An Artists Garden

It has been way too long since I posted here! I have been using Instagram with short posts which I guess is efficient time wise but it does have it limitations. So I though I’d do an update post of some of the native plants that are currently flowering in my garden. This is a view from where I sit in my studio looking out over the Banksia robur & Doryanthus palmerii in particular.

View from my studio

One of my sources of inspiration for my artwork is my garden. When we moved to the Northern Rivers of NSW we bought a lovely block of land to build a small house on. The house has grown over the years along with the family. The family has moved away so we recently undertook some hopefully never to be done again reno’s to repair a long suffering leaking roof, kitchen & bathroom!

Along with changes to the house we have over the years built, revised & expanded the gardens. My garden largely consists of native plants including those indigenous which I have talked about on this blog previously. Over the years we progressed our veggie gardens to raised no dig gardens & added some pots to house some non native plants.

I have a series of bird baths which I have been keeping topped up as the current weather has been so dry with no sign of any significant rain in sight. We are fortunate on the Northern Rivers to have water stored for the communities but instead of the usual plentiful rainful & greenery, much is turning brown & crisp in the last few months. I also grow many native plants for the birds, bees & insects and many so I have ready specimens to work from. Often in pots if they are a bit touchy or I want to keep them smaller.

One of the absolute stunning plants we have is a very old Grevillea ‘Moonlight’. It flowers almost constantly & the birds start feeding off the flowers early in the morning til late in the evening. Both the Moonlight Grevillea & the ‘Peaches & Cream’ varieties seem to flower constantly and the birds love them! I have recently planted a new Moonlight grevillea under the current one as I am worried it may not last much longer. The new plant is doing exceptionally well & should allow the old one to slowly fade out but with a replacement so the birds still have a great source of flowers to feed from.

About 4 years ago I heavily renovated the garden and removed most of the large overgrown sections planning to replace them with smaller more manageable species. We still kept a few large feature plants but the garden had become a bit hard to manage as it was. Although I planted a few new things life got a bit busy so it is only now I am getting back to adding some new interesting species. I grow things that I can hopefully use as references for my work & have documented them over the years.

So here are a few of the Grevillea species I have added in the past 12months which have started to flower. I am amzed at all the stunning new grevillea species being bred these days. I photograph & document them & hopefully one day they too may become artworks.

I had one area of the garden that just refused to grow whatever I tried to plant there. It is a hot area with direct hot summer sun & it doesn’t get much rain water. So I thought I’d give the Carpobrotus glaucescens – Pigface – Angular Pigface – Aussie Rambler a go. It has done exceptionally well. Even after trampling for external reno repairs & some extreme pruning is coming back really well & is flowering beautifully at the moment.

Isopogan, or Drumsticks have always been a favourite of mine so I decided to try Isopogon anemonifolius -Broad leafed Drumsicks, It struggled for a while but this year is producing some lovely flowers.

I have tried to grow Geraldton Wax in the past but not been very successful. This time I have put two in pots with native plant mix. I picked up a tube stock from the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens shop in Sydney probably 2 years ago which although slow starting is showing promising signs & flowering this year. The second one I tried was Chamelaucium uncinatum – Geraldton Wax Moulin Rouge. It has been spectacular! I have had 2 amazing flowering years with it & it has grown so big it is now encroaching on my pathway. Am having to contemplate moving it or pruning it but am unsure how it will respond to pruning, may have to do some research.

Instead of wooden fences we put up tall star picket & wire fences. We put the wire into the ground to help prevent unwanted species from coming into the yard. Recently we have had bandicoots back with the dry weather! Still to find the break in the fenceline that is allowing them in. Whilst I love bandicoots they are kind of destructive in the garden digging numerous small holes & uprooting new young plants. Sigh. The tick population also seems to increase when they gain access which is not so good for our small dog. Anyway, along the wire fenceline I planted some vines. The gorgeous Pandorea jasminoides – Bower of Beauty – Bower Vine – Bower Climber & several plants of the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly vine – Pararistolochia praevenosa they which has over the years rather taken over sections of the fence and we have had to put in extra props to hold it all up. I have written about this plant previously and it has been a source of inspiration for my work in the past.

Another new edition which I am loving is the Leptospermum Piccolo – Hybrid Pink Tea Tree, it has just this season started to show some significant new growth so I am hoping that next season it will be a lot more established and flowering beautifully.

Anyway back to some more carving and I have some new designs to transfer onto lino to carve as well today. Hoping to finish carving my current smaller work sometime today. Check out my Instagram for more frequent short updates.

2 thoughts on “An Artists Garden

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  1. Your garden is beautiful! I live in WA, and I also love geraldton wax. as soon as it finished flowering, I prune it to 1/3. At first I was hesitant to prune, but it thrives on it otherwise it goes woody. Thank you for sharing your lovely plants.
    Fe Thompson WA

    1. Hi Fe 👋 Thanks for your lovely comments! Also thanks for the advice about the GeraldtonWax – it has almost finished flowering so I will give it a good prune in a couple of weeks!

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