Sydney Garden Designer Michael Cooke - Michael Cooke Garden Design

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 day or so.

We’re ridiculously busy designing gardens in the studio, which is another reason why my urge to write has been quelled, and it’s spring so the telephone never stops ringing!

We have Cathy’s sister and my brother in law from South Africa arriving in  a few weeks and our good friends from France as well, and Cathy and I have been gardening, getting things ready for lazy afternoons, and new faux wicker chairs on the deck under the camphor laurel are tempting us to sit on them for long lazy lunches, games or petanque’ and glasses of rose’. Without rain the paddocks are parched and when you walk over them you hear the brittle leaf blades and stolons snapping. Trees freshly planted throughout winter need buckets of water carried out to them or they’ll soon perish and this is what we do – we show them the love now and they’ll reward us in years to come with welcome shade.

The familiarity of my garden is comforting and I like the repetition of seasonal jobs. Each year the lilies appear from the bare earth and this week I staked the, tied a stem to each cane and sat one of my treasured antique terracotta pots on top. Each week I will revisit the lilies and if they have grown sufficiently I’ll add another twist-tie.

Cercis Forest pansy and newly staked lilium

Cercis Forest pansy and newly staked lilium



Zucchini have been planted in the vegetable garden and rocket seeds for summer salads – I just hope the possums don’t eat them before I do.

Hippeastrum are one of those old fashioned plants that appear in old gardens and these are just another plant I find hard to resist when I find one I don’t have. Usually I’m fanatical about nomenclature and want the correct latin name on every plant I have but with hippies I know a few, others are known as Gail’s hippie because that’s who gave me the bulbs and then there’s the cream and red stroppy one that reminds me of a big girl wearing a dress that’s too tight and bright on race day…take a look you can guess what one I mean.


parrot amaryllis

parrot amaryllis – Hippeastrum psittacinum



Hippeastrum papilio