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.

Open Day At Bellis

Almost 1,700 people visited my garden last weekend. And what a very friendly, gentle, respectful and very inquisitive mob they all were. I found the first visitor snoozing in her car as the dawn mist was rising. People arrived gradually at first, but as Brisbane turned on one of its magical autumn days, things began…

Gardens Of Remembrance

Flora Mortis: Chittagong Commonwealth War Grave A selection of photographs taken when I was guided around by my friend Tanbir, in Bangladesh, July 2011.

‘Bellis’ – A Model 21st Century Garden

‘Bellis’, Brisbane’s award winning sustainable house and garden, is now seven years old. Last October this place won a national Save Water! Award in the Built Environment category. Since its inception, this 810 square metre property has collected over 7 megalitres of rainwater and recycled over 3 megalitres of sewage water. In the ornamental subtropical…

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…

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.

First Flowering: Pandanus cookii

This summer my fifteen year old specimen of Pandanus cookii flowered. It was collected from Cape York by Yuruga Nursery in the Atherton Tableland, where I bought it. Like all Pandanus, they are intolerant of frost and grow best in sub-coastal gardens in full sunshine in an open position with excellent drainage. I watered my…

Pretty Edible

I had a vacant vegetable bed last summer and decided to plant it with decorative edible plants just to show how good food can also be decorative. On the blue bamboo frame I sowed luffa, beside the frame I planted golden sweetpotato ‘Marguerite’. The central plantings consisted of Amaranthus tricolor ‘Joseph’s Coat’, and near the…

Seeking Sansevierias

Having to give away my collection of croton cultivars during Brisbane’s ongoing drought made sense at the time. But I do enjoy collecting plants, so I’ve decided to collect drought-resistant Sansevieria instead. Pictured is Sansevieria suffruticosa subsp. longituba from Kenya, which grows 15 – 20cm high. This plant produces flowers on spikes up to 30cm…

First Flowering: Freycinetia scandens

Freycinetia scandens is an evergreen scrambling vine which I’ve seen growing in coastal rainforest from far northern Queensland south to Fraser Island. They need a damp, sheltered, semi-shaded position. My plant, grown from a cutting, is now six years old. It first flowered in March and would probably have flowered before now, had I not tip…

Is Duncan Street’s Nature Strip Now Safe?

Bayside residents have vowed to stop council plans to eliminate this nature strip. Subsequent media coverage by ABC Radio and Channel Ten TV on Tuesday 27th May 2008, it now appears that Brisbane City Council are willing to discuss ways to retain and improve this community asset! Here’s the original story