Father’s Day 2014: Concerning Seaweed And Quadratic Equations

This is a fictional letter. My father, John, who had been living for some years with Alzheimer’s, died shortly after I emigrated to Australia. My sister and I looked after Dad at home for several years until he required full time professional care. During the period when his mind was failing, remembering our family and things…

Hedge on the Edge: Is This The Ultimate Hibiscus?

I have been instructed by Denise Horchner of the Perennial Poppies Garden Club to write about my Phillip Island Hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis. This Australian species could be described as the ultimate hibiscus. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only person who uses this critically endangered wildflower as a flowering hedge. Planted to welcome visitors and to shelter my front garden from desiccating wind, birds and people love its blooms. I make jam and a soothing tea from a species that has become my signature plant.

Succulents: Chlorophyll With Character

My first flower memory is of a cactus. I was about three years old and peering up into a huge, red Epiphyllum flower. It sprouted from an old, much-loved plant belonging to my Grandmother. My sister still grows a cutting from the plant Nan acquired during the Great Depression (around 1929). It’s been in my…

In Flower This Mid-winter’s Day At Bellis, Brisbane

For Brisbane to skip one winter is forgivable, but to skip two winters in a row seems somewhat careless. May was the hottest month on Earth since records began. June 2014 is the 352nd consecutive month of above average global temperatures.

Cathedral Fig Walk with Redcliffe Tree Society

Today I joined the recently formed Redcliffe Tree Society beside Moreton Bay. We met at Prince Edward Parade to admire the ‘Cathedral Fig Walk’ of native fig trees (Ficus benjamina) planted over half a century ago by (now former) Redcliffe council.

Right Plant, Right Place: Wynnum Branch of Queensland Transport

I love seeing well grown plants used to maximum effect. Outside the Wynnum office of the Queensland Transport grows Callistemon ‘Little John’, a native bottlebrush. It’s growing as a boundary hedge, and it’s the only living feature on the property.

In Production Today: April 2014

A couple of brief April showers kept the grass green, but below the surface the soil remains dry. It’s ideal weather for propagating Cranberry Hibiscus and Four Seasons Herb, cuttings are rooting within ten days. Although the value of each watering is lasting longer now the days are shorter and the nights cooler, I won’t…

Do Sydney’s Botanic Gardens Need Redeveloping?

Instead of asking the staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, The Guardian asks assorted architects for their take on the controversial plan to redesign one of Sydney’s most cherished and tranquil landmarks…