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Weeding a Dandelion

5 Melbourne Garden Weeds and how to prevent them.

Weeds are a part of gardening in Melbourne. One of the great things about gardening in Melbourne is the enormous range of plants that can be grown and also how quickly everything grows especially when some good rain comes. Unfortunately, this also applies to the weeds. There is also a wide range, and they grow rapidly under certain weather conditions. The key to effective weed control is to identify them and take action early. The best defences against garden weeds are vigorous plant growth and lots of mulch.  The presence of particular weeds may be an indicator of other garden problems like compressed soil or incorrect PH.

What are weeds?

By definition weeds are a wild plants growing where they are not wanted. These can be split into the categories of garden, lawn or environmental. These categories will include some broad-leaved trees, small noxious weeds and even some commonly used lawn grasses such as Kikuyu grass and clover. The invasive species can be either territorial or aquatic. For the environmental ones, the local councils Melbourne City Council has provided some excellent resources for identification and eradication.

Where do Invasive weeds come from?

Around 66% of these invasive species originated as garden ornamental plants or flowers, so care must be taken with garden plant selection, cultivation and waste removal. An example of this is the Sweet Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum), which is often spread from the berries of variegated Pittosporums in gardens. Up to 40% of Australian Native Plant species are under threat from invasive weeds and as most of these are escapees from gardens, it is up to the home gardener to take action. Often weeds are quick growing, very hardy plants that can adapt to a wide range of growing conditions. Also the seeds can be spread by animals, especially birds, flowing water, wind or human activities. Tasty weed berries or seeds are often spread over a wide area by birds. The weed seeds often take advantage of disturbed soil or other changes to the environment.

Docks and sorrels

The docks and sorrels of the genus Rumex can be a problem in different parts of Australia. Broad leafed dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is more likely to be seen in the cooler climate of the southern states. The curled dock (Rumex crispus) looks similar but the leaves are more tapered with a wavy edge. The curled dock can be a pest in Victorian gardens and is difficult to remove due to its long tapered tap root. To prevent these regrowing it needs to be dug down to about 15cm. Dig them out in spring when they are most vulnerable.

Docks and Sorrels have a long tap root that needs to be dug out.

Docks and Sorrels have a long tap root that needs to be dug out to prevent the weed returning.


Dandelion weeds

Dandelions also have long tap roots. If all of the tap root is not removed, the weed will soon grow back. Dandelions in your lawn or garden can be an indicator of compressed soil or a lack of calcium. Dandelions can be dug out with a garden fork or with a special tool designed to dig out garden weeds with long tap roots.

Weeding a Dandelion

Weeding a Dandelion. Dandelions have a long tap root which must be dug our to prevent the weed returning.

Mimosa pudica

Mimosa pudica is a small prickly herbaceous shrub with divided leaves which react to being touched. It is native to Brazil and can be seen in Melbourne growing in damp conditions. Growing to around 50cm, it has fluffy pale purple or pink flowers. It is often seen on roadsides, pastures, crops and other disturbed soil in summer.

Mimosa prefers damp conditions.

Mimosa prefers damp conditions.

Red pigweed

Red pigweed or Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) also known as verdolaga, pigweed, little hogweed, red root, pursley, and moss rose). This annual succulent may reach up to  40 cm in height. Widespread around the world, it is believed to also be an edible Australian native plant. Perhaps calling this one a weed is a bit harsh as it has been used as a herb and for medicinal purposes. See the link on edible weeds below.

Portulaca oleracea - Garden Weeds

Portulaca oleracea

Common chickweed

Common chickweed or chickenweed (Stellaria media). This weed is often seen in gardens and cultivated land as it thrives where the lighter soil has been disturbed. It prefers high PH and humid wet conditions. Common Chickweed has small, star-like, white flowers, and oval, fresh green leaves. It was once used to feed birds and chickens.

Stellaria media - Garden Weeds of Melbourne

Stellaria media

Onion weeds

Onion weed , onion asphodel  (Asphodelus fistulosus) has Scattered populations in Victoria.  Onion weed is native to the Mediterranean so it is well suited to the climate in most parts of Melbourne. It is however, a declared noxious weed. It is found in arid environments and  sub-humid warm temperate regions in cropping areas, pastures, rangelands, open woodlands, grasslands, shrub-lands, roadsides, railway lines, waste areas, coastal environs and disturbed sites. Which is pretty much everywhere except in water. When this weed takes hold, it is very difficult to eradicate due to the multiple tiny bulbs in the ground


Hollow-stemmed asphodel or onionweed (Asphodelus fistulosus) in its natural Mediterranean environment (Apulia, Italy)

Hollow-stemmed asphodel or onionweed (Asphodelus fistulosus) in its natural Mediterranean environment (Apulia, Italy)


asphodelus-fistulosus = Garden Weeds of Melbourne

Asphodelus-fistulosus a declared noxious weed in Victoria.

Lantana Camara is a perennial or evergreen shrub with sometimes prickly stems, lantana species growing up to 1500 millimetres tall with thin wiry stems. It is toxic to pets and children, so it is best not to let this on get a foothold in your garden. This species has been widely cultivated as a garden ornamental, but is regarded as a restricted weed in many parts of Victoria. Most of the cultivated ones will be hybrid species. The wrinkled, 2.5  centimetres long leaves are oval-shaped located in opposite pairs with serrated edges. Flowers are clusters of small yellow or orange. As with many of the other weeds, they are often spread by dumping of garden waste. When digging these out, note that Lantana can re-establish if their roots or growing parts are left in contact with moist soil.

If you have a backyard pond, you might see the invasive species Salvinia (floating moss or water spangle,)  These are actually tiny ferns that float on water. There are about a dozen species Salvia has three leaves and no roots, but one of the leaves functions as a root. y are used to decorate aquariums and garden pools. However, some species of Salvinia molesta is one of the species that has escaped garden ponds and become a noxious weed. It is important not to confused it with the native Azolla species which has a more conventional root system and two rows of bilobular leaves.

