Lavender or lavendula is a very hardy evergreen aromatic shrub which is grown for its scent as well as its flowers.
Lavender Flower attracts butterflies, honey bees and bumblebees. A honey bee sips nectar from a lavender flower.
There are many species to choose from as the genus Lavandula has more than 30 known members. The family to which the they belong is Lamiaceae. The Lamiaceae is a huge family is well known for its aromatic volatile oils and includes plants like the Rosemary, thyme, oregano and mint. It is in fact these oils which makes the plants in the mint family so useful as medicinal and culinary plants.
English or French Lavender
The so called English version can live up to 25 years whereas the less hardy French or Spanish lavender will only live to around 5 years old. The fatter flowers of the Spanish and French varieties tend to be a little more flamboyant.
Where does Lavender come from?
The lavender grows naturally around the Mediterranean and was taken to Britain by the Romans. The Roman legions and their Greek doctors took medicinal herbs with them on their marches.
What is the origin of the name?
There are two possibilities for the origin of the name “Lavender”. Possibly it comes from the Latin “lavare” meaning to wash. It has been used since before Roman times as a bath perfume and to scent washed fabrics. The other possibility for the source of the name is the Latin “lividus” meaning blueish or livid.
Landscaping Melbourne with Lavender
This is an ideal plant for creating the authentic Mediterranean garden. It will also thrive in sunny locations in your Melbourne garden provided the soil is well draining and not too acidic.
Lavandula with a terracotta pot. This is a great combination for a Mediterranean garden. The complementary colours also look great together.
Growing Lavender in pots
If you do not have enough sun, you can plant them in a terracotta pot and move them to get some extra sun. The blue and violet flowers of the lavender will be complimentary to the rich earthy colours of the terracotta.
Where is it best to plant lavender?
Lavender plants thrive in full sun and can grow well in raised garden beds and containers. They can even be used in hedges and make a great herbaceous border along a garden path.
How do you take care of a lavender plant?
Cut back the flowers as they finish.
Do not be afraid to prune twice a year with one pruning after flowering has finished.
Lavenders that are not pruned regularly will become spindly.
Replace plants that have become too woody.
Do not over water.
Very little fertiliser is required.
Soil must be well drained to avoid root rot.
Annual light application of garden lime in acidic topsoils.
Potential Diseases and Pests
Grey mould or leaf spot can appear. Prune your plants to allow good air circulation and move plants to a sunnier location in the garden. Plants can also be attacked by frog hoppers, so look for signs of frothy “cuckoo spit”.
Varieties for essential oils
Old English Lavender (Lavandula spica) is often grown on farms for the harvesting of the fragrant essential oils. This is a tall variety that can grow to around 90 centimeters, so it will need plenty of space.
Lavendula Augustifolia (English Lavender)
Despite being known as English, this plant originates in Southern Europe near the Mediterranean. It is a bushy shrub to around one metre tall and quite wide. In mid to late summer the long unbranched stalks will produce deep or pale purple dense fragrant spikes of flowers.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’
Popular varieties and Colours
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Ashdown Forest’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Cedar Blue’
Lavandula × intermedia Dutch
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Dwarf Blue’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Folgate’
Lavandula × intermedia ‘Grosso’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Imperial Gem’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Maillette’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Melissa Lilac’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’
Lavandula x intermedia Old English lavender
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Peter Pan’
Lavandula × chaytoriae ‘Richard Gray’
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Rosea’
Lavandula Angustifolia Royal Purple
LAVANDULA angustifolia ‘Twickel Purple’
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Edelweiss
Lavender-Flowers up close
These plants are often grown on farms where the plants are harvested to make essential oils. Often the distillation process takes place on the farm itself. The farms are also a great tourist attraction drawing visitors to experience the aroma and the beautiful sea of purple that stretches into the distance.
Lavender farms like this one in the Cotswolds are great tourist attractions and are also used for essential oil manufacturing.
In the UK there is a farm just near the National Trust property of Snowshill in the Cotswolds Area on Natural Beauty, where many of these photos were taken.
Landscaping with Lavender
The hardy and versatile lavender has hundreds of uses in landscaping and garden design. As a border it can give the violet or blue design theme continuity through a landscape. When used as a border opposite a long blue swimming pool it provides visual balance to the garden.
Lavender border opposite a swimming pool. The lavender provides continuity as well as visual balance.
Lavender in a herbaceous border along a path. The lavender border looks great against the earthy tones of cottage path.
Lavender field in the monastery of Saint Paul de Mausole in France. Mass plantings like this always create a stunning effect.
Agricultural uses for lavender
In agriculture lavender also has a wide varieties of uses. Home gardeners can learn a few tips from these. Some varieties are grown for the cut flower industry for fresh and dried bouquets.The flowers of these plants are very high in nectar and many varieties have a long flowering season. This has made them a great plant for attracting and feeding bees. The quality and the quantity of honey produced from hives close to lavender plants is well known in the industry. Attracting bees is important too for the orchard industry. Lavender is a useful companion plant as the aroma repels some pests as well as attracting pollinating insects. The main agricultural use is essential oil manufacturing.
Essential Oil Distillation
Lavender essential oil distillation process schematic
To make the essential oil on the farm, the cuttings have steam passed through them. The steam collects the oil and takes it to the condenser. The oil steam mix condenses and is them separated into the pure oil and floral water.
