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Botanic Gardens Cranbourne desert garden

Gardening ideas this time for the use of Australian natives found at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, Victoria (around a 1 hour drive from central Melbourne).

Melbourne Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne

Use of plants as sculptural elements

Melbourne Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne

Detail in outdoor furniture – designed to blend with the landscape

Cranbourne Botanic Gardens dry weather gardening

Gardening for dry landscapes – waterwise garden


Alyson Hill Chooks in the CityChook lovers or wanna-be chook owners can find out all the answers on chicken ownership in the ‘Chooks in the City’ book by Alyson Hill.

Even better if you would like to go and discuss with Alyson in person there is an open garden session on chooks in Red Hill, Canberra on Saturday 17 March as part of the Open Garden Scheme.

Alyson (the author of Chooks in the City) and Teresa Zarlenga (owner of the garden) will be on hand to answer any questions you may have on chook keeping.

On another note, we finally have all three of our chooks laying…happy days!

vegetables and herbs in raised planter

Over the past 50 years, human beings have altered ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history. This is due to growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fibre and fuel.

These changes have contributed to gains in human well-being and economic development but at the cost of diversity and resulting in the exacerbation of poverty for some groups of people (for more information see the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment ).

Sustainable Gardening offers an approach to food production that seeks to reduce the impact of humans on the natural environment while still sustaining people and is an approach outlined comprehensively in Sustainable Gardens (CSIRO Publishing Gardening Guides Series)

Sustainable gardening, is defined as gardening that maximises environmental benefit and human well-being. The book covers off on how to design low impact gardens, the origins of sustainable horticulture, and looks in extensive detail at energy use, water use, materials, biodiversity and ecology in relation to gardening.

Sustainable Gardens looks much more broadly than the backyard and also delves into food production at a commercial level, suburban developments and the basic science behind sustainable gardening approaches. Given its broad coverage it wraps up nicely with the example of an Australian garden Karkalla  in the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria which provides a working example of sustainable gardening.

Sustainable Gardens (CSIRO Publishing Gardening Guides Series)

steel tank planter tubs with rosemary and lavender

The Canberra Discovery Garden at the National Arboretum Canberra opened last Sunday and provides planting ideas for those dealing with dry climate gardens, such as found in Canberra (although this year has been unusually wet!)

tractor outline with sky in background

Artistic touches give the garden interest and colour, despite not having masses of green leaves or vibrant flowers.

National Arboretum Canberra arid garden

Even better, the garden is perched atop a hill overlooking Canberra, so there are great views over Lake Burley Griffin and the rest of Canberra.

For more information see Discovery Garden or National Arboretum Canberra. Both will be open permanently in 2013 to celebrate Canberra’s centenary, in the meantime we will have to just enjoy the occasional open day!

Canberra Discovery Garden Logo



Don’t they make you smile, my memories of the French countryside are of endless fields of sunflowers. Our small tribute, has been four sunflowers that my son planted along our side fence, what a great success.

For a start they grew and screened our ugly fence. Then when some promising blooms started to erupt we were all excited.

Australian crimson rosella parrots feeding on sunflowers

In the past two weeks we have enjoyed their huge yellow faces and now the local Crimson Rosellas are having a great feast, slowly picking out the sunflower seeds one by one.

rosella bird eating sunflower seeds

Greedy birds!

parrot on flower

If I don’t get in soon, I think we are going to miss out on those sunflower seeds!