Some like it hot…some more than others!

Finally, it feels like summer here in Perth and we are getting some hot, sunny days, easterly winds and dry heat. The children arrive home from school all red-faced from their bike ride or walk and ready for a dunk in the pool and a long, cold drink.  I love the heat that summer brings and adore all the gorgeous summer blooms that I have in my garden. They make me happy.

My garden is only 4 years old and as much as I could, I salvaged favourite plants from the old garden. I have planted tough plants in our garden, which will bloom for us, mostly all year round but especially in the summer when we are spending lots of time outdoors enjoying the long days and warm evenings. I have a good collection of Salvias, Roses and Succulents and I guess our space has a “formal cottage” feel due to the diversity of plants.

Want White?

It’s hard to beat this hardy Iceberg rose which seems to bloom most of the year. We planted it on my first Mothers Day in 2000.

I planted these sweet hibiscus along the pool fence last year, sweet delicate blooms

These bees are going crazy in this magnolia-the fragrance is overwhelming

Our garden survives on the two allowable reticulation waterings per week. We do not have a bore on our property, if we did we would be able to water three times a week.  I hand water my pots, they are not on drip irrigation.

I group plants together depending upon their water requirements.

Frangipani grown from a cutting from a friend-you don’t always need to buy all your plants, donations are fun to nurture along.

This frangipani smells like roses and was taken from a cutting from my friend Helens’ cattle station near Broome

Apricot Brugmansia-the fragrance is divine when you’re taking a dip in our pool

This year, my veggie garden is having a bit of a rest and I have planted lots of Salvias and a couple of roses in that bed behind a hedge of Rosemary Tuscan Blue. I, of course, still have herbs and veggies growing in pots! I just can’t resist having fresh herbs for my cooking.

Potted Chilli-so pretty in a shady corner

Fiery as the hops of Hades.

Burgundy Iceberg-because every good host serves up white and red

The garden is fertilised with mature compost and liquid fertilisers like Seasol Powerfeed and Compost Tea, a great product I picked up in the USA. I try and keep it all as organic as possible. I use anything organic that will bind together our ancient but gutless sand that lies beneath my feet.

Pretty in Pink…..

so many of us forget about this great plant-Oleander-it blooms all year round-this is a “borrowed” plant as it’s feet live in our neighbours yard.

David Austin ‘Jubilee Celebration’ planted for my 50th birthday

This is a climbing pelargonium that I have growing in terracotta pots

I love this geranium..another slip cutting form a friend, happily dwelling here now

Rosa Pierre de Ronsard, slowly making his way up and over my arbour

new Pierre de Ronsard buds

This is Hibiscus ‘Apple Blossom’ and it’s an awesome screening plant…and you get flowers!

I mulch my garden every two years with wood chips that I get from my friendly Arborist and I top it up with lupin mulch for pots. We re-use a lot of the leaves and nuts that drop from our Eucalypts for mulch too, they get raked up by Dr Garden Consultant and put into the garden beds.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ was a favourite of my friend Margy who we sadly lost to cancer a few years ago-I always think of her when I look at this plant

Did I mention that I love salvias?

This rare tradescantia was give to me many years ago by as nurseryman from down south.

and here’s another salvia…

Verbena bonariensis

I’m not really one that likes being told that I can’t do something- and so, I break all the rules for our climate. You can have a pretty garden in the summer. You can have an organised, abundance of flowers. You can have lovely garden on just two waterings a week. You can have a healthy patch of lawn. You can create a habitat garden in an urban setting.

I am always observing my garden to see the huge variety of bugs and birds that come to visit, I have provided lots of height variation so that we get a variety of birds and insects and somehow in this relatively small patch of dirt, we have created a habitat where they all seem to live in happy harmony and no-one eats too much of what they shouldn’t, everyone is kept in check by the other. Even Jazz, the Labradoodle chases away the doves when they eat too much of her kibble!

What’s flowering at your place this summer?

Purple. Purple and More Purple

Each year Pantone identifies a colour of the year, which helps set trends in every conceivable industry and I’m very excited to say that this year the announcement read…….

“PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, PANTONE®Color of the Year 2018. A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”

This is just adorable for us gardeners because there are so many gorgeous, purple flowering plants which you can include in your garden for a splash of on-trend colour. Purple is such a lovely addition to the garden and you will probably want to plant plenty, once the purple bug catches you.

