Designs on clever gardens

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THE Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is reputedly the largest such event in the southern hemisphere.
Some of its gardens have won prizes at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in the UK.
In the rather formal garden illustrated here the main feature is the use of recycled timber for the free-standing pergola. This structure has an air of strength as a feature in its own right in a small space. It is a common mistake in small gardens to think small from statues to other elements – although I am not sure about the stone seat! But remember this is a display garden.
The clever design of the timber board walk leads one’s eye through the rocks and shrubs to the pergola. The whole effect could easily be appropriate for a townhouse or courtyard garden. The only change would be to have a larger timber deck the total size of the pergola to accommodate a table and chairs.
The second garden is fun with colourful loops leading to a timber deck. Admittedly, the large, paver, stepping stones would be a challenge for many folk but they can easily be altered to be more practical.
This prompts the idea that all of the gardens on show could easily be adapted to not only a small garden, but as a feature in a corner of a larger garden.
Good screening in the rear provides privacy so important as gardens in general shrink in size with the current trend of “McMansions” (do folk really want to spend all their time in a huge house and no outdoor areas for adults and children alike to enjoy?).

Here comes Jack Frost

NOW to some garden practicalities: May has arrived with no frosts and relatively warm nights. I mean 5-7C-plus is not really that cold, but be warned Jack Frost will almost certainly arrive with a vengeance.
Citrus tree in containers should be moved into a frost-free area. Move against the home under the eaves or perhaps in part of an open carport? If citrus trees growing in the garden are not too large, cover them with hessian or shade cloth.  For small trees, simply place four tomato stakes around the tree to hold the hessian in place. It is preferable to have the top lose so that on warm sunny days this can be pulled back. If you are going out for the evening to pull the cover over before you leave.
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  • While on the subject of frost, disconnect hoses, sprinklers and tap timers now before frost blows them apart.
  • A final reminder to plant bulbs without delay, look for clearance specials at garden centres
  • Check the new Oasis Spreading Pansy in a variety of colours that spreads up to 60cm.  Perfect for hanging gardens.
  • Weeping cherries should be pruned now rather than in spring when the sap is rising and they are more prone to
  • fungal disease. This applies equally to all stone fruit. Spray with Bordeaux or Kocide to combat fungal problems.

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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