Up North

Tuesday Mark and I headed up North to look at an old friend’s new acreage.

We enjoy getting out, seeing more of the country and we make sure we find the best cafes and coffee!

Scott and Tina have a great slice of land, with rolling hills, a river on one boundary and distant views to neighbouring farms. On this project we will be siting some buildings for farm stay accommodation.

With a short brief to create a simple, desirable place for families to stay it’s going to be fun to nut out, and seeing it started will be exciting.

The countryside is so dry, but we brought the rain with us this week – so much of it in fact, we had to pull over on the side of the road whilst the storm passed.

Accustomed to being hand-fed the cattle were curious and not wary of us at all, when we were in their paddock.



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October 31, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

No Open Garden this year folks

If you are on our mailing list, or read this blog, and are wondering when your invitation to this years open garden is arriving, I’m sorry to say we’re taking a year off. So don’t think its personal.

I have had a hankering to build a wine cellar for a while now, and anticipating how long it would take to complete the build, decided to make a bigger than usual mess outside this year – and not just where the cellar is planned  near the outside fireplace and fish pond.

So things are cut back a little harder than usual and fresh gardens have been planted – and these will be ready to reveal November 2014, along with the cellar.

The lilies are flowering this morning. First out is L.`Casablanca’ – the most perfect shade of guava pink, and now this new speckled beauty L. lancifolium var. flaviflorum

This morning I’m tying in he upstanding growth of L. `Black Beauty’.

I’m going to ignore the weeds today and `smell the roses’



Lilium lanciflorum var. flaviflorum

October 26, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

Terrigal #2

Yesterday morning in Spring sunshine we were down at Terrigal, replanting a garden that we had designed a few years ago, that the developer didn’t build do our specifications. It was great to get a second go at this amazing cliff-top site, using predominately low growing grey foliaged plants – some of them indigenous natives, tolerant of the dry salty conditions.

Garden lighting was re-laid, pots were replanted as well as the expansive paving that was cleaned, and sealed.

Dan and the boys were doing a sensational job, and while we took a moment to drink a well deserved coffee, we looked out to sea where whales were breaching and blowing water spray into the air.

The third photo was taken a few years ago and this is the spectacular patterning on the rock formations below -a terrifying drop just below.


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October 10, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:


This morning the poppies in the orchard are opening; and they were so effortless to grow (besides having to surround them with a low fence of chicken wire when I planted the seed to prevent the rabbits from eating them)

Today I’ll look for somewhere to plant white sunflowers and also white, lilac and lime Zinnia seed. Who would think in a garden this size that you couldn’t find space?








October 7, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

Saturday on long Weekend a.m.

Out and about early weeding this morning with Keeper, the Hippeastrum are all in flower, and I love the  red ones given to me only a few months ago by my friend Gail!

The poppies in the orchard define the word anticipation, and are so close to opening, another day or so should do it.

More crucifix orchids are in bloom, this one potted in the nursery is called `Momo #2′ and it’s a beauty.

Brown-banded Rail chicks just out of the nest are out investigating by the dam…

Vege garden is all weeded, and the hens are gobbling all the fresh young weeds as I write. Fresh eggs on toast for breakfast.


red Hippeastrum

red Hippeastrum


coral pink poppy

coral pink poppy




Epidendron Cosmo Dream colour `Momo #2′



October 5, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

It’s in the box


Cornerstone completed another part of the plan at `Fernbank’ last week and it’s great to see the progress shots (thanks Wade and Chris)

Large gardens can take years to get right, and this is another part of the puzzle complete. Geometric beds edged in box that will contain persimmon trees, lilies and roses

Next the pergola – where brides will walk beneath tresses of wistaria or a long table can be set for lunch.




October 5, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

New native garden complete

Last week Adam from Natures Vision Landscapes sent these shots which signify the end of a long and difficult project for his team. We don’t always do a plan, and this was one of those occasions when we didn’t, so Adam worked on notes, emails, know how and intuition to come up with solutions to design issues.

On reflection, maybe it would have been easier to draw up a  design?

Clients, designer and landscape contractor all happy – and why not, it looks great!

Existing native species combine with new indigenous plants and hardy exotics in a garden that besides the slope will be relatively easy to keep maintained.

New inclinator stops, decks and steps, paths of brown decomposed granite edged with custom cut corten steel, drystone walls and steps made from hewn sandstone blend easily with the harbour views.

Another great job Adam, enjoy your time with your family….we’ll talk again, and start another project – next week…

















October 4, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

The hippies are flowering

The hippies are flowering again. Not just any hippies but Hippeastrum papilio, a rare South American bulb. They have such happy faces – who couldn’t love them?

Growing in part shade beneath the camphor label behind the young box hedge. Tough.




September 24, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |


The other day I learnt that one of our clients wanted to change the lights we had had delivered, return them, and change them for a larger fitting. We had waited for a bit more than a month for these to arrive from Italy, they were a special order, I had to pay for them, I couldn’t return them – so, being one of my favourite light fittings, I decided to use them on our verandah, replacing the two I had despised for almost twenty years. I adore these new lights…in a way, out of proportion to how I should. They are only lights after all.

I turn them on in the late afternoon so that I can arrive at the front door and get a burst of pleasure as it gets dark.

I love the bulbs with their intricate illuminated filaments, and aged copper and brass.

This is the way to turn a negative, into a positive.

We provide a garden lighting drawing with many of our designs, many times assisted by Nat Corrigan at Gardens by Night. These Il Fanale fittings are supplied by them.



Il Fanale `Calmaggiore’



September 24, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

spotty aloe

Aloe saponaria is flowering this week  outside our bedroom door. This common aloe was once seen all over the place, but like many plants is rarely seen in nurseries, so share it with friends.

When you take the time to look at the flowers closely the colour of the buds and their form is quite extraordinary. The leaves aren’t tipped with spines, they are quite soft and fleshy, and the saponaria part of the name means that it can be used as a soap. I guess it lathers, but I havent tried it yet.

Rarity isn’t a prerequisite for beauty.


September 17, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

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