Coastal Elegance
Phillip O'Malley

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Some gardens have a wonderful feeling, like they just belong. They seem to sit perfectly on the land. Landscape designer Phillip O’Malley visited an elegant landscaped garden on the edge of Peregian Beach, Sunshine Coast that fits into its streetscape with ease and adds much to the local sense of place.

This garden is a mix of old and new, of native and non-native, of fine and broad textures, of soft features woven with warm solid structures. It really is a mix of so many elements subtly woven together.

With years of experience in the landscape industry, Greg Kinman has applied his masterly brush to this garden, allowing the garden to melt into its site with ease.

The garden is situated in a narrow suburban belt within the surrounds of the majestic coastal Noosa National Park. This landscape is world renowned for its exquisite wallum habitat, with many beautiful indigenous plants with distinctive forms.

From a 3 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Four
Archway entrance to the courtyard brings the elements together with tone, texture and form.
Natural walkways help visitors meander through the garden and embrace the design elements.
Pathway of salvaged stone.
A Lush Tropical Garden - Government House Darwin

Joan Dillon

Images John Dillon

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Joan Dillon revisited her beloved Darwin city where she lived for many years and describes one of the most iconic gardens in the city.

Darwin lies in the wet/dry tropics, a climatic zone with little or no rainfall during the cooler months of the year, followed by generally heavy summer rain and temperatures consistently above 30ºC. This climate is often referred to as ‘monsoonal’. The local native vegetation is well adapted to these extremes and to the poor, often shallow soils. Open forest and open woodland species dominate except in sheltered gullies with permanent water.

From early in the city’s history residents wished for cool shady and colourful gardens to compensate for what was, for them, unfamiliar vegetation in a harsh climate.

Plants were obtained from high rainfall tropical regions and the gardens surrounding Government House reflect this style which continues to be favoured by many Darwin residents. Dense planting provides essential cooling shade and contrasts with the strong vibrant colours associated with tropical regions. Heavy mulching and regular watering are essential.

In order to ‘set the scene’ for the now well established Government House garden, it is worth touching briefly on the history of the residence, also known as The House of Seven Gables. Government House is situated on a natural plateau about 18 metres above the harbour and was first completed in 1871. Over the years, cyclones, termites and air raids in 1942 took their toll, and then in 2003 it was decided to refurbish the building to reflect the late 1930s and 1940s.

From a 5 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Four
View from The Esplanade.
Bouganvillea and Sealing Wax Palms (Cyrtostachys renda).
Winding path along the retaining walls travels beneath the canopy of trees.
Currumbin Eco



Alex and Mirella Jakimoff designed and planted their garden as a place
“to feel connected to the creek and its environment, but still keep some privacy from cars and pedestrians.” Long-time friend and fellow horticulturist Kate Heffernan has watched it develop and grow.

The approach to the Currumbin Eco-village garden of Alexander and Mirella Jakimoff is marked by a sentinel Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris) which provides a dramatic silhouette against the high gable end of their home. A gift from a fellow horticultural industry member, it commemorates Alex and Mirella’s many years of toil as production nursery growers supplying gardens in South East Queensland and beyond. The pair also contributed decades of service on the Executive of the Nursery and Garden Industry of Queensland.

Alex and Mirella’s enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment to horticulture are evidenced in their young, but flourishing Australian native and organic kitchen garden. Just five years have passed since their retirement, and the commencement of the landscape on their allotment in the multi-awarded Ecovillage Estate in Currumbin Valley.

From an 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Four
Vriesea imperialis (syn. Alcantaria imperialis) and Forest Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea johnsonii) frame the entry to the expansive decks and a Melaleuca ‘Rocky Rambler’ is a colourful flowering infill.
Autumn brings fruit and browning leaves to Callicarpa pedunculata.
Phaius tancarvilleae.
Addicted to Plants
Ross Gelling

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Each person has a vice. To some it may be chocolate, buying shoes or collecting teddy bears. For many gardeners, the vice is collecting plants based on a type, genus, colour form, rarity or curiosity. Join Ross Gelling as he interviewed one gardener unashamed of his addiction.

Images of an addict that come to mind are of poor wretched souls with sad, empty eyes, lost in their living hell, begging from strangers to feed their compulsion. Their tortured families filled with a sense of hopelessness and helplessness often standing by waiting to pick up the pieces of shattered lives.

The same can be said for the loved ones of those gripped by the fever of collecting plants. The outcomes may be slightly more positive; however the compulsion is as strong as ever with the helpless victims searching for their next hit.

Townsvillian, Donna Smith, long-suffering partner of self-confessed plant-aholic Mark can relate to the above description.

Mark Smith has always been a keen gardener, a habit passed to him through his mother and Nan. It was not until shortly after purchasing his first house in 2007 that the urges of the addiction, that is becoming a plant collector, took hold.


