Happy New Year

Christmas is over, and now we welcome in a new year. Time for appreciating the year past, and the new one beginning. As things change in the world, there are some constants that stay with us. Family, friends, home and the beauty of nature are some of the things that I love, so I’ll be focusing on strengthening my connections with them in 2015.

The summer break is a good chance to spend with family and friends. Time spent exploring our amazing Australian bush is great for the soul and for your health, both physical and mental. Our natural bush is a constant source of inspiration for my plant breeding, book writing and garden design work.

Make some time on holidays or at weekends to get out for a walk- Australia has a superb network of state and National Parks and state forests to explore.


So many good ones, it is hard to choose just a few.

Sydney Harbour National Park is wonderful. It preserves some of the environment that aborigines made their home for over 40,000 years, and that would have greeted European arrivals, just over two centuries ago. Foresighted people created this gem on the harbour shores for everyone to enjoy. Take a walk through 392 hectares, featuring natural vegetation, swimming and picnic spots and historical areas, all a stones throw from a large and busy city. You can book a place to view the new years eve fireworks too, a wonderful vantage spot amongst nature, and you may hear a few jungle noises from the nearby zoo, too.

Walk through the beautiful Angophoras at Bradleys Head Park………..


………turn your head to the right to see the stunning harbour views, the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House!

NSW Parks have a regular discovery program of tours, talks and wildlife activities for kids and adults- find out more. They also welcome volunteer involvement.

I visited Booderee National Park last week, near Jervis Bay on the NSW South Coast. It has white sandy beaches, kids programs in the school holidays, great walks and the only Aboriginal owned Botanic Gardens in Australia. A highly recommended place for a few days stay.

Misty rain coming through at Point Perpedicular…..

….and then the rainbow!


Summer holidays are great for recharging your batteries, but can be hard on plants if there is a heatwave. Be sure to water everything well before you go away. A quick and light sprinkle will merely dampen the topsoil, and will disappear by evaporation quickly, so take your time to ensure your watering has penetrated deeply into the soil, especially if your garden has a thich layer of mulch. It is a good idea to check under mulch to see that the soil below is being wet.  Applying mulch after watering helps to slow drying out. Plants in pots will benefit from a surface mulch too. For more great tips to help your plants in holiday time, read my article


A healthy and flourishing garden, small or large, is a real asset, and creates an outdoor haven to enjoy. If you have to continually battle to grow certain plants, it can take away the joy of your outdoor space. Take some time to wander through your garden to see what is working well and what isn’t. Consider removing plants that are struggling or are disease prone, and replacing with ones that could be a better fit. Plants can struggle if they are not suited to your climate, soil or aspect, and it is all too easy to buy a plant that looks good in the nursery but may not flourish in your garden. The advanced search page for my plant database has a range of garden conditions that you can use when choosing your plant. You can choose one or more terms for your search, and it will bring up a range of plants for you to choose from- very handy next time you are at a nursery wondering which plant will suit your needs. Go to the advanced search page and have a try!