Designing your native garden

At the quarterly gathering in March 2024, Heather Miles gave an interactive talk on designing your native garden.

Garden Design in Theory and Practice

At the Harbour George River Group’s meeting October 2023, James Middleton, who is a
member of the Group and a professional landscape gardener, described his practice in
landscape design. His talk was illustrated with reference to a community garden project he is
working on with the Clemton Park Uniting Church. Members of the church group also talked
about their vision for the garden. This was followed by a discussion on how to implement the
garden vision with a limited budget and lots of muscle power.

Creative ecology – mini forests as one strategy for urban greening

Global warming, biodiversity loss and the deteriorating urban environment are reducing the quality of urban life. Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist, began practising creative ecology in the 1970s and devised the “tiny forest” to counter these undesirable trends. Tiny forests have been taken up in Australia recently and may be useful as a strategy in improving some environmental and social aspects of our urban environments.

All about mulch

A mulch is any covering put over the top of the soil, such as bark, woodchips, leaves, gravel and groundcovers – even a layer of leaf litter counts as a mulch.

An old burrawang in a new garden

About 40 years ago, in the early 1980s I took the family to stay in some cabins near Racecourse Beach just north of Batemans Bay for the summer holidays, shaded by iconic spotted gums with a burrawang understory.

Embrace mistletoes, don’t cut them loose

Seeing isolated dead trees that show signs of past, heavy mistletoe growth in our semi-cleared landscapes might suggest that mistletoes are the culprit. On the contrary, they are keystone ecological species, attractive components of our flora and can be part of our own gardens.

Amazing Greys

I feel confident anyone reading this would agree that gardeners have a better insight than most into changing weather patterns. Whatever the reason, the hot days seem to be getting hotter and the cold days colder but it’s usually the former that presents the greater challenges in selecting the right plant for the hot spot. Enter stage right our wonderful grey-foliaged native plants.

Dividing Some Christmas Bells

I have had for some years now a large pot of Christmas Bells (Blandfordia grandiflora). It has been reliably flowering just on Christmas every year, and in the process getting more congested. Because the pot it is in has curved sides, I have been putting off dividing it for a few years.

Ample acacias

Member Walter Stanish has shared with us images of his residential garden wattle season in Thornleigh, by the Great North Walk.

A Bush-Tucker Garden

At the Sutherlands group May meeting, Samantha Newton, an enthusiastic garden designer who has had a life of botany, landscape design, and researching ecological-sustainability issues shared her knowledge about Bush-Tucker.

Achieving a New Civic Australian Style Garden

At the May 2023 APS NSW gathering in Kariong, hosted by the Central Coast APS group, Olga Blacha gave us a fascinating talk titled: ‘Achieving a new civic Australian style garden’

Design with Nature

Throughout hiscareer Lawie Smith has been fortunate to be able to convey his ‘Design with Nature’ philosophy through all of his projects, and specifically the public parks and botanic gardens for which he have been responsible.

How to grow a native garden

I recently shared with a Garden Club how to create a native garden, why grow natives and how to go about it, as well as traps for the unwary. Here is what I shared.

Nature strip planting

A naturestrip is a legally interesting piece of land.  It is public land owned by the council with the ‘responsibility’ for its maintenance resting with the home-owner.

Healthy soil, healthy garden

Soil may seem plain to the eye but it’s a complex ecosystem in itself – if it’s a healthy soil, anyway. Maintaining a diverse range of soil microbes is important for soil to remain healthy and support good plant growth. The most practical way for gardeners to keep soil and plants healthy is by adding both organic matter and inorganic fertiliser.

Diversity or uniformity in garden design

As part of the Garden Design Study Group (free to all members), the topic was posed – is your garden design influenced by diversity or uniformity? I thought about it, and decided that my garden and my thinking had evolved through stages

The Tasmanian bushland garden

Over 20 years ago a group of Australian Plants Society members purchased an old dolerite quarry and its surrounding 20 ha bushland to build a Tasmanian bushland garden with funding coming from donations and grants.

Mal’s Wild Side: Re-Wilding a Northern Beaches Backyard

When I first came to Australia from the UK, I had a fondness for the environment but knew virtually nothing about Australian nature. Years later, when I moved from inner city living into a suburban house with a backyard, something special happened. Fascinating visitors such as Blue Tongue Lizards, Leaf Tailed Geckos and Possums provided magical wildlife encounters and my conservation passion, long suppressed, became reignited.

Eremophila standards

Growing Eremophila standards is all quite new to me but I’m having a ball experimenting with how different plants can look when grown on a stick. Grafting them has been relatively easy, as has been keeping an attractive habit while the plants are still young. However, pruning as the plants age, will I’m sure, be more of a challenge.

Southern Highlands get together – rain and shine!

About 70 people enjoyed a wonderful weekend in the Southern Highlands, hosted by the local group. We had the opportunity to visit members’ gardens, listen to a great talk by Dan Clarke, and visit a range of bush areas.

Australian flora conference chatrooms on YouTube

At the recent Australian flora conference, we had a morning of chatrooms. Chat rooms are designed to give people a broad cross section of information and insights, in an informal and inclusive setting

Native garden design: the Past INFORMS the Present and the Future

Australian native plants are known to have many values of advantage to humans.  I’ve delved through history to identify how native plants have been appreciated in the past, and if they may have informed the garden design of the present, and then ‘best guessed’ what might be expected of them in the future.       Come along it is an intriguing story . . . .

Australian flora conference – presentations available on YouTube

In September 2022, APS NSW hosted the Australian flora conference for ANPSA, focused on the past, present and future of Australian plants. There were many outstanding speakers during the conference and a good number of these presentations were recorded and are  now available on our YouTube channel.