Uses of the essential oil
The essential oil has a wide variety of uses including helping with sleep and anxiety. It also has been used to treat fungal infections and to repel insects. The main uses however are in the cosmetics industry where it is used in fragrances, soaps and shampoos to help purify the skin. It is also used in the food industry, but concentrated oil should never be ingested as it can be toxic in this form.
Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil
Construction of a landscape for a new home can be easier and more cost effective than putting the landscaping in afterwards. The key is to start the new landscaping and in particular, the planning, design and construction as early as possible. As a guide to how to implement New Home Construction Landscaping as cheaply and efficiently as possible, take a look at how some commercial landscape constructions.
Top Money saving tips for new home construction landscaping
Design the landscaping for your new home at the same time as your home.
Install landscaping services and infrastructure during your new home construction
Begin some of the landscaping before the new home construction.
Use tube stock plants as much as possible.
Use an experienced and skilled landscape designer.
Drip irrigation systems should be integrated with the new home construction.
Mulching around the new plants.
Work with the existing topsoil.
Design the landscaping simultaneously with your new home.
The landscape as an extension of the home
The best landscape designs are those that integrate with your new home. The new home landscaping should be considered as part of the new hone. In this way the new landscaping is an extension of the new home itself/ An example of this is an outdoor eating area with a pergola near the kitchen. Part of the Melbourne lifestyle is having an outdoor barbecue, so the design of this area should really be an extension of the home.
Saving money by designing the new landscape early
Designing the new landscape early allows for all of the required connections to electricity and water to be planned in advance. Good landscape design for an outdoor eating area needs to consider how to remove rain water from the area as quickly as possible. By designing both at the same time, there are opportunities to save money in plumbing, electricity and irrigation. Extra outdoor electricity outlets and garden taps for irrigation can be planned at this stage. This is much cheaper than adding them later.
New Home Construction Landscaping. Garden lighting and irrigation should share trenches with house stormwater where possible.
Beginning your landscaping early will enable you to get labour saving machines into your backyard.
Installing landscaping services like garden lighting or irrigation under existing concrete driveways is expensive. Always lay some PVC conduit deep below the roadbase even if the landscape design has not been done yet.
New Home Landscaping infrastructure.
Landscaping such as entertainment areas, retaining walls and garden paths may require concrete pours for foundations. Having this poured at the same time as the house foundations will save a lot of money. Each concrete pour includes some concrete waste that cannot be used. Minimising the number of separate pours will save money. Landscaping connections like electricity and water may need to go under the new home’s patio. It will be much cheaper to arrange this before the patio is built.
Start Landscaping early.
When landscaping a newly constructed home’s backyard or courtyard, getting materials to the back of the house can be a problem. Often the access on either side of the house is too narrow to get large amounts of landscaping materials to the back of the house economically. By designing, estimating and storing the materials in the backyard can save some headaches later.
Use smaller plants
Melbourne plant nurseries can supply fast growing tube stock and 140mm pots relatively cheaply. By planting these in areas unaffected by the new home building they can become well established by the time the home is completed. Exotic plants can then be transplanted to new locations if necessary. Australian native plants often to not transplant that well, so try to get their positions correct to the landscape design. Ideally put the plants in Autumn before the new home construction begins.
Potted Plants for the landscaping. Establishing smaller plants early will save you money.
Fast growing screening plants
Your landscape designer may establish locations for fast growing screening plants to be planted. Often these will be at the fence line of the property. If you can establish what the finished ground level will be, these plants can be put in during the preceding autumn. By the time you move in to your new home, these plants can be well established and screening out your neighbours and giving you some privacy. Always ensure plenty of mulch is used. You may get some broken branches or other damage during the construction, but the risk is usually worth it unless you have chosen very expensive plants.
Get advice from an experienced and skilled landscape designer.
An experienced and qualified landscaper or horticulturist will be able to advise you on your plant selection and plant care. At the design stage they will be able to check if you have selected the right plants for shady parts of the garden. Also speak to your local plant nursery.
Drip irrigation systems
A drip irrigations system will save you money for years to come. The money savings will be in both avoiding the death of your plants and using water efficiently. Additionally, it will help get your smaller plants well established early. Ideally it should be part of the new home’s water tank system.
New home construction will churn up a lot of topsoil and generally create a lot of mess around your future gardens. Our top tip here is to mulch as much as possible any future garden beds and newly planted screening plants. Initially using a fast decomposing mulch will improve the soil and will mean the final, more expensive, mulch layer can be a little bit thinner. So, if you have some garden beds that the landscaper designer has decided on an expensive coloured mulch, used some layers of inexpensive cane mulch or pea straw before the final mulch layer. If you put these layers down months in advance of your new home construction, you will have great topsoil by the time your landscaping begins. Especially if you have also added organic matter to the straw.
Use your existing topsoil if possible.
Can I use my existing topsoil?
