Archives for Horticulture

Landscaping Melbourne with Climbing Plants

Climbing plants can transform a dull wall or grey fence into a colourful and spectacular feature of your garden and enhance garden privacy. If your garden is so small that you do not have room for a tree, then a climbing plant will give you the vertical dimension to help create interest in your garden. Climbing plants can create a harmonious transition zone from the interior to the exterior of the home and help to develop that feeling of the garden as an extension of the home. Many climbing plants will also bring fragrance to your garden and most will bring privacy to your backyard and swimming pool areas.

 

What are the best climbing plants?

The best climbing plants for your garden will depend on a number of factors including the amount of sun and shade on the wall or fence you are covering.  Even then, there is a large choice depending on your personal taste and garden design style. There is a wide range of colour and fragrance available.

 

 

What are the best climbing plants for trellis?

Most climbers will require some sort of support to grow on. There are a few that do not require support, including climbing hydrangea and ivy. For most climbing plants, trellis is an ideal support, but make sure you use trellis that is strong enough to support both the weight of the plant and any wind loads. Tensioned wire supports and trellis are the two main types of support.

 

Our best climbing plants for trellis;

  1. Clematis Hybrids for full sun or part shade, but keep the roots mulched or in shade. 2-3m.
  2. Honeysuckle (Lonicera) for partial shade to sunny with scented flowers. 2-6m.
  3. Climbing Rose for full sun, but they will require strong supports. 2-5m.
Climbing Plants Humulus lupulus, jasminum azoricum ,rhodochiton atrosanguine, passiflora white passion, gloriosa rothschildiana, Ipomoea purpurea, CLIMBERS

Climbing Plants Humulus lupulus, jasminum azoricum ,rhodochiton atrosanguine, passiflora white passion, gloriosa rothschildiana and Ipomoea purpurea climbers.

 

 

Clematis

Clematis belong to the family Ranunculaceae which also contains delphiniums, anemones and buttercup. The name comes from the ancient Greek word κλῆμα (klema) meaning vine branch. The clematis flower does not have petals and this makes it unusual in the plant world. The sepals, which in most plants cover the emerging flower, have evolved to fulfil the role of petals and it is these that make the wonderful colours. You will se in the photographs below that the stamens have in some cases, also taken on the look of petals.

Clematis are are mostly grown as climbing plants, but some varieties can also be grown successfully as ground covers. There is plenty of choice with over 325 species and these grow naturally in nearly every part of the world and also there are the the many hybrids and cultivars to consider.

Clematis climbing plants on display.

Clematis climbing plants on display. (Floyds climbers and clematis.)

 

Clematis have been cultivated in the gardens of Europe for centuries. In the 1500s two significant varieties were introduced into Britain. These were the Clematis Integrifolia and the Clematis viticella. More varieties were introduced later. These included  the herbaceous Clematis recta, and the Clematis flammula and Clematis cirrhosa.

The age of the Plant Hunters

In the 1600s demand for new plants soared and consequently plant hunters began bring back plants from the Americas. However the most significant  introduction was those introduced from China. These species included Clematis lanuginosa and Clematis patens and a variety of Clematis florida with double white green flowers was also introduced.

Climbing Clematis

The Hybrids

The first hybridisation was the crossing of Clematis Integrifolia and Clematis Viticella and this resulted in Clematis Eriostemon. It was the hybridisation of the original three Chinese species which created all of the large flowered hybrids.

 

 

Clematis varieties to look for.

Climbing Clematis

Clematis Amethyst Beauty. A stunning climber that will grow to 2m tall. It will flower from summer into early autumn. Beautiful flowers reddish purple coloured flowers with a wavy margin.

 

"Clematis

 

"Climbing

 

Clematis Arctic Queen a medium-sized deciduous climber. A plethora of 150 mm double flowers from early summer to early to mid autumn.

Clematis Arctic Queen is a medium-sized deciduous climber. A plethora of 150 mm double flowers from early summer to early to mid autumn.

 

Climbing Plants - Clematis ‘Shimmer’ is a large-flowered Group 3 clematis. It has huge blue-lilac blooms up to 180mm. It’s the perfect climber to grow up a wall or fence. 

Clematis ‘Shimmer’ is a large-flowered Group 3 clematis. It has huge blue-lilac blooms up to 180mm. It’s the perfect climber to grow up a wall or fence.

 

 

Clematis Samaritan Jo is medium-sized, climber growing up to 1.5m high. It has with dark to mid-green leaves. Samaritan Jo has large star shaped flowers with a purple edged silver white colour up to 150mm in diameter. Distinctive flower stamens are pink-purple with yellow tips. Flowers are produced  in a long flowering season from early summer all the way to late autumn.

Clematis Samaritan Jo is medium-sized, climber growing up to 1.5m high. It has with dark to mid-green leaves. Samaritan Jo has large star shaped flowers and with a purple edged silver white colour up to 150mm in diameter. Distinctive flower stamens are pink-purple with yellow tips. Flowers are produced  in a long flowering season from early summer all the way to late autumn.

 

 

 

 

Climbing Plants - Clematis Viennetta

A Clematis Viennetta is a climbing clematis that grows up to  to 2.5m in height. It has absolutely stunning multi coloured flowers . The massive purple stamens contrast with the creamy white flowers.  You will see these lovely flowers from  early summer to mid autumn.

 

 

"Climbing

 

 

Clematis 'Taiga' is a great climbing plant which grows to around to 2.5 metres.

Clematis ‘Taiga’ is a great climbing plant which grows to around to 2.5 metres and has purple / blue flowers with greeny white tips on the frilly tepals. From Summer to Autumn these open up to become stunning fully double flower rosettes.

 

What are the 3 types of clematis?

There are 3 different pruning regimes for clematis and consequently 3 different types. They are either not pruned, lightly pruned or heavily pruned. Always check with your local plant nursery when buying.

Frequently asked questions about clematis

Is Clematis easy to grow?

Clematis is very easy to grow, but they prefer slightly alkaline topsoil with the roots in the shaped or covered by a mulch of well rotted manure..

What is the best time of year to plant a clematis?
Does clematis need full sun?

Lonicera (Honeysuckle)

Honeysuckles are available both as shrubby varieties and as climbing plants. Honeysuckles can grow up to 6 metres and so make great for covering bare walls. Do not plant these vigorous climbing plants if you are in one of the Melbourne bushland suburbs, because they can escape into the bush and become a weed. There are some shade tolerant varieties, but these tend to have lower levels of scent.

Lonicera Japonica

Climbing Plants Japanese honeysuckle Lonicera japonica is a vigorous twining large evergreen climber

Japanese honeysuckle or Lonicera japonica is a vigorous large evergreen climber

Lonicera japonica is a vigorous twining large evergreen climber with dark green oval leaves. The highly fragrant, white-yellow  flowers are up to 40mm long and result in black glossy berries.

 

Fast growing climbing plants Lonicera periclymenum or common honeysuckle..

Lonicera periclymenum or common honeysuckle.

The common honeysuckle is woody climber with oval leaves that are opposite in pairs. Flowerheads are long white and yellow trumpets that appear in summer, and are consequently followed by clusters of red glossy berries.

