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Creating Kitchen Garden Markers

Many people find gardening relaxing, something that is good for their soul. Countless hours may be spent, digging and planting, turning the soil and weeding. But it seems to be a special talent to get things to grow, and much more to have them thrive. Recently, the trend seemed to be bigger houses with less lawn and less garden, and certainly for many that is still true. But for many others, there is a change happening- turning our backs on mass production, and fresh fruit and vegetables being bought at big retailers. Instead we see the popularity of farmers markets increase, and the concept of ‘farm fresh’ and ‘paddock to plate’ becoming more important to a large percentage of the community.

There is a lot to be said for understanding where food comes from. As old fashioned as it sounds, I believe it is of vital importance to bring your children up in the garden and in the kitchen too. That is where they will begin to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food and understand that the food they choose sustains them and helps them thrive also.

Image; Via Instagram

As a family, we longed for a patch of land where we could begin growing our own food,  as well as give the kids an everyday experience where they are encouraged to touch, feel and get dirty without concern. Oh, and what fun we have had since moving! 😄 So far our kitchen garden has provided literally kilos and kilos of zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, snow peas, corn cobs, cherry tomatoes, celery, chilies, rocket, and different lettuce varieties. We are also waiting on our crop of broccoli and silverbeet.

My husband certainly takes the reigns in the garden (as our resident horticulturist, I wouldn’t expect any less), but the vegie patch and the herb garden have somehow remained mine. Our herb garden has been thriving and we have had more than our fair share of mint, basil and parsley. We also have dill, lemongrass, rosemary, oregano, chives, purple basil.

Some may say it is because I am a control freak that I feel the need to label everything. My response is usually something to do with attempting to make things easier for others, you know so things can be put back in the correct spot or so that you know what is what. So after I had happily planted my seedlings I set about looking for some garden markers. Who knew anything nice was so expensive!!?? I really could not resolve the idea of just leaving the labels on or using those plastic white labels you can get from the hardware store so here are some of the ideas I found;

lab 1
Image; 5 Dollar Dinners
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Image; Pin and Paper
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Image; Best Friends for Frosting
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Image; Shrimps Salad Circus
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Image; Simple Details
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Image; Hardly Housewives
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Image; My Garden Your Garden

I found some raw wood spoons in a dollar store and took to them with my sharpies based on the above idea. I started just by roughly positioning the letters on the spoon in lead pencil. Then when I was happy, I penned them in and then added a greenery based design to each, unless it particularly called for colour.








Whether you are happy to buy some of what you need, or you want to make do with what you have around the house, any of these options make great additions to your garden. And it goes without saying that the kids love getting in and getting their hands dirty.

Fwf x





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Caring For Your Plants Over The Holidays

For anyone who is in the midst of busy school holidays or perhaps is considering a summer getaway, sometimes your indoor and outdoor plants can get overlooked.

Australian summers hit hard, so a few hot days can turn your beloved garden into a graveyard if you are ill-prepared. Many people do not know their neighbours well because we so often live busy lives so we often have to think of alternatives when we are planning a sojourn.

For anyone with a fairly established garden, it stands to reason that they will also have an existing irrigation system of some description. Irrigation systems are an effective watering method as they are often set up with a sensor, and/or timer so that the watering can be achieved without your input. This obviously takes some level of stress away when taking a lengthy break.

Image: Irrigation Systems FL
Image: Easy Garden Irrigation

But for those with collections of pot plants, whether indoor or outdoor, an irrigation system just wont work. First and foremost, be sure to fill any saucers, but if you are still left short, check out some of our other ideas below.

If you have the option to, call a friend. Someone dropping in every few days, or twice a week keeping an eye on your plants is probably the best way to get them through the holidays. Pot plants have a limited surface area and soil volume, so cannot retain a large quantity of water. Throw in a few hot days and the water will quickly evaporate leaving the plant dry and desperate. Some plant varieties do not respond well to being dried out, so even when you water them a few days later, they will not revive.

If you have a bath, I would suggest moving your pot plants into the bathroom which is considerably cooler, and filling the bath tub up approximately 2-4cm. The bathtub will act as a humongous saucer, and the plants will drink as they like/need. The same can be done in any large sinks throughout the house/kitchen/laundry.