Salvinia molesta

Salvinia molesta floating moss or water spangle


Controlling Weeds

Prevention of Weeds

For garden beds you could try ECO weedmat with a healthy layer of mulch above. Another approach is to wet down some newspaper and lay it down in interlocking layers. This works surprisingly well, if you can get enough newspaper layers to achieve a minimum thickness of 8mm. On top of this you need around 100 mm of mulch. Cane mulch is fairly easy to move and lay on your garden bed and is reasonably priced. If you prefer a different look, this can be covered with more expensive pine bark, red or black mulch. The newspaper and mulch will kill most of the existing weeds as the sunlight is effectively blocked off. Any weeds that grow after the much is laid, will be easy to pull out. For best results, top up the mulch up as it rots down. Annual topping up should work well, depending on the type of mulch used. Take care not to mulch up against the stems of any woody plants, as this can cause collar rot. An very effective way to prevent weeds is to have a healthy garden full of vigorous plant growth. Tiering plants on different layers creates harmony, structure and reduces future maintenance by vertically spreading competition. Most weeds will not thrive if they are starved of sunlight. An Australian native ground cover like Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium) will be very effective at suppressing weeds as well as providing food and habitat for birds and lizards.

Myoporum parvifolium or creeping boobialla is a ground cover that makes life difficult for weeds.

Myoporum parvifolium or creeping boobialla is a ground cover that makes life difficult for weeds.


Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium) is a hardy prostrate groundcover. It can grow to 1 metre high, but rarely gets this high when it is free to spread. During summer months it will have either purple or white flowers.This is an excellent choice for a spreading groundcover for a sunny well-drained position where some weed suppression is desired.


If you have weeds growing in your brick paving, then a simple and cheap method to eradicate them is to use boiling water. Spraying vinegar will kill off the leaves, but generally the roots will be unaffected. For your lawn, a weed removing tool like the Fiskars Xact Weed Puller from Bunnings is worth a try. Weeds can then be removed without bending or kneeling. For broadleaf weeds like dandelion in the lawn, you can try topdressing with sand. One of my favourite methods of weeding the lawn, is to use the lawn aerator to take the tap root out and aerate at the same time. If you have unwanted clover growing in your lawn, then decreasing the PH will make it difficult for the clover to thrive. Rhizobium bacteria in the legume nodule are less able to fix nitrogen for the plant under these conditions. As with the garden bed, the best prevention for lawn weeds is to have a health thriving lawn. For particularly bad infestation, you may need to use a selective herbicide.

Environmental Invasive species

Assistance with weed identification and control

The government has produced an Environmental Weeds booklet which aims to help residents identify weeds and provides information on how to control environmental weeds. The link is below.


Controlling Weeds in Commercial Landscaping

In commercial landscaping weeds are generally sprayed with glyphosate or the garden beds are cultivated to dig the weeds into the sub-base. It is vitally important that any environmental invasive weeds are completely eliminated from the entire construction project. Commercially landscaped gardens will usually be covered with 75mm of a high quality, weed free mulch.

commercial landscaping weed control

commercial landscaping weed control. Lush plantings of native grasses and thick high quality mulch.

Commercial Landscaping Maintenance.

Modern Commercial landscaping uses lush plantings of Australian native grasses. To control weeds in these cases a Yates Zero Weeding Herbicide Applicator Brush from Bunnings is used. The top tips with these is use a coloured dye so that it can be easily seen which weeds have been treated already. The special weed application dye can be purchased at your local hardware store, or you can use food dyes. For commercial use a higher concentration of herbicide is generally used, but very good weed identification skills are required. One of the advantages of this weed control method is that the herbicide is only used where it is needed and not spread over a wide area.

Commercial landscaping native grasses and quality mulch.

Native grasses and mulch in a commercially landscaped garden.


Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping

Commercial Landscaping of Public Spaces.


Commercial Landscaping


Eco garden: Gardening Made Easy


Xanthorrhoea The Australian Grass Tree


Banksia Coccinea Garden Ideas


Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage


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Red’s Landscaping YouTube Channel


Red’s Landscaping Pinterest Boards


More Information on Weeds


Which ones can you eat?


Environmental nuisance plants on Victoria


City of Boroondara – Strategies for prevention and removal.


Visual glossary of the weedy heritage of Melbourne, Australia.


Victorian State Prohibited Weeds


How to remove Dandelions


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Hedge designs for landscaping

Creating a hedge and tree pruning are gardening techniques which can be used to great effect in any virtually any size of garden. These techniques can be used to control and direct the size, shape and direction of plant growth. When combined with plant supports, such as trellises and other plants, an interesting garden effect can be created. Of course, pruning is also used to encourage fruit tree growth and to improve plant health by encouraging air circulation. The use of hedge planting and pruning has been a feature of mediterranean gardens and English classic garden design for centuries.

If shrubs and trees are allowed to grow uncontrolled, they may become to large for the space in your garden. Often branches are left at an awkward height near pathways that can result in safety issues. It is often the case that a tree of shrub will become misshaped through natural growth and some pruning is required to improve its aesthetics.

For flowering shrubs and trees, the correct pruning technique will encourage new growth of younger shoots and in some cases more flowering in the longer term. Annual pruning of fruit trees will often result in better quality and larger fruit as well as a reduction in fungal diseases.

Keeping your garden hedge well maintained in the first place, will save you money and add value to your property. A hedge that is not well maintained may not only lose its shape, but will leave bare patches of hedge when it is finally shaped with the trimmer or saw.

Originally developed in Europe to grow fruit trees in a microclimate, a warm wall was used to provide heat and support to the plant. Later, trellises were also used to support espalier plants.

Supports for espalier plants now include wooden, metal and wire supports as well as stone, brick and even glass walls. Espalier is a great technique for improving the look of a fence or wall especially in the case of a small garden.

