Lazy days by the pool

I love the long summer days after Christmas when I can sit on the verandah, read a book, or wander around the garden making mental notes of jobs I may never do. The fridge is slowly emptying it’s stock of leftovers and the belt that holds up my shorts is increasing in length.

Yesterday I attached the giant metal ants Cathy gave me on Christmas day to the old camphor laurel next to the petanque pitch, repaired a broken water pipe and had an afternoon nap – a siesta, before afternoon drinks. I could adopt this habit.

A lot of time is being spent around – or in the swimming pool. The sweet fruit scents of gardenia, bai lan and angel’s trumpet hang in the air. With arms on the hot pavers, my body in the water, I was admiring the grassy seed heads of the grasses and the drier looking silver foliage on the Kalanchoe hildebrandtii and potted Agave. This look is something I admire in Provencale gardens, where cactus add their lazy, easy care attributes to summer.



Crinum pedunculatum





Agave americana

December 29, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

The cellar # 1

And now I’m going to bore you senseless with the cellar. It will be like the pond and fountain – last years project. I have wanted to store my wine properly for years and yesterday Steve started by clearing for the concrete slab, and today I worked with Mark and Dad pulling out roots and levelling the ground in preparation for Fridays concrete pour.

I fell in the pond hauling a wheelbarrow over plank, my boots got very wet.

So this is the first picture. Not much to look but just wait and you’ll see.

This is where a 30 year old macadamia tree fell last Christmas Eve exposing us to the house – and barking dogs next door. The apple tree (dead sticks in the image below) has been so badly damaged by possums that eat every leaf and bud it produces is ready to cut down, so it’s a win, win situation. I get my wine, and we all benefit from the privacy.



December 17, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

Lilies masquerading as lanterns

Throughout my garden the lilies abound. No sooner one finishes flowering, than another begins. I know it’s unfashionable to garden, well that is what you’d think.

Everyone wants a low maintenance garden, but I enjoy the time I spend in mine, I’m busy, have plenty of work, my mobile is always ringing and I’ve not much time, but I believe that the rewards outweigh the labour, and stupid me, I like a bit of work in the garden. Tying in lilies isn’t too much effort. When did a boring, low maintenance lilly pilly hedge give this much reward?

You reap what you sow.


Lilium leichtlinii

Lilium leichtlinii

December 17, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

Some extra planting


This morning I met with Andrew from Cornerstone at Fernbank to deliver some extra plants to fill in spaces below the pond where the soil has proved to be a problem.

Sometimes it’s wet – other times dry.

The structure of this garden is developing now, and it has only been three or four years since we started. Not that Meg the owner hadn’t already made inroads before we arrived, but the garden is transformed. The lotus pond is a great success and the blooms are just extraordinary. This morning you could tell it was going to be a warm one, and the mist was drifting across the pond as we promenaded around the grounds. In this garden we are looking for big, easy going shrubs that have seasonal colour and fill a lot of space to minimise maintenance.













December 17, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

New Swimming Pool


Two of our favourite contractors – Cornerstone Landscaping and Mateeba Pools have combined forces on this slick smaller space at North Avoca.

It’s a deceptively easy thing to simplify, and this is what we did on with this design. Working with the levels, rather than against them will prove to be what makes this pool sensational, and fun for the lucky kids that will be soon be swimming in it. I can’t wait to see the stone that will be applied to the concrete block walls, new deck, water in the pool, the fences and plants. Watch this space.






Gray blog screenshot

December 12, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags: ,

It’s almost holiday time…

Well it’s official, summer’s here.

On the weekend we were out on the verandah early enough for our first coffee of the day, and the swimming pool got a work out on Sunday.

My tummy, which hadn’t seen the sunshine for quite a while is a pretty shade of pink, my niece’s party on Saturday was great, and the garden is under control and revealing in the warmth.

This week Harrisons Landscaping the planting will complete the work at `Panthers Leagues Club’ around the ornamental lake and Mark and I will be there from early tomorrow morning to meet the trucks and crane.





Brugmansia candicans `Flore Plena’


Lilium leichtilinii

Lilium leichtilinii


Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.24.16 AM

`Keeper’ helping with the weeding

December 9, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

Feeling a bit like Christmas

This weekend we have my niece Hannah’s graduation party here at home, and with Christmas well on the way it’s time we dust things off and spruce up.

Yesterday Mark gave me a hand washing the house down and cleaning windows ( lots of unhappy displaced spiders now). We spent most of the day in the garden, weeding mainly, and early this morning I woke to the sound of rain on our tin roof. Cathy had mown the lawn late yesterday afternoon, so the smell this morning outside is fresh and green.

We’re up to date on current designs, nobody is waiting on us thankfully, and today we begin a new project.

All is good with the world.




The view from my desk outside the studio doors.



Lilium `White Fox’



Lilium `white Fox’ and silver leafed Senecio vira-vira



Dwarf pomegranate – Punica granatum `Gracillissima’





December 5, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

Antique Turkish oil jars

Sometimes you can get lucky. A friend that imports beautiful antique Turkish goods was passing, and with a few to spare dropped these off at the studio last week.

Once used to store olive oil the jars originally from the region of Cannakale these `Enez’ pots stand about 1600mm high.

They are in my garden so I can admire them, until I think of a home that deserves and appreciates them. These are two centuries old, and I can’t help wonder about the artist that made them, the families that have lived with them and of times past. At shoulder high, these are impressive.

Almost unprocurable as a matching pair, they’re pretty special. Let me know if you are interested in them – much as I love them, I can’t hang onto them forever.

Priced at $ 3300 each or a bit less as a pair



November 30, 2013 | Leave a Comment  |

Valley Garden

I like getting updates and images, particularly when things are looking good, and people are happy.

This morning Adam Eurell sent a few pics taken on his mobile phone from this garden we designed some years ago now  just out of Wollombi in the Hunter Valley.

The Natures Vision maintenance team work on this garden surrounding the stone Georgian cottage, built circa 1830′s, and they’ve taken it to new heights since they constructed it.

When we started there was zilch in the way of planting or design cohesion. There’s great satisfaction now for our design team in this pictures, and more particularly for the guys that work in this garden regularly, summer and winter, rain and sunshine to ensure it’s always moving forward, and by that I mean pruned and fed, generally ensuring it’s performing at its optimum ability.

Too easily a garden can be lost through inattention, lack of time or desire to `get into it’, so when it all comes together, it’s smiles all round.

Well done boys!





November 21, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

Palm tree @ Palm Beach

In overcast conditions last week – just perfect for this sort of work, the Harrisons Landscaping crew planted a mature, indigenous cabbage palm and a large pink flowering frangipani with the help of a crane.

Next week we’ll complete the planting which will further soften the ‘newness’ of this major home renovation.

From Coolum in QLD, throughout in Sydney, the Hunter Valley and on the Central Coast closer to home, landscape teams are tidying up, finishing off our designs and generally panicking, as the pre Christmas rush looms.

It’s heads down and all systems go…



Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 4.33.25 PM


Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 4.32.44 PM


Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 4.28.28 PM

November 21, 2013 | Leave a Comment  | Tags: ,

← Previous PageNext Page →