Christmas Plant Sale

Christmas Plant Sale at Burnley Gardens. Wednesday 14 December 2016
12:00 – 3:00 pm. Buy a sustainable gift or something to brighten your garden from
our range of native, exotic and produce plants.

Location – outside the Student Union Building
Parking on Yarra Boulevard (Melways Map 45 & X872)
Payments by cash only. Funds raised go to Burnley Gardens Projects – see Achievements for details

Eden Unearthed: Sydney’s first ‘garden as gallery’ festival

I was delighted to be invited to launch Unearthed, the first ever garden festival at Eden Gardens in Sydney. It’s amazing to think that it was only 4 months ago that Simon Ainsworth first contacted me with an idea for a festival of sculpture at Eden Gardens along the lines of the International Garden Festival at Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. An ambitious goal, as the Chaumont-sur-Loire festival has been running for almost 25 years and attracts over 400,000 visitors! Continue reading “Eden Unearthed: Sydney’s first ‘garden as gallery’ festival”

Verge Gardening

‘Verge Gardening’ covers safety issues, soil preparation, appropriate plant choices, edible verge gardens, and caring for a verge garden. Join Kate Wall, garden writer, consulting gardener, and biologist to learn how to garden in harmony with nature, and create beautiful and rewarding gardens suited to our SE Qld climate

Cost $45 includes afternoon tea and a free plant from June’s Home Grown Plants. 49 Arras Steet Yeronga, in Brisbane. Bookings essential contact Kate Wall at

Kangaroo Paw Symposium

Come to our three-day Symposium 24-26 November 2016, ‘Celebrating the Kangaroo Paw’, with much to interest everyone from botanists to landscape practitioners and also home gardeners. Only $100/day for a full day of expert lectures and workshops.

Topics will cover the whole Kangaroo Paw Family (Haemodoraceae).

Speakers will include

•    Prof Stephen Hopper (world authority on the Haemodoraceae Family)

•    Prof Kingsley Dixon from Curtin University

•    Dr Brett Summerell, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

•    Angus Stewart, kangaroo paw breeder and native plant expert

plus many more local and overseas people with special expertise.

Australian Institute of Horticulture Symposium

Two day symposium at the Cairns Convention Centre in Cairns, Queensland on the ‘Mechanics of Urban Greening’, including sessions on indigenous horticulture, biophilic architecture, soil design, green walls and roof and many more of interest to horticulturists, landscape designer and architects and urban planners.

AIH members $320, non-members $420 (for two days)

Wednesday 23rd November
Don Burke OAM RH – Opening Discussion
Patrick Regnault RH – Planning City Eco Systems
John Rayner – Research Informing Design – Contrasting Green Roof Performance
Simon Leake – Soil Design for Urban Greening
Tim Edmonson RH – Urban Oasis or Desert? Water Harvest with Aquifers
Kim Morris RH, FAIH – Developing the Landscape Sustainability Maintenance Index (SMI)
Mark Paul RH – Simple Ecological Systems – Small steps to larger reclamation of the built environment
Nicholas Rivett RH – Green Walls & Roofs – Folly, Fantasy or Fact
Martina Matzner – Future Youth in Agriculture & horticulture

Thursday 24th November
Don Burke OAM RH – AIH Plenary session
Dr Jana Soderlund – Biophillic Architecture
Matt Mitchley RH – The Jurassica Project
Nicholas Rivett RH – Conserving Landscape Tree Species & Age Diversity
Andrew Price RH, FAIH – Profiting from Chaos – Optimising Photosynthesis
Kim Courtenay – First Indigenous Kakadu Plum Plantation
Neville Passmore RH – Winning friends in government for more green spaces
Glenice Bachelor RH – Nature v Nurture
Andrew Prowse RH/Kim Morris RH, FAIH – War Graves in Perpetuity

Find out more about each session and the speakers -

An Evening at Historic ‘Chesterfield’, Geelong

Join landscape designer Stephen Read and owner Mary-Jane Walker for an evening in the grand dining room at ‘Chesterfield‘, one of Geelong’s oldest surviving Georgian homes and surrounded by a beautiful garden. Held as part of Garden DesignFest 2016, the Chesterfield soirée includes a talk by Stephen and Mary-Jane about the historic property. From 5.30 to 7.30pm, Saturday 19 November 2016 at 221 Nobel Street Newtown. Tickets available through Eventbrite.

Hear Mary-Jane describe the history of Chesterfield and how it was saved from the developer’s bulldozer and new life given to this old Georgian gem. Stephen will talk about ‘Reflections on Sense of Place and Purpose‘, discussing why landscape and garden designers need to be present, and take time to tap into what makes a place unique.