New home construction often involves scraping the topsoil away for the concrete slab. Your landscape designer should identify areas where this topsoil could be used in your landscape design. Poorer topsoils could be used as fill or to create some landforms in your garden. With some amelioration with organic matter or manure, most of these topsoils will be suitable for garden beds. Another possible use is as a subsoil for your lawns. This will reduce the amount of topsoil you need to buy later and save quite a bit of money. If if is one of Melbourne’s reactive clay topsoils, then adding gypsum and organic matter to it, will turn it into an excellent subsoil for lawns. Remember that some lawn root systems can be a metre long so a good quality sub soil like this can save a lot of money by storing water and nutrients for the lawn. Your existing topsoil can be stockpiled for later use. Build a compost heap on top of it with layers of peas straw and stable manure. Stable manure can often be bought cheaply from your local horse stable.
The existing topsoil was used as a subsoil below this lawn. This meant that money could be saved by using only 50mm of sandy loam. The existing topsoil was ameliorated with gypsum and organic matter, then rotary hoed to break up the clay.
More home garden landscape gardening ideas from Red’s Landscaping.
The home garden can be landscaped to add enormous value to your home without spending a fortune to achieve it. It is more than just adding street or kerb appeal to your front yard garden, but also the illusion of making a small garden appear larger.
How do you renovate a front yard for your home?
The first step is to sketch and annotate your ideas on a sheet of graph paper. Our 5 top tips to begin with are the following;
Check the health of your current plants and remove any that look a bit unhealthy.
Any plants that are losing their shape should be pruned back hard.
If you have any grey wooden fences, repaint them a dark colour like dark grey.
Plant suitable screening plants around the edge of your garden.
Repair any defects in garden paths, decks or other garden structures.
Decide on your home garden focal points
Hide the less attractive parts of your garden with climbing plants and trellis.
What should I plant in my front garden?
If you are living in a heritage home in one of the Melbourne inner suburbs, a cottage style garden will be in keeping with your home. Many of these are low maintenance eco friendly gardens which will save on water.
Front yard garden beds for home gardens
You can make your garden appear larger by planting flowers with warm colours like yellow, red or orange in the foreground close to the viewpoint. In the background plant cooler and softer tones like blue, purple, pastel pinks and whites.
Use of Colour in the home garden. Using warm and cool colours to make your garden appear larger.
Small front garden design for home gardens
Plants for this style of home garden could include the following;
Dwarf Lemon scented gum.
Magnolia Little Gem.
Dwarf Lilly Pilly – Acmena Smithii Minor
Diaosma instead of turf
Larger front yards
Pittosporum ‘Siver sheen” (Large tree or hedge.)
Lilly Pilly – Acmena Smithii
Italian Pencil Pine
Use the taller plants towards the outside of your garden.
Our top garden design tip here is to trees with numerous small leaves. This will help to create the illusion of space in a small garden. For example, Pittosporum ‘Silver Sheen” English yew tree. A large hedge of pittosporum Silver sheen will help to screen out the neighbours and make the garden appear larger if you grow it along the fence line. If you are not planting a hedge, aim to have plants at various heights to draw the eye up and down.
Garden Focal points for your home garden
What is focal point in Landscaping?
In landscaping a focal point is a point of interest in a garden that helps the eye rest naturally. The garden focal point will create an interesting destination for garden visitors to move towards.
Does a good landscape need a focal point?
A garden focal point will draw the visitor’s eye to a particular location in the garden. It can help to create the illusion that your small garden is actually larger than it is. It will also encourage visitors to move through the garden as well as help create visual balance in the front yard.
Potted urn on a pedestal
A Garden focal point could be a potted urn on a garden pedestal surrounded by lavender plants. Lavender also looks good with Terracotta pots.
Concrete garden pot on a concrete pedestal. A garden focal point where the garden paths cross.
Home Gardening Landscaping ideas. A concrete urn on a concrete pedestal with concrete pavers leading to the focal point.
Garden arch focal point.
An impressive welcome to your front yard garden can be provided by a flower covered garden arch. By using fragrant climbing plants on the garden arch, a sensory experience can be provided for your visitors. The garden arch over a brick pathway will fit in well with cottage gardens or Melbourne heritage gardens. As a focal point, the garden arch draws the eye up and around the arch.
Garden Arbor or arch with climbing plants.
Pergola walkway with wisteria
Garden water feature focal point ideas
A water feature makes a great focal point in any garden and is also good for wildlife.
Garden Pond Ideas
Garden Ponds should be located in partial shade to limit the growth of algae. If algae is a problem in your pond, then a harmless black dye can be added to the water. Garden ponds should be located as flat location as possible. If you are building your own pond, make sure the excavation is free from stones and roots then line the hole with sand before putting in the butyl liner. This will extent the lifetime of your pond liner. Newly built concrete ponds will have a high PH, so wait for this to stabilise around 7 before introducing any fish to your garden pond. In and around your pond use a planting mixture of water lilies, floating plants and some native grasses around the outside.
Home Garden – Koi Fish in a tranquil pond
Water feature fountains
If your front yard garden is a Melbourne inner city heritage garden, you may have some issues with traffic noise. A front yard fountain will help to disguise the traffic noise as we as add tranquillity to your garden. There are designs to suit modern gardens as well as heritage gardens and Japanese gardens.
Stone water feature in the style of a Ryoan Ji temple with rounded river pebbles a stone lantern. Fantastic use of foliage colours with white flowers.
Garden Sculpture Focal Points
Garden Sculpture focal point with a curved garden hedge.
Soft landscaping Focal Points for your home garden.
The focal point can also be a beautiful shrub or tree. Choose a small tree that will have year-round interest. So attributes to look for would be long flowering periods, a beautiful shape or interesting foliage. If you choose a deciduous tree, make sure it has interesting bark and place foliage plants around the base.