Alternatively, if you do not have a bathtub or large sink available to you, you should create a water reservoir. There are numerous products on the market for you to buy, but you can easily create one for yourself from a recycled bottle.

Image: The Gadget Flow via Pinterest


The basic premise of any of the ‘ready-to-use’ products on the market is that when the soil dries out around the spike it will slowly allow water to trickle down to hydrate the plant. They are generally made from a porous material such a terracotta. Some people may remember their parents burying unglazed terracotta pots in their garden and filling them with water as a rather archaic irrigation system based on the same concept.

These days concepts such as ‘The Plant Nanny’ exist; terracotta spikes that can be used with any of your recycled bottles. Simply attach either a wine or plastic bottle to the top of the spike and inset into your pot. Sure, this kind of concept won’t keep your pot plant going for weeks on end, but if you are only enjoying a week away, or can manage to wrangle friends or family to check in and refill on the weekend, you should be right.

Image: Plant Nanny
Image: Tree Hugger
Image; Plant Nanny

Hope everyone had a gorgeous Christmas and is enjoying the start to 2017. For anyone venturing far from home, drive carefully; make sure you get to enjoy that holiday you so deserve.

Fwf x

Featured Image by Thomas J. Story via Sunset

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The Old Fashioned House Plant Revival

A friend text me the other day to let me know I was her ‘hipster friend’. Why? Because I have a Fiddle Leaf Fig plant at home. I literally laughed out loud as there is truly NOTHING hipster about me, I just like them. But she insisted that they were the ‘cool’ plant at the moment.

It got me to thinking about many house plants that have recently seen an increase in their profile and their popularity, evidenced by the sheer volume now stocked at local markets, nurseries and florist shops.

Even event work seems to be utilising many common houseplants, plants which enjoyed popularity many years ago, and that are once again enjoying being in the spotlight.

Image via Ruffled. Wedding Stylist and Flowers: The Style Salon

If you are looking for a way to bring some nature indoors, check out some of our current favourites;

Fiddle Leaf Fig;

The Fiddle Leaf fig, Ficus Lyrata is a fig native to Western Africa, growing in tropical rainforest settings. The shape of the plant’s leaves resemble a fiddle, hence the plant name; they are generally broad in the apex with a narrow middle, and can measure up to 45cm in length, 30cm in width! There are of course some variations to this, and many leaves will be far smaller than that, with prominent veins and a leathery texture.

As an indoor house plant it is important not to over water your fig as the leaves will yellow and fall off.



Boston Fern;

There are soooo many varieties of Boston ferns available; making them a great choice for hanging basket, pot plant, or garden plant. Nephrolepis exaltata has recently been enjoying some popularity in staging and styling events, creating bespoke hanging pieces and featured heavily through homeware/decor magazines and catalogues.

The Boston fern likes filtered natural light,  and will benefit from being turned occasionally so all the plant can enjoy the benefits of photosynthesis. The fronds will stretch outwardly toward the light so you will notice the ferns cascades getting longer and wider.

Whilst the Boston fern are the most resistant to drought, generally speaking it favours damp (but not soggy) soil. My nan has an absolutely astounding fern in her lounge room which she waters weekly, butthen leaves water in the saucer so the plant can have a bit extra to drink if it wants it. Another hot tip is to be sure to water the fern in the centre of the pot where the heart of the plant is.

The king fern which is related to the Boston, makes a great outdoor variety, either in large pots or simply planted directly in the garden. Ferns are a gorgeous way of adding spurts of colour and lush foliage to your home or garden.

Image Bakker


An old favourite for sure, this orchid plant represents fantastic value for money given that the plant generally  flowers for at least 6 weeks. I have been lucky enough to enjoy 3 months of blooms, and when placed in a large pot, they are able to create a real statement display.

Phalaenopsis are an epiphyte, and thus like to absorb water vapour and nutrients from their environment. We often suggest that a bathroom is a good spot for them as the opaque glass provides a filter to the light in the room, and the humidity from the shower creates the require water vapour. Phalaenopsis need not be watered daily, generally speaking once a week throughout the warmer months is sufficient, and every 10-14 days throughout winter. Ensure the plant gets a good drink at this time, and is thoroughly drained before placing it back in your decorative pot to avoid water building up in the vessel.