From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Four

Amorphophallus bulbifer.
Griffinia liboniana.
Bromeliads, palms, gingers and bulbs is just a sample of what Mark grows in his garden.
Collecting Plants

Paul Plant

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Collecting plants is all about sourcing something new. Guilt-ridden with the pleasures of collecting plants for many decades, Paul Plant exposes the rewards and some hard truths about this popular infectious habit.

The fascination with plant collecting is difficult to explain. What first causes the habit in many gardeners can be as simple as being given a seed or a cutting, or can be as elaborate as going to an international orchid exhibit. A simple flower at a marketplace that captures your eye can be the catalyst that spawns decades of collecting and propagating. A few pots on a balcony with plants that have been passed from generation to generation can perpetuate the passion for collecting more plants.

Seeking, finding desired plants and owning something unique that others do not, is perhaps the biggest buzz for most collectors. Sometimes these are rare, endangered or just hard-to-find old fashioned plants. For many collectors it is all about networking with other collectors, garden clubs, visiting gardens and attending gardening events.

One huge benefit that is often overlooked is the health benefits of people who interact for a common cause. Garden club participants tend to be more active mentally and physically. Gardeners love to chat, socialise, propagate and be active. Plant collecting seems to be healthy for us.


From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Four

White Alder (Turnera subulata) and other cottage plants are collected for their flowering beauty and hardy growing habit.
Roses – collected and grown by gardeners around the world.
Petrea volubilis ‘Purple Passion’ cannot be dismissed when in flower.
Prickly Beauties - a pictorial of prickly pretties

Heather Knowles

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On a recent visit to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt. Coot-tha, Heather Knowles spent some time in the Arid Zone, a section of the gardens she had not visited for a number of years.

It was here that she came away with renewed appreciation for the ability of plants to adapt, survive and thrive in very hostile environments.

Amongst the prickles, spines and thick fleshy leaves, there are many that produce beautiful flowers worth displaying in this magazine.

Here are a few of the prickliest, spiniest, most adaptive, sculptural plants and the prettiest flowers that caught Heather’s eye... which in turn were captured by her camera!

From a 6 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Four
Euphorbia kamerunica.
Agave wercklei.
Agave victoriae-reginae.
By the Bimblebox team

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The tract of land lying broadly between Charters Towers and Hughenden, Alpha and Barcaldine is referred to as the ‘Desert Uplands Bioregion’ – a tableland of deep, red, infertile sand deposited in the Tertiary period. Average annual rainfall is between 700mm in the east and 500mm in the west. Local trees show adaptations to drought such as hard cuticles, epicormic buds and lignotubers. Population densities of soft-stemmed plants (herbs) vary based on ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) cycles, along with grass and fires.

Twelve indigenous language groups have been recorded within the region.

For the latter half of the 19th century, European use of the bioregion was mainly limited to quick traverses to and from the supply town of Bowen. Challenges included limited permanent water supplies and the local native Heart-leaved Poison Bush (Gastrolobium grandiflorum) which is reported to have killed thousands of head of sheep. Eventually towns and routes were established and the Desert Uplands were then mainly used as a reserve pasture for stock.

Bores that tapped the Great Artesian Basin and shallower aquifers helped. The Desert Uplands was the last and most marginal country to be clear-felled for pastoralism in Queensland. On face value, this bioregion hardly lends itself to subtropical gardening. However, one outback property bucks this trend with a philosophy that’s hardly old.

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Four
Black Orchid (Cymbidium canaliculatum). Image Sonya Duus.
The burrowing Ctenotus strauchii, noticeably more frequent in lightly-grazed paddocks in the Desert Uplands.
Global forest scientists explore potential negative feedback mechanisms after drought/heat-related tree death in Queensland, Australia.
Arno King




Often we concentrate on growing perfect, robust and healthy plants. Sometimes we focus our horticultural skills on those difficult or very rare plants.

Often we are just grateful that anything grows in a difficult spot, be it dry shade, shallow soils over rock or windy locations near the sea. However, it is the way each plant works with its neighbour and how they contribute together to create a stunning picture, viewed from many directions and in a sequence, that makes a truly memorable garden.

A memorable garden has planting combinations that simply sing. It is a garden that you could walk around and get lost in for hours. A garden that looks fabulous when you are there and equally stunning in the photos you view when you get home.

There are not too many of these memorable gardens.

To really pull off this kind of planting design, the gardener needs to understand the intimate needs of a wide range of plants and how to grow them well.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Four
White Hymenocallis look superb with this white tipped Cordyline fruticosa in a Vanuatu Garden.
Crinum xanthofolium picks up the colour of the Oncidium flowers at the National Orchid Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens.
A study of texture in green at the Henningham Garden, Queensland.
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