Climbing plant honeysuckle Kamchatka stunning bright blue berries.

Climbing plant Honeyberry Lonicera caerulea var. Kamchatka stunning bright blue berries.

The honeyberry fruits look and taste very similar to blueberries and similarly can be used in jams or eaten raw. They are also high in vitamin C and antioxidants.

Climbing Rose

The climbing rose is the best choice for hot dry conditions and therefore most Melbourne gardens with a sunny aspect. In garden design they are a great choice for small gardens because they can give a garden vertical height. Climbing or rambling roses can be grown on a fence or wall, but they also have great impact as a climber over a pergola or arbor. This garden design feature will take your eye up and over and back down and also create a pleasant fragrance to greet visitors to your garden.

 

Red Climbing rose on a pergola.

Red Climbing rose on a pergola.

 

A pink climbing rose on a brick wall.

A pink climbing rose on a brick wall.

Garden Arbor or arch with climbing plants.

Garden Arbor or arch with climbing plants over a brick garden path. A pink Climbing Rose will bring beauty and fragrance to your garden. The arbor will also create vertical interest in your design.

What are the fastest growing climbing plants?

 

Climbing plants like Morning Glory and Lonicera are very fast growing but will very quickly become a weed in your garden or in native bushland. Choose clematis or climbing roses instead if this is a risk. Fast growing climbers are therefore suitable for small  inner Melbourne gardens, but not bushland gardens.

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping

 

Screening Plants for Garden Privacy

 

Brighton Espaliered Plants

 

New Home Construction Landscaping

 

Pool Landscaping Designs

 

Home Garden Landscaping ideas

 

© Red’s landscaping Melbourne

 

 

More Reading on Clematis

Royal Horticultural Society

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Kangaroo Paw ( anigozanthos )

Landscaping with Anigozanthos Kangaroo paw

Anigozanthos are tufted rhizomatous evergreen  perennials that are members of the bloodwort family.

Bush Pearl

Anigozanthos ‘bush pearl’ also known as Pink Kangaroo paw.
Native to Western Australia, Anigozanthos ‘bush pearl’ are lovers of harsh dry arid conditions. Kangaroo paw are notorious for struggling with humid conditions , they tend to turn black, rot and die off during the winter months. Despite these disadvantages,  these plants have proven their versatility in sandy soil and coastal gardens.

pink flowered kangaroo paw

Pink flowered kangaroo paw.

 

Planting your Anigozanthos

With correct planting in well draining, sandy loam soil and the use of low phosphorus organic fertilizers, kangaroo paws will flower year round in warm climates.

Anigozanthos humilis Kangaroo Paw

Anigozanthos prefer sandy well drained soil. Anigozanthos humilis also known as catspaw is also endemic to southern Western Australia.

Kangaroo paws have co-evolved with native birds, the structure of the inflorescence attracts indigenous birds to aid with pollination and seed distribution. They are another “must have” sustainable Australian  native plant to incorporate into the eco friendly Australian Garden. If you are the person who enjoys colours, textures and unique then the kangaroo paw  bush pearl is the plant for you.

 

Landscaping with Anigozanthos

Adding some Anigozanthos  into your garden will dramatically increase the colour vibrancy and brighten up any landscape garden design, especially since they perform so well on in coastal gardens. These beauties will be sure to out live any other plant in your garden, and they look amazing in pots for on your outdoor decking or entertaining area. Another great advantage of having kangaroo paw in your garden is the entertaining show that the native birds and honey eaters will put on as they feed on the plant, so be sure to place the plant in area that you are able to observe nature do it’s thing.

Australian yellow kangaroo paw flower (Anigozanthos pulcherrimus) in front of a grasstree

Australian yellow kangaroo paw flower (Anigozanthos pulcherrimus) in front of a grasstree (Xanthorrhoea).

 

Frequently asked Questions about Anigozanthos

How do you take care of a kangaroo paw plant?

It is important not to over water or over fertilise your kangaroo paw. These plants have evolved in well draining but poor soils.

What can I plant next to kangaroo paw?

Anigozanthos should be planted next to other plants that love sandy soil. We recommend planting with xanthorrhoea 

The Xanthorrhoea has similar needs to the Anigozanthos with both preferring sandy, well drained soils. The Anigozanthos flowers will make a great contrast with the black trunk and green leaves of the xanthorrhoea.

Why are my kangaroo paws turning black?

Kangaroo Paws will turn black or get black spots due to a fungal disease known as inkspot. It is usually a slow growing fungus that plants survive, but ask your local plant nursery for a fungicide if it starts to take over. When selecting new plants, ask your local plant nursery for the best plants for humid conditions.

 

More Melbourne Landscaping Information from Red’s Landscaping

Xanthorrhoea The Australian Grass Tree

 

Banksia Coccinea Garden Ideas

 

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil – Quality Melbourne Landscaper

 

More information on Anigozanthos

Pests and Diseases

 

A.Humilis

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Neonicotinoid Pesticides Banned by Bunnings and EU

Bunnings announced in 2018 that pesticides based on Neonicotinoid would be phased out by the end of 2018. On the 27 April 2018 the European union has banned the use of the three neonicotinoids on open ground. This is an expansion of the moratorium introduced in 2013 on the use of these pesticides on flowering crops.

 Usage of Pesticides

Pesticides are often coated onto seeds to protect them from soil pests. The Pesticide is absorbed when the seed germinates and then spreads through the plant as it grows finding its way to the pollen and nectar. This is where the honey bees and native bees as well as other pollinators are exposed to the poison.

Pesticides based on Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids are believed to be part of the massive dying off of bees and other insects that has occurred in Europe in recent times. The three neonicotinoids banned on open grounds are thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid.

Neonicotinoid Pesticides Banned by Bunnings and EU due to harm to bees.

Neonicotinoid Pesticides Banned by Bunnings and EU due to potential harm to bees.

Study of neonicotinoid pesticides by York University.

A study by York university in Canada showed that long term exposure to neonicotinoids resulted in a reduction in the health of bees whose hives were near the cornfields being studied. Simiarly, earlier studies have shown that large amounts of neonicotinoids in pollen and nectar are fatal to both honey bee queens and workers. Smaller amounts have been shown to reduce the health of bees by inhibiting the bee’s natural foraging as well as adversely affecting the bees tolerance to other farm chemicals.
Whilst other studies have produced mixed results, the situation for insects in Europe is now critical. The earth has survived without these pesticides for millions of years, but pollenating insects like bees are vital to life on earth. If you are buying pesticides for your garden, avoid those with thiamethoxam, clothianidin or imidacloprid in the ingredients. It is not worth the risk to vital pollenating insects.

 

Fortunately the retailer Bunnings has already decided to remove neonicotinoid pesticides from their shelves by the end of 2018 as a precaution. If you are a gardener or a landscaper working in garden maintenance, review your pesticides use and avoid thiamethoxam, clothianidin or imidacloprid on open ground.