Chesterfield‘ is also open during the day from 10am-5pm on 19 and 20 November 2016 as part of Melbourne’s Garden DesignFest. More info on Garden DesignFest here

Perennials at Chesterfield garden, Geelong. Design Stephen Read Landscape Design
Perennials at Chesterfield garden, Geelong. Design Stephen Read Landscape Design

Giving Garden open in SEQ

Ian and Judy Wintle are once again opening the Giving Garden, their beautiful subtropical garden in Birkdale (east of Brisbane city) in South East Queensland. There will also be unusual and rare plants for sale and refreshments provided by the local Lions Club. The garden is open to raise funds for Lions Club charities supporting disabled children.

The Giving Garden is known for its collections of beehive gingers, orchids, costus and bromeliads as well as stunning layout with winding paths and views.

The Giving Garden is open at 5 Carlton Court, Birkdale, 4159, Queensland, on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November, 2016, from 9am to 4.30pm. $7 adults, children free.

Sophie’s Patch open garden

Be inspired – visit Sophie Thomson’s Garden.

Sophie’s Patch Spring Open Garden: Saturday 12, Sunday 13, Monday 14 November, 2016
•  Hear from: experts on how to attract butterflies, birds and native bees to your garden, tips on keeping chooks and bees at home, advice on growing Mediterranean climate fruit trees. See the full program of speakers at Sophie’s Patch
•  Kids activities: Kristen Messenger from Bugs n Slugs will supervise bug related kids activities on Saturday and Kate Hubmayer will teach nature craft for kids on Sunday.
•  Browse and buy: quality plants from a selection of nurseries with unusual ornamentals, herbs, vegies and succulents.
•  Home made refreshments: will be available from stalls selling lunch, tea, coffee and drinks as well as cakes made from Sophie’s Patch produce.
•  Entry Fee: $10, children under 18 free, stay in the garden as long as you like. Supporting Mt Barker Rotary Club and Operation Flinders. Gates open from 10am to 4.30pm daily. Only 35 minutes drive from central Adelaide.

Weeds: From Foe to Friend

Learn from sustainable garden expert Kate Wall how to appreciate the benefits of weeds and what they can be used for. Topics covered include:
•  edible weeds
•  medicinal weeds
•  compost value of weeds
•  weeds as indicators of garden conditions
•  how to mange unwanted weeds without using poisons
•  other uses for weeds
Cost is $44/person and includes afternoon tea and a free plant from June’s Home Grown Plants.
1-3pm, Yeronga, Brisbane

Bookings are essential as numbers are limited. Confirm your booking by calling or texting Kate on 0448 460 037 or by email

In Stillness

Open Wednesday to Sunday and based on the theme from the Irish proverb, ‘In stillness, the world is restored‘ this photographic exhibition of landscapes and nature features the work of Blue Mountains photographers Louise Bishop, Fiona Huddleston and Dilshara Hill.

Open Wednesday to Sunday  from 11am to 3pm at the Everglades Gallery, 37 Everglades Avenue, Leura in the beautiful Blue Mountains only a 1.5 hour drive west of Sydney.

Free with Everglades entry: $13 adult, $8 conc, $4 child (National Trust members free entry)

Botanic and Rare Plant Fair

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Diggers Club present a new opportunity to purchase rare and unusual plants, all in one place on one weekend, in spring, directly from growers. Plus 3 expert panel talks each day featuring well-known gardening personalities such as Tim Entwisle, Michael McCoy, Teena Crawford, Jim Fogarty, Jane Edmanson, Clive Blazey, Millie Ross, Andrew Laidlaw and Rodger Elliot.

Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 October, 10am – 4pm, Observatory Precinct, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Melbourne Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne Vic 3004. Entry $10 Adult (Under 16 years free), $30 Panel discussions & behind the scenes tours (Pre-booking essential)

The Art of Botanical Illustration

Presented by the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, this is our thirteenth famous biennial exhibition. It is Australia’s premier selected exhibition of botanical works – 175 stunning paintings and drawings by 98 local, interstate and overseas artists. This year, in addition to conventional botanical illustration, we have encouraged artists to go outside the traditional botanical illustration terms of reference and produce some innovative works of art. Not to be missed!
FREE ENTRY, open daily 10am-4pm.
Domain House Gallery
Dallas Brooks Drive, Melbourne, Victoria 3142 Australia

Artisans in the Gardens

See a huge range of eclectic work by dozens of artists and artisans from around Australia. Art, sculpture, furniture, decorative work and jewellery in media such as ceramics, glass, art, paper, mosaic, metalwork, woven works, timber, LED, found and reused objects and more. All works are for sale. Lion Gate Lodge, (enter from Mrs Macquaries Road), Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, NSW, 10am-4pm daily. Free entry.

