Native Bee Day

On Saturday I became the proud owner of a hive of native stingless bees, Trigona carbonaria. Damo had done some web-searching and found that Tim Heard, a CSIRO entomologist and native bee specialist, supplies colonies and his brother, Frank, makes specially designed hives for them. Stingless bees and honeybees happily co-exist. Happily Brisbane provides an…

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…

Open Day

Last weekend we opened our place as part of the Australian Open Garden Scheme. I chose August to open because that’s when our Phillip Island Hibiscus hedge, Hibiscus insularis, is in flower. Well, in the end it didn’t because the recent frost set it back a fortnight. I also chose this time because right now,…

Safer Solutions – Media Release

Total Environment Centre (TEC) today released the ‘Easy Guide to Organic Gardening’ at the showcase of the Integrated Sustainability Education Partnership Program. The new guide provides home gardeners with advice on how to avoid exposing themselves and their families to the harmful chemicals found in many synthetic pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides used in the garden.

In Flower Today

This is what’s flowering in our garden during the last week of our brief subtropical autumn:

Dead Pretty

Visiting Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane, was well worthwhile. The Victorian landscape influence is strong: tall evergreen trees line the older roads, beautiful floral stonework – ivy leaves, fruiting grapes and Madonna lilies are easy to find.

Celebrating Three Years Of Drought

Planted in September 2004 the plants in our front garden were watered for six weeks to establish them. Apart from the hedge and two potted plants, the garden hasn’t been watered since.

A Blot On The Landscape

In many ways SE Qld is Australia’s garden centre, propagating and supplying landscapers and nurseries throughout SE Australia. Despite this, many good nursery businesses in this region are suffering during the drought. Lost custom and level 5 watering restrictions are putting reputable people out of work, and businesses are closing down. Imagine you’re a professional…

Here Comes The Summer

I always loved that song by the Undertones, a track that just has to be played when summer comes… The Koels are back in town after a long break in Papua New Guinea, busily laying eggs in other birds nests – such tropical cuckoos. Wonder how long it will be before my friend Alan, of…

In Flower Today

The Carpenter bees and mosquitoes are back again – a sure sign of the end of spring.

Rohin’s Organic Botanic Garden

An upcoming story on Gardening Australia will feature Rohin Miles, a Gardener of the Year Award entrant. The story features Rohin, a 20 year old gardener. His passions range from ornamentals, productive and heritage plants, exotics and natives. He’s an apprentice gardener with Tweed Shire Council in the Northern Rivers of NSW. We filmed at…

Extraordinary Gardeners

Recently ‘Gardening Australia’ screened a segment filmed at Denise and Henk Horchner’s water-wise subtropical cottage garden. You can see that we get on well…they have a great sense of humour and I LOVE old-fashioned gardens and I LOVE discovering plants that I’ve never seen before. The Viola dissecta mentioned is only the second specimen I’ve…