Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The great outdoors
Although we have lots of loose ends to tie up inside our house, our attentions are also required elsewhere. We now have the task of turning our mudpit yard into a dazzling horticultural masterpiece.
Once the painters have finished we can have some topsoil delivered, followed by turf and thus begin establishing our garden.
My father is an extremely good gardener. He even crosses different plants to make new ones, in fact, there is actually an orchid named after me which he made when I was a little girl.
I have been waiting for my green finger gift to kick in, but nearing 40,  I fear that it may never blossom. Never the less, I am ambitious when it comes to gardening projects.
Our block is 604m2 or 24 perches. Most of the houses in the surrounding streets are on 12 perches, so we have a bit of room to play with. Our house really just takes up half the block.
I have always favoured more formal gardens, clipped hedges, conifers, urns, etc, and I still love that style. Like this sort of thing below.

 However, I am investigating a more 'tropical' flavour with palms, gingers, cordylines, heliconias, jasmine and frangipani, plants that are heavily fragrant in the summer heat. I think tropical, or subtropical, gardens are romantic and so suit the Queenslander house.

Ideally, I'd like to combine tropical plants within a more formal design. A little like these below.

I'm having trouble finding some visual inspiration though. I may have to go off to the dreaded council library in the name of research.
The garden must be reasonably low maintenance and waterwise.
I also want to incorporate a sizeable, and hopefully very productive vegetable garden, and some citrus trees, and any other edible plants I can slip in.
This is going to take some planning I think. Time to hit the books!
Does anyone know any handy gardening websites or blogs?


  1. Hello my dear...most of the gardening blogs I have come across have been the sort of growing veges kind. But of course I have to recommend the Cottage Garden Nursery 999 Stanley St East, East Brisbane, Russ and Paul are super helpful. My sister in law is a landscape architect and she says the first thing you have to know is the kind of gardener you are ie how much gardening are you going to do? and then you can choose the right plants and design to get the look you want, cheers Katherine PS bumped into the lovely Liz from Lota and she told me how you guys are friends....such a small world.

  2. Katherine, you have really shed some light on it for me. Thanks to you and your s-i-l. I intend to make my way over to your garden centre v soon actually. I can imagine Liz would be a very good customer of yours. She has stock piled enough furniture to fill ten houses!

  3. I second the Cottage Garden nursery, they are great. I've still done the hedgey thing with my old house in Brisbane - used Aussie Southern Lilly Pillies. They are great. I have also used upright rosemary as a kind of hedge and it's got up to about 1 metre tall in just over a year, and smells wonderful, also good for cooking.

  4. I look forward to seeing what you do with your garden. If it is as lovely as what you've done with your home then it should be delightful. We first landscaped our gardens (in Brisbane) tropical style ... after approximately 4 years and much growth we found the gardens looked "messy". We ended up ripping everything out (not a small job considering we are on acreage) and went with a more formal garden with hedges etc which really compliments our colonial home. One excellent tip someone gave me was to pick two or three of your favourite plants and one (or two maximium) accents/highlights (eg. flowering plants) and keep repeating them. We did this with our garden and it looks superb. I've since noticed a lot of the gardens I admire are planted this way. Good luck.

  5. Another good tip. Thanks. I have read that tropical gardens needs a lot of tidying with dead fronds, etc.

  6. Living down South I have very little knowledge of the tropical gardens you describe but when it comes to your fruit and vegies I can suggest an online seedlings/seeds site called The Diggers Club. They specialise in heirloom variety of seeds (the way they were before big corporaations started playing with nature). I am quite sure they post nationally. If anything, it might be a strating point for your research. Love your inspiration pics.
    X Briohny.

  7. Thanks Briohny. I intended to use heiloom vegs whenever possible. I'll look up The Diggers Club.