Australian Spotlight Gardener
“My Garden Journey”
My father was the first person to introduce me to the wonderful world of botany. As a geography teacher in his early years, he was able to educate me and my siblings about all sorts plants, animals and geographical formations. We often went on day trips to the pristine rain forests and waterfalls of the Gold Coast hinterland. He would point out buttress roots, strangler figs, moss and so much more and explain why and how nature created them. Dad would also have to remove the occasional leech from a screaming girl! To the north of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast. On road trips to see relatives he would also explain the surrounding volcanic plugs called the Glasshouse Mountains. And more visits to waterfalls and walking trails. This early education gave me an understanding of the cycle of life.
The other major influence was my ex husband who was an urban horticulturalist when we met. I was able to garner much of his knowledge by listening and watching. We even owned a nursery for a short period west of Brisbane prior to separating. The climate there was hotter and drier than Brisbane therefore drought tolerant exotics, succulents and natives were a must.
SEE ALSO: Nej Ali – “Oh, those peanuts!”
I moved back to Brisbane to study audio engineering while working part time at a nursery. All the while collecting cuttings, $2 bin plants and anything I could drag around from rental to rental. I bought my current house on 700m2 in 2005 and have planted 100s of trees, shrubs and flowers.
Aesthetically speaking, palms, lush foliage, bright colours and flowering natives, are what attracts me most. I find creating a sub eco system within the garden very satisfying. Each part of my garden is designed diligently to make the most of light and soil for the plant to flourish. Mowing grass is waste of time so I’ve utilised every square cm of land for landscaping. In my 30’s and early 40’s I was able to move metres of soil or gravel by wheelbarrow. These days I struggle to do much hard physical labour but my passion never dies. All my plants are established now and need little care except for a trim and fertilise once a year. They do need water in drought conditions.
Indoor plants are an extension of my love for tropical species. They add a dynamic to every home by being versatile as a screen on verandas, a hanging basket in the bathroom, herbs on the window sill, a palm in an entry way or bench top flowers. I also enjoy creating mini gardens in pots. It’s so easy to group 3 or 4 immature plants that complement each other within any container. They are great additions to outdoor entertainment areas or a cheap and cheerful gift.
I am very fortunate to have an uninhabited mountain behind my back fence. A panorama of eucalyptus trees for as far as the eye can see. Amongst the gums are grevilleas, callistemons, wattles and a plethora of birds. Mostly parrots of varying varieties, cockatoos, galahs, butcher birds, magpies, storm birds, kookaburras, bush turkeys and the dreaded mynas and crows. The cicadas can deafening at certain times of the year.
I hope you enjoyed a little peak into my journey as a gardener.
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