Sunday, 23 September 2007


I guess it was inevitable that roses would find their way into my life again. None in my garden yet (I'm resisting), but I couldn't resist photographing these on a back road in the Hunter Valley, one of Australia's more famous wine-growing areas. Of course, anywhere that grapes will grow, roses will be happy too. I believe these are both forms of Rosa banksii, a rose which grows poorly in Vancouver but obviously loves the climate in this part of Australia. As far as I can see, they were not receiving any loving care in this location

Sunday, 9 September 2007


As spring advances, rhododendrons are beginning to bloom. They thrive in the Blue Mountains, to the extent that the neighbouring town of Blackheath holds a rhododendron festival every year with open gardens and other attractions. Two houses along the street from us, these magnificent specimens currently dominate the backyard. I've deliberately included the edge of the house in one photo and a corner of the garage roof in the other to give a indication of scale.

Speaking of spring, Australians go by the calendar and nominate September 1st as the first day of the season, rather than opting for the equinox as Canadians do.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Innovative garden centre

Last week my sister introduced me to her favourite Sydney garden centre. Everything was well laid out and well labelled, although the choice was not as wide as in a large Vancouver nursery. The selection of Australian native plants was particularly good, and I bought a couple of kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos sp.) as well as a silver-leafed Convulvulus cneorum.
However, what really impressed me was that beyond the checkouts there was a small station with tap, sink and airdryer for customers to wash their hands. This seems to me an idea that other garden centres would do well to copy, as we all end up with dirty hands from picking up and putting down pots. It's a particularly generous gesture in Australia where water is not free as it is in Canada.