So you want a tree

Jacaranda mimosifolia

On our honeymoon in 1998, we traveled to South Africa and I remember vividly, the stunning Jacaranda-lined streets of the capital, Pretoria. We grow Jacarandas in Perth too and in recent years many local governments are realizing the beauty of these trees as street trees and more have been planted. You can look no further than the stunning Jacaranda mimosofolia. It’s a great deciduous tree that allows winter light and shade in summer and in-between during Spring, you will be treated to a purple fiesta of beautiful flowers. These will grow to between and 20 and 30 metres tall, so allow plenty of space. Deep watering in the early years, through the summer months, will encourage growth.

How about a shrub

‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’

My personal favourite shrub is the evocatively lemon fragranced Brunsfelsia latifolia, which is endemic to Brazil. It is also known as ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ as the flowers bloom and fade from bright purple to shades of violet and the almost white. These grow very well in our climate and offer a little bit of height in the garden bed and then there is that unmistakeable fragrance-you will not be able to walk past without taking in a deep sniff of this beauty. They will grow up to 1.8m in height and require full sun-part shade.

have you a passion for purple???

A groundcover perhaps

Scaevola-WOW!

How about Scaevola in a hanging basket?

Some years ago Kings Park in Perth, as part of their plant breeding programme, set about propagating something to rival the petunia for Perth gardens and they created Scaevola ‘Purple Fanfare’. This plant has taken off all over the world and can be found in pots and garden beds in native gardens as well as cottage gardens. There are many different Scaevolas to choose from as the breeding gets better and better. These native plants will flower most of the year and need very little care, just some native slow release every now and again.

 

A rose by any other name

‘Blue Moon’…you saw me standing alone…

‘Blue Moon’ is one of the most delightfully scented roses you could possibly plant and the best news for 2018 is that it is purple. Blue Moon is a Hybrid tea rose which blooms continuously and the stems are nearly thornless. They do very well in a pot or in the garden bed. I’m sure you have room for one of these in your garden or even in sunny spot in a pot.

 

 

 

 

Climb New Heights

Wisteria sinensis or Chinese Wisteria provides a stunning shot of purple and looks great on a climbing frame or on wires framing a verandah. Make sure that you use Marine Grade High Tensile wires when setting this up. You won’t want to be replacing cheap wiring years down the track when your wisteria is established. It will grow fast and does need regular pruning to be kept in check. Plant it into a well-prepared hole with some good organic matter in the hole and a treatment of liquid Powerfeed by Seasol is all this plant needs say every six months. Each Spring it will reward you with stunning blooms.

Wisteria…imagine this in your garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Subtle Sense of Whimsy

Salvia ‘Waverly’ offers the gardener a small-medium sized tidy shrub with long blooms in deep shades of purple and white in full sun to part shade. I love the way this plant bends in the breeze and provides nectar for insectivores. It does well with little care at all and regular tidying up with sharp secateurs will keep it in check. This plant is pretty drought tolerant too.

Larkman Nurseries breed Salvia Waverly and here’s what they have to say about it

“Sages are a popular part of the Australian garden due to their versatility and tolerance of hot dry conditions.  ‘Waverley’ is an attractive low growing shrub that thrives in our local conditions.  It is tolerant of moderate frosts, part to full sun and most soil types.  It has green foliage with a purple tinge during winter and long racemes of pink, aging to white, flowers in late winter and spring.  Each floret is held by a dark purple calyx.

Salvia ‘Waverley’ is part of the Larkman Nurseries range of Salvias from all over the world.  The range includes the giant yellow Golden Fountain Sage, Salvia madrensis down to the wispy Blue Lightning, Salvia lycioides.  ‘Waverly’ responds well to an annual prune in late spring followed by an application of Osmocote Plus Controlled Release fertilizer.”

I love Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’ and Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’ alongside ‘Waverly’

Looking for an easy care boarder?

Beautiful Agapanthus, hardy and drought tolerant but not full sun

Edge your garden beds with almost no care, Agapanthus. These lush, deep green, strappy-leaved plants with their long, long stems with round-shaped blooming heads will look great every summer but do best in part shade. They will get sunburnt leaves if grown in the full sun. The only job you will need to concern yourself with is deadheading the flower heads at the base of the plant at the end of flowering. They will propagate themselves and thicken up in no time at all. They can survive with very little water but will do better with water twice a week and a little liquid fertilizer. These will do very well in coastal conditions.

