Showing posts with the label gardens

My Coota garden (autumn 2016)

Our first summer in Coota has been interesting. Rain — irregular. From October to March we had just over 300mm in total, but November had 88mm, February only 18mm. This was tough on plants, since I did only two supplementary waterings over that time. Temperatures —hot. Mean maximum temps were around 30 degrees Celsius. Very hard work for plants. So what survived? Drum roll ... The winner is:  Hardenbergia. Spread all over the place and just laughed at the weather. Unfortunately, so did the cursed “lawn”, some kind of invasive runner-based grass. Close runners up: Callistemon (bottlebrush) and Melaleuca (paperbark). These have water-conserving narrow leaves with hard coatings. Comfortable without thriving: Grevillea, protea, African daisies of some kind, semi-succulent, Mexican Orange Blossom, mandarin, lilli pilli, kangaroo paw, various unidentified corms and bulbs. Battlers: Roses, camellias, abelia, cherry. Didn’t die but are in poor conditio

My Coota garden

This is going to be fun! First a deconstruction. Cootamundra -- thick clay soil, relatively low rainfall in the 500 to 600mm per annum range, frosty winters, baking hot summers over 40 degrees C. Like the extremes of Canberra only at lower altitude. And our new garden, built by people who loved perennial flowers. Hmmm. My basic philosophy is, water when establishing plants or during periods of extreme heat or dryness. Other than that, they're on their own. Instead, my predecessors installed a spray irrigation system and used it often. This means the plants are used to regular water and have shallow roots. I'm ruthless, though. If they can't survive a couple of weeks or even a month of dry they can go ahead and die. Lots of them will. For example, the camellias and azaleas, planted on a north facing fence in full sun. A big ask. They're doomed. And the soil looks bad, these poor little things can't even access the iron in there if those yellow leaves are any

Spring in Canberra: Nara Peace Park

Nara Peace Park is a Japanese-style garden set in the Lennox Gardens parkland behind the Hotel Hyatt on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Wonderful in autumn and in spring, lots of room to run around or picnic.

Spring in Canberra: National Gallery of Australia Sculpture Garden

Of all Canberra's public gardens, this (and the National Botanic Gardens) are my favourites. At the NGA you can see Australian and international sculpture surrounded by Australian native gardens, fantastic. Wonderful any time of the year, best when it's not too cold and windy of course.

Spring in Canberra: Tulip Top Gardens

Spring at last! Canberra people get pretty excited when spring arrives after the long dark days and the cold mornings. It doesn't last for long, but it's spectacular while it's here. Canberra has a spring flower festival, Floriade , held beside Lake Burley Griffin in the centre of the city. But that isn't all Canberra has to offer for garden lovers. My next few blogs will show you some of the other beautiful gardens Canberra has to offer. Tulip Top isn't in Canberra, it's a few kilometres northeast on the Federal Highway, and is only open during Floriade. Well worth a visit though.