More Gardening Information from Red’s Landscaping

Coastal Garden Design

 

National Eucalypt Day

 

Wildlife In The Garden. Choosing Plants To Help Create Food And Habitat

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil – Quality landscaping Melbourne

 

Bunnings to pull pesticide allegedly linked to bee deaths

Beekeepers call for a ban on neonicotinoids.

 

European agency concludes controversial ‘neonic’ pesticides threaten bees

 

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6345/1395

 

Read more
swimming pool pergola

Pool Landscaping Designs

 

Pool landscaping design provides some challenges for the horticulturist as for the hardscaper and landscape designer.

Plant selection pitfalls

The landscape designer should choose plants that will not shed too much material into the pool which would consequently result in a mess in the pool. Garden plants and trees that shed a large amount of material into the swimming pool will consequently  create a lot of pool maintenance headaches for the swimming pool owner and may lead to pool pump damage if the skimmer box is blocked. A blocked skimmer box can also result in cavitation at the pump impellers leading to costly repairs. Another important factor to consider is the tree roots.

Consider the plant root system

The root system will be a similar size to the plant branches and leaves, so fast growing plants could have root systems invading the swimming pool plumbing. For this reason, root barriers should be used between the larger plants and the swimming pool plumbing.

What are the best trees to plant around pools in Australia?

Planting around your Pool. Our top 8 plants.

One of our favourite planting scheme for planting around pools and also for rooftop gardens is the tropical look garden. This landscape design theme will result in a luxuriant exotic look therefore enhancing the feeling of tranquility. The plants for this design theme can be frost resistant hardy plants therefore ideal for the Melbourne climate.

 

Dicksonia Antarctica

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Dicksonia Antartica

Dicksonia Antartica underplanted with hostas and smaller ferns. This creates an exotic look and a great privacy screen.

Dicksonia  antarctica is an evergreen tree fern that grows naturally in the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne, which also means it is ideal for the Melbourne Garden. It grows naturally in the damp shady gullies which also means you will need to keep it well watered at the crown. For this reason, we recommend a drip irrigation system. Underplanting with smaller ferns and hostas will also add to an exotic tropical effect in your garden.

Blechnum gibbum

The miniature tree fern or Blechnum gibbum usually grows a truck like e tree fern.  The fronds can grownup to 1 metre long.

Blechnum gibbum

Blechnum gibbum or miniature tree fern

Cycad

cycad

Cycad gives a garden an exotic look.

Cycads covered the earth during the time of the dinosaurs. These plants are great for creating the exotic tropical look in your Melbourne garden.

Chinese Windmill Palm

The Trachycarpus Fortunei is a very hardy, frost resistant palm. Also known as the Chusan palm, it is salt tolerant which also makes it a good choice for coastal gardens.

 

Chinese Wind Mill Palms with Cordylines at Kew Gardens.

Chinese Windmill Palms with Cordylines at Kew Gardens.

Cordyline

Cordyline are a slow growing palm like tree. The cordyline indivisa will eventually grow to around 3 metres.

Cordyline indivisa

Cordyline indivisa. . indivisa is a slow-growing, evergreen erect tree reaching heights of 3m or more.

 

Hosta

Hosta a herbaceous perennial. Attractive foliage sometimes variegated.

Hosta a herbaceous perennial with attractive foliage sometimes variegated. Flowers in early summer. – Chelsea Flower Show 2018

The hosta has  stunning large spade shaped foliage in an amazing range of colours. For this reason, hosta is a garden favourite the world over with both gardeners and flower arrangers. Hosta will thrive in the moist shady conditions under the ferns or near a pool or pond.

Banksia Robur

Screening privacy plants like the BANKSIA ROBUR or swamp banksia have large leaves and will therefore help with privacy around your swimming pool. This banksia  is an attractive and hardy plant ,suitable for low hedges and pots. Growing to a little over 2 metres, the flower spikes appear usually in autumn and winter initially as bluish green but these will turn to yellow-green brush type flowers as they bloom.

Banksia Robur is also know as the Swamp Banksia

Unsurprisingly, given its name Swamp Banksia, it doesn’t mind badly draining soil. It might be the plant you are looking for to plant in a damp spot in your garden. It has even been used as a root stock for less hardy varieties of Banksia. If you are in one of the frosty suburbs, it will tolerate a little frost now and again. Suitable for sun or part shade it will produce beautiful flowers in both. As an added bonus in your garden it will attract birds, bees and butterflies. Like most Banksias, it is an important source of nectar for both insects and mammals.

 

Banksia Robur Poolside

Banksia Robur Poolside

Bansia Robur’s Natural Habitat.

The leaves are large and have serrated edges. This Banksia occurs naturally in swampy or sandy conditions along the East coast of Australia from Southern New South Wales all of the way up to Gladstone in Queensland. This makes it an ideal plant for the coastal gardens. Take care not to let it dry out too much, especially when it is first getting established. For this reason, an irrigation dripping system is a good idea.

Banksia Robur in a planter box by a swimming pool.

Banksia Robur in a rendered concrete block planter box by a swimming pool.

Another plant to consider is the banksia coccinea or red Banksia.

Kentia Palm (Howea fosteriana) by the pool

If you are looking for swimming pool landscaping ideas, the Kentia Palm (Howea fosteriana) makes a great plant for creating a luxuriant garden by the pool. It also provides a little shade as well as softening the look of the landscape. Amongst the palms, it is one of the easier ones to maintain.

(Howea fosteriana) Kentia Palm by a swimming pool.
Kentia Palm by a swimming pool.

The Kentia Palm from Lord Howe Island can create a tropical look in Melbourne

Also known as the Forster sentry palm or the flat palm, the Kentia Palm has solitary stems bearing large pinnate leaves on long stalks. This evergreen palm is native to Lord Howe island. The Kentia is tolerant to partial shade, and will grow to around 2 metres tall in your poolside garden or pot. This makes it a great plant for creating a little shady spot by the side of your pool. It prefers well drained sandy loam with a neutral to acid PH. It is also a popular indoor plant, so it is a palm you can grow both in an outdoor or indoor pot.

Pool Plants to avoid

Plants to avoid around swimming pools are fast growing plants with invasive root systems and plants that shed a lot of material into the pool. Plants to avoid include Birch, Wisterias and Figs.

Pool Landscaping Design Project Melbourne

A well designed outdoor space should function as extension of the home itself. For our new pool landscaping design project in the leafy southern suburbs of Melbourne our aim is to make this outdoor space an integral part of the home itself. The design of the swimming pool landscape should be done at an early stage of the pool design rather than tacked on later. This will usually result in a better design outcome.

 

pool landscaping designs Computer Model

Pool landscaping designs using computer aided design. An integrated outdoor space. that looks good from every angle.

The pool landscape design features a sunken outdoor eating area with fireplace surrounded by a formal hedge. Tall fences provide a privacy screen whilst still allowing some light through.

 

pool landscaping designs sunken outdoor entertaining area.

Sunken outdoor entertaining area by the swimming pool.

The green formal hedge creates a soft border between the sunken eating area and softens the look of the concrete. The cushions in the seating area could be coloured to match the garden plants or left as a neutral grey. Grey will go with most colours in the garden but some coloured cushions would help break up the grey.

How do you build privacy around a pool?