Have you got a spot for some purple in your garden???

Southern Hospitality…it’s not just for the humans

No doubt about it when you visit Georgia, you will experience as I did, what is known as Southern hospitality, there’s the food, of course, Ahh the food, the wonderful service is absolutely everywhere you go (even a homeless guy was friendly and gave us directions) and those accents…OHH, those wonderful accents….though to be sure I think this is may be true of most places in the USA, if the Garden Writers I have met through GWA are anything to go by but I guess it’s in the South that they are really known for it….but here’s something you might not have known, that delightful hospitality …is not just for humans!

Check out these incredible artisan birdhouses, each one tells its’ own story. These pics were taken during my recent trip to Atlanta and Athens, Georgia….and now that I’m back home, I am experiencing serious birdhouse envy…is that a thing?! I think that my husband is hoping that I find a cure quick smart! Then again…this could be his new retirement plan?! He has about 10 years to create them and build up his stocks before we start selling them.img_1811
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Imagine the wonderful bird parties here!

Imagine the wonderful bird parties here!

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There’s the house and then there’s the incredible pole!

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Thank you to Garden Owners Candy Johnson, Robin and Mark Pollock, Carole McWilliams, Lee Dunn, Arthur Blank, Mary Wayne Dixon, Rosie Davidson, Barbara and Vince Dooley, Bonnie and Mike Dirr and Ann and Joe Frierson for providing wonderful habitat spaces for the birds who come visit your gardens and for the southern hospitality shown to people like me who came to visit in September during #GWA16

 

If I come back as a bird in my next life…I know exactly where I’m headed!

My Garden of Friends

 

I have been very blessed in my life with an abundance of wonderful people who I am lucky enough to call and have called my friends. Friends are so important and having a connection with another human being on that level is a joyous thing.

Friends are different from family and add another dimension to one’s whole being. It is true that friends are the family you choose. I am blessed with a large family mostly living in other states of this country and other parts of the world, so my friends are very important to me, whether here or abroad. My Mum is here and she’s a rock, solid piece of living stone that adorns the garden. My children are the pieces of art within the garden, precious treasures.

Some people have been friends for more than thirty years, some even longer, I guess they are the trees in my garden, they have been there for a long time and bend in the wind but for the most part are there, season after season. Some have been fast growing, some slow and some mid-sized and solid. Sometimes, with little contact or need for constant nurture but at the same time provide the bones of the landscape. They provide the basis for life’s garden. Some background, some specimen trees, some offer shade, some offer colour and light, all have their role to play.

My “noble tree” and dearest friend is my husband, is was and always will be.  He’s the one who provides that one true place in the garden. The shade on a hot day. I recently attended a talk by Dr. Michael Dirr from the University of Georgia, who spoke about the importance of the noble tree with great conviction. In an interview, at Penn State Extension with Martha Swiss, when asked what is a noble tree, Dr. Dirr said “It’s anything that outlives us. It’s anything that spans generations, has a long life, supports wildlife, fixes CO2, spits out oxygen, prevents erosion, increases property values, something that’s inherent in our everyday life. We need large trees.” and then Martha Swiss said it very well herself when asked to define the meaning of a noble tree for the Pittsburg Post-Gazette in 2012, “A noble tree is the large sycamore you walk under on a hot summer day, casting welcome shade, or the massive oak you notice in winter for its magnificent silhouette of bare branches, or an old maple from your childhood that held a tire swing. In short, noble trees are those planted to endure for generations, large enough to cast shade and become fixtures in our landscapes and our memories.”

and in my Garden of Friends I’ve had annuals for sure, haven’t we all? Women and men who have come into my life for but a brief moment, in a certain place at a certain time, creating a memory but moving on through, just like any annual, you plant it, nuture it for a short time, enjoy it for it’s blooms or form and then everyone moves on. Sometimes I have put a huge amount of effort into annuals, thinking they were perennials but alas with an element of disappointment there they go, they were only ever meant to be annuals. There’s a joy in annuals for sure and a place in the landscape for them.

There have also been a few weeds who on a positive note, I guess, provide habitat for native bees and butterflies, but probably best removed before they have a chance to bloom again for another season.