Phalaenopsis plants
Phalaenopsis plants

Can you think of any other plants seeing an increase in their popularity and want some hot tips for caring for them. Drop us a message via our facebook page

Fwf x

Cover image: Stocksy


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To Paris, With Love (and Admiration)

A short time after I posted last week’s blog on vertical gardens, a friend of mine shared a news article with me out of Paris which I thought related, and was honestly quite inspiring. I hoped it might also be of interest to you all.

As a city, Paris is know for it’s fashion, food and culture, as well as romance and art, and now, the forward thinking hub will also be known for being one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world.

Image via Inhabitat

Did you know that the first Sunday of every month in Paris is Car free day?

Did you know that Paris recently banned plastic plates and cutlery? They are the first country to do so.

PLUS any new commercial buildings constructed are required to be partially covered with plants or solar panels. Wow.

Paris has recently passed a new law allowing anyone to plant an urban garden within the city, whether it be on the exterior of their home or office, in fact upon receiving their permit they are free to grow their garden on walls or in boxes, on rooftops, under trees, or on fences. The new law, effective from July 1st was passed quietly, and has only just started making international headlines- crazy, as I think we should be singing this news from the mountain tops!

Image via Hip Paris

Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, has encouraged Parisians to create living walls and green roofs, with a goal of 100 hectares by 2020! And out of that, she would like to see 1/3 dedicated to agriculture. Parisians are encouraged to be creative with their gardens, and are able to apply for renewable 3 year permits, and even supplied with a gardening starter kit which includes top soil and seeds. Whilst they are encouraged to be creative and use their imagination to green the city in many ways, they are required to plant only local species, and maintain the city’s visually appealing aesthetics. It has also been suggested that they plant honey plants to assist with the worldwide diminishing bee population, which is believed to bring catastrophic affects for our futures. The new law also sees Parisians using sustainable methods to grow their plants and avoiding all pesticides.

Image via Ecowatch

The new garden program has many goals in mind, and as such has been designed to meet the city’s need for green spaces, improve air quality, improve building insulation and acoustics, mitigate the effects of climate change whilst also encouraging biodiversity. They also hope that the program will boost the beauty of the city, improve the quality of life for the city dwellers whilst improving relationships between neighbours by creating more social links.

I think Hidalgo has a beautiful big picture view, and this program is only one piece of her ‘green’ plan. In addition, there will be the creation of 30 hectares of public gardens, 20,000 new trees planted, 200 re-vegetation projects as well as the creation and development of educational farms, orchards and gardens within schools.

Imagine living in a city where you could choose to grow Espaliered fruit trees on your rooftops, or trellised tomatoes and beans up the front of your apartment building? Imagine living in a city where the aim was to add green to the landscape, not cut it down?

I think it is a refreshing vision for the world, and one that I for one would love to see adopted here. Lets add green back to our lives. Green is good.

Fwf x

Feature image from Inhabitat

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Vertical Gardens- The Sky’s The Limit

These days, the current trend in housing sees more people enjoying apartment living; with no lawns to mow and fewer rooms to keep clean and tidy. Where they are in a house, (at least in homes around me) so often we witness the original homes being bull dozed to the ground, and monstrous mansions built in place with little or no garden or yard left. This means that if you are at all interested in gardening or producing your own food, you must get creative.

Image: Brilliant Besser Block stackable garden, Apartment Therapy

Vertical gardens are an innovative way to optimise the space you have by building your garden UPWARDS! Essentially it is a new take on an old technique, instead of simply using a trellis, we now utilise all sorts of products to create these gardens.There are certainly specialty products available now that can make creating your vertical garden pretty straight forward and simple; a combination of wired frames and pots, but there are plenty of other options too.

Image: Bunning, Ready to go vertical garden kit

The great thing about this resurgence in popularity of the humble vertical garden is people have started thinking about new ways to do it, and with that has come a rise in ‘upcycling’ concepts. Plastic soft drink or milk bottles can be used, along with reused wooden pallets to create unique upright structures to plant your garden within.