Privacy around a pool can be built with fences, trellises and smart plant selection. Using CAD (Computer Aided Design) the privacy aspects of the design can be checked from any angle and agreed with the client.

Pool landscaping designs. Luxuriant plantings of ferns like dicksonia antarctica and palm trees help build privacy around the pool. 

Pool landscaping designs. Luxuriant plantings of ferns like dicksonia antarctica and palm trees help build privacy around the pool.

 

Pool landscaping designs. An integrated home and pool design. 

Pool landscaping designs. An integrated home and pool design. Using computer aided design helps to visualise and plan the design.

By using computer aided design to create a computer model of the bespoke pool design enables the fine details to be worked out in advance. One of the great advantages of this type of landscape design is that the view can be checked from every angle. Privacy can be built around a pool using screening plants, then checked from the viewpoint of your neighbour.

Sunken outdoor entertaining area with fireplace

The sunken outdoor entertaining area helps to improve garden privacy whilst making it easy to keep an eye on kids. This type of design using garden levels as a design feature also makes the garden appear larger. This is also a great design technique for small garden design.

Sunken Garden Design - Chelsea Flower Show.

Design inspiration Sunken Garden Design with Buxus hedge – Chelsea Flower Show 2018. Note the use coloured cushions to match the flowers. The sunken concrete pavers provides a repetition theme throughout the garden.

 

Exposed Aggregate Concrete around your Swimming Pool.

Exposed aggregate is a great choice for swimming pool surrounds but choosing the right mix is important. Larger aggregates will provide better drainage and grip, but will be uncomfortable to walk on. According to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA) the areas around the pool must be a low slip surface. For exposed aggregate concrete around swimming pools, a 5mm pebble aggregate should be used.

The Outdoor Shower as part of your Swimming Pool Design.

If you are living one of the Melbourne seaside suburbs like Brighton or Elwood, an outdoor shower is a great addition to your  Garden Design. The outdoor pictured below features matching pool tiling, copper pipe and brass shower head.

Tiled Outdoor Shower

Tiled Outdoor Shower.

An outdoor pool shower. A practical solution for coastal gardens.

Outdoor pool showers are very practical solution especially in coastal gardens where swimming pools and beach access are part of our Melbourne beach lifestyle. The outdoor pool shower is a good way to avoid having beach sand taken through the house. It is also a handy way to quickly remove salt or pool chlorine and other chemicals from your skin and hair.

Outdoor Shower Under Construction

Concrete block Outdoor Shower Under Construction

Outdoor Pool Shower Design

The design of the outdoor shower involves more than just the part you can see above the ground. Consideration must be given to the appearance of the shower from every possible angle therefore plumbing to and from the shower should be integrated into the initial design.

Plant Selection near your outdoor pool shower

The garden and landscape design in the immediate area of the shower need to be able to cope with the added humidity, water splash and pool chemicals, therefore plants which are prone to fungal diseases should be avoided. For example, the common staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) will also soften the design and create a natural look, but may need regular maintenance to protect it from fungal diseases. Consider using Foxtail Palm trees (Wodyetia bifurcata)

Giant Bromeliads, (Alcantarea), crotons and White Spider Lilies .  A well designed outdoor pool shower should also create a feature piece in the garden.

Consideration should also be given to easy access to the shower without having to walk over slippery surfaces. The safety of the customers should always should also always be considered with any garden design. The shower wall itself needs to be well secured into the foundations in order to keep it vertical and ensure safety and design requirements are met.

Red’s Landscaping and Civil

Red’s Landscaping and Civil can provide swimming pool design and build solutions which also includes design with 3D visualisation,  construction and landscaping.

 

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping

 

Screening Plants for Garden Privacy

 

Landscaping Melbourne with Climbing Plants

 

Coastal Garden Design

 

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage

 

Mediterranean Garden Design Ideas

 

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

 

Further Reading on Landscaping

 

Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Fern Study Group

 

More information on decorative concretes

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Soil Profile showing showing the topsoil layer.

Melbourne Landscaping Topsoil Types

Topsoil in Melbourne

Topsoil in Melbourne is heavily dependent on the underlying geological material, if there has not been a history of topsoil ameliorations or importation of topsoil from other locations. According to the Department of Agriculture, topsoils of Melbourne can be divided into 9 distinct types. In some parts of Melbourne, the importation of topsoil will be a bigger factor than the geographic and climatic range.

Sporting grounds, in particular, will normally have a thick layer of imported friable topsoil so if your garden is built on one of the closed Melbourne racetracks like Richmond, Cheltenham or Braeside your topsoil could be different to your neighbour across the street.

 

What is Topsoil?

 

Topsoil is the layer of soil just below the surface layers. The surface layers are the layers containing the litter of plant residues as well as accumulated organic matter with some mineral soil and most of the soil life.

Typical Garden Topsoil

Typical Garden Topsoil

 

Nine types of Melbourne Topsoil

 

1.    Red Loam Topsoil

This could be the best natural topsoil in the whole of Melbourne as they are well structured deep and friable. These topsoils can be mildly acidic like most topsoils in hilly wooded ranges. They can be a little poor in plant nutrients, so regular amelioration with organic matter will be of great benefit to the soil. On lawn areas a light annual application of garden lime will help.

The red loam topsoil will mostly be found to the East of Melbourne in the upper Dandenong ranges and in the hills between Monbulk and Silvan. This type of topsoil will normally suit a wide range of plants as is has excellent drainage, and a good soil structure for plant root development.

Red sandy Loam topsoil.

Red sandy Loam topsoil.

2.    Brown Loam topsoil over Clay

These topsoils formed over the older basalts on the southern Mornington Peninsula. This is the brown-grey loamy friable topsoil naturally occurring in places between Main Ridge and Flinders. For best results in your garden, ameliorate with manure and organic matter. Take care not to cultivate too deep and bring the clay to the surface.

Brown Sandy Loam Topsoil

Brown Sandy Loam Topsoil similar in Colour and texture to Main Ridge Topsoils on the Mornington Peninsula .

3.    Dark grey sand topsoil over clay

These topsoils are found over a large part of Melbourne. The flat and undulating land between Kew and Mount Waverley as well as deeper topsoils in Tyabb, Balnarring Frankston and Mornington. This topsoil is also over a huge part of the Melbourne suburbs within a triangle from Dandenong to Cheltenham and over to Toorak. After long periods of heavy rainfall, a watertable may occur over the clays. It is important for Melbourne Landscapers to take drainage into account when landscaping on these soils. As with other Melbourne loam over clay soils, ameliorate with manure and organic matter. Take care not to cultivate too deep and bring the clay to the surface.

 

4.    Light Grey loams over clay

A light grey loam with some gravel and small stones found in the suburbs to the North East of Melbourne. These soils will be found around a strip from Rowville to Bundoora and from Croydon to Kew. At the boundary of the topsoil and clay layers large angular stones occur which makes digging drainage difficult for residential landscapers. Generally, these soils are deficient in humus and nutrients. Melbourne landscapers should dig in organic matter and manures to ameliorate these soils. As the clays here are generally reactive, an application of gypsum can help drainage and soil structure. A small amount of garden lime can be added to correct acidity.