Butterfly Gardening

Butterfly Gardening – hear a talk given by Jo Hammond, Butterfly Lady. Learn about the value of butterflies in the garden and how to attract them. Cost $35 including free plant) Saturday 15 October, 2-3.30pm at The Gardeners Wall, Yeronga, in Brisbane.

Therapeutic Landscapes Conference

‘Making Connections – Plants and People’. Cultivate is the peak body for horticultural therapy in NSW. This inaugural one day professional conference highlights the interaction between plants and people and the resulting therapeutic benefits experienced by our interconnectedness. Our aim is to increase this understanding and move towards standard training and practice in Australian professional services in therapeutic horticulture with an emphasis on evidence based practice.

Key note speakers: Anna Baker Cresswell, HighGround UK, on the horticultural therapy for the military ‘Gardening Leave’ and the Defence Rehabilitation Centre and Dr Theresa Scott, presenting research on the benefits of gardening for older adults.

Full delegate price $185, concessions and Cultivate members $150. Book now!

Terrariums with Style

Workshop at Burnley College in Melbourne on how to create a terrarium with terrarium expert Sascha Andrusiak. Take home a terrarium you’ve made. An ideal Christmas gift!

Saturday 8 October 2016, 10am-1pm. $65 members, $85 non-members. Includes terrarium and plants and morning tea. Bring sharp, clean secateurs and wear closed shoes. Bookings and prepayment essential

Tickle Tank Open Garden

Tickle Tank is the wonderful and joyous garden of artist Irene Pearce, created around the home she made in a disused water tank. Filled with colourful mosaics, a wide range of plants and lots of quirky art, especially from found and reused materials. Tickle Tank will delight visitors of every age and Irene always makes children especially welcome. It’s a small 450 sqm garden but one filled with surprises. Plants and artworks for sale. Open Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October 2016, from 10am to 4.30pm both days. 24 Hill Street Mount Barker. $8 adults, $6 conc, children U18 free.

Robertson Open Gardens

Enjoy 8 private gardens open over the weekend of 8 -9 October in Robertson in the scenic Southern Highlands of NSW, an easy 1:45 hour drive from Sydney. Gardens range from smaller town gardens to large country gardens and feature beautiful spring flowering trees, azaleas, perennials and bulbs, sculpture, vistas, as well as ponds and lakes in both formal and informal gardens. There are also large productive vegetable gardens. $5 single garden, $20 all gardens.

Sustainable Gardening

Learn how to garden in harmony with nature. Get useful information on eco-friendly gardening without compromising on beauty or good garden design. Topics covered will include:
· Water wise gardening
· Attracting good bugs
· Reducing the need for sprays, chemicals and fertilisers
· Soil care
· Composting / recycling organic matter
· Understanding and working with microclimates in the garden
· Incorporating edible and medicinal plants

Cost is $44/person and includes afternoon tea and a free plant from June’s Home Grown Plants.
1-3pm, Yeronga, Brisbane
Bookings are essential as numbers are limited. Confirm your booking by calling or texting Kate on 0448 460 037 or by email

Eden Unearthed

Art in Eden Gardens – a unique exhibition of 29 artworks by both established and emerging artists, featuring sculpture, installations, interactive sound and light, photography, wearable art, political and social statements and magical realism. All are site specific within the many display gardens of the Eden Gardens complex. Come and see gardens through the eyes of an artist.

Free entry, open daily 9am to 5pm, catalogue $7 (supporting Youth of the Streets).

Eden Gardens: 307 Lane Cove Road Macquarie Park, Sydney

Plant Lovers Fair NSW

Over 40 Exhibitors offering plants for collectors as well as ornamental and food gardens plus quality garden products; an interesting & informative FREE Speakers Program on both days; refreshments and ATM facilities. At Kariong Mountains High School, Central Coast, NSW, an easy 1 hour drive from Sydney.

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September 2016; 9am-4pm both days

Flower & Garden Show Launceston

Blooming Tasmania 2016 Flower & Garden Show is a first for Launceston. Interstate and international speakers, show gardens, massed flower displays, wilderness displays, Gardens for Peace, Launceston Horticultural Society, 40 stallholders selling plants and garden and botanically themed products.

Albert Hall and City Park, Launceston, 9am-5pm Saturday, 9am-4pm Sunday. $5 entry

Plus associated open garden trail, sustainable fashion show and a program of talks.