Vertical Garden Using Plastic Milk Bottles.  This would be a great thing to do at school - maybe give each child a couple of seeds and see what grows?:
Image via 1001 Gardens, Coach House Crafting
Image: ZelfMaak Ideetjes


Vertical gardens are a unique way to disguise unattractive areas- in our case, we recently attached a vertical garden to the outside of our pool filter box which was previously covered in a dark bamboo fencing which looked visually very heavy. These gardens can also be used to draw your attention to a particular area as is the case with green wall creations on premier hotels or office blocks, both inside and out.

Image: Outdoor Design
Image via Tournesol Site Works, The living wall at the Singapore Institute of Technology & Education – images courtesy of Victor Tan, Elmich

This is not a garden solution for someone who is after something low maintenance. As you are creating the garden beds upwards, they tend to be fairly shallow or small areas that are filled with soil, and therefore are unable to hold large quantities of water. This means they require regularly watering or irrigation systems, and of course need to be appropriate plants for this situation.

Vertical gardens can use almost any plant you like provided you provide them with appropriate conditions, however for the most interesting affects, consider using a combination of climbing plants, and plants that are naturally pendulous as well as plants that provide bulk.

Here are some of my suggestions to get your vertical garden, or green wall looking really interesting; sedum and other succulents, bromeliads or other air plants which require little soil, ferns, Chain of hearts, Silver Falls (below), Colius (below).

Alternatively, you can use your vertical garden to harvest your own herbs and vegetables. I suggest lettuce varieties would be useful in most homes, as well as tomatoes if you have the room for a trellis, or other support. Beans are quick to harvest so are interesting to grow if you have young ones in the house as they can quickly see progress :-)




So whether you are short on space, or simply want to create an interesting display somewhere you have a blank wall, vertical gardens are a beautiful, effective way to bring your space to life, quite literally!

Fwf x

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long legs, mosquito big mosquito close-up pictures, in the north of China

Nature’s Best Mozzie Repellants

I don’t know about you but I love the warmer weather. As spring progresses and the temperatures rise, I enjoy the increasingly balmy weather, and the sun against my skin more and more each day. But as the Summer months approach, some little things start to bug me, and I KNOW I am not alone there. Already we are finding the mozzies are around and biting. And given we are new to the area, I suspect they are enjoying our ‘new blood’.

Sure, you can lather yourself in insect repellant, but, I like many parents with small children, like to avoid excessive use of chemicals, and lotions and potions tend to annoy my middle child’s skin, as many store bought formulas contain toxic substances irritating to sensitive skin.

You may or may not be aware that many plants that are naturally repellent to mosquitoes are highly fragrant, and I was happy to discover that many of your common herbs are repellent too. Talk about two birds :-) I love that many of these naturally repellent plants have a dual purpose, so here are some of my picks for your garden to keep the Mozzies under control this Summer!

Image: Pod Gardening

Basil (Ocimum americanum)

Basil leaves have essential oils that can be extracted and used as a spray to repel mosquitoes. You may also find that Basil is an effective repellent when grown in your yard near entertaining areas.

Catmint (Nepeta faassenii)

Catmint or Catnip are a genus of flowering plants which are found to be very attractive to cats but super unattractive to many bugs, including mosquitoes. Research out of Iowa State University shows that the oil extracted from catnip (Nepeta cataria) contains nepetalactone and has been found to be almost 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET.


Image: Clipzine via Pinterest

Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)

Citronella grass generally grow to about 2m and when crushed releases an oil that acts as a repellant. It can be used alone on the skin, or mixed with other oils to create a repellant concoction, in candles, or in aromatherapy.

Image; Jennifer Stackhouse via Homelife

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic can be used as a natural way to repel mosquitoes by cutting up the bulb and sprinkling it throughout your outdoor areas, or mixing it with oils to create a body spray. Be careful not to be too liberal with the body spray, or you may find you repel more than just the mozzies!

Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citrates)

Lemon grass is related to Citronella grass, and as such contains citronella oil, an effective repellent. Plant this along your garden border, and enjoy the Asian flavour in your kitchen too!