 

5.    Gritty light grey loam over clay.

Topsoils formed over parent granite at Mount Martha and Arthurs Seat on the Mornington Peninsula as well as Hallam, Lysterfield and a few other places. The sandy loam is generally ok for drainage but has poor water holding capacity. The abrupt transition between the sandy loam and the mottled yellow brown and grey clay can lead to water logging on lower slopes in winter and spring.

If this is the case, landscapers should consider subsoil drainage systems. As the soil has poor water holding capacity, landscapers should dig in plenty of organic matter as well as install an irrigation system with a dripper. Generally, this soils are only mildly acidic.

6.    Dark Loams Local Sands and Clays

The parts of Melbourne which were previously swampy or flood plains like the Melbourne Suburbs close to the Yarra. These Melbourne suburbs include Banksia Park near Heidelberg and Bulleen. The frequently flooded Yarra floodplain of the lower-middle yarra river and tributaries were once covered in Manna gum, swamp gum and river red gum with swamp paperbark in the wettest areas. These are a mix of topsoils and it can be difficult to draw conclusions on drainage. Landscapers should ameliorate with manure and organic matter.

 

7.    Deep Sands free of Lime

This is the natural topsoil in coastal gardens between Black Rock and Brighton and along the coast of Port Phillip Bay all the way to Rye. Some of the land previously used for market gardens in Langwarrin and Cranbourne have this soil. These soils are generally very deficient in nutrients, so landscapers should dig in plenty of manure and organic matter to improve the soil. Annual applications of garden lime will help to neutralize the acidity.

 

8.    Deep Sands with Lime

The topsoil between Sorrento and Cape Schank in the coastal sand dune areas is a whitish grey sand occasionally over a hard lime base. These soils can be either acidic or alkaline, so if your plants are not thriving a soil PH test may be required. Landscapers should dig in plenty of manure and organic matter as well as install an irrigation dripper system. The coastal plant selection for these soils needs to be particularly salt, wind and lime tolerant.

 

9.    Heavy clay topsoil over basalts

The suburbs to the west and north-west of Melbourne are well known for their heavy clay soils. This area stretches all the way from Richmond to Broadmeadows and Altona to Thomastown. These soils are characterized by a thin loamy topsoil over dark reddish-brown heavy clays. Often outcrops of the basalt can been seen on the ground surface. The soil structure can be improved with the addition of gypsum and landscapers should dig in plenty of organic matter. For lawns and other gardens sandy loam soil will need to be imported. For the home landscaper, the digging of the requires drainage trenches can be difficult.

 

 

Landscaping poor draining topsoil

For your backyard or frontward lawn, the ground can be sloped a bit more to aid with drainage. Depending on the usage and the makeup of the layers below, you could probably get away with as little as 100 to 150mm of topsoil for your garden lawn. For example green couch Cynodon dactylon, the roots will penetrate the ground up to 1.5 metres deep with much of the root mass at around 600mm deep. For this reason the layer below the top soil needs to be suitable for root growth if you want your lawn to be drought tolerant.

 

Will gypsum help?

 

Clay soils

 

Gypsum is the most widely used calcium additive for garden. If you need gypsum, you can save money by buying it in bulk from your landscape supplier. If the subsoil has a hard clay layer the moisture and the roots might not penetrate or your lawn and you could have poor drainage. Some clays will respond to the addition of gypsum. This will be the case if the clay you have is a flocculant clay. Clays like montmorillonite with high levels of exchangeable sodium will generally be improved by digging in some gypsum. You can perform a simple soil test your clay by putting it in a jar with some pure water, then stirring to create colloidal mix. The mix will appear cloudy.You then add some Epsom salts or gypsum to the mix and watch what happens. If the clay then forms flocculant, or larger, particles that sink to the bottom of the jar leaving a clear layer of water, then your clay is flocculant. Individual clay particles are made up of fine flakes smaller than 0.004 mm. Depending on the type of clay, the fine particles are held tightly together by either weak bonds in the case of kaolinite or stronger bonds if the clay contains positively charged metal ions such as sodium, calcium or potassium. The negatively charged clay particles will repel each other but the individual flakes will bond to each other.

 

Negatively charged clay particles repel each other.

Negatively charged clay particles repel each other.

 

 

In the heavy flocculant clay topsoils of Melbourne’s western suburbs, gypsum can help to displace sodium and improve the soil structure.

 

Saline soils

 

If your garden is near Cape Schank or Sorrento, or if you have a windswept coastal garden, then you might have some soil salinity to contend with. This could also be the case if you are by the sea in Biggera Waters, Runaway Bay or Hollywell and get sea water spray on your lawns and gardens. With saline soil, gypsum will also help as the calcium in the gypsum will remove sodium from the soil.

 

The disadvantages of gypsum

After an application of gypsum, you should follow up later with slow release fertiliser like Neutrog. Upsurge. Nutrients such as Iron and Manganese can be leached from the soil by the addition of gypsum. Applying excessive gypsum to sandy soils can result in the plants transportation system for zinc, copper and phosphorus being affected.

 

Agricultural lime

Agricultural lime may be a combination of calcium and magnesium carbonates if it is made from dolomitic rather than calcitic limestone deposits. Use on acidic soils to increase the PH.

 

Soil Testing

Soil testing kits can be used for simple PH checks of your garden soils. If your plants are not thriving despite all of the care and attention, then samples of your soil can be taken to a laboratory for analysis.

Soils can be tested in a laboratory for salinity or contamination.

Soils can be tested in a laboratory for salinity or contamination.

Buying Landscaping soils

When buying landscaping topsoil, always check that you are buying a high-quality product that meets the Australian Standard for topsoil. Soil should also be free of weeds and other contaminants. For lawns, your topsoil needs to be very free draining. The best soil for top dressing lawns is a very sandy soil. For garden beds a little bit of the natural clay soil mixed in will help water retention.

The soil is an indispensable ingredient for the life of humans, animals and ,of course, plants. The soil supplies nutrients and raw materials, storage and filtered water. The soil can degrade harmful chemicals but healthy soil should not be taken for granted. If we allow our soil to be overused, or allow a hard crust to form, then the soil will require amendments to replenish the nutrient store and to make the soil friable. Water will tend to run-off taking some of the soil and nutrients with it.

A healthy soil will contain a great deal of life. Not just microorganisms like bacteria and fungus, but also earthworms. Many of these will form a symbiotic relationship with your plants.

In Melbourne we a lucky enough to have some great resources to improve and maintain the health of your soil. First of all, you should be using a layer of mulch. Mulches such as pea straw and sugar cane mulch will decompose relatively quickly and bring your soil to life. This is especially true when used with an organic fertiliser. If you are after a different look to the sugar cane mulch, you can always use a different mulch over the top. Take care not to mulch up to the truck of trees or shrubs, as this can lead to collar rot. If using a mulch like pea straw, make sure it is weed free. Secondly, consider using a soil tonic to improve your topsoil.

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil – Melbourne Landscaper.

 

More Information on Topsoil

Gypsum

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Looking through the hedge at the colourful garden

Cottage garden ideas from the Cotswolds

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.

