Sep 222015

Looking for ideas to make your garden more sustainable, but attractive at the same time? It is inspiring to visit gardens where the owners are dedicated to creating beautiful surrounds through using approaches that limit environmental impacts on the planet and contribute to sustainability. That might be to reduce chemical use, to have fewer impacts on birds, bees and other wildlife to make it more productive, raise chooks or other animals or to create habitat for species that are being forced out of our urban settings.

SGA is hosting a program Sustainable Open Gardens and Tours in gardens that contribute, all in their own way, to reducing our footprint on the planet while creating beautiful and, in many instances, productive spaces. Tours are led by the garden owner.

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

MaryRobert150maryrobert2150maryrobert3150Mary and Robert’s Garden, Heidelberg – 10th October. Book a tour OR  
attend Open Garden.


terry2150terry150terry3150Open Garden – Glen Waverley, 24th October. Wander through at your leisure. 


Would you like to offer your garden to be part of this program?

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

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 »

Aug 252015

September is a fantastic time to be alive for us gardeners! The chill is almost gone from the mornings, and the afternoons are getting longer. Blossoms are bursting and you can smell spring in the air wherever you go. If you have been hibernating through winter now is the time to get out and into it. Read on for some fabulous September gardening advice for your area.

Continue reading »

Aug 102015

babaco1Babaco Carica pentagona is compact, high yielding and more frost tolerant than its close relative papaya (or paw paw) – an excellent candidate for sustainable gardens around the country.

A native of Ecuador, the herbaceous shrub is grown commercially in New Zealand, Israel and southern California. Its fruit, which is yellow when ripe and shaped like a torpedo, is sometimes called Champagne Fruit for its refreshing, effervescent flesh. Some say it tastes like a cross between strawberry, papaya and pineapple.
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Aug 012015

Cool clear nights, frosty mornings and plenty of rain can only mean one thing, it is August. Travelling around my home town I have already seen the first spring blossom and the jonquils are splashing the dull browns and greys with colour. Here are some top gardening tips for your place in the month of August.

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Aug 012015

Finger lime anbg
The fruit of the Australian finger lime Citrus australasica is sought after by top restaurants around the world. Often described as ‘lime caviar’ for its small bead-like crystals of tangy juice, it’s used to pep up drinks, in desserts, as a garnish and even to make marmalade. For the home gardener, it is also an attractive tree, growing to six metres, and its thorns provide a perfect habitat for small birds. It is native to the rainforests of south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales, but will grow elsewhere. Continue reading »