“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”

Nature has gently eased us out of summer with hints of what's to come; the mornings bring cool fresh air, but the high temperatures along the coast and inland last week tease us back into summer mode. So the bees in the garden are still very active. Throughout the garden, some roses have tell-tale signs… Continue reading “Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”

Life In The Autumn Garden

Many hours have been spent in the garden this week. I'm taking advantage of the cool mornings that allow at least five hours of gardening before the sun's intensity becomes too hot. It is cathartic, cutting back summer growth and pulling weeds so tall in some spots they were up to my shoulders. The word… Continue reading Life In The Autumn Garden

To everything there is a season. 

Autumn, the crème de la crème of all the seasons, in my view, has arrived. I suspect the hot days may continue in the afternoons for several more weeks. Still, the hint of Autumn days' freshness, clarity, stillness and beauty is apparent every morning, and it is magic. Autumn's arrival may appear disappointing as summer… Continue reading To everything there is a season. 

“Gardening is a work of a lifetime: you never finish.”

  Early morning this week was slightly cooler, creating perfect gardening conditions. As the sun came across the lawn, it still felt like summer but not so intensely hot. It's a small sign but very welcome and reminds me that Autumn may not be too far away after all. Usually, garden work is brief or… Continue reading “Gardening is a work of a lifetime: you never finish.”

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.

The days spent in New Zealand and Tasmania were primarily overcast, but we are now in full swing of late Summer back in the garden, with temperatures reaching 40-41 degrees C and little to no rainfall. The only time to comfortably garden is in the early hours of each day. Summer gardens in Australia demand… Continue reading Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.

“Garden design is all about concealment and surprise.”

Now that I've had time to reflect on all I've seen in recent travels my favorite Botanical Garden is in Tasmania? The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens ( RTBG ) has a wealth of specialist collections ranging from the Lily Pond, the Japanese Garden, the Historic Wall, and the Gate Keepers Cottage to the Community Food… Continue reading “Garden design is all about concealment and surprise.”

“One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people’s yards.”

As I write, I am on board the Cunard line 'Queen Elizabeth' Ship as part of the Inaugural Australian Gardening Journey 4-11th February 2023, which has been excellent. One of the highlights was visiting more of Australia's Botanical Gardens when in Port. However, the inclement weather made visiting the Melbourne Gardens impossible, but it was… Continue reading “One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people’s yards.”

“Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.”’

Today is a serene and beautiful clear sunny day, peaceful and still after the early morning cool and not a cloud in the sky. The sun shines, and the day is expected to be hot, a perfect summer day. Alas, like all things in nature, just when you thought it was time to enjoy the… Continue reading “Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.”’

“ The most productive time in the garden is not spent digging and working but sitting and contemplating. ” 

Summer in the garden is all about doing as little as possible; it is a time to enjoy the roses and soak up the sun and summer breeze whilst thinking of all that needs to be done- watering, weeding and deadheading. Only a few gardeners can sit idle when deadheading needs doing, and most are… Continue reading “ The most productive time in the garden is not spent digging and working but sitting and contemplating. ” 

“As I leave the garden, I take a renewed view. And a quiet soul.”

Recently I visited the Botanical Gardens of two New Zealand cities, Dunedin and Christchurch. It was an uplifting experience to wander in the gardens and see a snapshot of the plants and trees of New Zealand's South Island and especially the roses bred here. As the quote above states, I left feeling at peace and… Continue reading “As I leave the garden, I take a renewed view. And a quiet soul.”

I’m having a Magenta day. Not just red, but Magenta!

My rose garden began with my desire to play with colour. Like an artist's palette, the colours and hues available in roses are endless. Colour is everywhere; we see colours, feel them, taste, touch, and smell them and they have a profound effect on us in natural and numerous ways; moods, behaviour, circadian rhythms, motivation,… Continue reading I’m having a Magenta day. Not just red, but Magenta!

“Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings.” 

Today's the last day of the year, and I am in a celebratory mood looking forward to the New Year and a holiday away. As the year closes, I'm a long way from the garden by the harbour in Sydney, celebrating the end of a successful Spring but also reflecting on the past year. Nature… Continue reading “Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings.” 