Pleaching is a great technique for creating a screen for garden privacy. Pleaching can be applied not only in a straight line, but also as a circle or rectangle.

Pleaching is a great way to create a green privacy screen in your garden. It can also be used to create an impenetrable hedge which can be used as a fence. It makes a nice alternative to a wire fence in rural areas.

If you would like a qualified horticulturist to take a look at your hedging needs contact us.

Click here for more Landscaping Ideas

Click here for more of our garden design blogs.

Click here to take a look at our own Melbourne landscape construction and garden maintenance.

For mored advice on how to trim hedges ;

check the Stihl garden trimmer site;

Contact Experienced Landscape Gardeners

For all of your garden maintenance needs or help with the design  and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to  Commercial Landscape design.  Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health as well as horticulture, garden lighting  and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.


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Cottage Garden Plants

Cottage Garden Plants

Cottage Garden Plants to include in your home garden design include many of the flowering plants traditionally grown in cottage gardens. In the list below, we have included some of our favourite cottage garden plants for you to use in your design. Traditional cottage garden plants often had practical uses as well as their beauty. Historically many cottage garden plants had medical purposes or could be added to food as a preservative or flavouring. An example of this is the marigold which is often grown as a companion plant in cottage gardens. Marigold flowers can be used to create a soothing skin ointment. The Cottage plant list here is for the plant’s beauty and we are making no recommendations on food or medicinal purposes.

Our favourite cottage garden plants


The Buddleia, also known as Buddleja or butterfly bush, is a great plant for attracting butterflies to your home garden. This will in turn attract birds. Depending on the plant variety, buddleia can be deciduous, everygreen or semi-evergreen. Buddleja davidii (île de France), also known as the summer lilac, is famous for its ability to attract butterflies. The butterflies will love the large pointed sprays of violet, purple, blue or white flowers in late summer. This buddleia will grow to around 3 metres high with a 3-metre spread if left unpruned. Consider this plant for your cottage patio or as a background plant against a fence. As a feature plant, it can give your small garden greater depth. This plant will be deciduous in cold climates, but semi evergreen in warmer ones, so home garden microclimate might be a factor.

Cottage Garden Plants-Red Admiral Butterfly on Buddleia. This is a great plant for attracting butterflies.

Red Admiral Butterfly on Buddleia. This is a great plant for attracting butterflies.


Nemesia is an early flowering annual with a great show  from early summer through to Autumn.  Nemsia will grow to around 300mm and is good for cottage garden beds and borders. There is a huge variety of colours available.

Cottage Garden Plants-Blue Nemesia

Cottage Garden Plants-Blue Nemesia

Blue Nemesia flowers.


An evergreen shrub with aromatic long narrow leaves. The leaves of the rosemary are excellent for flavouring and is a popular food flavouring herb. The shoots can be distilled to make an essential oil. This slow growing plant can grow as high as 2 metres tall, but there is a dwarf variety available. Small blue rosemary flowers appear intermittently in clusters from Spring until Autumn. Rosemary prefers a sunny position in well-drained soil.

Rosemary Plant

Rosemary Plant

An attractive garden plant as well as a tasty herb. Rosemary is a great choice for your cottage garden.

The Rose

Roses have been cultivated for thousands of years and have long been prized for their scent and beauty. No cottage garden should be without one. As well as beauty and adding scent to home gardens, roses have been grown in cottage gardens for their fruit, known as rosehips, from which syrups and teas can be made.

Rose Plant

Rose Plant

The rose is a popular and versatile cottage garden plant.


Bedding roses can be grown as a herbaceous border in well-drained soil. Try combining these with lavender for an aromatic sensory home garden. The etheric oils in the lavender will also help to repel pests.


Climbing Roses

Climbing roses can be grown over an arch to create a stylish and fragrant welcome for visitors. They are also effective in your cottage garden for growing on trellises or walls and can help to make a small garden appear larger. Climbing roses are varieties bred for their vigorous growing habits.

Shrub Roses

Shrub roses look great as the back of a garden border. They can also be used as a feature or garden focal point. Always grow in a sunny location with good drainage. Prune regularly to ensure there is good air circulation to help prevent black spot.


The wallflower is a late spring, early summer flowering biennial bedding plant. Also known as cheiranthus, wallflowers are members of the brassica family. Like most brassicas, the wallflower will reward you with a colourful and fragrant show of flowers. Most wallflowers will grow to around 45 cm and are available in a range of colours. From the brilliant scarlet “Fire King” to the yellow “Cloth of Gold” and every colour in between. Like most Brassicas, wallflowers will like some added garden lime in the soil.

For smaller areas, there is a dwarf variety available that grows up to around 22cm.

Orange Wallflower

The wallflower is a member of the brassica family.

Salvia Leucantha Cottage Garden Plants

Salvia is a bushy plant with brightly coloured terminal bracts of white, purple, pink or blue. This is a great plant for your cottage garden border. Mexican bush sage or Salvia Leucantha is an Autumn flowering perennial which can add colour to your Melbourne cottage garden. As a bonus, salvias are generally drought tolerant and are well suited to Melbourne’s temperate climate. Salvias are also pet friendly.

Salvia leucantha purple flowering shrub

Salvia leucantha is a purple flowering shrub growing to around 1 metre tall.

More information on Cottage Garden Plants


For more information on Roses – The Royal Horticultural Society



© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

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French Landscape Design

French Landscape Design

  1. French Landscape design

French landscape design were said to originate in 1662. It was during this time that King Louis XIV imprisoned the then superintendent of finances Nicolas Fouquet for embezzling royal funds. Fouquet’s ambition to build his own private and luxurious Chateau at Vaux-le-Vicomte had led to his disgrace and allowed King Louis XIV to shift his attention to the Gardens of Versailles. It was here, and with the aid of Fouquet’s architect (Louis Le Vau), painter (Charles Le Brun) and landscape architect (Andre Le Notre) that the Gardens of Versailles would become one of the largest and most remarkable gardens in Europe. 