Image: Bonnie Plants

Mint (Mentha)

All mint species are repulsive to insects, so mint is a great addition to any garden. This versatile herb is great in cooking and in teas, as well as in homemade repellents.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Highly fragrant Rosemary is a great addition to any garden as the plant keeps mosquito infestation under control. Cuttings of the plant, as well as the plants oil, also have repellent abilities.

Image: Linda Ross via Homelife

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is a lovely addition to any garden, and many people enjoy it’s strong perfume. It is certainly a versatile plant; you are able to use it to create tea brews, sleep remedies and ward away pesky mosquitoes. Mosquitoes dislike the Lavender perfume so plant it around your yard or use it’s oil alone or mixed with other essential oils as a body spray repellent.

Mexican Marigolds (Tagetes lucida)

Marigolds odour is not only offensive to mosquitoes…many bugs and most people find it unpleasant too! Keep cut flowers around the house to ward off the mozzies, or plant them near entertaining areas in your yard to keep the bugs at bay while you enjoy the Great Outdoors.

Image: Secretly Obvious

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Clove plants can be used around the garden to keep bugs under control, but can also have the oil of the plant extracted to use in concentration on your skin.

Many of these plants can be crushed and rubbed on your body as a quick and easy repellent while others repel simply by being planted nearby. Mosquitoes find Lemon/citrus fragrances repulsive so you may choose one of many varieties of plants with a citrus fragrance such as Citronella Grass, Lemon Balm, Lemon Geranium, Lemon Thyme, Lemon Grass or Lemon Verbena to keep bugs at bay.

For those of you that back on to nature reserves or bushland, you may be happy to hear that these highly fragrant plants are also helpful in keeping snakes away (another Summer loving friend), so think about planting rows of them along your properties border.

Remember that despite planting naturally repellant herbs and grasses, other factors, such as stagnate water can encourage mosquitoes to hang around, so make sure you keep wet/damp areas under control and clear out any water vessels regularly. Mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water so it is important to dump out the water that collects in the saucers of outdoor containers and change bird baths water regularly.

To make your own simple repellent, check out these recipe ideas.

Time for me to buzz off and get busy in that garden

Fwf x


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Living on Air

Everyone likes something low maintenance right? In today’s modern world, we seem to be over scheduled and over committed, and as a result, our plant friends seem to take somewhat of a sideline. So what could be more low maintenance than a plant that basically lives on air?

Image: Day Lilies in Australia

An Epiphyte, is a plant that lives on the nutrients it gathers from the air and rain, and lives on another tree without taking any nutrients from that plant, unlike a parasite. Epiphytes or air plants as they are more commonly known, live on other plants/trees for physical support only, and to position themselves where there is less competition for light, but they do not draw negatively from the host. They are generally found in moist tropical areas where they are able to grow above ground in a dense shaded rain forest environment accessing moisture, sunlight and resourcefully exploiting the nutrients available from fallen leaves and other organic debris.

Epiphytes are mostly angiosperms, or flowering plants and make fantastic houseplants as they do not require large quantities of soil or water. The most popular varieties of epiphytes used as houseplants are Orchids, Ferns and Bromeliads. Other epiphytes include various Mosses and Algaes.

Image: Wikimedia
Image: Finding Florida

Epiphytic plants contribute to our rich ecosystem and provide a canopy and shelter. But not all plants in this group are tree epiphytes. Plants, such as mosses, are epiphytic but may be seen growing on rocks instead or the sides of houses and other inorganic surfaces. Instead of using the tree branches for physical support, they instead use the rock body, or other structure to position themselves where they have access to optimal light and moisture requirements. Water is generally gathered from the rain or water vapour in the air, and nutrients are sourced from debris from the host.

Bromeliad leaves typically arranged in a tightly overlapping spiral at their base to form a cup like structure whereby water gathers. The cup also is able to capture debris which then decomposes and goes on to provide the plant with its required nutrients. The central cup can also be an excellent habitat for small creatures. In fact many animals drink from the Bromeliad and some even breed or live in the pool, such as dart frogs. When Bromeliad varieties are epiphytes they use their roots primarily as anchors. The roots grasp the structure (tree/branch/mount) and fasten the plant securely. The trichomes (scale like structures on their leaves) take in water from the air.

