April 6, 2020 Business almost as usual

With Corona Virus on our doorstep we are looking for new ways to operate our business. We have some really exciting projects on the go and we'll continue working on them with me working from my home studio in the garden with Kaiya and Ben operating remotely where possible. None of us know what to expect,

January 8, 2020 Grasses new and old

I'm an aficionado of grasses, I championed them thirty years ago at my nursery in Sydney and have been a fan of them ever since and as with the last post I wrote on lilies I buy new ones and experiment every time I see one I don't have. Some grasses have been wonderful surprises

December 17, 2019 Familiarity

There's something very comforting with the familiarity one receives from a garden - especially a garden that you've lived with for some time, it's a part of you. In my own garden I see things flowering at the same time each year and it reassures me that all is on track and good - at

May 24, 2019 Quiet time

For once I'm having a quiet afternoon in the studio by myself, attending to all the emails I've started and never finished and doing the same thing with invoices - because if they're not sent nobody is ever going to pay them

May 7, 2019 Autumn leaves, flowers, scents and berries

It's a wild messy time of year and I love it! The paths are strewn with fallen leaves, the weeds are growing like there's no tomorrow and the garden surprises me every week with a new appearance - often unscheduled and unexpected. The days have been unseasonably warm with only a few coolish nights and the fireplace

October 7, 2018 Summer on my mind

It's cold, wet and windy, we've been waiting for rain for so long and I'm not complaining which has given me the opportunity to get writing. I've been out walking around the garden this morning making slight adjustments to plantings. I get about questioning myself if this or that plant combination is the best I

July 22, 2018 Inside Out Magazine

Sorry I've been tardy, neglecting my blog and Facebook page but hopefully I'll get some time to rectify this soon. To get kick started I've attached a link to an article by Louise McDaid that featured one of our Terrigal gardens in Inside Out Magazine in May. We love this garden which was constructed and

February 27, 2018 Gardening Australia Feature

Costa Georgiadis and the Gardening Australia Crew visited our garden recently for Episode 4 of Series 29. We took a tour (along with the dogs) and talked plant combinations and the knowledge gained from 30 years of gardening on our 2.5 hectare plot.

January 8, 2018 A New Year begins

2017 was a big year for Michael Cooke Garden Design. We've completed some really rewarding designs and the landscape contractors we work with have been implementing them beautifully. Time flies, and Mark finished up working with me after seven years and Ben swiftly moved in to fill his shoes. After studying and working in London,

January 7, 2018 Summer Flurry

It seems like nothing is growing - and then all of a sudden it happens. I like to think of the plants in my garden as a room full of people at a lecture; the speaker asks if there are any questions and most of the attendants  stare blankly into space, then one tentative hand

January 7, 2018 Sculpture

It's so hot today so I'm hanging out in the studio in the air conditioning where making adjustments to posts that I've had in my drafts box for ever I've been lucky to establish relationships last year with two new  colleagues that enrich my life artistically. I've long been an advocate of sculpture - and even

January 7, 2018 Roadside Agave

The time is almost here to say goodbye to the old Agave at my entry gate.  Agave are monocarpic which means they flower once and then die - now the buds have opened and the yellow blooms almost spent this will be it. The leaves which were once so spectacular  are swiftly withering, yellowing and

December 28, 2017 Summer Break

It’s been a while since I’ve had a moment to stop, chill and really relax like I now am, and I’m loving the luxury of sloth.   I usually wake up around 4am and go to the gym before I begin with my first appointment or I begin my working day in the studio. This morning I

October 8, 2017 The garden in October 2017

At times I've had an urge to write that was so strong I couldn't hold back - just now is not one of those times. So I've been a bit quiet on the blog, preferring the immediate reward of Instagram where I can post an image and get a response back from a hundred followers within a

August 11, 2017 Japanese Quince

In some winter gardens things are bleak, but in my own garden - and in the gardens we design, this is rarely the case. There are countless plants that have been virtually lost from our Australian gardens, like the japonica as they used to be known. These fool proof shrubs were one seen in gardens everywhere

May 7, 2017 Cooler days = time to get out in the garden

At last the summer heat is behind us, and after the recent rain the garden couldn't have a broader smile. There's a fat Camellia sasanqua `Yuletide' outside the studio by the driveway and I walk past it many times each day and it's not only it's clear red colour and golden stamens that make please me it's the

April 6, 2017 Disobedient Gardens talk at Glenmore House

  Two years ago I finally got to visit the garden at Glenmore House on one of their spring open days, and I did so with my Dad. I have known Mickey Robertson the owner of Glenmore via Instagram for a few years and admire what she has created. Both of us had a book published last year with Murdoch Books -

March 4, 2017 Bones

Whilst working with some new clients last year I finally met the talented Denese Oates, a sculptor whose work I've admired since I first saw 'Cocoon'one of her sculptures in the garden at Valleyfield' - where I have been involved for many years, which as it so happens is also the subject of the first chapter

January 28, 2017 Another Morning in Paradise

This morning feels like a holiday. Late getting out of bed (6am is late for me) and after feeding dogs, chickens and horses a slow walk around the garden to check out what's happening. The grass is long - too long, but Cathy will get to that later this morning or tomorrow. The garden is