Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2018

It is always fun to visit Australia’s most impressive gardening event and this year my attention was captured by the fabulous ‘Avenue of Achievable Gardens’. These are small display gardens designed by up and coming garden design students and there were three gardens designed by students at Melbourne Polytechnic that were stunning in their use of Australian plants. Bessie Richards, Sarah Jardine and Elinor Beard all won awards for their innovative designs. There are so many great native plants that can be used to create ‘cottage’ style, formal and informal relaxed looks, as well as modern and avant garde looking gardens in small urban spaces. Below is Sarah Jardine’s ‘Wonder Wall’ garden, that came home with the Award of Excellence in the Avenue of Achievable Gardens competition. It shows a mixing of natives such as the kangaroo paw ‘Bush Diamond’ with exotic plants, the restrained colour palette gives a restful effect in a small space. Very easy care!

Pure Oils of Tasmania

I have said in previous newsletters that there would be news of why I have moved here to Tasmania. Part of my ‘tree change’ to here has been a conscious effort to get back to doing what I love best – hands-on horticulture. As such I have started a new business called Pure Oils of Tasmania because I want to explore the potential of the Tasmanian flora for the many and varied botanical compounds that can be found in the tissues of plants. To this end I have been appointed as an honorary research associate at the University of Tasmania where I have been given a licence to collect plants from the wild and can use the distillation and analytical facilities to look for new medicinal and nice smelling essential oils for commercial development. I am also working with Tasmanian growers of essential oils and they are supplying us with several oils that we are proud to introduce to you in this newsletter. All are members of the Eucalyptus family, Myrtaceae, and they share the useful properties that we are all familiar with in Eucalyptus oil, in being useful for clearing blocked sinuses, treating cuts and abrasions with antiseptic action and so on. The three species we are introducing initially are Manuka (as in Manuka honey, Leptospermum scoparium), Lavender Tea Tree (Melaleuca ericifolia) and Kunzea ambigua. Kunzea oil has gained a reputation in Tasmania for various medicinal properties which are currently being tested at the University of Tasmania. I will keep you updated as my interesting new project develops in future, as I think there is a lot of wonderful things to come still with our own native plants. Please try our oils if you are interested in natural botanical aromas and medicines!

Flinders Island

Part of my research on essential oils has taken me to Flinders Island, a part of Tasmania off the north east coast. It is one of our sources of essential oils for the immediate future because of extensive stands of Melaleuca, Kunzea and Leptospermum that are being sustainably harvested from private property there. The famous ‘roaring forties’ winds that sweep the island ensure that it has some of the cleanest air and water in the world and I am excited to be working with the Flinders Islanders to research this fascinating field.

Flinders Island is also one of the most beautiful spots I have been to in my travels around Australia with imposing granite mountains and azure blue bays and snow white beaches, rather reminiscent of the better known coastline of southern WA such as the beaches near Esperance or Kangaroo Island in SA. The wildlife there is also abundant given the absence of foxes, with small marsupials such as pademelons and wombats everywhere. Definitely worth a visit if you like pristine Australian environments!

News From The Gardening With Angus Shop

We have been trialling a range of Aussie plants in smaller 40mm tubes with the aim of people being able to source interesting native plants to add to their gardens. It has been a great success, with good feedback from people, so we have added lots of new varieties to our plant list this month, with tried and tested old varieties plus new and interesting ones.

Small tubes need a bit more care to establish due to the small root ball size, but I have found over the years that they tend to eventually establish better root systems. Larger plants from nurseries work well for time poor people who can’t give the baby plants a lot of care in the initial stages of growth, and you get a more instant garden. Less expensive tubes are good for experimenting with new plants, and for filling in the gaps! The more mild months of Autumn and Spring are a great time to plant tubes.

Regular readers will know that I helped develop a fertiliser with one of our top soil scientists, Simon Leake for the all Australian fertiliser company Neutrog. Bush Tucker is specifically designed for a wide range of Australian native plants. Neutrog and I would love people to try this great product, so we are going to include a FREE 300 gram tub of Bush Tucker with  every order over 12 plants.

And don’t forget Mothers Day coming up……we have a few things which would appeal to garden loving mums, from books to cards, worm farms and neat growing systems. And the new essential oils of course!  Check out the range here>>>