Soft landscaping focal point. A White Crepe Myrtle in a home garden.
Disguise less attractive areas of your home with trellises and climbing plants.
If you have an area you would like to hide, build a trellis or brush fence. Use climbing plants like clematis, climbing rose or star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) to break up the view of the fence.
Trellis can be used to disguise parts of the garden.
A colourbond shed and garden tools hidden behind a brush fence.
More home garden landscape gardening ideas from Red’s Landscaping.
Path design for cottage gardens is not only a way to provide access, but the path can provide a design feature in itself.
How do you plan a garden Path?
Designing a garden path for your cottage garden
Traditional cottage gardens do not have lawns. As a result, this makes them an eco-friendly alternative for the Melbourne suburban home garden and a potential water saving garden design. Often the garden design will appear chaotic, but the parts of the garden will be divided up by symmetrical, geometric garden paths.
Home Garden Footpath Ideas
There are 4 main types of garden path layout. For instance, there are diamond shaped, oval outer path, central circular bed with crossed outer squares and the simpler square outer path with a single main path.
Crossed walkway with central circular garden
Crossed Garden Path with central circle
The crossed paths provides a central focal point for your cottage garden. This is similar in someways to the traditional monastery garden, which was centred on the point where the two cloisters would meet. This is widely regarded the authentic traditional cottage garden style. The outer paths can be made a little narrower than the other paths for smaller cottage gardens.
Crush rock crossed pathway with box hedge edging. The box is often used for the cottage hedge.
Although this is a formal garden, a box hedge and a circular centre garden are often features of a typical cottage garden crossed path system.
Concrete garden pot on a concrete pedestal. A garden focal point where the garden paths cross.
Stone Garden Path with a Plant as the focal point in the path intersection
Crossed brick and Pebble Pathway with herbaceous borders and a circular join.
Circular pond and crossed paths. French Mediterranean garden at Versailles
Crossed Pathway with Oval shaped outer garden path
Cottage Garden Oval Path Design
A variation of this is to leave the crossed central pathway out.
An example of a rustic stone pathway from the Arts and Crafts movement. An oval shaped path without the crossed central path.
Diamond Shaped Garden Path
Diamond shaped garden path
Square Outer Path
Square outer Path
Alternative cottage pathway systems
So far we have covered the 4 typical styles of pathway system. It is possible to have more complicated systems of pathways in your garden.
What is the cheapest walkway material?
The materials used on the paths in traditional cottage gardens will have a naturalistic look and tend to be soft surfaces. However, these can often be a little uncomfortable to walk on in bare feet. Amongst the hard surfaces, there are brick, granite setts, or natural flagstones. If you want to use concrete for the cottage garden pathways, then coloured, stencilled or exposed aggregate concrete will make the concrete appear more naturalistic. This would however, be a break from the tradition of cottage garden design.
Designing a Cottage Garden
In a traditional English village you are likely to find a stream, hedge-rows, a village pond and plenty of large trees and an orchard. In addition, each house will have its own cultivation plot and sometimes an enclosed front yard garden.
Small garden path design
You can design a cottage garden for a space as small as 25 square metres. This might therefore be the case if you have a traditional Melbourne heritage house or townhouse. However, if you have more space in you frontyard garden, you will be able to fit in several shrubs and trees and wide box hedge lined paths.
Cottage garden shape
Ideally, your cottage garden will be square or rectangular or close to it. However, if your garden is not too small you could have the traditional two garden paths crossing in the centre with an oval or circular path around the edge. Traditionally, the cottage garden did not run all of the way up to the house wall but had a zone where climbing roses or espalier fruit trees could be grown. This is also an area where plants in garden pots, a flower bed or garden furniture could be placed.
Plantings facing the sun.
In Melbourne your cottage herb and vegetable gardens should be facing north to make the most of often scarce winter sunlight. If that is not possible, try to find a position in your home garden that receives morning sun. For instance, many of the summer cottage vegetables and herbs that originate from warm climates will need as much sun and warmth as possible. Above all, plants such as fennel, cucumbers and tomatoes must have sufficient direct sunlight.
Gardens in the shade
If your home garden is mostly shady, you will need to be very selective with your plant selection. Use plants of varying heights in your cottage garden. The taller plants will however cast shade. The use of layering will therefore draw the eye up and down and make smaller gardens appear larger. The cottage garden should therefore exist in 3 dimensions. One cottage garden design feature that could be used for this is to plant some verbascum, hollyhocks, foxgloves or lupins. The shade cast by these plants will not cover the same spot all day unless they are planted in a huge clump.
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.
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.
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.
An attractive garden plant as well as a tasty herb. Rosemary is a great choice for your cottage garden.
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.
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 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 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.
The wallflower is a member of the brassica family.
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 is a purple flowering shrub growing to around 1 metre tall.
Cottage garden ideas can be found in many of the gardens open to the public. These include Open Garden Scheme Gardens and the many home gardens worldwide. One great source of cottage garden ideas is the National Trust of Great Britain.
