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!

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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 »

Mar 012015
 

forest garden
Have you ever wondered how forests develop, how they regenerate after destruction, why certain plants grow happily in certain areas without any human intervention? And have you wondered if we can learn from how nature does it to create more productive, low environmental impact gardens?

Ecological principles underlie the Food Forest Garden approach which promotes high productivity in a small space because relationships between soil, plant species and environmental factors are considered.  Angelo Eliades explains in this video the permaculture approach to backyard gardening.

Mar 012015
 

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Lagerstroemia indica
, commonly known as Crepe Myrtle has been a classic favorite of gardeners for many years. It’s almost impossible to resist this small to medium tree that offers a feature for every season, yet asks for so little in return. With the recent introduction of new varieties, the Crepe Myrtle can now be used in even more applications, giving it an entire new legion of fans, and confirming it’s place as one of the most popular deciduous trees in Australian gardens and landscapes. Continue reading »

Jan 302015
 

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There is always something that makes a plant less than perfect but until I discovered the seeds of Melia azedarach were toxic to humans and other mammals and that it has become a serious environmental weed in some areas, this tree was perfect!

White Cedar (Melia azedarach) is a beautiful shade tree that is extremely drought tolerant. Oddly enough, though, the tree is from the east coast (extending from the Victorian border right up to the top of Cape York) and the top of the Northern Territory, so its drought tolerance is a bit of a surprise. Continue reading »

Jan 302015
 

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Who doesn’t like easy fruit growing? Especially in these days of changing climates, we look for edible plants that can withstand extremes. So the pepino (Solanum muricatum), known also as melon pear, is just the thing. It has been widely known in South America where it originated, but it took quite a while to get into Australian gardens. One of its big advantages is that it is a bushy shrub which persists from year to year in temperate regions and produces fruit for many months – even the whole year in warmer areas. Continue reading »

Jan 012015
 

January is here! Wondering what to do in the garden? What vegetables and herbs should you plant? It’s the start of the New Year and whether it’s time for a little rest and relaxation after a manic December; or you have a New Year’s resolution to spend some quality time with your garden; it’s  time to get out in your patch!  While we have been distracted with festive things, our patches have probably suffered a little and are in need of some serious loving right now. We have loads of  tips that will encourage your garden to flourish in the sunshine of Summer. Continue reading »

Jan 012015
 

If you are a gardener who tries to reduce your impacts on the natural environment, you will be using methods which avoid manufactured fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides and which minimize waste. So you’re into composting and worm farming and mixing the resulting solid material into the soil. However, at many times of the year a liquid fertilizer in the form of a “tea” may give plants, especially vegetables and fruit trees, a boost that is quicker than applying the manure, worm castings or compost which release their nutrients much more slowly. Such teas can be made from compost, weeds and other greenery and manures. How do you make and use them? What are their pros and cons? Continue reading »

Jan 012015
 

If you like avoiding waste, being practical and saving money, then upcycling is for you. With a little imagination and a keen eye you can make interesting substitutes for pots in the garden. If you rent rather than own your garden, container growing is practical, avoids discussion with the landlord and allows you to take your garden with you when you move. Here are some examples, including those sent by our readers as part of a recycling photo competition earlier in 2013. Continue reading »