Image: Flickr

Many Orchids varieties are epiphytes, and by having the ability to grow without any soil, the orchid is able to grow in places with little competition for light, moisture and the compost from other plants in order to source it’s own nutrients.  In nature, the roots of the orchids are often covered with mosses or ferns which also favour the same environments, so the orchids roots rarely get an opportunity to dry out. They also add to the humidity in the air of the ennvironment which the orchids love.

When housing an orchid in your home, it is important to emulate these conditions as closely as possible. Cover the roots with some moss, and position your orchid somewhere it will have access to filtered natural light, and moist air, like your bathroom.

Image via Pinterest
Image: Via Philippine Horticultural Society Facebook page

Live in a shoe box with limited space? Air plants will work for you too! Try a Tillandsia in a hanging votive, or some Old Man’s Beard (Spanish Moss).

Image: Gem Found

Fwf x


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Styling Your Garden

My husband and I, along with our three young children recently moved. We had been bursting at the seams for a couple of years already, but hadn’t had any luck finding what we were after….and for the right price. We had never envisaged raising three inquisitive little people within 4 walls, and struggled daily with finding a balance between keeping a neat house and letting them explore and be creative. So, after 15 years in apartment living, we needed LAND, glorious land, and luckily earlier this year we found our dream home, packed up our bongos and moved.

One of the selling points had been the quarter acre block of land, and even though there were some established gardens I knew my hubby, a horticulturist, was itching to get into the place and put his own mark on it. But who knew there was so much to consider and that something I thought I was happy for him to have complete ownership of, I had such strong (sometimes opposing) opinions on! Ha!

What is your vision for your garden? Do you want a formal garden?  This garden style, originating from Europe was reserved for only exclusive properties, owned by the likes of royalty and noble families. However, in the modern world this style is widely used in domestic properties and the term ‘formal garden’  refers more to the plants you choose and the carefully planned symmetry of the design lay out. Hedges are central to this garden style, and they, along with the lawns of the property should be kept neatly clipped for maximum effect.

Image BHG

This garden style favours classic, green plants, perhaps with some white flowering plants added. This design style looks fantastic as it has an amazing visual impact in its uniformity and dense linear hedges, and symmetry.

This garden does require plants to grow into it. What does that mean? If you choose to buy mature plants to achieve an ‘instant’ garden, it is extremely costly, but furthermore, you will find that the overall look and shape of your hedges is inconsistent. When you slowly plant, and allow plants to grow into a space, when you trim, prune and shape, you are able to achieve a much more cohesive look.

The key in keeping it look its best is regular maintenance. If you are irregular in your maintenance, the garden will become overgrown and lose it’s ‘shape’. You will then be required to give it a hard trim, which can result in seeing thick pieces of branches within the hedge as it has been let go for to long.

Image: Backyard Gardening

Clever planting should draw your eye in and around the design,which requires careful consideration in order to create interest by using different textured foliage and varying heights of plants. Repetition is certainly key to this design style; by using one variety of plant along a whole border, the border looks strong and uniform. You can also choose to use water features such as a pond or fountain in a central position, to create a focal point.

Another option is a Cottage garden where you use dense plantings, informal design, traditional garden materials and a mixture of both ornamental and edible plants. They are more relaxed in their look and feel, and focus less on rules, and more on the love of gardening. As the garden blossoms throughout the seasons, you will be forever enjoying a new and different landscape. Originally, the cottage garden was a mixture of vegetables, herbs, fruit trees with flowers filling in all the gaps, but as time has gone on, the flowers have become more dominant.

Image: Serenity Secret Garden
Image: Houzz
Image: Mississauga

This garden style lacks the rigidity of the borders and hedges, and does not use repetition to create formality or uniformity. Instead, this garden is a mixture of anything and everything that takes your fancy and its appeal lies in the discoveries you may make in little pockets of garden today, that you perhaps did not notice there the day before. Choose different colours and textures to add interest to your garden space.

