Monsterio deliciosa

Outside my studio a few years ago, I planted a bunch of Monsterio branches in deep shade in a part of my garden where it is punishingly dry and inhospitable. Familiar to most Sydneysiders this easy tropical plant is almost overlooked by it’s familiarity. It’s a bit retro and when I saw the form of the flower sheath and its creamy colour transposed against the lime green buds it sent my mind reeling with colour possibilities – and the shape of the bud sheath – I have to use that curving, undulating line somewhere…


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March 22, 2014 | 1 Comment  |

The return of traditional brick paving

The Divine Landscape Creations team were laying the paving at the entry of a home whose owners we’ve been working on for a while.

New gates and entry pillars are well underway, and a few loads of plants have been placed out ready for planting, but I’m razzed by the bricks that we’ve specified at the entry.

Laid in a traditional herringbone design, these bricks are the most beautiful speckled colour which will compliment the sandstone that will soon be cladding the gate posts.

The post and rail fence in Australian hardwood is impressive, and the chamfered timber edges make a difference – to me at least. It’s all in the detail.


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March 22, 2014 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

An old garden design re-visited

Last year I was called to a familiar address in Mosman; a garden I had designed many years ago. The new owner – a collector of modern art had purchased the house and was looking at options to renovate the planting and there was a sculpture on its way to position and prepare for.

The garden didn’t look too bad, even in the depths of Winter, and with some new planting and judicious pruning by the Cornerstone team it has been revitalised.



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Scupture by Jan King
The grass is Miscanthus `Kleine Fontaine’



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March 10, 2014 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

Hidden Design Festival in April

Yesterday I called in to Pamela’s Turramurra garden to see if everything is on track for the upcoming Hidden Design Festival  and I had nothing to be concerned about.

This is a beautiful, very personal garden we designed some years ago, tended carefully by its owner and the Verduous Gardens team. If you haven’t already done so, better book your tickets now as they are limited.

To whet your appetite, I’ve included a few images that have been taken over a few years in the same season as it will be viewed next month.





Brugmansia x insignus





Anemone x hupehensis `Honerine Jobert’



Punica granatum `Gracilllissima’

March 8, 2014 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

Rare African bulbs

With a few wet days the garden has revived. Some plants don’t mind if they never receive a drop – and this is how it is with the blood lily Haemanthus coccineus native to South Africa, where it receives little water over the summer months.

I grow mine in pots which date back to the 1940’s and as well as the flowers, I grow these for their curious leaves that appear soon after the flowers are spent, and there are just two of them to each bulb, and they are like enormous tongues which hang over the edges of the pots.

Haemanthus coccineus

Haemanthus coccineus

March 2, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

By the Hawkesbury River

Late last week we made a start on a greg new site on the Hawkesbury River. Essentially a bush block it sits on the hillside above a marina. Steep sites are always a challenge and this will be no different. A symphony of steps and level landings.

The house itself has sensational views (it wasn’t just Mark’s face I was trying to capture on the first image)

There is a very cool studio half way up built using beautiful recycled doors and windows, and at the top with the best outlook is the owner’s sons treehouse.

With some amazing rock formations and indigenous flora it will be a case of touch the earth slightly…














March 2, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

Cellar #3

This week the cellar walls went up, this Zego block goes up fast, you can see how good`Keeper’ is at helping. Now it’s time to have them core-filled with concrete and then the roof can go on

I can almost taste the shiraz…

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February 22, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

Hidden Festival of Outdoor Design


Looking for something to do – do you like visiting gardens? My friend Catherine Stewart asked me if I had a garden on the North Shore that I could share on the 5th – 6th April. Autumn is beautiful weather to view gardens and in an instant I thought of Pamela’s garden in leafy Turramurra.

I design a lot of gardens, but this one is a beauty. Interesting plants, designed with traditional style in mind with some unexpected elements, but best of all it’s loved – and it shows.

Check out this garden it’s the one with Spring flowering tulips on my website and the gardens of many other designers showcased via this link 




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February 20, 2014 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

A garden by the sea

This morning I headed down to Killcare to see a few old friends and their gardens and also to see two new sites. On the way, between stops I had a few moments so I called in at a garden I hadn’t seen since I delivered and placed plants there late last season.

I was asked for help last year by the new owner who was given my details by the previous people he purchased the home from. I enjoy seeing a garden’s progress – there are always a few things that need adjusting over the years, and it’s great to be given a second chance to make it better.

Andrew Noble’s `Cornerstone Landscaping’ team got the gig and have done a terrific job, bringing the old garden to a new level. They have worked with us to construct a new boundary fence of slender hardwood sticks to increase privacy and stop dogs wandering (this will weather to a soft grey colour) and we added to the existing plantings which were established five or six years ago I think, in addition they fertilised everything, pruned, snipped and trimmed and re-mulched.

In what seems to be a short time the place looks loved like it has never been loved before. Congratulations to the owners and the crew that have put in the hours.

With great views over Killcare, there are salt laden winds to consider, natives were used predominantly with some hardy exotics for interest. I have never designed, or used curving gabion walls before but after looking at these, that retain the level lawn area I’m keen to try them again.

Grey-green colours unite exotics and native plants and we have used lush green rainforest plants beneath the home, where after storms a creek runs…











February 18, 2014 | Leave a Comment  | Tags:

Cellar #2


The concrete slab went down Christmas eve, on one of the hottest days of the year, it’s now stripped of its formwork and awaiting the Zego blocks

The blocks are lightweight polystyrene foam that will work as great inflation, and the voids in the blocks are to be core-filled with concrete.

Stay tuned






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February 13, 2014 | Leave a Comment  |

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