 

Arts and Crafts Movement Cottage Garden ideas

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.

 

Topiary Yew hedges Cottage Garden ideas

Cottage Garden ideas. 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.

 

Looking through the hedge at the colourful garden. Cottage Garden 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.

 

A garden seat in a shady part of the garden. Cottage Garden ideas

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.

 

Roses are always a great Cottage Garden idea.

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.

 

Garden Stairs terracotta roof tiles

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.

 

 

COTTAGE GARDEN STONE PATHWAY

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

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

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.

 

 

 

Cottage Gaden

A view through the hedges separating the gardens. Rustic Stone Garden paths.

 

 

Garden Rooms

The separated garden rooms alow the garden designer to explore a different theme in each one.

 

 

 

A small stream runs through the garden.

 

 

 

Garden Stream

A garden stream separates parts of the lower garden

 

 

 

Stone Garden Path

The Stone Garden Path crosses the stream with a well crafted stepping stone.

 

 

 

Yew hedges and garden rooms

Yew hedges and garden rooms. Rustic Stone Garden paths. Terracotta pots.

 

 

 

Yew hedges and garden rooms

The same view two month later. It is alway worth revisiting Hidcote to see the different seasons in the garden.

 

 

 

Magnolias and Daffodils Cottage Garden ideas.

Magnolias and Daffodils with a winding garden path.

 

 

 

Rustic Cottage Garden ideas

A Rustic Cottage Garden with stone wall, yew hedge and herbaceous perennials.

 

 

 

Hedge cut out Cottage Garden ideas.

Cut outs in the hedges provide vistas into other garden rooms.

 

 

 

Garden water feature with a view back to the house.

Garden water feature with a view back to the house.

 

 

 

The famous Hidcote Pillar Garden. Topiary Yew trees and hedges. Cottage Garden ideas.

The famous Hidcote Pillar Garden. Topiary Yew trees and hedges.

 

 

 

Click here for more information on the National Trust

 

 

 

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

 

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Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage

Salvia leucantha or Mexican bush sage.

Salvia leucantha or Mexican bush sage an Autumn flowering perennial which can add colour to your Melbourne garden in early May. Salvias are generally drought tolerant and can handle subtropical as well as temperate climates. This makes them a good plant for temperate climates like Melbourne with its with warm to hot summers, mild and sometimes balmy springs and autumns.

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican bush sage is an Autumn flowering perennial. This evergreen small shrub which can grow to around 1.3m high.
Leucantha or Mexican bush sage is an Autumn flowering perennial. This evergreen small shrub which can grow to around 1.3m high. It is suitable for dog friendly gardens in Melbourne.

Salvia leucantha belongs to the family Lamiaceae which is part of the sage genus. The significant sage genus, contains more than 920  species of woody and herbaceous plants of the mint family (Lamiaceae). These belong to the order Lamiales. Whilst they are attractive garden plants, many members of this genus are also important for culinary purposes such as flavouring, teas and food crops.

Mexican Chia (Salvia Hispanica)

Salvia hispanica, more commonly known as Mexican Chia, is one of the most important food crops from the mint family. The seeds of this annual herbaceous plant are known for being high in omega 3 fatty acid and fibre. Salvia hispanica is native to the desert regions of Mexico which makes it a very drought tolerant plant.

Chia seeds from Salvia Hispanica. Now an important food high in omega 3 fatty acid and fibre. Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a source of energy.
Chia seeds from Salvia Hispanica. Now an important food high in omega 3 fatty acid and fibre. Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a source of energy.
Chia seeds from Salvia Hispanica. Now an important food high in omega 3 fatty acid and fibre. Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a source of energy.
Chia seeds from Salvia Hispanica. Now an important food high in omega 3 fatty acid and fibre. Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a source of energy.

Many Salvia species are native to tropical America. Wagner’s Salvia also known as chupamiel (Salvia wagneri), is probably the most spectacular of these. This shrub is really more like a tree are as it can grow over 4 metres tall in ideal conditions. Not only is this a huge shrub, but the 300mm long flowers appear as scarlet spikes with magenta calyxes.

In the hills of southwest of North America Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea) displays its bright blue flowers after rainfall.

The bright blue flowers of S.farinacea or Blue Salvia, also known as mealycup sage.
The bright blue flowers of S.farinacea or Blue Salvia, also known as mealycup sage.

 Vanguard (Salvia splendens) is native to Brazil. The dark green oval leaves provide contrast for the spectacular dense spikes of bright red flowers and bracts. This compact, erect annual grows up to 300mm tall and flowers from summer to autumn.

Splendens is native to Brazil. The dark green oval leaves provide contrast for the spectacular dense spikes of bright red flowers and bracts. This compact, erect annual grows up to 300mm tall and flowers from summer to autumn.
Splendens is native to Brazil. The dark green oval leaves provide contrast for the spectacular dense spikes of bright red flowers and bracts. This compact, erect annual grows up to 300mm tall and flowers from summer to autumn.

Salvia and Sage as food flavourings.

Salvia officinalis is an aromatic perennial native to the Mediterranean region. The Mediterranean climate has some similarities to the Melbourne climate, which means Mediterranean plants often thrive in Melbourne. This Salvia is  cultivated for its leaves, which can be used either fresh or dried to add flavour to your cooking. These shrubs grow to around 60 cm tall.  Sage has slightly stimulating properties and the leaves have been used for making tea for centuries. It was thought that the tea helped to improve wisdom and memory. In fact the name sage comes from the old French sauge which comes from the Latin salvus meaning healthy.

S.officinalis is a bushy, spreading evergreen sub-shrub to 80cm tall, with very aromatic, finely veined, greyish-green leaves and short spikes of beautiful pale blue flowers in early summer.
S.officinalis is a bushy, spreading evergreen sub-shrub to 80cm tall, with very aromatic, finely veined, greyish-green leaves and short spikes of beautiful pale blue flowers in early summer.

Another popular flavoring herb is the Salvia Sclarea. A biennial herb, this variety can grow a little taller. The hairy heart shaped leaves have a powerful aroma giving cooking a distinctive flavour. Its white flowers and leaflike bracts are violet or pink. Both of these species are native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, and so you can expect them to be reasonably drought tolerant in climates like Melbourne. In many parts of the world, this plant can grow wild.

Field of pink flowers Salvia sclarea
Field of pink flowers Salvia sclarea

 

Landscaping Ideas with Salvia

 

Pet Friendly Gardens

As with most culinary plants, salvia will not generally be a problem with your pets. The good news is that you are unlikely to need any snail pellets to protect your salvias. A good variety for snail resistance is salvia x superba.

Garden ideas for Saliva

These versatile plants are great for commercial landscapes, residential landscapes and coastal and beachside gardens. The plant can be used as either garden beds or borders as well as vegetable gardens. Most importantly, the salvia is also a must have for any ornamental garden Australia wide.

Salvia is great for garden borders and garden beds.
Salvia is great for garden borders and garden beds.