Wild About Waratahs

Celebrating the iconic waratah, spectacular flower and New South Wales state floral emblem. Festival includes a state-wide waratah flower competition, a botanical illustration exhibition and workshop, guided garden tours, cut flower display and plants sales. Nearby Gadara Wildflower Farm will be open for one day only on Sunday 25 September from 1030am to 3pm.

Free entry, open from 9am to 5.30pm daily.

Botanical Art Workshop

Botanical art workshop with Mali Moir in 3 sessions: 21 September, 19 October and 16 November 2016. Mali is an accomplished botanical artist and graduate of Burnley.
After horticulture, Mali studied botanical art and went on to work as the botanical illustrator at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. She now exhibits her work and runs botanical art classes. She can cater for all levels of expertise, from the … “I really can’t draw” to “I just need some help with this”. Medium – water colour pencils.

10am – 12.30pm each session. Total for 3 sessions $180, members $150. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL. Go to

Burnley Bees and Backyard Honey

Learn how to cultivate your own bee hive from apiarist Peter Dyer of Backyard Honey. Peter helps city dwellers with the necessary equipment and skills to host a bee hive in your backyard and harvest your own honey. Friends of Burnley Gardens. Burnley Campus MB11 (Main Building), 500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond. Wednesday 14 September 2016, 7pm for 7.30pm start. Bookings essential ph 03 90356861 or contact Andrew Smith

Gardens as Therapy

Join Churchill Fellowship winner and ABC 2012 ‘Gardener of the Year’ Steven Wells on this ‘world tour’ of healthcare gardens in the UK, USA and Singapore.
Steven has successfully combined his nursing and horticulture careers to be working as a horticultural therapist, nurse and the Gardens Project Officer at Austin Health in Melbourne. He has established the horticultural therapy program and designed and implemented the sensory and healing gardens at Austin Health’s Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre.

Tuesday 13 September at 6.30pm, Mueller Hall, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. $20, Friends $15. Bookings essential.

Noosa Plant Fair

Noosa Botanic Gardens Friends’ Plant Fair on Sunday 4 September 2016 from 9am to 3pm will have specialist plant sellers selling a range of unusual and collectible plants.

There’s a great speaker lineup – Paul Plant (10am), John Green (11am), Arno King (12 noon) and Dr Seonaid Melville (2pm) plus live music at 1pm and classic cars on display.

FREE entry

Subtropical Cottage Gardening

Spend an afternoon in Kate Wall’s Brisbane cottage garden learning how to create a beautiful and easy cottage garden in the subtropics. Topics covered include:
* what is a cottage garden
* the history of cottage gardens and why they are relevant today
* applying the principles of cottage gardening to a subtropical setting
* plant choices for the subtropics

Cost is $44/person and includes afternoon tea and a free plant from June’s Home Grown Plants.

1-3pm, Yeronga, Brisbane

Bookings are essential as numbers are limited. Confirm your booking by calling or texting Kate on 0448 460 037 or by email

Planting Dreams: Grand Garden Designs

Curated by the renown Howard Tanner, this collection of photographs captures the essence of contemporary landscape design across New South Wales. Featuring private gardens from Berry to Glen Innes, and Sydney public gardens and roof gardens, these inspiring images highlight current trends in landscape design, including cloud pruning, use of Australian plants and spectacular sculpture.

A companion Exhibition to Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens

Exhibition Galleries: Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri 9am-5pm; Thurs, 9am to 8pm; Sat and Sun 10am-5pm.

FREE entry

Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens

An exhibition at the State Library of NSW in Sydney curated by garden historian Richard Aitken. Features 150 rare, beautiful and often quirky objects from the Library’s collection, spanning 5 centuries, that present the ideas and influences that have shaped the way we make, use, imagine and enjoy our gardens.

State Library of NSW, Macquarie St, Sydney

Exhibition Galleries, open 9am-5pm Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri; 9am-8pm Thurs, 10am-5pm Sat and Sun.

Darwin Botanic Gardens in spring

Tropical George Brown Botanic Gardens in Darwin sits close to the centre of this vibrant city in the ‘Top End’ of northern Australia. The town itself has wonderful gardens established since the devastating Cyclone Tracy hit the Northern Territory in 1974. The gardens are easily accessible and extend over many acres. Continue reading “Darwin Botanic Gardens in spring”

Herbals – Myth, Magic, Medicine

Exquisite rare antiquarian books plus the intriguing and fantastical stories behind many of our medicinal plants makes a fabulous Sydney exhibition. ‘HERBALS: Myths Magic, Medicine

Since earliest times, humans have used plants to aid in maintaining their health. This knowledge was preserved and compiled in handwritten, illuminated and later, printed books and almost always illustrated. These were Herbals and along with useful information; mythic tales, legends, bizarre and sometimes macabre magical remedies were recorded.