Today people tend to favour low maintenance gardens, doing away with large grassed areas, and choosing plants that required little or no care like succulents, agaves, etc with feature pavers or rocks. Australia has such a beautiful range of sub tropical, tropical and native plants available which grow throughout the country that can be utilised to create a unique cottage garden, which is less traditionally English in style (see below examples).

For us, our garden is just a blank canvas for now. Hubby felt it needed to be stripped back completely before he could start again, so stay tuned for some progress reports. And as far as style goes, I think we have decided to go for a relatively informal garden, with a decidedly tropical/sub tropical feel and a dedicated kitchen garden for herbs, some citrus trees and vegetables. As a horticulturist, my husband understandably wants to showcase some unique specimens, so a formal garden which requires the plants to be en masse just isn’t viable.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good project, and can’t wait to get stuck into this one!

Stay tuned

Fwf x

Image via Style Estate


Image: Roger’s Garden
Image: Rogers gardens





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bonsai cover

Oh My, Bonsai

1. the art of growing ornamental, artificially dwarfed varieties of trees and shrubs in pots.
2. an ornamental tree or shrub grown using the art of bonsai.

They say good things come in small packages right? And in this case, it is certainly true. Bonsai plants, are uniquely grown and make a fabulous addition to any gardener’s collection, or a gift for people with a special interest in plants willing to take the time to care for them.

BUT Bonsai are not for everyone. They have been slowly and carefully grown to a point and once established, are planted in a display pot before sale. But unlike your average indoor plant, Bonsai are a tree, and the implications of that is that the Bonsai require careful consideration, care and upkeep.

bonsai 2

Bonsai are often thought to be simply a dwarfed plant, however dwarfing generally refers to plant cultivars that are permanent, genetic miniatures of an existing species. Bonsai does not require genetically dwarfed trees, but rather is grown from regular stock and seeds and uses cultivation techniques such as pruning, root reduction and potting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-size trees. Bonsai  meaning “plantings in tray”, is often used as a blanket term for all miniature trees in pots. The ancient Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years.

bonsai 3

Bonsai is grown for different reasons than many ordinary plants, that may be grown say for medicinal uses, or for food. They are grown both for the viewers contemplation and the pleasure in the effort in shaping and growing the plant. It is a long term commitment.

A Bonsai may be started from a cutting, seedling or a small tree of a species appropriate for development. They can be created from nearly any shrub species that produces true branches or perennial woody stemmed tree that can be kept small by way of pot confinement, and crown and root pruning. Some species are more popular for Bonsai cultivation as they are more visually appropriate, having small leaves or needles. The species needs to be shaped and kept small to meet the aesthetic standards of Bonsai.

bonsai 1

The practice of bonsai development incorporates a number of techniques including;

  1. Leaf trimming- removal of selected leaves/needles
  2. Pruning- branches/roots or trunk
  3. Clamping- using devices to artificially shape the tree’s trunks and branches
  4. Wiring- artificially designing the formation of the tree’s general form, branches and leaf formation using wire
  5. Grafting
  6. Defoliation- removal of foliage

© 2005 -- Ron Reznick [#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D2X Focal Length: 60mm Optimize Image: Color Mode: Mode II (Adobe RGB) Long Exposure NR: Off High ISO NR: Off 2005/03/06 00:36:35.4 Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority White Balance: Color Temp. (5600 K) Tone Comp.: Less Contrast RAW (12-bit) Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern AF Mode: Manual Hue Adjustment: 0° Image Size: Large (4288 x 2848) 1/15 sec - F/8 Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached Saturation: Normal Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sharpening: Normal Lens: 60mm F/2.8 D Sensitivity: ISO 100 Auto Flash Comp: 0 EV Image Comment: [#End of Shooting Data Section]

Pot confinement is an effective cultivation technique in keeping the Bonsai small, as a typical bonsai container is under 25 centimeters in its largest dimension and only 2 to 10 liters in volume, this restricts root growth. Similarly, the largest bonsai rarely exceed 1 meter and most specimens are significantly smaller, due largely to the cultivation technique of pruning. These major differences in the plants growth affect maturation, transpiration, nutrition, pest resistance, and other aspects of tree biology, therefore to maintain the long-term health of a tree requires specialised care.