Gardens of Versailles

The chateau’s expansion followed shortly after the gardens, with both having tours carefully managed. In bringing this space to life existing Bosquets and Parterres were enhanced and new ones were designed and built. The most significant and influential creations at this time were the Versailles Orangerie and Parterre. It was this attraction where the architectural talent and creativity of Louis Le Vau’s design symbolised both the building itself and the parterre, becoming an irresistible attraction to visiting diplomats and foreign royalty, even to liking of King William III.


The Versailles Orangerie was first completed in 1663, then in 1678 a ten-year growth plan was decided to create what has been described as Jules Hardouin-Mansart crowning achievements, replacing the Louis Le Vau design of 1663. The Orangerie doubled in size and was modelled on theories from master gardener and horticulturist Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie, whose writings discuss a detailed system for protecting exotic plants from the harsh cold without the use of any artificial heating. 

Aerial snapshot of Versailles

Trees of Versailles

As Louis XIV lived out his reign in Versailles, he became allergic to the perfumed flowers and developed a preferred smell of citrus trees, his favorite being orange trees which he had potted in silver tubs and placed around the Palace. After the Fouquet’s incident, Louis had over 1,000 orange trees removed from Nicolas’s property and transferred to the Orangerie, by the 1790’s there were several thousand trees. During the winter, the trees were sheltered in a cathedral like space and the gardeners would burn fires during the coldest months which were cleverly designed to heat the housing of the trees. 

French gardeners were able to keep the citrus trees blooming throughout the year, by withholding water, valuable nutrients and using pruning techniques. It wasn’t until a visit from John Locke, who described the peculiar appearance of the trees as small heads and thick trunks, as a consequence of the planters not allowing correct rooting into the soil below. Gardener Valentin Lopin created an extremely useful device in 1689 to assist with the transportation of the larger citrus trees which were originally shipped from Italy. 


French Garden popularity

The Orangerie parterre covers over three hectares and during the reign of Louis XIV was ornamented with several sculptures, which are now housed in the Musee du Louvre museum. It’s said that French landscape designs are seen as an extension of the existing architecture, creating a series of rooms within the garden by using compact hedges and bodies of water to execute the meticulous, elegant and rich designs. Today, the French gardens still have a strong influence and presence in our society, being one of the most popular and hard- to-perfect designs. The french landscape design also has a very strong popularity in Melbourne inner city and south eastern suburbs, such as Toorak, Malvern and Armerdale. Where you can find beautiful french provicial homes with classic gardens inspired by the versailles orangerie 


It is easy to be tempted into driving straight into a design for your landscape. It is advisable to take time and plan your landscape design properly before you start. While at it, consider the plants that are likely to perform best in the climate of your area and the purpose of your landscape among other things. For more inspiration on Landscape design please refer back to our blog where you can find many more articles on Landscape design



© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

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How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy In Colder Weather

The winter is characterised with weeds, heavy soaking, low sunlight levels, and frost, which, for us humans, means staying covered and resting mostly indoors. But for lawns, the winter is a critical time to survive and require as much help as possible to stay healthy. Here are tips to keep your lawn healthy during the colder months.

Provide abundant sunlight to your lawn

It is advisable to leave grass clippings after mowing during the warmer months. This is because they can supply nutrients from the grass. Also, leaving behind grass clippings can save you lots of work.

But during autumn and winter, you will be better off removing clippings and leaves from the turf. This way, your lawn will receive ample air and sunlight that it requires to survive during the cold months.

If there are lots of trees on your lawn, you should prune them to ensure your lawn receives more sunlight.

Mow higher and less frequently

The first thing you will notice when the cooler months set in is that grass growth rate decreases. When this happens, you are advised to raise the mowing height to avoid damaging the grass, something that can lead to browning and scalping. Frequent scalping weakens the grass, leaving it exposed to weeds and diseases.

When mowing your lawn, avoid cutting the grass lower than 2.5 cm. Also reduce the frequency of mowing your grass to approximately every 3 or 4 weeks. You can also mow your grass when the grass blade length exceeds 6 cm.

Aerate the soil

High traffic volume, coupled with higher temperatures, can compact the soil. This, in turn, can prevent the roots of the grass from receiving the optimal resources required for their thriving and growth. You can choose to manually perforate the soil using a hand rake. Alternatively, you can enlist the services of a professional to do the job for you.


Although your grass will grow remarkably slower during the winter, it still requires a steady delivery of nutrients. Firstly, make sure your soil is checked to see what nutrients are lacking and then buy the right fertiliser that contains the right nutrient combination.

Stop watering

You should desist from watering your lawn unless the grass appears very dry. And the best time to water your lawn is early in the morning. If you water your lawn too much during the colder months, it risks inviting fungi to your grass.

Weed Vigilantly

Weeds, unlike other types of turf, are unbowed by the harsh winter conditions. As a matter of fact, they appear to thrive in these unforgiving conditions. Be proactive and come up with a weekly weeding regimen to keep the unwanted plants in check.

Reds Landscaping Can Help!

Does it appear like the grass is always greener on the other side? Are your lawn care tips for the winter not working? Maybe you need to call in a pro. The experts at Reds Landscaping offer free tips and advice to help you keep your lawn and property in the best states. Just email or call us on 0424 350 910 for professional assistance with your lawn care this winter.


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Banksia Coccinea Garden Ideas

Banksia Coccinea, like all Banksias, is a member of the proteaceae family, which is in turn a member of the protea order.  Banksias, also known as the Australian Honeysuckle, are named after the famous botanist Joseph Banks, who sailed to Australia with Captain Cook.

Garden Design Ideas. Banksia coccinea can be a great focal point in smaller gardens or in commercial landscape projects.