“And now let us welcome the New Year, Full of things that have never been.”

The dawn of a New Year is nearly here - a fresh start full of life's promise, a time when we celebrate new beginnings and plot new year's resolutions to be more mindful in our lives. For the garden, though, the new year is springtime in the southern hemisphere. By year's end, the delights of… Continue reading “And now let us welcome the New Year, Full of things that have never been.”

Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year.

As I look back on the past year in the garden, there are many triumphs, a few heartaches and much improvement. One of the lessons I've learnt this year is that gardens do not happen overnight; a relaxed attitude and patience are needed whilst waiting for the garden to mature. I now observe new forms… Continue reading Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year.

“The secret of landscapes isn’t creation…It’s maintenance.

All the new roses are transforming the garden landscape, and I am loving the changes. There are small glimpses of the colours and style to expect as the roses settle in and become more established. They blend beautifully with the older roses that are the garden stalwarts having triumphed and endured the last few years… Continue reading “The secret of landscapes isn’t creation…It’s maintenance.

“Yesterday’s rose endures in its name, we hold empty names”.

The names of roses, the history, and the romanticism of the names of roses are aspects, along with playing with colour, that I love about growing roses. Nowhere else could we find so varied a selection of people linked only through a rose name. Indeed, what else would the painter Auguste Renoir have in common… Continue reading “Yesterday’s rose endures in its name, we hold empty names”.

“It is December, and my world smells of roses.“

Today, the open windows on the first morning of summer bring a more profound joy because our Spring was so cloud-covered and wet. At last, the sun shines, it is wonderful and the garden looks and feels like summer. As if overnight, Spring undergrowth has dried and is, in part, ready to cut back, masses… Continue reading “It is December, and my world smells of roses.“

“Wild roses are fairest, and nature a better gardener than art.”

A tousled abundance of roses and perennials was my intent on creating a garden; sure enough, a profusion of roses and other florals now permeates the garden as spring nears the end of its reign. Copious roses hang from arching canes and interweave amongst the lavender, herbs and geraniums. Some stand upright with the sky… Continue reading “Wild roses are fairest, and nature a better gardener than art.”

“If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

Roses are the masterpiece of nature, adored the world over for their beauty and mesmerising fragrance. Today I have a selection of roses I photographed on one day early this week when I ducked outside to the damp garden to shoot a few snaps of the roses that were in bloom and had survived the… Continue reading “If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

“Each garden has its own surprise.”

Season after season, wonderful surprises pop up in the garden as if by magic. These unexpected elements create new landscapes that are delightful reminders of what gardening is actually about. Mirabel Osler calls it the 'alchemy of the garden.' A pleasing effect from a myriad of plants creates something more than individual details. An unexpected… Continue reading “Each garden has its own surprise.”

“It takes a loyal gardener to tend roses.”

  The garden is buzzing with life, and the roses are spectacular in every direction. The best news is that the roses have only just started to open, which means many more weeks and months of blooms are yet to come, Spring: a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be. One of the… Continue reading “It takes a loyal gardener to tend roses.”

“The real voyage in discovery is not in new landscapes but in having new eyes”

New landscapes are emerging, and I'm seeing the garden for the first time with fresh eyes because, at last, when I walk in the garden, I feel as though with fragrance wafting in the air and an abundance of perfect roses it is a 'proper garden' now. The experience of watching the roses unfold is… Continue reading “The real voyage in discovery is not in new landscapes but in having new eyes”

Out of the Blue

body of water during dawn

Blue is one of the most popular colours. The azure blue of the sky is reflected in our lakes, oceans and waterways and creates the haze in distant mountains but the pigment blue in the garden is extremely rare. So, even though Blue is all around us in the environment, Blue is elusive and there… Continue reading Out of the Blue

And they’re off…

No, I'm not talking about the Melbourne Cup, even though it is on soon. It is the Spring flush in the garden that has my attention. Each morning I wake to more and more blooms radiating like beacons over the garden despite the cloudy, wet weather. One by one, each rose bush opens with a… Continue reading And they’re off…

“There may be many flowers in a person’s life, but there is only one rose.”