I have to say also that I am very grateful for Facebook which has allowed me to reconnect with people who I have known all my life but with whom I had lost contact, for no real reason, life just got in the way. I guess these people are the perennials in my garden, they are there, I planted them, they bloomed and they may be in the shade of the trees, they may be overgrown with annuals or just lying dormant waiting for that essential fertiliser to return them to their former beauty. They are and will always be there. They too form a very special part of the garden.

Connecting with nature has always been so important to me just as connecting with friends, men for sure but women, in particular.  It is part of who I am. I enjoy the company of women, listening to their stories and how they got to where they are at this particular moment in time.

Sometimes, when you least expect it, when you travel with an open heart, you are lucky enough to go out into the nursery of mankind and find some new treasures to plant in your garden and as I so often say to my dear husband “there’s always room for one more plant” (or several) and so it is true that there is always room in one’s life for more friends. Just as a mother finds space in her heart to welcome a new baby into the family it is also true that your heart finds room for new friends while still able to nurture the older ones that exist in the garden.

I have recently had the great joy of spending time with new treasures, they may be trees, perennials or annuals, I’m not quite sure yet, they are all adding to the garden in their own special way. Gorgeous, like-minded garden loving people. I had the very great pleasure of catching up with many of them at the GWA conference in September held in Atlanta, Georgia and I’m feeling ever so grateful. There’s the dear ones from #GWA15 in Pasadena like Denise, Eva, Louise, Susan, Sylvia, Jennifer, Jo-Ellen, Ann, C.L., Kathy J, Pam and Diana, Larry and Kirk and Sara. These folks have made an enormous effort to keep in touch despite geography and are wonderful and cherished additions to my garden of friends.

This year, I have added even more flowers to my garden Jacqueline, Deb, Dee, Marianne, Teresa, Nan, Katie, Maria, Ken and sweet Barbara from England and am so grateful to each and every one of them for coming up to say Hi and having a chat.

I will make mention of one very special friend, AZ Plantlady, who I met last year in Pasadena. This year before the conference she invited me to come visit her in Phoenix, her hometown. She collected me from the airport, handed me a huge home made ‘Welcome to Arizona’ pack filled with treats and lots of information, took me into her home, introduced me to her family, fed me, we laughed and ate at “local” places, we talked non-stop for a week about life, our universe, what’s important to each of us and mostly I feel privileged that she shared with me her joy of gardening in the place where she lives and hopefully I’m firmly planted in her garden of friends too, I’d like to say maybe a young Palo Verde…

“A garden is a friend you can visit anytime” Anon

 

Phoenix in Bloom for an Aussie on Tour

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A warm Fall/Autumn morning spent wandering through the incredible Desert Botanical Garden located in Papago Park in Phoenix, Central Arizona revealed 140 acres of stunning desert plantings, during my recent visit to the USA, catching up with my dear friend, Phoenix local and fellow blogger AZPlantLady, was such a delightful and unexpected surprise. Superb gardens packed full of inspiring landscape design ideas and beautiful desert plants.

Cactus in flower

Cactus in flower

This place is a treasure trove filled with wonderful ideas for those of us gardening in dry climates all over the world.

While some of the plants might not be available for us to use (and here’s where my botanical envy really kicks in) the concepts and the way plants are grouped and the use of water features and careful placement of seating and art in the garden is something we can definitely learn from.

Design concepts such as water features and hard elements such as rock placements are not really new however the ways in which they can be applied in a modern way is and here’s where we can learn and share ideas. Glass elements from Chuhuly provide additional awe at the entrance to the gardens.

I would desperately love to be able to grow the stunning Palo Verde tree which loses its’ leaves and then has the ability to photosynthesize through its’ green trunk and stems. This is a wondrous medium sized shade tree that I first noticed in California last year but it’s here that this beauty calls home. It is used very effectively as a shade tree on street verges, car parks and as specimen trees in home gardens.img_1597

Gravel mulch is used extensively in Phoenix and unusually plants are planted quite sparsely in home gardens and also in public parks and gardens. This allows each plant to have its own space and grow into that space. There’s a certain joy in the spaces in between of a garden and resisting overplanting to “fill a gap” which provides the mind an opportunity to pause. The spaces in a garden are as important as the densely planted. In Phoenix, they really understand this concept.