Banksia Coccinea Garden Ideas

Banksia Coccinea facts

Native to the coastal sand dunes on the southern edge of Western Australia, Banksia coccinea is also known as the Albany banksia, the Waratah banksia or the scarlet banksia. It natural habitat is slightly acidic, deep sandy soil in scrubby areas with reasonable rainfall. This makes it a good plant for coastal gardens with sandy soils. This Banksia can be grown either as a shrub or a small tree. Normally growing to around 5 metres, it can grow as high as 8 metres tall. If you are designing for a small garden, consider using one or two of these as a focal point in your small garden design. Banksia Coccinea is also a favourite with florists with its vivid dark red, orange or scarlet pistels. Banksia Coccinea’s magnificent flowers and attractive foliage make it popular with florists as well as gardeners. An added bonus is the very long flowering period.


It can be in flower from June all the way through to January, which is great for the wildlife which will come to feast on the abundant nectar. After the flowering season the seeds will also attract cockatoos to your garden.

Nice picture of a Banksia coccinea during an Australian sunny day

Garden Ideas. Banksia coccinea has dark green serrated leaves that are grey green underneath.

Garden Maintenance for your Banksia Coccinea

Better suited to sandy soils and warm dry temperate climates, this banksia can be sensitive to clay soils. If you are in a humid climate like the Melbourne, make sure you prune it to allow plenty of air circulation. As it is drought tolerant, and requires very little watering, this plant is ideal for sunny positions in your Melbourne coastal garden. Feed this plant  lightly twice per year with a low phosphorus fertiliser, and water sparingly.  A good fertiliser for native plants is Neutrog Bush Tucker.

Benefits for Wildlife in the Garden Landscape

In addition to its attractive appearance Banksia coccinea is a prolific nectar producer.  This will attract nectar eating native birds like Honeyeaters and rainbow lorikeets to your garden as well as bees and even small marsupials. The seeds are eaten by birds such as cockatoos, making it the perfect plant for attracting wildlife.

Garden Design Idea. Growing Banksias will attract wildlife like Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) to your garden.

Contact Experienced Landscape Gardeners

For help with the design and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to  Commercial Landscape design.  Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.

For more landscape garden design ideas, take a look at our Garden Design blog.

More Home and Coastal Garden information

Coastal Garden Design


Tree Landscape Design Melbourne


National Eucalypt Day

By Callum O’Brien –  Specialist Commercial Landscaper Melbourne





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Plant Horticulture Links

Western Australia Plant Database

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5 facts about the Daffodil In Garden Design

The daffodil is a springtime favourite amongst many gardeners in Melbourne. This hardy perennial bulb is easy to grow and can be a stunning feature in your garden design. Originating in northern Europe and widely cultivated in gardens both in North America and northern Europe the attractive orange, pink, white (Thalia) or especially yellow trumpet flowers are available in a number of varieties and cultivars. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus and can grow to more than 520mm high, but there are dwarf varieties like tete a tete available. A daffodil bulb will generally grow around six leaves each of which will usually have a single flower. The trumpet shaped corona contains the stamens and is surrounded by a corolla consisting of six tepals.

Garden Design with Daffodil. The trumpet shaped corona contains the stamens and is surrounded by a corolla consisting of six tepals.

Garden Design with Daffodil. The trumpet shaped corona contains the stamens and is surrounded by a corolla consisting of six tepals.

The history of Daffodil gardening.

The daffodil now has thousands of cultivars with distinct individual characteristics. Much of the diversity we owe to the famous garden nurseryman Peter Barr from Govan in Scotland. Barr traveled to Spain and Portugal in the late 1880s going from town to town by horse, and then though the Pyrenees on a donkey, to collect bulbs to bring back to the United Kingdom. By then Barr was in his seventies, but that did not stop him travelling and sleeping out with a blanket as he continued his search for exotic flowers. With the help of his travels, Govan was able to create a daffodil bulb collection of over 400 varieties.

Daffodil varieties for your garden design.

There is a great deal of choice when it comes to selecting daffodil varieties. Some varieties of daffodil to look for include the Carlton, which grows enormous flowers up to 120mm across and has a very deep cup. This daffodil will also grow to nearly ½ metre tall. Easy to grow it will spread by itself in colder climates. Jack the lad has double peony like flowers that are yellow and orange. When mature, it can produce two or 3 flowers on one stem. The blue-green stems creates a complimentary colour scheme with the orange yellow flowers. This makes it a great choice for growing on large clumps, entire garden beds or mass plantings.

Garden Design. Daffodils are available in a varieties of yellow orange and white flowers. They look great in terracotta pots.

Garden Design. Daffodils are available in a varieties of yellow orange and white flowers. They look great in terracotta pots.

Bulbs are generally grown up to 5 years old before being available for sale. If your daffodil stops flowering (becomes blind), dig them up in  Autumn, then separate and replant. The daffodil needs lots of water, but should not be waterlogged. Consider putting a layer of vermiculite near the bulb. Plant twice the depth of the bulb for best results.

Daffodil Maintenance, Care and Planting

Daffodils can be planted in Autumn and will grow in most climates except tropical. They require a period of chilling in order to flower.  You can plant your daffodil in part shade to full sun in well drained and well fertilised soil. The daffodil can be planted in pots, lawns, or garden beds. One mistake, made by many gardeners, is to cut the stems back after flowering. If you allow the stems to die back naturally, more nutrients will go into the bulbs for next year’s growth.

Daffodil Garden Design Ideas

Plant as mass plantings, in terracotta pots or in clumps with violas and pansies as companion plants.

Garden Design Idea. Pots of colourful flowers like daffodils on unused stairs or steps.

Contact us

For help with the design  and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners.

We can help with small garden design all the way up to  Commercial Landscape design.

Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting  and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.

Daffodils and symbolism

As one of the first plants to flower in springtime, the daffodil has come to represent hope, rebirth, and new beginnings. Every year the cancer council has a daffodil day to raise money for cancer research.

“The daffodil is the international symbol of hope and with every daffodil sold, Cancer Council can invest in life-saving research to give Australians the best chance of survival.”

