Gardening: Happy new garden!

Starting a new garden? Look for ideas around the neighbourhood.

Starting a new garden? Look for ideas around the neighbourhood.

WELCOME to a new year in the garden and if you’re new to gardening in Canberra or starting a new garden, it’s a good idea to observe which plants grow well around your neighbourhood.

If you are unsure of a plant, just knock on the door. I’m sure most householders will only be too delighted to answer your query.

Make your list, but delay planting during the heat of summer, wait until autumn – just eight weeks away.

I have been writing local garden columns for nearly 30 years and am now getting the hang of what grows here!

I write specifically about our local climate, unlike national garden magazines or TV shows, which tend to concentrate on our major cities, all of which are on the coast.

You can always flick back to previous editions of my weekly gardening column at, just click on the “Home and Garden” section.

IF you’re holidaying at home and have taken my advice not to work in the garden, except for watering, it’s a great opportunity to check out the latest offerings in gardening books. Here are three suggested titles:

the-allure-of-orchidsIn “The Allure of Orchids” (National Library, rrp $34.95), author Mark A Clements shares his passion for the largest group of flowering plants on earth. Australia has 1305 species of native orchids with wonderful names such as Fringed Hare Orchid, Fire and Beak orchids or Flying Duck orchid. This truly beautiful book is illustrated by more than 25 artists and when, as a visiting scientist at Kew Gardens, London, Clements had the opportunity to examine the work of one of the world’s greatest botanical artists, Ferdinand Bauer, and has included examples in his book. Bauer was the botanist on board Matthew Flinders’ “Investigator”, which circumnavigated Australia between 1801 and 1803.

community-gardeningHere’s one of the best easy-to-follow books on community gardens, having seen many such books over the last 30 years. “Community Gardens, the beginner’s guide to growing crops in a small space” (Penguin/Dorling Kindersley, hardcover, rrp $35) features step-by-step instructions illustrated clearly on every page that will have even the rankest amateur gardener producing home veggies within weeks. Recipes and tips on storing, freezing and preserving are all included.

australian-coastal-gardens“Australian Coastal Gardens” (Murdoch Books, hardcover, rrp $89.99) by Myles Balderwin is a book of ideas and inspiration, not only for the coast, but gardens everywhere. Sue Stubbs’ photos and accompanying text complete this book that will seduce you with its ideas.


Win a book

Cedric has a copy of “The Allure of Orchids” (National Library, rrp $34.95) to give to one lucky reader. Write your name, suburb and a contact phone number on the back of an envelope and post to “Orchid Book”, CityNews, GPO Box 2448 Civic 2601. The winner will be announced in the edition of January 30.


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