The Arts and Crafts movement
The Arts and Crafts movement was an aesthetic movement started by designer, poet and reformer William Morris. In 1861 Morris founded the interior decorators and manufacturers Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company. Morris during his time studying Classics at Oxford University, became influenced by medievalism. The company was founded with a desire to capture the spirit and quality of medieval craftsmanship. By the 1890s the influence of the movement had spread and become part of a growing international interest in design.
Cottage Garden ideas and the Arts and Crafts movement
American horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnston created the Serre de la Madone garden in France and the Hidcote Manor garden in the Cotswolds in the UK. The Cotswolds had become a centre for the arts and crafts movement due to artists like Dante Rosetti and his friend William Morris moving out of smoggy London to the Cotwolds. The rural setting far from London with its beautiful scenery and idyllic lifestyle made it a magnet for the type of cottage industries that were part of the movement. At the time, local crafts and skills had not been overtaken by industrialisation. Architect Charles Robert Ashbee moved from London to Chipping Campden and set up factories in some rural buildings employing around 150 skilled craftsmen.
Hidcote Cottage Garden Design
The early parts of the Hidcote garden design were very much in line with the Arts and Crafts movement. Later parts of the design became a little more formal. As the garden is separated by hedges, stone walls or by geographic features, these very different garden design styles go together surprisingly well. The garden design concept was that the “rooms” of the garden were and extension of the architecture of the house itself.
Cottage Garden ideas. A stone garden path with overflowing border plants is often a feature of Arts and Crafts gardens. Between the 1890s and 1930s gardens the Arts and Crafts Movement was a major influence in Cottage Garden design.
Cottage Gardens often give the appearance of cheerful simplicity. In reality, the creator of the garden,Major Lawrence Johnston, was an avid collector of garden plants. The Major, went on exotic plant hunting expeditions to Yunnan, China in 1930 and South Africa in 1927 to find plants for his garden. The province of Yunnan in South West China has been the source of over 10,000 plants for western gardens.
Cottage Garden ideas. Neat hedge and stone landscaping of paths with topiary Yew hedges with topiary box, hornbeam and holly. Rustic Stone Garden paths.
The topiary hedges at Hidcote create interesting views, but also help to divide the garden into smaller garden rooms. Many of these rooms explore different garden design themes. Hidcote is a great place to visit for garden design ideas.
Cottage Garden ideas. Looking through the hedge at the colourful garden with stone garden path.
When viewed through a cut out in a hedge, the spectacular and colourful cottage style gardens create surprise and delight.
Cottage Garden ideas. A garden seat in a shady part of the garden. Rustic Stone Garden paths.
Some parts of the garden are a little more formal with neatly trimmed path edges.
Cottage Garden ideas. Roses are always a favourite in the cottage garden.
The old garden looking back towards the house is a mass of cottage garden plants. Hidcote was the first purchase for the National Trust for the garden alone.
Cottage Garden ideas. Garden steps made from hand crafted terracotta roof tiles laid edgeways. Hidcote Manor.
A great example of the use of quality craftsmanship is the garden steps created from hand crafted ceramic roofing tiles laid edgeways. Years of garden visitors has worn the edges of the tiles and given them even more character. These garden design features are typical of the arts and crafts movement.
Cottage Garden Pathway Design
Another more formal garden room. Dividing the garden up into smaller garden rooms makes it possible to explore different garden design themes within the same garden. Each room is like a small garden design in itself.
An example of a rustic stone pathway from the Arts and Crafts movement.
Cottage gardens have many different designs of garden paths. Ideally natural looking garden path materials should be used to create the cottage garden effect. There are many different ways of laying out your cottage garden path. The path can be a single main path with an outer path, crossed paths with an outer path, a diamond shaped path, or as in the picture above, an oval shaped path layout with a garden in the centre.
Rustic Garden Path with overflowing border plants.
Crushed Rock garden pathway with overflowing border plants.
Gardens Separated by hedges.
An example of the craftsmanship is the garden stairs made from ceramic roof tiles laid edgeways. These stairs lead to a terraced lawn which is also laid out like a separate room.
Lawn Pathways with garden urns neat hedges and border shrubs.
Garden Wall with herbaceous perennial border plants and crushed rock pathways.
Some of the later garden designs at Hidcote were a little more formal, but still have a cottage appeal.
A rustic hand crafted stone wall will give you cottage garden an authentic look. Note the use of complimentary flowers in front.
A garden gate helps to separate the garden into different rooms. Note the more formal garden with box hedges on the other side.
Formal box hedges. Later parts of the garden moved away from the arts and crafts style.
Manicured Hedges and lawn. The garden paths appear to go forever.
A view through the hedges separating the gardens. Rustic Stone Garden paths.
The separated garden rooms alow the garden designer to explore a different theme in each one.
A small stream runs through the garden.
A garden stream separates parts of the lower garden
The Stone Garden Path crosses the stream with a well crafted stepping stone.
Yew hedges and garden rooms. Rustic Stone Garden paths. Terracotta pots.
The same view two month later. It is alway worth revisiting Hidcote to see the different seasons in the garden.
Magnolias and Daffodils with a winding garden path.
A Rustic Cottage Garden with stone wall, yew hedge and herbaceous perennials.
Cut outs in the hedges provide vistas into other garden rooms.
Garden water feature with a view back to the house.
The famous Hidcote Pillar Garden. Topiary Yew trees and hedges.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Melbourne Coastal Garden design, depends heavily on selecting the right plants for the conditions. Coastal garden plants have to endure salt spray, wind and often not very fertile sandy soils. If you have a home in one of Melbourne’s beachside suburbs these home gardening tips will help you establish a great garden.
