Tree Dahlia

It’s hard not to admire the tenaciousness of this perennial dahlia. It overhangs my driveway where it’s slapped around by the aerial of my car each time I pass by, and although Ive staked it this year to tie it back – I just know it will be lying on the ground soon.

Fast and almost indestructible I cut it to ground level after flowering and that’s it – no water, fertiliser or attention.

Soon to open its buds is a white flowering form that I’ve planted down below the dam – slightly stronger in the stem (or it may just be in more sun down there) it ‘s eagerly anticipated.


Dahlia imperialis

May 15, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

Doing well

After a plant delivery yesterday morning Mark and I called in on a garden near the beach that was completed just last summer to see the progress.

It’s so satisfying to see that the plants are doing well. It’s not an easy location – with plants blown about by salt laden winds, and it was reasurring to see our selections performing as we anticipated.




Clerodendron mysoriensis supported on chains
(love the slatted awnings Ian @Patonga Design)



Miscanthus transmorrisonensis behind the cantilevered bench


crucifix orchids and Miscanthus transmorrisonensis

crucifix orchids and Miscanthus transmorrisonensis







Canna `Intrigue’



Warm hands

Just learnt that the best way to keep my hands warm whilst I walk about looking at the garden in the morning is to collect the eggs first, put them in my pockets and warm my hands on them.

Winter won’t be so bad after all – and when the eggs get cold it’s time to get back to work in the studio…


May 5, 2014 | 1 Comment  |

South Sea Oats

Well that’s goodbye to summer and now we’re ¬†being blasted with a wintery chill. Down in the nursery there’s a garden bed of South Sea oats beneath the pecan tree. I have to admit I am besotted by this grass’ seed heads that shake and rattle in the wind, even if I know I shouldn’t be.

Before many more weeks I’ll cut them to the ground and burn the seeds before they take the opportunity to proliferate which they do quite prolifically – and don’t ask me for any because I won’t share…



Chasmanthium latifolium





May 4, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

Crispy Mornings

The past week we’ve had some crispy mornings and out in the garden and paddocks leaves are starting to turn to Autumn tones. I’m astounded that some people don’t find this seasonal transformation as joyful as I do.

They prefer their gardens to be unchanging – to appear as if in a perpetual summer.

Soon it will be time to light the first fire of the year…





Boston Ivy – Parthenocissus quinquifolia on he stables

April 15, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

Murray’s Run

I took a quick trip down to Murray’s Run yesterday with Steve to check out progress on a garden we designed that he is working his way through. It’s beautiful down in the valley and after the recent rain it’s lush and green.

Wildlife (as opposed to livestock that frequent the track in) are a problem here and kangaroos tend to devour all that they can see so we devised another fence made from hardwood tomato stakes to protect part of the garden close to the house, and when this greys off in colour – as it will with a bit of age it will blend in beautifully with the dramatic rock outcrops.







April 15, 2014 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

Back at Palm Beach

Well there could be far worse places to be. This amazingly beautiful site is on the Pittwater side of Palm Beach – where a discreet small beach house is being built, designed by Jorge Hrdina Architects.

There’s lots of gardens of us to design around here, and we love the evolving style that’s distinctively `Palm Beach’









April 8, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

Hidden Design Festival – last day

I spent yesterday talking to hundreds of visitors to Pamela’s garden – open this weekend as part of the Hidden Design Festival. The generosity of the 21 owners who have agreed to share their gardens is very much appreciated by my fellow designers, organisers and visitors.. Thank you.

This morning, with the end of daylight savings and Cathy off to a ridiculously early start for Mussellbrook Show with one of her show ponies I’m up and at ’em early. I’ve done a tour of the garden with Keeper, cleaned the stables and fed the chickens so now I’m at a loose end with time to kill.

I left my reading glasses in Pamela’s kitchen yesterday afternoon so I can’t check my spelling mistakes, so if you see any – keep them to yourselves please.

Autumn is creeping into the garden at home slowly with not much colour on the trees, but all the usual suspects are in flower. Outside the bedroom this unnamed Kniphofia is looking spectacular next to golden Mexican sage Salvia madrensis




The secret parterre at Pamela’s



Unknown Kniphofia spp.

April 6, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

Japanese Anemone

For a month or so this clump of Japanese Anemone has given me visual pleasure. They ask nothing more than a mulch once a year when I cut them to the ground each Winter.

This cultivar A. `Bowle’s Pink’ is particularly pink – with almost purple tones and I love it, and when the flowers are spent I leave the remaining seed heads to add some seasonal Autumn interest.


April 2, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

In the Valley

Lots of plants delivered last week, one to a project in idyllic Picketts Valley, where the Cornerstone crew continue to sculpt the land into the interesting landforms and garden bed shapes depicted on our designs.

As always it’s a pleasure to see a design transposed to real size rather than the 1:200 scale we had drawn it in.











March 22, 2014 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

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