Sage and Salvia Varieties for your Melbourne garden

Salvia Amistad is a Herbaceous Perennial which flowers all the way from early summer until the frosts start. Beautiful dark purple flowers with a calyx so dark it is nearly black. Great for sunny garden beds or borders.
Amistad is a Herbaceous Perennial which flowers all the way from early summer until the frosts start. Beautiful dark purple flowers with a calyx so dark it is nearly black. Great for sunny garden beds or borders.
The Salvia Amistad with its very dark purple almost black calyx.
The Amistad with its very dark purple almost black calyx.
Salvia × jamensis is a bushy shrub to 100 x 50cm, evergreen in mild localities like Melbourne, with aromatic ovate, toothed mid-green leaves. Suitable for both Beds and Borders the wonderful flowers can be Bright Red, rose-pink, salmon pink, orange or creamy yellow. Flowers in summer and autumn.
Salvia × jamensis is a bushy shrub to 100 x 50cm, evergreen in mild localities like Melbourne, with aromatic ovate, toothed mid-green leaves. Suitable for both Beds and Borders the wonderful flowers can be Bright Red, rose-pink, salmon pink, orange or creamy yellow. Flowers in summer and autumn.
Salvia Uliginosa or Bog Sage is, as its name suggests, ideal for that damp of moist spot in your garden. It grows in clumps and is a perennial that loves moisture. With clear blues flowers from late summer to mid autumn, it will grow up to 2 metres tall with a spread of around 1 metre.
Salvia Microphylla Pink Blush. is an evergreen shrub with light green, aromatic, ovate leaves and deep red flowers in terminal racemes in late summer and autumn.
An alternative to lavender. Salvia lavandulifolia or Spanish salvia is a compact shrub or woody-based perennial, to 60cm tall and wide, with narrow, grey-green, downy leaves that can be used in cooking. Spiky racemes of violet-blue flowers in summer.
An alternative to lavender. Salvia lavandulifolia or Spanish salvia is a compact shrub or woody-based perennial, to 60cm tall and wide, with narrow, grey-green, downy leaves that can be used in cooking. Spiky racemes of violet-blue flowers in summer.
A variegated salvia will add depth to your small garden. ‘Tricolor’ is a spreading evergreen sub-shrub with oblong grey-green leaves variegated with cream and flushed with purple on the youngest growth; light blue flowers open in early summer.
A variegated salvia will add depth to your small garden. ‘Tricolor’ is a spreading evergreen sub-shrub with oblong grey-green leaves variegated with cream and flushed with purple on the youngest growth; light blue flowers open in early summer.
For striking gold varigated leaves, the herb ‘Icterina’ is a evergreen dwarf shrub with aromatic, oblong leaves 3-6cm long, greyish, variegated with gold yellow and pale green. Two-lipped pale purplish-blue flowers 2cm long, in terminal racemes provide great colour contrast.
For striking gold varigated leaves, the herb ‘Icterina’ is a evergreen dwarf shrub with aromatic, oblong leaves 3-6cm long, greyish, variegated with gold yellow and pale green. Two-lipped pale purplish-blue flowers 2cm long, in terminal racemes provide great colour contrast.
Purple Sage is an aromatic perennial herb with purple grey foliage It grows to a height of 60 cm and will spread to around 45 cm. Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered location.
Purple Sage is an aromatic perennial herb with purple grey foliage It grows to a height of 60 cm and will spread to around 45 cm. Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered location.

Garden Care for your Salvia

Salvias, like many Australian native plants, have evolved to grow in fairly poor soils. Apart from the alvia Uliginosa or Bog Sage, soil needs to be reasonably well drained.  Apply a soil conditioiner like a very dilute solution of Neutrog Seamungus occasionally.

 

More information on Landscaping and Garden Design

Banksia Coccinea Garden Ideas

 

 

Magnolia Landscaping Ideas

 

 

Coastal Garden Design

 

 

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More information on the sage genus.

 

Cambridge Blue

 

Jerusalem Sage

 

S.Officinalis

 

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Tulips In Landscape Design

Tulips are members of the Lily (Liliaceae) family. They have a very diverse range of colours, sizes shapes and forms. Tulips have an incredible impact when they are grown in mass plantings in a garden bed but are also great in pots, as companion plants, or mixed in different colours or flowers in a grassy meadow.

Field of Colorful Tulip Flowers in Bloom with Sun Flares and Bokeh

Diverse Colours. Field of Colourful Tulip Flowers in Bloom with Sun Flares and Bokeh.

Tulips have at least 75 different species divided into 15 different groups. These vary in flower size, structure, form and habit.  In all there are over 6000 cultivars. The original wild varieties of tulip, come from the Altai mountain range where China, Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan meet. Wild tulips can be found in a band stretching in a band from Altai to southern Europe through Turkey. The climate in these mountains consist of freezing Cold winters and hot dry summers. These are also the conditions that most modern tulips thrive under. As a period of cold temperatures is required for flowering, in some parts of Australia you will need to cool the bulbs in your fridge crisper for a few weeks.

Tulips are also available with 2 colours on the same flower. This red and yellow looks great on the one flower.
Tulips are also available with 2 colours on the same flower. This red and yellow looks great on the one flower.

Tulip history and Tulip mania.

The name tulip comes from the Turkish word tülbent meaning turban. This is probably due to the shape of the flowers resembling a turban. These days, tulips are closely associated with the Netherlands due to a historical co-incidence. The ambassador of the 16th century Habsburg monarchy was given some tulip bulbs to take take to Vienna by the Turkish Sultan. The ambassador then passed some bulbs on to his friend, Flemish botanist Charles de l’Ecluse who was caring for the emperor’s garden in Vienna. Later de l’Ecluse was given a teaching appointment in Leiden in Holland. As the director of the local botanical gardens, his experiments with tulip bulbs soon caught the attention of the wealthy residents of Leiden. Tulips soon became a much sought-after import to the Netherlands. The tulip mania that followed led to tulip bulbs reaching the same price as an Amsterdam canal house. Today’s tulip mania takes a much different form. It consists of people make long pilgrimages to places like Keukenhof in the Netherlands, or Tessalaar’s in the Dandenongs outside Melbourne to take thousands of selfies and photos of the spectacular seas of colour of the tulips. More recently, some interesting hybrid varieties have been created using some of the original wild varieties from southern Asia.

Garden Landscaping Ideas with Tulips

 

Tulips can be planted in mass plantings in a garden bed with each colour in its own row or graded in a continual blend from pale yellow, brilliant yellow to orange to red.

Tulips in an ornamental flower bed in Keukenhof Garden, Netherlands
Landscape Design Idea. Tulips in an ornamental flower bed in Keukenhof Garden, Netherlands. The colours alternate in rows pink, yellow and red. Note how the slightly raised yellow near the centre adds to the depth perception this garden. This design concept can be used to make a small garden appear larger than it really is.

On top tip for growing tulips in large beds like this is to leave gaps between the bulbs so that extra bulbs can be added a few weeks later. This will give your garden a longer period in bloom.

Landscaping idea. Tulips planted as a colour gradient from yellow to red with a few pink ones hidden amongst the crowd.
Landscaping idea. Tulips planted as a colour gradient from yellow to red with a few pink ones hidden amongst the crowd.