Melbourne Garden plant selection
Limonium perezii, features beautiful flowers and foliage which can be hacked back to reshoot. This plant flowers nearly year round with minimal water and care. Limoniums handle Australia’s coastal garden conditions and climate well and are an absolute must have for any ornamental garden. As you would expect for a plant native to the Canary Islands, these plants handle the coastal garden conditions very well, preferring a well-drained soil and full sun. These plants will also tolerate a moderate frost. The more than 120 plant that belong to the genus Limonium are often referred to as marsh rosemary or sea lavender, but they are not related to either lavender or rosemary. The small papery flowers can be dried and used in flower arrangements.
Viola hederaceae or Native Violet in an Australian native shrub that is ideal for your coastal garden. As its names suggest this trailing ground cover has violet flowers that can be seen from spring until autumn. This shrub can be used as an alternative to lawn.
Banksia robur or swamp Banksia growing up to two metres in the wild, this plant is a small tree or shrub with large flower spikes and fruits from autumn to winter. Despite its name, the swamp Banksia will thrive in a variety of soils and conditions. The large oval shaped serrated leaves can grow as large as 120mm by 400 mm long. This plant can be planted as a group for screening neighbours or by itself as a feature plant.
Xanthorrhoea macronema or Coastal Grass Tree is a grass tree without a trunk but has a creamy flower spike around 1.5 metres long. The flower itself is around 45 to 140mm long.
Native to coastal regions in New South Wales and Southern Queensland, this is a wonderful addition to your coastal garden.
Garden Maintenance for your Coastal Garden.
Many coastal gardens are very sandy and the soils struggle to hold moisture and nutrients. One solution is to put some clay soil into a bucket of water. Stir this until the clay forms a suspension in the water. Pour this around your plants to help fill the gaps in the porous sandy soil. A fast decomposing mulch like pea straw, as well as organic fertilisers, will help.
The Mediterranean garden design is not just beautiful, it is often a very practical low maintenance garden solution for landscaping Melbourne gardens. Historically Melbourne winters are cool but short in duration. The summers are hot and we have experienced more of the hotter drier weather over the past few years. Clear skies and moderate to high winds are often experienced in Melbourne especially in the beachside suburbs of Brighton and Elwood. The recent hot dry summers are typical of the Mediterranean climate and are more often experienced in cities like Adelaide and Perth. What this means for landscaping Melbourne gardens is that we can learn the lessons from gardens developed for hot dry summers over the millennia.
What is a Mediterranean Garden?
From a purely garden design perspective, much of the essence of the Mediterranean garden lies in the choice of materials, textures and colours. Garden features such as cobbled paving, tiles, stones, bricks and especially terracotta will enhance the Mediterranean feel. Neatly clipped hedges, gravel mulch, and soft colours contrasting with brightly coloured tiles are often features in the Mediterranean garden. For landscaping Melbourne gardens, consider mixing this with less formal ,drought tolerant plants and plants which give off a pleasant aroma.
Mediterranean garden – Terracotta pot and lavender. Great colours to have together.
Mediterranean Garden Ideas
Mediterranean garden design often features terracotta pots and lavender. The cool purple of the lavender and the warm earthy tones of the terracotta pots are close to complimentary colours. This means they look good together in garden design. The green foliage of the lavender works as an accent to the colour scheme.
The hot dry summers of the Mediterranean create perfect conditions for outdoor eating. In these gardens you will often find pergolas covered with scented climbing plants or grape vines.
What Plants are in a Mediterranean Garden?
Some plants to consider for growing over your pergola include wisteria, grape vines, climbing roses, jasmine and the Chinese Trumpet vine (Campsis grandiflora).
For landscaping Melbourne the Mediterranean plants are generally a good choice although some may not like a heavy clay soil. Some varieties of lavender require a well drained soil.
Mediterranean Garden Design Australia
Within the broad garden design concept of Mediterranean gardens there are many different individual garden styles available to the Melbourne gardener to choose from. These range from the very neat formal style to the less formal, more drought tolerant, low maintenance gardens. This variety reflects the many influences of the Mediterranean garden culture, from the Ottomans, the Moors, the Greeks and the Romans. Each of these cultures came up with different solutions for the Mediterranean garden based on their needs and desires. These design ideas were then brought back to Britain by landscape designers and architects on the Grand Tour. Modern landscape designers now put their own interpretation on these design solutions to produce a variety of very different design outcomes.
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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Orchids are a great plant for landscape design and have many practical uses.
For the creation of vertical gardens, the use of epiphytic species from the Orchid and Bromeliads families are a beautiful and practical solution. If you are living in a Melbourne townhouse with a small garden, vertical gardens or green walls to hide a fences, an unsightly pillar or even a tree truck will add beauty and value to your home and help create the illusion of space. Recent studies have shown plants in green walls to be effective in reducing harmful nitrogen dioxide and particulate pollution in outdoor urban areas. If you are designing a landscape garden for a swimming pool a green wall, or vertical garden, might be a great way to hide the pool pump and filter and reduce noise transmission from the pump at the same time. The noise attenuation abilities of green walls could also be of benefit if you are looking to reduce the noise transmission from your neighbours or tyre and traffic noise from a nearby road. A solid wall covered in plants, placed as close as possible to the noise source will create an effective noise barrier. Where the green wall can be used to great effect for noise reduction is where there is a solid flat structure like a concrete tilt up fence or a high straight garden retaining wall. In these cases the green walls or vertical gardens can greatly reduce the echo as well has beautify.