A favourite rose is difficult to define, but the Lady of Shalott® rose is a cherished rose in my garden. The photo above is the first bloom of the year and was taken in the shade on a cloudy day, so it does not highlight the golden glow these beautiful roses usually emit. A romantic… Continue reading “There may be many flowers in a person’s life, but there is only one rose.”

“A gardener learns to play the hand he’s dealt” 

Once again, I've been saved from garden watering by obliging clouds and another deluge of rain over the last three days. It was predicted and arrived on schedule almost to the hour, beginning as quiet stillness in the air that made me think of the phrase, the calm before the storm. Followed by soft Irish… Continue reading “A gardener learns to play the hand he’s dealt” 

“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”

Spring is here, and what a delight it is each morning to witness the buds unfolding that herald the start to the season. Sometimes hidden under the spectacular, fresh, clean and new foliage, are welcome flashes of colour from new blooms. The leaves are stunning too, from glossy lime green to darkest maroon with bright… Continue reading “Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”

“If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am.”

The portrait above is a beautiful painting of HM Queen Elizabeth II, aged nine years, who was born Princess Elizabeth of York (1926-2022). May she rest in Peace. The artist is Hungarian-British painter Philip Alexius de László, known for his portraits of royals and aristocrats. (1869-1937)Queen Elizabeth II, like others in the Royal family, have… Continue reading “If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am.”

“The sound of the rain needs no translation.”

dew glass rain raindrops

Overnight the garden has gone from an abundance of colourful perfumed roses and perennials to a windblown saturated, flooded garden. Many roses lie in a sodden mess face down in ponds of still water. I love the sound of rain on our tin roof, but just now, rain is not what we want to hear.… Continue reading “The sound of the rain needs no translation.”

“In the garden as in writing, punctuation is needed to clarify structure and meanings. A garden without punctuation is like prose without full stops or music without a beat.”

Spring is in the air and there are signs that the garden is coming together. Over the time I've been gardening, the climbing roses have been the trickiest to get right. I initially envisaged an abundance of rose blooms cascading around the front door and verandah posts of the old Australian farmhouse (1910 ) where… Continue reading “In the garden as in writing, punctuation is needed to clarify structure and meanings. A garden without punctuation is like prose without full stops or music without a beat.”

“Spring: The music of open windows.”

Spring is here, and good times in the garden are coming. Don't you just love the first days of early Spring when the windows can be flung open, and the breeze can blow through the house after all the rain and cold of winter? It enlivens the senses and makes you feel good, especially on… Continue reading “Spring: The music of open windows.”

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”

Today is crisp and beautiful; the sun shines after yesterday's wet day. Sheep graze in the long grass and the new roses that were 'heeled in' are now all planted. The days after rain have an allure all their own that no amount of watering can replicate. It's like waking up to a promise of… Continue reading “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”

“Nothing is more the child of art than a garden.” 

Claude Monet in his garden Many great painters from the past were also avid gardeners who chose to paint their surroundings and families enjoying the garden. Why not? The garden is so full of colour through the months of spring, summer and autumn, with beautiful spaces to view and capture in paint. At this time… Continue reading “Nothing is more the child of art than a garden.” 

“Just remember, during the winter, there’s a seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.”

Frost on Lamb's Ear As the light came across the horizon at dawn on several mornings this week, a white landscape of thick frost was revealed, all is motionless, and it's bitterly cold. Although I noticed yesterday that the surrounding paddocks of canola are coming into flower, a sure sign we are heading towards Spring,… Continue reading “Just remember, during the winter, there’s a seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.”

“The Rose is without an explanation; She blooms because She blooms.”

Winter has been here with a vengeance over the last few weeks with wild weather, heavy rain and devastating floods in Australia for the third time this year. It is cold and bleak outside, but the odd thing is there are hundreds of roses out in bloom. Some roses blooming have never really been in… Continue reading “The Rose is without an explanation; She blooms because She blooms.”