Growing Australian Plants In London

When the Guardian published a few shots of Australian plants that can be grown in Britain, I had a flashback to my Australian-effect front garden in London.

Food With A Future

Whatever they said to you at school, farming is the oldest profession.

A Taste of Macedonia

  When I noticed someone in Macedonia was reading my blog, it occurred to me that food is the easiest way to appreciate a different culture. So I looked up ‘My Macedonian Kitchen’ and prepared some Tavče Gravče.

A Rare Honour

Our Phillip Island Hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis, has been immortalised in a botanical illustration by Halina Steele. This work is now part of the collections of the National Herbarium of NSW… “Dear Jerry I have finally finished my painting of Hibiscus insularis and as you were kind enough to send me photos of this plant, I…

Queensland’s Flying Foxes Are Starving – Again

Pictured: driven by famine, a black flying fox drinks nectar from my banana flowers before sunset Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld President, Louise Saunders, is alarmed by the large number of reports about hungry flying-foxes staying by food trees through the day and not returning to their camps. “This is of huge concern as bats…

Symbionts In The Shrubbery

Whilst scrabbling around on my knees this morning, mulching the front garden with chopped sugarcane, I noticed the biggest and best display of coralloid roots is currently bursting through the surface of the leafy soil.

Darwinia polychroma

I’ve finally found the original slide I took when I discovered this new species of Darwinia (Myrtaceae) whilst in Western Australia on the Thornton-Smith Scholarship in 1982. Each year the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew funds a botanical expedition for one of its students on completion of the Kew course. I spent six months travelling, collecting…

Big Solutions Create Bigger Problems

Built or not the Traveston Dam is an historic relic of a bygone era. Building it in defiance of all the science, in defiance of a united community, and during a rapidly warming climate defines Queensland as a 21st century failed state. Shelving it in favour of a strong environment supporting our food and water security and protecting endangered species might yet make us a smart one.

Botanical Stamps

A selection collected by my parents, grandfather and me. One way for a child to learn about plants and places…and a bit of botanical latin too. There’s just one from my grandfather’s collection: Cattleya skinneri, an orchid. Stamps of his era hadn’t tapped into the profitable collectors’ market. There are more from my father’s collection…

The Drought In Management

Evolving about 350 million years ago, the Australian Lungfish (aka the Queensland Lungfish), Neoceratodus forsteri, represents an ancient animal line, more precious than the Wollemi Pine. Of the six living lungfish species found worldwide, our native species is the most ancient and distinctive. As a child I was fascinated by prehistoric creatures. Instead of fantasising…