The gar­den

TROP­I­CAL STYLE AR­RANGE­MENT OF PLANTS THAT SUIT LO­CAL CON­DI­TIONS AND NOW GEN­ER­ATE A SHADY, MOIST MI­CRO­CLI­MATE.

Gardening Australia - - GARDENER OF THE YEAR 2018 -

Who uses this gar­den?

My wife, daugh­ter and I, al­though my wife would pre­fer a gar­den with lawn!

How old is it?

It’s 14 years old.

What was here to be­gin with?

It was a new house with a lawn and a few na­tive plants.

What at­tracted you to the site?

The big back­yard. I saw its po­ten­tial and had a vi­sion of what I wanted to achieve. Was the gar­den planned from the out­set? It was planned in my head, but it’s taken lots of twists and turns. Over the years

I’ve re­claimed more and more lawn un­til even­tu­ally it was all gar­den!

Where do you draw in­spi­ra­tion from? Trips to Bali, trop­i­cal Queens­land and Sin­ga­pore. I’m ob­sessed with tak­ing my gar­den to the next level and am in­spired by gar­den­ers on Face­book and Pin­ter­est. Have you ever stud­ied gar­den de­sign or hor­ti­cul­ture?

I’m just a gar­dener, not a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist or botanist. I don’t get into botan­i­cal names. I fo­cus on plant colour and con­trast. What is your favourite part of the gar­den?

My bromeliad tree! I’ve at­tached about 20 plants to a Chi­nese tal­low tree and I love their colour.

What is your favourite time of day in the gar­den?

My favourite time of day is first thing in the morn­ing be­fore the sun’s on the gar­den. The mois­ture brings out the colour in ev­ery­thing.

De­scribe your main­te­nance sched­ule. The gar­den is low main­te­nance now. Liv­ing mulch blocks all the weeds. I some­times use fer­tiliser that con­tains ben­e­fi­cial soil mi­crobes. I clear away golden cane palm fronds when they fall on the ground.

Is it ir­ri­gated or hand-wa­tered?

A bit of both. There’s an au­to­matic ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem but I hand-wa­ter all the bromeli­ads in the trees, as well as the pa­tio plants.

Does any­one help you in the gar­den? When­ever my wife and daugh­ter try to help, I get frus­trated!

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What has been the tough­est chal­lenge? Know­ing noth­ing about gar­den­ing and mak­ing so many mis­takes. Buy­ing plants that grow like crazy and then hav­ing to dig them up and pay for a skip!

Does your gar­den pro­vide habi­tat for wildlife?

There are doves and hon­eyeaters that nest in the gar­den. There are plenty of frogs so I rarely see a snail or slug. Have you al­ways loved the plants that make up the ma­jor­ity of your gar­den? I’d seen lots of them on my 14 trips to Bali. What has gar­den­ing taught you?

Which plants are low main­te­nance. Gar­den­ing is my happy place. When I’m there, all I’m think­ing about are the plants. What would you say to new gar­den­ers? I’d ad­vise them to join a Face­book group and gain knowl­edge that way.

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