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Gardening Ideas From The Chelsea Flower Show

Gardening ideas from all around the world and from the world’s best landscapers are on display each year at the Chelsea Flower Show. Amongst the many great Landscaping and Gardening ideas on display at the 2018 Chelsea flower show, was the LG Eco-City Landscape Garden. This display garden was a brilliant representation of what could be achieved in the landscaping of green space allocated to a single unit amongst a vertical forest of residential apartments. Designed by Hay-Joung Hwang of Hay Designs, the garden showcases some impressive technology but with the emphasis on reduced energy usage. The aim here is to present Landscaping and Gardening ideas capable of reducing pollution as well as provide an outstanding garden concept for use in areas of high population density. For a landscape design company that was only established in 2015, the garden is a remarkable achievement and displays how we can create an eco friendly garden.

Gardening ideas

One of the details that can only be appreciated at nighttime is the garden lighting. According to John Cullen of John Cullen Lighting “The path to the outdoor seating area and kitchen beyond is lit with Guida floor washers, the trees with Kensington spotlights, the seating area is under-lit with Contour HDX27 and back garden with Kew spotlights. Inside Luccas light up the living wall and Square Trimless provide down light to the kitchen interior.”

Kitchen Landscaping and Gardening ideas

The landscaping design concept envisages each apartment having its own spacious terrace garden with kitchen access. A highlight of this garden is emphasis on the role of trees and plants for Carbon Dioxide reduction, temperature reduction, and the reduction in harmful particulate pollution in the context of a city apartment.
Gardening ideas

Another environmental aim of the garden was to show how residents of apartments and townhouses can provide garden plants to help pollinators such as bees and butterflies by the use of colourful wildflowers in a naturalist planting scheme.

Neatly trimmed box hedges frame the sunken seating area with garden beds full of striking Aquilegia, Trollius and especially yellow lupins. Completing the warm tones are coppery verbascums and orange geums. Contrasting with the warm bright plantings are the frothy cooler colours of white foxgloves (digitalis) white lupins and neat potted peonies. The overall gardening effect is stunning.



The attention to detail in this garden is also a real eye opener. The colours and patterns in the furniture and cushions are a great match for the colourful flowers. The stone paving used throughout the garden, also helps to link the different parts of the garden together. The shiny black pebbles and nearby chamomile plants at the front end of the stone paving, gives the garden an oriental feel. Towards the centre of the garden, the paving steps down to a sunken seating area. Landscaping your small garden on different levels like this is a great way to make your small garden appear larger. Behind the seating area the garden paving continues across the water to the stylish and elegant pavilion.

Garden Design Melbourne

These are great ideas that you can also employ when landscaping your small Melbourne garden. Finding landscaping themes which can run throughout the garden and draw the viewer’s eye along or through the theme. This is just one of the aspects that makes this an incredibly attractive garden. Many of the clever technologies on display will have applications in the Melbourne construction industry. According to LG “ Aquaponics systems have been used to provide nutrients from fish waste to nourish a vertical vegetable and herb farm, whilst solar technologies replace conventional building materials to power LED lighting that creates the perfect conditions to help vegetables and herbs grow.” Apart from the hedge trimming, this is a very low maintenance garden. The aquaponics feed and water the vertical garden and the moss and dense plantings suppress weeds. Chamomile around the paving is used instead of lawn and releases a relaxing scent.

Gardening ideas

Aquaponic garden pool and paving. This aquaponics systems has been used to provide nutrients from fish waste to nourish a vertical vegetable and herb farm. Water features in the garden help to dampen traffic noise.

Gardening ideas

Aquaponic garden pool and paving. This aquaponics systems has been used to provide nutrients from fish waste to nourish a vertical vegetable and herb farm. Water features in the garden help to dampen traffic noise.

Moss can store a surprising large amount of carbon.

About the Landscape Garden Designer

Hay-Joung Hwang moved to the United Kingdom from South Korea in 2001 to study garden design. Later she trained as a Landscape Architect at the University of Sheffield. Hay-Joung established her own landscape company, Hay Designs, in 2015. Her philosophy behind every project is to connect modernism with traditionalism. She can now add another Chelsea flower show Silver Gilt medal to her list of awesome achievements. She can be considered a little unlucky not to have won a gold medal this year. Everyone we have shown the photos to, has been very impressed with this garden.

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5 Great Landscaping Ideas.

Landscaping ideas from the worlds best landscapers are on display annually at Chelsea near London.

The annual Royal Horticultural Society flower show in the south grounds of the Royal Chelsea hospital could be the most famous flower show in the world. Of course, there is much more to see than flowers. The quality and attention to detail of these gardens is amazing.

Landscaping Construction such as paving and wall construction was a strong garden theme throughout the show. Over 150,000 visitors during the 5 days, and daily prime time television coverage. The flower show provides huge exposure for the landscape designers, plant nurseries, industry suppliers and some trending landscaping ideas.

“Space to Grow” Garden Themes. Landscaping Ideas for small gardens.

This year’s flower show featured 26 amazing garden themes and landscaping ideas, including a garden theme, “Space to Grow” gardens. This new garden theme aimed at creating landscaping ideas and inspiring gardeners to “transform their urban, compact or unusual spaces”. The Chelsea flower and garden shows off all the latest landscaping ideas, garden themes and excellently executed construction by some of the best Landscapers and Landscape designers in the world. On display there were many great ideas for small gardens.

Although, the landscaping constructions at Chelsea have an enormous budget, there are many design ideas that the average gardener can incorporate into their own garden. The eight gardens in this “Space to Grow” theme were certainly inspirational.

Landscaping Ideas Chelsea Flower Show

Urban Flow Garden Designed by Tony Woods. Gold Medal and Category winner. Salvias, euphorbias, astrantias, lupins and iris are used in the garden while the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree cast beautiful shadows


Landscaping Ideas Chelsea Flower Show Outdoor Kitchen ideas.

Landscaping Ideas Chelsea Flower Show Outdoor Kitchen ideas.