  1. Bonsai must be regularly watered.
  2. Bonsai must be repotted at intervals appropriate for the age of the tree/species
  3. Bonsai must be in an appropriate soil composition (usually loose and fast draining)
  4. Bonsai may be kept indoors generally but many species will require periods of time outdoors to fulfil the species light requirements. This is species dependant.

If you like a challenge, then the Bonsai could be for you but remember, this is no ordinary houseplant. The Bonsai requires alot of work to get it to the point of sale, so is not a ‘cheap’ plant, and it will also require a long term commitment of care once you get it home. Happy pruning!

Fwf x

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Memories- Unique Ideas to Pay Tribute to Loved Ones.


Death is nothing at all,

I have only slipped into the next room.

I am I, and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used,

Put no difference into your tone.

Laugh as we always laughed

at the jokes we enjoyed together.


Think of me

Give thanks for my Life.

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Image: Bergen Designs

A colleague and I were chatting a few weeks ago, after we had both lost someone. Funerals, and memorials vary widely depending on the kind of affair the deceased had organised, or how the family decides to honour their loved one, they even vary depending on whether they passed unexpectedly, or whether it had been a long battle to the end. Some people find the restrictions of a funeral hard on their own journey of grief, and want to find another way they can honour the person who has passed.

I recently went to a funeral which lacked any formality. The deceased had actually wanted there to be no ceremony- but his wife couldn’t bear the idea of that, so went for a super simple affair with very few attendees. There were no readings, no eulogies, no picture slideshows, just 8 carefully selected musical tracks which played in the background as guests arrived and when the last song had played, everyone simply got up and went to the club for drink together.

Perhaps not everyone needs to have people say nice things about them, and pretend that they were faultless and a saint throughout their life, but for me, talking about the good old times is really all part of the grieving process, and I missed that in this particular case. In fact, I found the silence overwhelming. Being alone with my own thoughts was deafening, and it made me more emotional than if there had been speeches and readings to focus upon.

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Image: Empress of Dirt

You may also feel compelled to honour the deceased in your own special way, personally and privately, or in a way that others can share in. For example, I found this simple idea (above) which I thought could be easily adapted to include loved ones names and significant dates in even the smallest of gardens. You can then add stones when needed without sacrificing more space in your garden, which is suitable for our small urban living spaces.

My friend and I had been talking about the idea of starting a special memorial garden, or section in your garden where you can honour people who have passed. This could work particularly well for school or community groups where people are able to congregate in a public area. In fact, that’s exactly what a one local school has recently done. After losing two staff members in a short period after long battles with cancer, they set about creating a memorial space. The teacher’s classes were encouraged to choose the plant and be involved in the planting and maintenance and again, this garden needn’t get any bigger. Choose appropriate sized plants or you could even include small plaques to an established garden bed.

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Image: Joe Maui Blogspot

You will often find that these days, families ask that no flowers be sent to the funeral. Aside from the cost involved in paying tribute to someone this way, often so many pieces are given on the one day, and it is impossible to enjoy them all at once. They are either left at the service, or it is up to friends and family to transport them back to the family home. You can obviously choose to send something directly to the home, and if this is something you wish to do, be guided by your florist who will certainly suggest sending something that is self contained.

Another idea is to stagger the deliveries of sympathy flowers to the home. This can be organised directly with the local florist so that the family is not overwhelmed in the first few days only to be left with a house full of arrangements dying at the same time. This way the family can enjoy fresh flowers for weeks or months, and can appreciate them individually.

Whilst it is not customary to provide a ‘gift’ or favour to funeral guests, how cute is this idea of giving guests a packet of a favourite flower/herb/wildflower, or forget-me-nots to take home and plant at home. It is certainly perfect for an avid gardener, and adds an extra personal touch to the service.

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Image: Botanical Paperworks


Well, there are some ideas for you to think over. For all your sympathy flower needs, head here.

Perhaps you have recently lost someone special like me, and don’t want to feel like they have been forgotten….

Forever in your heart, never forgotten.

Fwf x

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