Planted in clusters on the edge of a garden bed by the lawn. Starting with deep red at one end and graduating to a lighter red, then orange and finally yellow. This effect can also make a small garden appear larger. Note also the contrasting foliage.

Tulips grouped into small clusters near garden paving.

 

Tulips are brilliant to mix with other plants which flower around the same time. Try planting them with daffodils or plant them with blue plants like Blue Mascari, or combine with other emerging annuals. The results will be spectacular.

 

Tulips along the edge of a garden path.

Garden idea. Plant near a topiary or standard plant like a Buxus Sempervirens or Murraya. This will give your tulip added contrast.

Mass plantings of tulips in a large tub or pot can create a stunning effect. Plant the bulbs in two different layers at different depths to create this effect.
Mass plantings of tulips in a large tub or pot can create a stunning effect. Plant the bulbs in two different layers at different depths to create this effect.

Plant tulip bulbs in groups of terracotta pots.

Design Idea. Red and yellow flowers in the foreground with lighter creams in the background makes a small garden appear larger.
Landscaping idea. Dark red tulip flowers go well with the yellow daffodils an the earthy brown stone behind.
Garden design idea. Grow two different varieties together in terracotta pots. One tall variety in the centre and a shorter one on the outside. For added effect try a blue trailing flower on the edge of the pots.
Two different tulip varieties in a concrete pot.
Two varieties of tulips in a single concrete pot close up. This red and white tulip looks spectacular in pots.
Garden design idea. Try combining dark red and yellow tulips in the same garden bed.
Garden design idea. Tulips in garden beds with yellow and red flowers.

 

Landscape garden idea. Two different shades of pink planted with white tulips.
The pinks and whites look great together.

 

Garden design idea. Cluster together with white daffodils.

 

Landscaping design idea. Plant in raised garden beds with contrasting foliage like grasses.

 

Garden Design Idea. Plant with blue companion plants.
Mixed Plantings with Tulips
Garden Planning. Plant taller lighter coloured plants towards the back and shorter plants near the edge.

Meadow planting with tulips and daffodils.

Plant in the grass under trees in a meadow with a variety of colours and flower forms. This will attract pollenating insects like bees and butterflies to your garden. This will in turn attract bird life. Plant you meadow with a variety of bulbs like daffodils, to lengthen the time in flower and feed the bees for a longer period of time.

Landscaping idea. Growing tulips in a grassy meadow under trees. The bees and other insects in your garden will love it. The red and green looks great together.
Landscaping idea. Growing tulips in a grassy meadow under trees. The bees and other insects in your garden will love it. The red and green looks great together.

Garden Maintenance. Planting and Care of your Tulip Bulbs.

Growing tulips in Australia

 

Plant in late Autumn or late April to Early May. In warmer parts of Australia they may need to be in the fridge crisper for a few weeks prior to planting.  An old egg carton is ideal for this. If the ground is still heating up from the sunlight, plant your bulbs a little deeper in the soil to protect them from the heat. Bulbs can be ordered from Tesselaar’s that are pre chilled ready to plant.

Heavy clay soils, dig in some organic matter with vermiculite, perlite or even some potting mix. Plant around 20mm deep in pots, or around 80mm – 150mm deep in the garden. Alway check the planting depth with your supplier. The rule of thumb is the planting depth should be around 2.5 times the bulb width. Tesselaars recommend planting the bulbs 3 times the bulb height in Australia. Plant in full sun. Lightly fertilize the plants just as the flowers are starting to emerge. Tulips are reasonably low maintenance if you by healthy bulbs from a reputable supplier and plant in well drained soil.  If you plant the bulbs deeply enough it is easy to cultivate around the plants with a Dutch hoe until they get fully established.

Good drainage and a  period of cold weather is essential for your tulips. Don’t let them go to seed unless you are planning on a wild meadow. Remove the flowers, but make sure you keep the leaves, so that all of the goodness can be taken back into the bulb for next year. For best results, remove the bulbs from the soil and store them in a cool dry place. Use a hessian bag for storage rather than a plastic bag.

Tulip varieties and cultivars

The varieties available and the best performing varieties, will depend on where you are planting your tulips. Always check with your local plant supplier. The flowers listed below we give you some idea of the various flower shapes, but these varieties will not necessarily be available in all areas.

Affaire

 

Blue Diamond

 

Bulldog a fringed tulip that grows to 50cm.

 

Chelsea Blue Parrot

 

Dream Land. Another white and red tulip.

 

Estella Rijnveld. A white and red tulip with fringes.

 

Mariette

 

Queen of the Night

 

Sauternes

 

White Rebel
White Dream grows to 50 cm.
White and Red Tulip. Carnaval de Nice Grows to 50 cm.
Purple Prince early single grows to 40cm.
Flaming Baltic a fringed tulip that grows to 50 cm.
Fringed. Grows to 50 cm

 

Wedding Gift
Happy Generation. Mid season flowering grows to 50 cm.

 

Christmas Orange. An early single variety. Grows to 40cm.

 

Caribbean Parrot large fringed and ruffled flowers grows to 40cm

 

Renegade. Mid-season flowering red tulip. Grows to 45cm.

 

Uncle Tom Grows to 45 cm.

 

Sunny Prince grows to 40 cm.

 

Apricot Parrot grows to 50cm.
Foxy Foxtrot an early double tulip. Grows to 40cm.
Strong Gold a Mid-season flowering tulip that grows to 40cm.
Brown Sugar an mid-season flowering tulip that grows to 50cm.
Francoise. This tall mid -season flowering tulip, opens as a creamy yellow flower. As the flower matures, the colour fades to a creamy creamy white. This is an ideal plant to put further back in your garden to increase the perception of depth. A great design trick for a smaller garden.
Helmar is another tall mid-season flowering tulip. Growing to 55cm, this is a good plant to place slightly further back in your garden. The red and yellow petals look great.
Fly away is a tall lily shaped tulip growing to 60cm.
Golden Oxford is a very popular Darwin Hybrid tulip growing to 45cm.

Where can you see tulips?

Many towns and cities have annual tulips festivals in the spring. Every year in the Dandenongs outside Melbourne the Tesselaar Tulip Festival takes place from mid September to mid October. 

 

 

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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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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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Coastal Garden Design

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.

Limonium perezii for Coastal gardens

Limonium perezii for Coastal gardens

 

Limoniums handle Australia’s coastal garden conditions and climate well.

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.

Viola hederaceae or Native Violet in an Australian native shrub that is ideal for your coastal garden

Viola hederaceae or Native Violet in an Australian native shrub that is ideal for your coastal garden.

Viola hederaceae or Native Violet in an Australian native shrub that is ideal for your coastal garden

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.

Banksia robur or swamp Banksia in a coastal garden.

Banksia robur or swamp Banksia in a coastal garden.

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. An ideal plant for your coastal garden.

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.

A honey bee enjoying the flower of a Xanthorrhoea macronema. The 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.

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.

 

More information on hardy plants for severe conditions

Pool Landscaping Designs

 

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage

 

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More Information on Coastal Garden Design.

Brunswick valley land care

 

 

By Callum O’Brien – The Gardener Melbourne Blog

 

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