At the Red Box Gallery, National Herbarium of NSW, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. 10am – 4pm WEEK DAYS ONLY. FREE entry.

Western Australian Flora

Talk at Australian Plants Society Central Coast Group, Saturday 13 August at 2pm.
In October 2015 Kevin Stokes went on a wildflower tour to WA which took him north from Perth and Kings Park to Geraldton and on to Kalbarri National Park before returning to Perth. His talk will loosely follow that trip and display the richness of the WA Flora in a photographic essay. As a bonus Kevin will touch on how to grow some of the WA plants on the East Coast.
Kevin has had a deep interest in most aspects of the Australian Flora over the last 40 years and has been associated with the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens near Raymond Terrace for its 30 year history.

$2 entry includes talk, a raffle ticket and afternoon tea plus a garden-grown Australian NATIVE flower and foliage display. ALL WELCOME!

Florilegium: Sydney’s Painted Garden

Celebrating 200 years of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, this exhibition from the Florilegium Society features a unique collection of contemporary botanical paintings of some of the most significant plants in the living collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

Museum of Sydney, exhibition is free with $10 Museum entry, 10-5pm daily. 30 July to 30 October 2016.

Review: The Calyx reveals its Sweet Addiction at Sydney RBG

Newly opened at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, The Calyx is the purpose-built exhibition space that the Gardens has needed and wanted for some years. On the outside it’s an architectural and very beautiful structure occupying the site of the old glass square pyramid Tropical Centre and built on to the Ken Woolley-designed quarter-circle ‘Arc’ glasshouse which survived demolition. I like the way its stark and severe white ribs around the circular open courtyard area contrast with its green and leafy garden background, and also the wonderful shadow patterns they throw on the internal courtyard space. But what’s inside? Continue reading “Review: The Calyx reveals its Sweet Addiction at Sydney RBG”

Talk – Museum of Economic Botany

Illustrated talk in Sydney on the Museum of Economic Botany at Adelaide Botanic Garden, by Tony Kanellos. The story of the Museum of Economic Botany spans a remarkable 150 years – from the germ of an idea by George Francis, through the flowering of the collection and building by Richard Schomburgk to the restoration of 2009. This potted history covers the highs and lows, celebration and neglect, thousands of objects from around the world, dedicated curators, deadly white ants, larrikins and lovers of plants and the ingenuity of their uses by people of many cultures of the globe.
Venue: Annie Wyatt Room, National Trust Centre, Observatory Hill.
Cost: Members $20 Guests $30 includes light refreshments. Bookings essential.
Bookings & enquiries for all events above: Email:
NOTE: Please book before transferring money to the account – the event may be booked out. Payment confirms booking.

Autumn leaves and private gardens: AGHS garden tour April 2016

As the coach left the Melbourne Arts Centre the clouds darkened and raindrops spattered on the windscreen, increasing to a deluge as we progressed towards north east Victoria. But we are intrepid gardeners and obsessive garden visitors so we refused to be daunted! Continue reading “Autumn leaves and private gardens: AGHS garden tour April 2016”

Walking in Victoria’s High Country

Garden lovers are nature lovers and one of my favourite pastimes is packing my rucksack and saying goodbye to reality before taking off into the Australian bush on my own for a few days of walking. Midsummer is not a typically popular time for bushwalking in Australia. Summers regularly reach a windy 40 degrees celsius, and avoiding remote bushland on such days is as much about avoiding chafing thighs as it is an act of self preservation. Continue reading “Walking in Victoria’s High Country”

Leura Harvest Festival, Blue Mountains, NSW

Scarecrows, chooks, chocolate cake and jam – they’re all part of the fun and festivities of the Leura Harvest Festival held recently in the Blue Mountains. The festival ads said there would be outstanding produce, fine fare and innovative sustainability initiatives, and its tireless creator Barry Jarrott just happens to be a professional gardener. It all boded well for an interesting and feast-filled time. Continue reading “Leura Harvest Festival, Blue Mountains, NSW”

Tasmania’s Koonya Garlic Festival is a pungent delight

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Koonya Garlic Festival. Where is Koonya I hear some of you asking? Set in Tasmania alongside a picturesque inlet of Norfolk Bay on the Tasman Peninsula, this small settlement hosts a thriving horticultural festival in February each year. 2016 was its third year, and it has grown steadily over that period. Continue reading “Tasmania’s Koonya Garlic Festival is a pungent delight”