Problem Solving

A novel water feature

A novel water feature

Years ago when I designed the garden we incorporated a bath as a water feature. It was positioned so that the fountain could be seen from inside the house at the end of a long passageway. All progressed very well but during the drought adding water to the bath was a low priority and the additional heat turned the water a lovely shade of green. Continue reading

Colour Contrasts

Boronia and cushion bush

Boronia and cushion bush

When designing how my garden looks I consider different colour effects and how plants will look when they are not in flower, which is often quite a long period of the year. Cushion Bush, Leucophyta brownii are lovely silver foliaged plants, they is often seen growing in coastal areas. Continue reading

Tree Ferns

Tree Ferns

I have had tree ferns for years and when they out grew their shade cover and we reassessed how close to the house we wanted them from a fire protection point of view.  We moved to another area where they receive protection from the sun so we did not have to build a shade structure.

The problem is that tree ferns require a fair bit of water to re-establish and maintain and I should have added some water crystals and compost to the soil before planting. We dug big enough holes and tried to shift the some ferns with their existing root mass but others had to be cut and replanted.

I have buried plastic and some old terra cotta pots near their trunks so watering is more efficient. I realise that in a sustainable garden I probably shouldn’t have tree ferns where they require extra water but every time I think they have died they put out new shoots and I can’t give up on them yet.

Living walls

A living wall

Sometimes it may be easier to enclose an area with a simple but sturdy framework and cover it with a climber than to build a more solid structure like a wall. You may also consider growing a narrow hedge.

A vertical display of plants

Enclosing a space provides privacy, protection from the wind and a micro-climate that will enable you to grow plants that may be more difficult to grow elsewhere. A living wall provides a cooling effect.

A framework that holds some pots with a method for keeping them moist allows more use of space if you only have a small space to work with. These photos were taken in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

When choosing climbers avoid the vigorous ones, as they will require more work to keep under control.  I have planted some pandoreas on fences in the past and they require constant checking to make sure they are not sending long shoots into adjacent trees and shrubs and strangling them.

Using Grasses

Tussock Grass

I have been including native grasses in my garden for a few years. They add a contrast and movement. Tussock Grass, Poa labilliardierei, has done well this season. It is in a position to take advantage of the extra rainfall.

It is a dense tussocky grass with thin leaves and is over a metre tall. When the wind blows the grass sways and looks good against the stone wall in the background.