These plants are also great as indoor plants and also have terrestrial or soil based species for your outdoor garden. Indoor plants have been shown to improve air quality by trapping and capturing pollutants. This could also be the case with narrow outdoor spaces with vertical gardens.
Orchids – Species and varieties
With more than 28,000 species and nearly 1,000 genera, the orchid family must be one of the most prolific as well as the most widely spread flowers in the world. Well known for growing in the wet tropics, these colourful and fragrant plants have also colonised the tropics, sub tropic and temperate climates. Some species have even been discovered in the deserts as well as north of the arctic circle. So prolific is the Orchidaceae, as the orchid family is known, that new species are being discovered on a regular basis. Orchidaceae is a member of Asparagales, meaning that it is related to both the asparagus and another beautiful showy flower, the iris.
The name orchid comes to us via the Latin orchis from the Greek ὄρχις (orkhis) meaning testicle. This name is based on the shape of the root tuber in some species.The name avocado has a similar sense.
Terrestrial or epiphytic plants
A plant that depends on the physical support of another plant or structure is known as an epiphyte. This includes some species of ferns, many bromeliads as well some of the orchid species. For these plants, nutrients often come from rain water and debris. Recent research shows that far from being harmful to the tree, there are benefits for the host tree as well. To survive on such slim pickings, the orchid makes use of a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi on the root system. These fungi effectively extend the root area of plants but can be disrupted by the use of the wrong fertilisers.
The ability to pull nutrients from thin air, and the fact that heavy soils or growing media are not required, make epiphytic plants ideal for the creation of vertical gardens. Whilst the majority of the tropical orchid species are epiphytes; nearly all the orchids in the temperate zones, however, are terrestrial.
Growing media for epiphytic plants in vertical gardens
For a medium to cradle the epiphytic root systems in vertical gardens, sphagnum moss is ideal. Moisten the moss and pack it against the branch. Use a bit of coconut coir around the moss to keep it contained and help retain the moisture. The coir can then be attached to the branch with hot melt glue, fishing line, twine or garden tie wire. Cut a slit in the coir and insert your plant and pack it with some extra moss. The coir can then be covered with mosses or lichens. A coir liner for a hanging basket makes a good pouch you can staple to a tree branch then fill with sphagnum moss and your orchid. Add some slits to allow the roots to grow out. Don’t be too worried if some of the root system is exposed to dappled sunlight. There is even a species of orchid that has given away using leaves for photosynthesis. The endangered Dendrophylax lindenii (Ghost Orchid) of the American everglades photosynthesizes with its roots and needs to be grown with the roots exposed.
For added impact, consider the use of Garden Lighting to highlight the colours in the evening.
Terrestrial Orchids for indoors.
Cymbidium orchid is a house plant that requires distinctive temperature changes between day and night to flower well.
Slipper orchids or Paphiopedilums have slipper shaped pouches to help pollination. The pollinating insect gets trapped inside the pouch. To be released the insect needs to rub against the anther. The insect then takes this pollen to the stigma of the next slipper orchid thus pollinating it. For pollinating insects there is no such thing as a free lunch.
For horticultural uses, the Vanda genus is the one most often used in the flower industry. These colourful orchids, from the family Orchidaceae, consist of about 45 species distributed from East Asia to Australia. Twelve of these species grow in Thailand. Most species have long, sturdy stems that bear closely spaced, strap-shaped leaves. By crossing species within the genus, many attractive hybrids have been developed. Some other hybrid species have been developed by crossing the Vanda species with species of other orchid genera. Colours include blood red, hot pink, blue, purple, or mottled.
Vanda flowers have spectacular colours and patterns with particularly large blooms. They are usually flat with have a short spur on the lip. The colours and patterns seen on many orchid flowers can be explained by the way pollinators are attracted to the flowers. Flowers pollinated by bees open during the day and usually have pleasant odours, bright colours a landing platform, nectar guides, (coloured lines running into the depths of the flower), as well as concealed nectaries. The basal portions of the orchid lip are usually formed into a tunnel with the column constituting its upper side. The bee enters the tunnel to get at the nectary, and as the bee backs out some of the stigmatic fluid may be rubbed on its back and carried with the bee to the next flower.
Orchids in Agriculture
One tropical climbing orchid was used by the Aztecs to flavor their chocolate beverage (xocoatl or chocolate). Later Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés was to bring this flavor of this drink to Europe. The ingredients the Aztecs used were ground corn, cacao beans, honey and vanilla pods from the Vanilla planifolia a tropical climbing orchid. Vanilla is now commercially grown in Indonesia, the West Indies, Seychelles, and Puerto Rico. Madagascar, Mexico, French Polynesia, Réunion, and in Dominica. In the early days of the industry, little was known about how the plant was pollinated leading to very poor yields when plants were grown outside of Mexico. It was later discovered that the plant required a small Mexican bee called the Melipona bee for pollination. Interestingly, this species can also be pollinated by hummingbirds. Another vanilla species, the Tahiti vanilla, (Vanilla tahitensis) is native to Oceania.
