Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Youtube
Hide Buttons
Sep 222015

Looking for ideas to make your garden more sustainable, to be more productive and have fewer impacts on birds, bees and other wildlife or on waterways?

Our Sustainable Open Gardens and Tours program provides an opportunity to be inspired and learn from gardens that contribute, all in their own way, to reducing our footprint on the planet while creating beautiful and, in many instances, productive spaces in urban settings.

Follow the links for details of  event locations, dates and times.

Cara’s Garden – Epping

6th December

cara20150830_102706 (598x640)Small group tours to see how a productive garden can be created in spite of builder’s rubble on a 450 square metre block in a new estate. 10.30 – 11.30 am and 1.30 – 2.30 pm



Sharon’s Garden – Thornbury

17th January

sharon300WTMe (300x300)As a landscape designer, the owner has created a functional and aesthetically pleasing garden with minimal chemical use.

Small group tour 10.00 – 11.00 am

General Opening – explore at your leisure. 11.00 am – 4.00 pm


Would you like to offer your garden to be part of SGA’s Open Gardens and Tours program?

If you are in Victoria and would like to participate, please email:

Nov 252015

Life really start ramping up festive wise at this time of year, and things are certainly starting to bear fruit in your patch, its December! Hopefully you’ve already put in loads of produce plants but it’s not too late to get some more growing, especially if you’ve had the pleasure of already harvesting some plants.  Keep up the good work in the garden –  despite the rising heat there’s still plenty to do this month in your patch.

And if you’re heading off on a trip this break, read our tips on preventing “holiday-itis” in the garden.  It’s an all too common occurrence that can turn the most beautiful backyard into a garden grave in a matter of weeks! Give your garden the gift of a bit of your time this December… you’ll be so pleased you did! Continue reading »

Nov 242015

pigfacename1If you’ve walked over a sand dune on the way for a swim on a summer’s day in Eastern Australia you may have noticed a succulent plant with a spectacular bright pink flower growing beside the path.

Chances are it was Carpobrotus glaucescens (also known as pigface, ice plant or angular sea fig). And you might be surprised to learn that not only is it native to Australia but it is also edible. The red-purple fruit has a flavour described by some as like salty strawberry or kiwi fruit and by others as like salty apples1. Its thick, fleshy leaves can also be eaten – raw or cooked (the roasted leaves may be used as a salt substitute) and the juice from the leaves can be used to soothe stings or burnt skin2. The juice from the leaves can be mixed with water and used as a gargle for sore throats and mild bacterial infections of the mouth. The fruit has also been used as a laxative3.

Continue reading »

Nov 232015

EcoCentre's David Giles and Raingarden original (640x403)

Sometimes it’s possible to achieve multiple outcomes at the same time. Through government assistance, a Melbourne community has been able to harvest water for use in their gardens in return for reducing storm water run off and, thereby, improving water quality in a local waterway. This project, run in the Elster Creek catchment in Elwood, Melbourne, highlights the significance of good water management and shows what can be achieved when we value collective action. Continue reading »

Oct 282015

We’re always being told to eat more fruit and veggies and get more exercise with this diet or that exercise program. If the thought of donning the Lycra and heading to the gym has you reaching for the chocolate cake, what about green gym? Get out into your sustainable garden for your daily workout. Sustainable gardening is not only good for the planet; it’s good for your health. There are more and more people using their gardens and growing fruit and veggies to help manage chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Think about all the weeding, digging, mulching, planting, and raking you can do in your garden. Wow, what a workout. Not only that, your sustainable garden is a great mood booster, so it’s good for your mental health as well.

Make November your month to start your green gym in your patch! Continue reading »

Oct 282015

RosellanamedThe beauty of Hibiscus heterophyllus is that it not only produces many lovely flowers over an extended period, it also has edible parts and useful fibres. And, it attracts native birds and a variety of insects so is a useful addition to gardens where natural, rather than chemical, pest control is preferred.

Indigenous to eastern parts of New South Wales and Queensland (right up to the Lockhart River on the very tip), the Native Rosella is one of 35 species of Hibiscus native to Australia. There are 250 species worldwide. While preferring warm, moist environments, the tall, fast-growing shrub has been successfully cultivated in Canberra and Melbourne. This plant should not be confused with the annual Hibiscus sabdariffa which is indigenous to West Africa but is naturalised in Australia.  It has  a number of similar uses and is also grown in Australia. Continue reading »

Oct 282015

20150926_125312 (800x538)Would you think it is possible to grow 23 different fruiting trees and shrubs, have chickens and bees in a townhouse garden on a standard dual occupancy block? Well, that is exactly what Patricia has achieved in 9 years. Including the strip along one side of the driveway, the productive area is about 72 square metres. And all without chemical use. Continue reading »

Oct 032015

With the weather warming up nicely, there’s no better place to be than the backyard. October is a huge month in the patch. With so many varieties to plant, you’ll be struggling to get it all done. So, welcome to October, a fine time to be in any sort of garden. Remember to use all your senses in the garden. Watch for pest issues, feel for soil moisture, smell your soil, and… most importantly… taste the fruits (or vegetables) of your labours. Let’s get into it… Continue reading »

Oct 032015

midyimphotogThe midyim berry Austromyrtus dulcis (also known as midgen berry or sand berry) is an easy to grow bushfood which occurs naturally in coastal areas ranging from northern NSW to Fraser Island in Queensland. A favourite with Aboriginal people it has a sweet, but tangy flavour which means it is nice to eat fresh, but also great in pies and preserves. It is a close relative of the Lilly Pilly. Because it hardly suffers from pests and disease, it is a useful plant for gardeners who want to minimise their environmental impacts by avoiding chemicals sprays and fertilisers. Continue reading »

Oct 032015

Frogeggs1It’s been eight years since the Year of the Frog was declared and a new international conservation action plan launched. Back then 500 zoos around the world enlisted to take part in an amphibian “Noah’s Ark” where most vulnerable species were moved to protected areas within aquariums and other institutions around the world to guarantee their future survival. Yet in 2015, the dramatic population decline of frogs continues, with predictions that half of the world’s species will be extinct in twenty years. It sounds an ominous note, not just for all amphibians but the human species as well. What can gardeners do? Continue reading »

Oct 032015

IMG_0001 (640x480)The first in SGA’s series of Sustainable Open Gardens and Tours, Zofia’s garden in Mt. Waverley, is an examplar of productivity and aesthetics with low environmental impact and financial cost. Zofia is very resourceful, scouring hard rubbish collections and demolition sites for materials she can use to create lovely design, lush growth and inviting spaces for relaxing. When she moved into the house, the garden had many established trees and shrubs around the edges, and into this framework she has achieved her miracle of recycling and productivity.

Garden arches, old gates and wire mattress bases form supports for climbers; windows, planks and other materials salvaged from a house being demolished next door have made the chook house. In fact, most of the infrastructure is made from discarded items. “I love the aesthetic of re-using found materials in different ways – saving them from being destroyed and giving them a new life (I also save a lot of money). For example, strawberry beds made from old council recycling bins,” she said. Continue reading »