Cacti and Succulent lovers will ooh and ahh at every turn here. I particularly loved the Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) pronounced SWARO for us Aussies, is one of the most spectacular plants in these gardens. These are huge, ancient, tree-like cacti that develop head and arm-like branches as they mature. They are very slow growing and costly to purchase for the home garden.  The “arms”  bend upward as if to worship the hot Arizona sun. These plants interestingly are covered with spines and bare white flowers in the late spring, and red fruit in summer. They also provide habitat for birds and reptiles. The birds drill holes into the Saguaro and pop in and out to escape the heat.img_1601Saguaro with a very rare “head” and three “arms” who needs man made art?!

In the gardens, one can experience first hand the lifestyle of the Native Americans, there are round huts which are surprisingly larger on the inside than they appear on the outside but of most interest was the use of Living fences constructed out of Ocotillo Cactus (Fouquieria splendens)  these were fascinating and provided a great deterrent to any critter thinking of sneaking into the vegetable patch for a nibble. The stems can look dead at certain times of the year but as soon as the rain comes they spring into leaf again.Living Fences

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Large rocky outcrops in a particular shade of brown, one only sees in these parts is reminiscent of an old cowboy movie set but the thing is……. this is real.

img_1576img_1618The undergrowth is alive with squirrels and reptiles and at eye level butterflies, bees and colourful caterpillars were of great fascination to me. There were lots of late summer flowering perennials deliberately planted to provide habitat for butterflies.

This garden is a treat if you garden in a dry climate, if you’re seeking inspirational landscaping concepts or if you just want to go and drool at some very special plants that can’t be grown in your hometown and learn something about other parts of the world.

Swathes of grass provide colour and movement

Swathes of grass provide colour and movement

gentle water providing a sense of cool to a bench seat

Gentle water providing a sense of cool to a bench seat

The Money Shot..me and my friend the Saguaro

The Money Shot…me and a Saguaro pronounced Swaro

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Palo Verde tree-an absolute favourite of mine

Chihuly glass

Chihuly glass a dramatic statement at the entrance

 

Glossy Magazine Envy stops now

Ever experienced house magazine envy when scanning the glossy pages and you see a beautiful container filled with Phalaenopsis orchids and thought to yourself “Hey, I wouldn’t mind one of them” but then you go to a florist or to the big hardware store with green paint and red writing and freak out at the price while at the same time being careful not to make the same noise Dawn French did in the Vicar of Dibley when she was demonstrating Emma Thompsons reaction to Hugh Grants proposal in Sense and Sensibility?!

Here’s the solution-hop into your car drive to the Swedish store with the blue paint and yellow writing and select a nice glass container (I used one called POMP Lantern $19.95) and one or more of their potted orchids which are ALWAYS $14.95 each

  • Bring glass container and plant/s home
  • Fill bottom of glass container with some wood chips (I took mine from our mulched garden bed) or tiny bag orchid potting mix
  • Remove the plants carefully from their containers and gently tease out the roots from the Sphagnum peat moss surrounding them (put this to one side you will need it later) and place the plant into the container spreading the roots over the wood chips.
  • Use the moss you put to one side to pack around the plants under the leaves to secure it in place and VOILA a better than store bought one and you did it yourself in under 15 minutes!
Easy Peasy Project

Easy Peasy Indoor Project

These are low light orchids so will do very well in your bathroom too. They require an occasional drink but not too much and occasional low dose orchid fertiliser.

Cheaper than replacing bunches of flowers if you have a home open for inspection, no smelly vases from bunches of flowers that you have wished would last longer but didn’t or you work in an office and desperately wish the boss would spring for real flowers on the Reception desk and…. even better once the flowers are spent just cut the flower stem down to a node about half way down and like magic new buds and flowers will soon emerge…why not give it a try…

Play time in the garden-it’s not just for the kids

Last Saturday night my friend Sabrina Hahn and I were the guest speakers at RE-LEAF a Sundowner hosted by Guildford Town Garden Centre. We were there to raise much-needed funds for Beyond Blue which “is the national initiative to raise awareness of anxiety and depression, providing resources for recovery, management and resilience.” This very worthy cause is close to my heart.

We both shared some of the obvious reasons why being in the garden is so important for one’s physical and mental health, such as getting into the outdoors, sunshine on our skin, exercising, breathing fresh air and connecting with the earth.