Vanilla planifolia, orchid flower.
Australian Native Orchids
With 6 new species of Drakea hammer orchids recently discovered in southern Western Australia, it is a little difficult to keep count of the exact number of orchids.
Sun Orchids are found throughout Australia as well as Indonesia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and the Philippines. Of the approximately 130 species more than 110 occur in Australia. Sun Orchids belong to the genus Thelymitra, and family Orchidaceae. The name sun orchid comes from the tendency of the flowers to only open up when exposed to strong sun light. In fact, the flowers of some self pollinating species do not open at all. The flowers have earlike appendages and the hooded column which give the genus its name of Thelymitra meaning woman’s hood in ancient Greek. In New South Wales Thelymitra ixioides is one of the most common species of Thelymitra. It can be seen growing along roadsides in NSW and southern Queensland. Despite the worldwide success of orchids, many Australian species are listed as vunerable, threatened or endangered. It is estimated that 17% of Australia’s orchids are in this category. As with the endangered Ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) of the Florida everglades, preservation of habitats and pollinators world wide is vital for wild orchids. Pterostylis tenuissima the Swamp Greenhood or Dainty Swamp Orchid is listed as vunerable and it depends upon its habitat of swamp land being protected. McIvor Spider-orchid, also known as the Audas Spider-orchid Caladenia audasii has less than 8 plants remaining in the wild.
Garden maintenance. Care of your orchids. How to plant orchids
The key to looking after your orchid is to know its original habitat and create a similar growing environment. Whilst growing some orchids can be a challenge, knowing the orchids natural habitat and recreating similar levels of light, water, temperature and growing media will help. Epiphytic orchids will not grow in soil or even potting mix. These plants require a course growing compost containing bark or sphagnum moss. Only ever use specific orchid fertilisers in the correct quantities to help maintain the health of your orchid and protect the Orchid mycorrhizas fungi. When the individual flowers droop and turn brown, carefully remove them from the flower spike. When all of the flowers from the spike are gone, cut the spike off around 30mm from the base. Once established the maintenance needs of your orchids are fairly low. Take care not to over water or over fertilise.
Bromeliads in vertical gardens.
As with the orchids, Bromelaids are either terrestrial (soil based) or epiphytic (tree based). These spectacular flowering plants number around 2600 species with nearly all of these originating in the tropics of the Americas.
Bromeliad flowers often have coloured bracts below a long spike bearing flowers with brightly contrasting sepals and petals. One species of terrestrial bromeliad is much loved by Australians and Queensland in particular. The sunshine coast of Queensland has even erected a shrine to it. The Ananas comosus or pineapple is native to tropical and subtropical America. Portuguese explorers are credited with the spread of the pineapple as an agricultural crop. It was so successful that by the start of the 1800s, it was being cultivated in most tropical areas of the world even on some remote islands of the South Pacific.
The arrangement of leaves on bromeliads including pineapples resemble that of succulents and particularly yuccas. The texture of the fruit also closely resembles pinecones giving the pineapple its name. Why would plants that are not closely related have such strong resemblance. The answer to this question comes from the field of mathematics.
Bromeliads, Pine Cones, sunflowers and other patterns in nature.
Around 1175 in Pisa Italy a boy named Leonardo was born. As his father was a customs officer, he travelled extensively around the Mediterranean and was well educated by Moorish teachers. This time in history, at the dawn of the renaissance, was when science and mathematics in particular was more advanced in the Arabic world. Leonardo of Pisa, or Fibonacci as he is better known, introduced calculation using the Hindu – Arabic numbers to the merchants of Europe thus making trade calculations much easier. Fibonacci developed his well-known sequence whilst theorizing over the maximum number of offspring a pair of rabbits could produce. As it turned out, the Fibonacci series had other application in nature that Fibonacci would not have known. It was not until the 19th century it was discovered that the Fibonacci series, where each number is the sum of the previous two, had applications in the study of botany.
So why would the plant world follow the mathematic sequence described by Fibonacci? Plants have evolved over millions of years of genetic mutation to where small advantages aid the survival of the species. For leaves this might mean capturing a little extra sunlight or rainfall. For seeds and insect hives, it means packing as much in as efficiently as possible. The result is the patterns and placements in a Fibonacci series or counter rotating spirals following the Fibonacci sequence.
For your vertical garden epiphyte plants that grow naturally on tree branches are the ideal solution. Requiring no topsoil or potting mix, the garden can be very lightweight. This is a very important consideration for some fence structures. Most often a fence will be designed and constructed without an allowance for the extra weight of potting soils. The other advantage is the epiphytes ability to capture moisture from light rainfall. In the humidity of the Gold Coast the vertical garden might only require an occasional very light spray. For the structure of vertical gardens consider using wooden trellis or lattice, recycled timber, driftwood of even recycled pallets. Some other plants to consider would be succulents, Hoya carnosa or Hoya lanceolata and philodendrons. If your vertical garden is close to your kitchen it is a great place to plant a few herbs to cook with. Many palm trees with their fibrous trunks also make ideal places to start a small vertical garden. Do not attempt this on varieties of palm trees like the canary island palm as these may be vulnerable to fungal diseases or weevils.
Contact us – Vertical garden installation service in Melbourne
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.