links between health and well-being and nature, but more so the benefits of gardening.

That article helps to explain why amazing landscape design shifts are taking place all over the world. To highlight how far even some architects may have come, here’s a little story. About 15 years ago I interviewed a prominent architect regarding his opinion of the designs of the finalists in a national competition. One of the designs was a stunning glass structure that was literally full of plants. I can no longer remember all the details but I will never forget the architect’s response to that one. He sneered:

‘The building would be okay if it wasn’t for all that cabbage.’

JenkinsFifteen years later, everything is getting covered in ‘cabbage’!

We are greening cities from roofs to walls. We have guerrilla gardening and school gardening. We have water sensitive urban design. Obviously we are also responding to climate change and resource conservation needs but I think it is strongly tied together. Along with this there has also been a move generally towards more organic design.

Natural Swimming Pools

It seems to me that natural swimming pools emerged as one of the biggest design trends of 2014, but they have actually been around in Europe for decades. Continue reading »