Some Autumn Inspiration

Our lovely Autumn day at the zoo was followed by another wonderful warm sunny March day perfect for enjoying in the outdoors.  This time Miss Two was absent, spending the day at child care, and the excursion was the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.  Baby Good and I caught up with another gardening friend to find some inspiration, learn a few things and perhaps buy a few more seeds – lets face it once you start down the seed path it’s hard to stop buying them.

We started with the indoors sections having a good look at the floral displays by both the professionals and the TAFE students.  A few caught my eye

I loved this combination of flowers and vegetables as well as the use of books, shoes and handbags.

The grasses in this one were just beautiful

Now this really is a mass of sunflowers, though they would have looked brilliant the day before.

But the winning display was magnificent and with so, so much attention to detail.  The creator must have spent an age collecting all those little bottles and science paraphernalia.  Check out the gorgeous old cash register!


We then moved onto the main attractions outside and it didn’t take long for us both to find a reason to open our wallets – bulbs!  I had thought about getting some earlier in the year, but never got around to it, so this was the perfect opportunity.  My purchases included some Violetric tulips with colours like electric deep purple and vibrant yellow with red splashes, some double flowering muscari (similar to hyacinth), and daffodils.  I’m not quite sure where I’m going to put them all yet, but I’ll find a spot for them I’m sure.

After wandering through some of the other stalls we headed for the walk of Achievable Gardens, where the real inspiration started.  I came away with all sorts of ideas for both the backyard vegies and my poor, neglected, disgraceful front garden.


The guy that created this garden had used all sorts of things he found at the tip recycling centre as planters.  Apparently he spent more on paint.  I loved the herbs growing in the used pallets and if you think you’ve seen these some where else you’d be right.

This one had a wonderful combination of edibles and ornamentals, but I wonder just how 'achievable' it is - they had spring onions growing UNDER the seat.

Both of these gardens as well as plenty of others gave me all sorts of ideas for my own backyard.  I really love the use of flowering plants in among the vegetables and given that my lounge room looks over my garden on three sides my goal is to have both a productive and an appealing looking garden.  One that has some parts that just look after themselves pretty much giving me enough time to do the work required to keep the vegetables as healthy as possible.

The Yates garden (which was aimed primarily at promoting various Yates ‘essential’ products) was beautiful and was a display I’d love to emulation in my own front garden.  I love the mass plantings and the creation of a carpet of foliage and flowers.  They used height and texture creatively with an interesting combination of native and non-natives, flowering and non-flowering plants.  This is what I would like to create in the front of my house.  I will post a photo later in the week to show you what a sorry sight it really is.  To date I’ve been too overwhelmed to tackle the front, the soil is appalling, compacted terribly and full of building rubble.  It is on the south side of the house so gets very little sun and seems an absolute haven for weeds.  On top of that, I can only work out there when I’m free of children as we don’t have a front fence and I would have to watch Miss Two constantly therefore getting very little actual gardening done.

Nevertheless, I am now determined to have a go at least improving things out the front. I like the idea of a carpet of plants to stop the weeds getting through.  I also want plants that require little care and attention once in the ground and established.  And obviously they will need to be shade tolerant (though the very front of the area does get some sun).  There were many plants that caught my eye, like Euphorbia ‘Lipstick’ and Banksia Birthday Candles (though the banksias I had in the back yard died, so I’m not sure how well they’ll go out the front).  While my back yard is very much planted out on a whim, without much planning, I would like to take a more educated and considered approach out the front.  Please, if you have advice send it my way.


Euphorbia 'Lipstick' (above); Banksia 'Birthday Candles' (below)

Finally I was very pleased to notice that I am not alone in my love of fuchsias there were two stalls in particular that were selling a great variety of these.  There were some gorgeous specimens in hanging baskets which I though would look great under my pergola, but I was very strong and despite the deals (fill a tray for $30 or 4 for $25 at another stall) I didn’t buy any.  I have several cuttings I’m trying to cultivate that I collected from my grandmother’s garden (well she planted them, I guess it’s my grandfathers garden now).  They are struggling a bit but hopefully they will come good.

I came home full of renewed vigor to whip the garden into shape and a relatively free weekend in which to do it.  Sadly a rather nasty virus saw me spend most of Saturday in bed and still feeling under the weather today I only managed a short while outside pottering away.  That leaves me with just a few days (before we head to my home town for Easter) to get the garden beds ready, the seedlings I have waiting planted and some more seeds sown.  It’s going to be a hive of gardening activity around here this week, here’s hoping the girls feel like co-operating.




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6 Responses to Some Autumn Inspiration

  1. Becky says:

    Love the plants in pallets!

    • Barbara Good says:

      Me too Becky, I’d love to have a go at it if I come across an old pallet in my travels. I though it would be brilliant with strawberries or flowers cascading over the sides. There wasn’t a lot of soil in there though so I wonder how it would work long term.

  2. Liz says:

    I love Banksia Birthday candles but mine died too – I have mixed results with Banksia’s – I have one or two doing well but I have killed a good few. The seem to like more water than I think they do with predictable results. If you are looking for low growing natives that are good in the shade I can recommend a few. Both scaevolas and correas flower nicely without much sun. I have some very large grevilleas in my front garden and I’ve under planted with correas and its working very well. Scaevola I have put throughout both my front and back garden in any shady area where ever I want a ground covering plant. Also good for shade are: Templetonia although it doesn’t flower that well without sun (but I really like the foliage) and boronia megastigma which I have growing in pretty much year round shade. The best native I have found for really dry shade is Crowea – they have pretty little flowers and seem to cope very well with little sun and not much water.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Banksias do seem to be finicky things. I always thought natives were easy to grow, but these seem to be not so. I’d love to give the birthday candles a go, but now I’m not too optimistic. I’ll have a look at your other recommendations, though I do like correas so that was already on my list of possibilities. In my mind I see an interesting collection of natives and non-natives, it’s the non-natives I really need to research. But for now it’s all a pipe dream until I get my head around what to do about the soil, get some time to spend out there and a few spare dollars for supplies.

  3. Pingback: Day 1 in the Gardening Frenzy Week | The New Good Life

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