High intensity and demanding New York still has places of peace

New York. The swathes of concrete and glass; the vast canyons formed by major streets cutting through the highest of tall towers. This is where dogs and cats are declawed to deal with life inside apartments and population density is amongst the highest in the world, yet there are still pockets of green delight scattered throughout the neighbourhoods of Manhattan. A place where the concept of community gardens took hold decades ago and where small green spaces deliver maximum clout. On our recent trip we revisited favourite places and discovered others. Continue reading “High intensity and demanding New York still has places of peace”

Where to see the world’s best autumn/fall foliage

If you love the crisp nights and foliage blaze of autumn in Australia you will be completely wowed by autumn in a cold climate. Autumn in the northern hemisphere is a dramatic burst of foliage beauty as nature puts on a grand finale show. Continue reading “Where to see the world’s best autumn/fall foliage”

The High Line changes, and is changed by, New York

I recently visited the High Line in New York for the first time. I have been referencing this urban regeneration project for years, have seen many photos, but had never experienced it myself. Living in New York in the late 1990s, my building was located only a block away from the old elevated freight railway line, but in those days it did not register for me at all. Continue reading “The High Line changes, and is changed by, New York”

River cruising and garden visiting in North America with Botanica

When it comes to river cruising combined with garden visiting, most keen gardeners think of Europe. But in September 2016 I will be hosting my second trip for Botanica up the rivers, lakes and canals that connect the US and Canada.
Continue reading “River cruising and garden visiting in North America with Botanica”

Chanticleer Garden, near Philadelphia PA

Situated in the beautiful garden state of Pennsylvania, Chanticleer is described as “a pleasure garden.” Whilst I had a giggle over this somewhat quirky term, I must admit that I did derive a whole lot of pleasure out of my visit. Continue reading “Chanticleer Garden, near Philadelphia PA”

Which gardens make your heart sing?

When I first took an interest in garden design, it was all about the look. Some combination of colours, textures and forms would jump out at me from a page and I would ooh and aah about how beautiful it was. Continue reading “Which gardens make your heart sing?”

Lights, Camera, BLOOM – and a win at Philly!

Arriving at JFK international airport, Bayley LuuTomes and I could see that this would be a show like no other. It’s -7 degrees Celsius outside, and everything from the roads to the telephone posts are covered with ice. And not the pretty white and fluffy kind. No this was old brown and black snow, the dirty kind that you slip on while holding on for dear life at every traffic light pole, while praying the light would change quickly so you could get into the nearest shop and just buy whatever they sell so you have an excuse to stay inside and warm up. Continue reading “Lights, Camera, BLOOM – and a win at Philly!”

Garden travel to broaden your mind

I am about to jump on a plane and head off to France to lead a tour of gardens and châteaux of Normandy and the Loire Valley and if you haven’t booked it’s a bit late now! But the idea of travelling across the world to see gardens and gardening that I may well have little hope of emulating started me thinking. Is it just horticultural eye candy or is there more to it than that? Continue reading “Garden travel to broaden your mind”

Water lily GIANTS at Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, USA is a sheer delight to visit. It’s one of those places that’s so good that it’s hard to pick a highlight. However, one of my favourite displays was the water lily feature. Once you’ve wound your way through the amazing conservatory and caught your breath again (yes, it’s that good), head out the back to find these amazing giants floating silently in their dark pools. Continue reading “Water lily GIANTS at Longwood Gardens”

Getty’s Roman villa and garden, LA

The ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried when Mt Vesuvius erupted in AD79, clearly made an impression on 19-year-old American J Paul Getty, soon to become an oil tycoon, when he visited Italy in 1912. Almost 60 years later he built a museum at Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles to display his collection of antiquities – a replica Roman villa, right down to the gardens. Continue reading “Getty’s Roman villa and garden, LA”

Longwood Gardens a garden Disneyworld

The state of Pennsylvania in the USA is a treasure trove for horticulturists. With 30 public gardens within about an hour of the capital Philadelphia, it’s hard to know which one to visit first. Its claim of “more gardens than anywhere on the continent” seemed pretty apt as I travelled around enjoying the lush beauty of America’s garden state. Continue reading “Longwood Gardens a garden Disneyworld”

Escape summer heat in New York’s parks

July in New York City. Extreme heat and humidity, heavy traffic, surging crowds. What to do? Where to go? Art galleries seemed a good choice, being air-conditioned. But I could only take so many! So I headed out, and around. First, to Central Park. Spacious, green and shady. And hot, hot, hot. Continue reading “Escape summer heat in New York’s parks”

Juan Grimm in harmony with nature

Everyone responds to the gardens of Juan Grimm – leading South American designer – and I often wonder at their beauty and the reasons for their success. It is in his plantings and landscaping that we see how he harmonises with nature. In the garden at Melipilla, about an hour south of Santiago in Chile, he has created layers of horizontal planes, which echo the natural landscape and culminate in the house which in this picture, is barely visible within the landscape. Continue reading “Juan Grimm in harmony with nature”

The last place you’d look for passionfruit

My neighbour, artist Ros Goody, has the best crop of passionfruit ever this year, which is odd as her vine, possibly self-sown, grows under and around a jacaranda. It is very shaded and never watered. It is only fertilised if its roots have roamed into a near by garden bed, although there is plenty of mulch around and the soil is good. Continue reading “The last place you’d look for passionfruit”

The heart & soul of America

If you had to choose one place in the United States that you felt all Americans should visit, one landscape or landmark representative of the “American ethos”, what would it be? I started pondering that question last week after reading Catherine Stewart’s story about her pilgrimage to Uluru (more familiar to us Americans as Ayers Rock), the giant monolith located smack dab in the middle of the Australian continent. Continue reading “The heart & soul of America”

Horticulturists in Ohio

What do 10,000 horticulturists and a heatwave have in common? They can all be found in Columbus, Ohio each July. The OFA Short Course expo is considered the melting pot of the American horticultural industry. For the past 84 years the biggest plant show in the USA has drawn a vast collection of suppliers, producers, breeders, growers, retailers, landscapers and agents. You’ll find them all in a networking frenzy discussing new plants, emerging trends and sales targets. Continue reading “Horticulturists in Ohio”