January 14, 2017 Summer Heat

Yesterday the temperature soured to around 44 degrees here. Late afternoon when we headed off in the car to meet friends for dinner the car temperature gauge said 48, which was extraordinarily unpleasant. The heat was no surprise the weather bureau had warned us it was coming and I had the garden watered which as

December 9, 2016 Hidden Gem

This morning after I had finished at the gym I was drove through a hidden valley not far from home on the Central Coast - it was early, only 6.30 and the garden I was returning to is one I have been working on with the owner Clayton for a few years. As we walked around

December 3, 2016 Valley Garden

Steve from Shakkei Landscaping has been working on this project from a few years ago when we completed the design, and the Shakkei team are still maintaining the garden. As anyone who has read my book Disobedient Gardens knows, there is nothing I enjoy as much as seeing one of `our'  gardens develop. When I was

November 23, 2016 Summer light

  Yesterday was a long hot day, we had just swum in the pool - and there was a slim chance there would be some well deserved rain, I was standing on the verandah cooking sausages on the bbq with Robbie my brother in law and I looked down to the nursery and took the first image, and

November 15, 2016 When imperfection is just perfect

On the sandstone terrace outside my back door is a terracotta pot with a broken handle which was given to me by a friend when she was moving house. There was an Epiphyllum growing in it when I got it - not very beautiful, with blemishes all over it, I left it in the pot just

November 13, 2016 Denese Oates sculpture

I'm very much enjoying a pair of sculptures made by Denese Oates which we had here for our open garden, which are still here at `Hawthorne' I love the lightness and transparency of these sculptures - made from copper wire and finished with verdigris they look very much at home. Midway through last Sunday afternoon I realised

November 12, 2016 On the Dry Side

  I like to use unusual plant combinations in our gardens. Plants from opposite sides of the world hold hands with one another. The only rule is basically they have to look well together and live in similar habitats - but even then it doesn't count for much if he plants are hardy and tolerant. At home

November 8, 2016 Graveyard rose

Well that's it. My book `Disobedient Gardens' has been launched and it's a strange feeling knowing that many eyes are seeing what I see and `hearing' my words as they're read. As I walked alone through the deserted garden that was full of strangers on Sunday I caught a whiff of cloves and scanned the garden for

November 5, 2016 Ready to Rock and Roll

Everything is in place, the garden is ready, the stage is set. As I said to Linda Ross on the radio 2ue yesterday - if there are any weeds and unfinished work we will put them down to disobedience which gets me out of all sorts of problems. Gates open at 10am - entry is

November 4, 2016 We’re almost ready for visitors

As the week progresses we're inching toward the big day this coming Sunday 6th November when we open our gates to the public, and launch `Disobedient Gardens' the book I have been writing and working on for almost four years (with extraordinary images by Brigid Arnott). For Cathy and I this day also signifies the

October 18, 2016 Waterside success

Last Friday Mark and I had a delivery to do; a garden to fill with plants before a weekend party guests. And within one minute of the delivery we had two other gardens to call in at (busy morning). This particular garden has been planted for less than a year and is growing at a

October 18, 2016 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, it receives little water over the summer months. I grow mine in pots which date back to the 1940s and as

October 2, 2016 Wintergreen

This morning I called out to visit friends – to revisit a garden that we designed a few years ago and see the progress.  We spoke a week ago to arrange a time hoping that it would be a bright sunny day, and today was perfection. It’s a big garden so the upkeep was always going

October 2, 2016 North Avoca Garden

Early last week I was asked to call in to see the progress of a garden that we designed a few years ago. Good gardens aren’t built overnight as they are on television, and the bespoke screen that we had designed to give the owners privacy had just been installed. On this project we have used

October 1, 2016 Lush

Selling a house is always traumatic. A few months ago a friend sold the home they had lived in for many years. Before the opportunity had passed I thought I should ask Brigid to photograph it. As it turns out the new owners love the garden so much they have called me to help them out. So

October 1, 2016 Hunter Valley Projects

Travelling has refreshed me and opened my mind to the unique beauty of our own homeland. This past week Mark and I were in Hunter Valley wine country, which in Winter is very beautiful in its own special way. We have just completed another Hunter Valley design, which we began directly preceding my holiday in France,

October 1, 2016 A little bit of Provence on the Central Coast

We work with quite a few teams of talented landscape contractors every day who transform our paper designs to real gardens, and for this we are truly grateful. One such contractor is Andrew Noble from Cornerstone Landscaping who is transforming his first acreage into an inspiring place to come home to each day. And as his office is

October 1, 2016 A Lilliputian World

This year we have produced half a dozen designs for Evergrow Group – a client who aims to, and is, building high end housing developments. We’re working with White + Dickson Architects and for each of these projects they have produced a scale model to help understand how things will look. When we design we’re used