Landscaping Ideas – Outdoor kitchen and vertical gardens.

Outdoor kitchen and vertical gardens were on display in the Urban Flow Garden. Having a vertical garden covering a wall with fresh herbs and lettuce right next to the outdoor kitchen was a great idea. This would be a fantastic landscaping idea for our Melbourne outdoor lifestyle.


Landscaping Ideas - Colourful garden.

Landscaping Construction

These gardens are enormous accomplishes for the landscape designers, horticulturalists and the landscape construction companies. Building these gardens and creating unique structures in a number of weeks requires great skills in the landscape design and construction industry. The hardscaping elements such as paving, retaining walls from brick, block and rock, lighting, outdoor entertaining and feature ponds had no expense spared. The plant placement and planting, right down to the spread of mulch were not left to last minute either, time and care went into the presentation of these beautiful gardens.

For many of these gardens, the designers visit plant wholesalers all over Europe to hand select plants for the show. Three batches of plants are ordered to ensure flowering at the right time for the show. The cold snaps in the European spring, including the beast from the east, has made it especially difficult this year. The estimated landscaping cost of creating these gardens range from $500,000 to $1,800,000 Australian dollars.

Landscaping Ideas - Chelsea Flower Show. Welcome to Yorkshire garden.

Landscaping Ideas – Chelsea Flower Show. Welcome to Yorkshire garden.


Multi award winner Mark Gregory wins the Peoples choice award for his "Welcome to Yorkshire Garden".

Multi award winner Mark Gregory wins the Peoples choice award for his “Welcome to Yorkshire Garden”.

The Artisan Gardens – Landscaping ideas for smaller gardens.

On a smaller scale to the Show gardens, are the Artisan Gardens. These are smaller plots showcasing the design and build skills of master craftsmen and master craftswomen. Traditional hard landscaping skills are on display in these gardens. The 2018 show featured 8 of these inspirational gardens each with an underlying theme.

The Great Pavilion – Flowers and Plants from around the world.

The great pavilion features stands from the best plant nurseries from Britain and around the world. There are also floristry exhibits, science and education exhibits. In the center of the pavilion, the Royal Horticultural Society had their “RHS Experience” center. This included the opportunity for visitors to get free horticulture advice from gardening experts.

Amongst the specialist plant nurseries were Hardy Eucalyptus who have been growing eucalyptus trees in the UK since 2000 and are now the UK’s largest supplier of Eucalypt trees.

They have a great passion for the Gum tree, and are able to help with advice on the selection, planting and care of your eucalypt. Another plant nursery with some Australian plants was Kells Bay from the stunningly beautiful Ring of Kerry in Ireland.

Landscaping Ideas - Chelsea Flower Show

Judging the Gardens

The gardens are judged by a panel of highly experienced judges and the medals are awarded corresponding four different levels. The Gold medal, the Silver-Gilt medal, the Silver medal and the Bronze medal. In addition to the medals, special awards are given for Best Show Garden, Best Artisan Garden, and Best “Space to Grow” garden. Show gardens are judged on the delivery of the client’s design brief. The judges consider if the imagined client would be happy with the outcome, and if the garden design objective have been met.
Additional judging criteria is as follows;

  • Design;
    • How original is the garden design?
    • Does the layout of the garden work for its supposed purpose?
  • Overall impression;
    • Is the choice of materials aesthetically pleasing and does it complement the garden?
    • Does the garden work as a whole?
  • Planting;
    • Are the plant associations shown in the garden correct according to species and cultural relevance?
    • Does the planting work together visually to create impact?
  • Construction – A superb finish and attention to detail are expected across the whole garden;
    • What standard is the build quality?

Conceptual gardens are also judged on;

  • Concept;
    • To what extent has the theme/message/concept been realised.

In addition to these awards the BBC also a people choice award for each category.

Garden Trends and Landscaping ideas.

The emerging trends and landscaping ideas that can been seen in these photos include rich, earthy colours such as rusty steels, walls of dry stone, rammed earth and terracotta. Sarah Price’s garden below, inspired by Monet, contains many drought tolerant plants. This is why the mediterranean look is popular with many Melbourne landscapers.


There is also the use of naturalistic concrete in various shades of grey with an almost brutalistic touch in some of the other gardens.

Landscaping Ideas - Chelsea Flower Show


Landscaping Ideas - Chelsea Flower Show


In landscape construction there is also the use of natural wood colours, mixed colour plantings including blues, pinks, reds, purples and especially yellows and creams. Also prominent were vertical gardens, especially edible and herb gardens. One very common garden theme is the use of water in tranquil garden ponds, flowing streams or fountains and other water features.
These were very low maintenance gardens in that respect. Even the border hedges were not as tightly trimmed as you might expect with the typical English or European Garden design. There were many gardens with Eco-friendly landscape design ideas. The green roof below is an exceptional example. Another common theme was the use of rocks and existing land contours to create contrast and illusions in the garden.

Landscaping Ideas - Chelsea Flower Show

If you are planning a trip to the UK, we recommend including this flower show in your itinerary as the photographs don’t really do these gardens and landscape ideas justice. These gardens provide amazing landscaping ideas and give you great insight into the latest landscaping trends.

Contact us

For help with the design  and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners.

We can help with small garden design all the way up to  Commercial Landscape design.

Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting  and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.


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English Classic Garden Design - Sissinghurst

English Classic Garden Design – Sissinghurst

English classic garden design.

There is no doubt that the Australian garden style, especially prior to the 1930s, was heavily influenced by the design of English gardens. These gardens were in turn influenced by French, Italian and Spanish gardens and ideas brought back to England from the Grand Tour. Although plant selection will be different in the sub tropical Gold Coast, there are still lessons we can learn about colour, texture and hard landscaping. For this blog we will look at the classic English garden of Sissinghurst in Kent.

The garden design style

Widely regarded as one of England’s most iconic gardens, Sissinghust garden was created in 1930 by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson. As a reflecting of the two different styles of its designers, the garden combines Harold’s classical elegance with Vita’s romantic profuse plantings.