Home Gardening for many of us living in an urban setting provides the only regular and very convenient opportunities for us to connect with nature. It could be in a park, in a home garden or on an apartment balcony. We might dig a hole and plant something in pot or perhaps dig a bigger hole and plant a tree into the ground and as we do so, a creature may emerge from the soil like a worm or a small lizard, a bird may come down and feast on the slaters we disturb, anything can happen, we are not in control of the magic or the possibilities. It’s unpredictable. Sufferers of depression describe being in a deep dark hole and having difficulty getting out. Gardening provides us with the opportunity to take things into some perspective and “consider that we are but a small part of something much bigger than us.” said my old mate, Sabrina Hahn. Being in nature and surrounding yourself with trees and plants makes you feel good. Gardening gives you purpose because you are actually connecting with nature and creating something.

It doesn’t always have to be arduous work, sometimes a cup of tea need be your only tool, as you wander around your garden plants, tea in hand, you notice things that you would not otherwise do, you take time out of your busy day to just be, to hear the birds, watch the bugs and see the bees at work. You are connecting with nature. The satisfaction one gets from growing edibles on a small-scale can also be incredibly satisfying. There is nothing more joyous that watching a deciduous tree change and grow through the seasons.

Sabrina talked about the importance of “playing” in the garden-unstructured play as an adult is a rare thing these days and almost never happens. Usually, as adults we participate in organised sport, go to the gym or exercise to a regime but gardening provides us with an opportunity for unstructured “play” as adults which no other recreational activity can do.

Creating a big garden, a new little bed, rejuvenating potted plants, planning next seasons vegetable patch or planting new annuals requires thought and imagination as well as execution. This is all part of the activity required in order to create something within our gardens and it’s fun-it is as we did as children-playing.

In the privacy of your yard, it’s completely OK to sit in a hammock or an oversized swing and swing away but may be frowned upon if you suddenly pushed little Jimmy aside and hopped onto the swing at the local park-but you can happily do this in your own garden and just move gently and be at one with nature as it comes willingly to visit you in your garden space that you have created. We have a swinging chair on our back deck and it provides peace and motion for me but also I note of late for our growing teenagers after a hard day at school.

Playing in the garden may involve squirting someone with a hose on a sunny day, laughing as you try to pull out a stubborn weed and fall backwards onto the lawn or just enjoying all of the non-human visitors as they flit here and there while you are doing your “work” so are they doing theirs.

Gardening is a very personal thing-no two gardens will ever be the same because nature simply would not allow two spaces to be identical-we as landscape designers and garden owners can only but stir the urban forest in which we live and make our own little contribution and hopefully make things a little bit greener, our environment healthier and a perhaps a little bit more beautiful.

Let’s face it most of us have very busy lives, too busy really, gardening for us city dwellers helps us re-set the crazy clock by which our lives are programmed and just get a bit dirty and be part of nature and helps us to re-connect the soul to the earth for a little while.  Gardening helps keep things in perspective-it’s as important for us adults as it is for our children as we work towards more nature play for them at schools and in parks-we need to do the same for adults-it’s just as important for our mental health as it is for our physical well being.

If you know someone who is suffering with mental health concerns then Beyond Blue is a great place to seek assistance. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

beyondblue. Depression, Anxiety - logoGCA

 

 

Hard Landscaping and Old trees

Here’s a great example of what can happen to iconic old trees when arborists and hard landscapers don’t get their heads together first ……..

This past week we were at Rottnest Island, just off the West Australian coast…home of the cutest little West Australian marsupials, the Quokka, it’s our Island holiday playground, where just about everything is recycled, wind power is in use, limited car and truck access, water is recycled and for the most part everything is heritage listed and preserved-except it seems maybe the trees!

This gorgeous Melaleuca lanceolata also known as Moonah or Rottnest Island tea tree and is a member of the myrtle family, myrtaceae. These beautifully sculptural trees are dotted all around the island and offer shade in  what would otherwise be a very harsh and hot landscape.

This particular specimen is located in the beer garden at the Rottnest Island Hotel or the Quokka Arms as it is affectionately known  and as you can see-it has had a wooden box put around it for seating as well as synthetic turf and lots and lots of concrete…pizza with the lot you might say..and finally the poor thing has succumbed. Now, I have no proof that it was in fact the hard landscaping surrounding this tree have caused its demise but am pretty sure it’s given it a darn hard push!

What a great idea…seating around a tree-seems like a practical solution for additional seating in a public place, right? Beware…PLEASE check first before doing these things…you may find that the tree may not really like it…..