Tower views Sissinghurst classic English Garden

Tower views Sissinghurst classic English Garden

Views from the 16th century tower reveal the layout of the garden and show how it has been divided up and planned. Garden pathways are lined by manicured yew hedges with focal points provided at every possible vista. Parts of the garden are planted as wildflower meadows providing food and habitat for local wildlife as well as nectar and pollen for bees and other insects.


Lawns and classic English garden design.

The top lawns is neatly close cut mown with a diagonal pattern which hides the fact that the area is not rectangular. Originally the lawns at Sissinghurst were just English meadow grasses. Dwarf ryegrass was added to the sward to make it more resistant and tolerant of close mowing. A seed mix known as Olympic sports ground is used. Every Autumn the lawn is scarified and aerated and lightly resown with fescue, bent and dwarf ryegrass.

Sissinghurst Lawns. Classic English Garden Design.

Sissinghurst Lawns

For your Melbourne lawns take a look at seeds species suitable for the hot dry climate in Melbourne. Species like Santa Ana couch will look great over summer, but will go dormant over late winter. The Sissinghurst lawns are fertilised annually in February with a slow release fertiliser followed by a later application of a seaweed based tonic much later in the year. The lawns are mown once per week at just over 20mm. To keep the diagonal pattern crisp, each stripe is always mown in the same direction. With 10 hours per week just for mowing, the gardens must have an huge maintenance budget.

Classic English circular Yew hedge

Lawns and a circular Yew hedge.


Formal and Informal plantings

The National Trust aims to arrest the decline in wildflower meadows in the UK by adding informal plantings where possible. Sissinghurst is a great example of this. Wildflower meadows provide food and habitat for local wildlife as well as nectar and pollen for bees and other insects.

Wildflower meadow

Wildflower meadows like these are great for attracting insects and birds to a garden.



A bee enjoys the wildflowers at Sissinghurst.


Pleached pruning

The English classic garden design often makes use of pleached tree pruning. Pleaching is a great way to create a compact hedge or screen by training trees on to a supporting framework or to each other. To achieve this the flexible young shoots are tied together to create the desired shape. This can be seen in the pictures below taken in the early spring before the spring growth.

Lime Walk and Paving with pleached pruning in early Spring. Classic English Garden Design.

Lime Walk and Paving with pleached pruning in early Spring.


You can create your own classic garden design by using this technique to make arches, tunnels, walks and privacy screens. The pleached hedge can also be grown in a circle or a rectangle. In the English classic garden design, ash, beech, hornbeam, wisteria or lime trees like these are often used. For your Melbourne classic garden design, also take a look at Acmena smithii Lilly Pilly.

Classic English Garden Design. Mass planting of flowers behind pleached trees.

Classic English Garden Design. Mass planting of flowers behind pleached trees.



Yew and box hedges

Planted in 1932, the Yew walk was considered a radical modernist design statement.

Yews and box hedges. Classic English Garden Design.

Yews and box hedges


A great deal of effort goes into maintaining the hedges. Annually around 1200 man hours are spent trimming the hedges at Sissinghurst. To cut the Yew Hedges so straight, poles, strings plumb bobs and trestles are used. Yews can be very difficult to prune and the hedges around the rose garden alone can take 2 weeks with two gardeners working full time.

Melbourne Hedges

For your Melbourne garden, take a look at the orange jessamine (murraya paniculata) also known as mock orange, chalcas, or satinwood. If you are looking for small hedge plants for your Melbourne Garden, consider using a dwarf syzygium or the Coastal or Native Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) for your hedges. Take a look at a Pittosporum like James Stirling (Pittosporum tenuifolium) or Silver sheen if you are looking for screening plants for garden privacy. Using light coloured paving or fine gravels along with fine leaf plants in your garden will help to create the illusion of extra space.


Yew Hedge focal point. Classic English Garden Design.

Yew Hedge focal point


Yew Hedge garden Focal Point

Yew Hedge garden Focal Point with pleached trees in the background.


Classic English Garden Design. Hedges and a beautiful lawn.

Classic English Garden Design. Hedges and a beautiful lawn.


The English Herb Garden

A traditional divided herb garden is situated in one corner of the garden. The narrow dividing garden pathways enables the herbs to harvested without being damaged by clumsy feet.


Succulents in a planter pot by a herb garden. Classic English Garden Design.

Succulents in a planter pot by a herb garden. Terracotta tiles placed edgeways.


Climbing Plants

On the red brick wall of the building and garden walls there were several different species of climbing plants growing. On of these was the Japanese Quince (chaenomeles x superba knap hill scarlet).  Chaenomeles are deciduous, spiny shrubs with beautiful clustered 5-petalled flowers. They flower early in spring. The plant sets fragrant green or yellow fruit depending on the variety.

chaenomeles x superba knap hill scarlet Classic English Garden Design.

chaenomeles x superba knap hill scarlet


Japanese Quince

Japanese Quince looks great against this red brick wall.


Japanese Quince flower

Japanese Quince flower in early spring with the leaves just starting to emerge from the buds.

The tangled figs over the gothic arch on the garden wall make a bold statement even in winter. A tangle of climbing plants was one on the garden design styles employed by Vita.

tangled figs over the gothic arch on the garden wall. Classic English Garden Design.

Tangled figs over the gothic arch on the garden wall



The famous Sissinghurst Moat.

The famous Sissinghurst Moat.

English Classic Garden Design Plants in Pots

Plants in pots are a design feature throughout the gardens.  Here some basins have been reused to plant bulbs.

Classic English Garden Design. Garden Pots and climbing plants on a red brick wall. Good use of colour with the yellow and blues in the planter pots.

Classic English Garden Design. Garden Pots and climbing plants on a red brick wall. Good use of colour with the yellow and blues in the planter pots.


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More information about Sissinghurst.





The National Trust


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