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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Melbourne International Flower Garden Show is a great place to develop your landscape garden design ideas. If you are not in Melbourne, see if you can get to one of the annual garden shows around the country or around the world. One of the biggest shows in the Southern Hemisphere is the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens just north got the Melbourne CBD. Here you can see the work of some of the best landscape designers in Melbourne. This five day annual event runs until late March so if you have missed it this year, we have brought you some photos. Depending which climate you are designing a garden for, your plant selection may be different.
Melbourne Edible Gardens
This year’s show featured edible gardens, workshops with local industry experts, floral art displays, garden competitions and landscape gardens. For landscaper designers it is also a great opportunity to talk with exhibitors and suppliers of everything from garden tools to sculptures and garden accessories.
The Welcome Landscape Garden
For the first time ever, this year’s show featured a welcome landscape garden. This garden designed by last year’s winner Best in Show award winner Phillip Withers creative director of Phillip Withers Landscape Design. “Flourishing with a full spectrum of green hues, the biodiverse habitat is a place for visitors to relax and recline.“
One of the challenges for landscape designers is developing ideas for garden focal points. Once the focal point of a garden design is established the rest of the garden design more or less falls into place. Shows like these are ideal for helping to exploring ideas for garden design. Landscaping solutions from some of Australia’s best landscape garden designers are on display at one location.
Garden Shows – A great source of Landscape Design Ideas and latest trends.
Garden shows like the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Brisbane International Garden Show and the recent Brisbane Garden and Plant Expo are favourites with hobby gardeners, professional landscapers, horticulture students as well as members of the plant nursery industry.
Over 75,000 people have visited over 150 gardens to admire and get garden design ideas through Open Gardens Victoria
Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil
National Eucalypt Day is on Friday 23 March 2018. Events and celebrations will be taking place around Australia. Although its natural habitat is almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere. the Eucalypt, or gum tree, is now one of the world’s most widely planted hardwood trees. Part of popularity is the tree’s characteristics of being fast growing, hardy and adaptable as well as its ability to produce complex oils. Eucalypt trees are also know for their attractive foliage and bark. The spread of the gum tree worldwide is not without its controversies. In India and Spain there has been blamed for lowering water table. In California, where eucalypts have been grown since the mid 1800s, there has been a lot of bad press about the blue gum aggressively spreading from its original plantings. The bark strips dropped by the blue gums are flammable, which can lead to intense fires. Although the oils in the eucalyptus are flammable, so are the oils in pine trees. It is not all bad news for eucalyptus plantations outside Australia. In a plantation project in the Egyptian desert, known as the Serapium forest, gum trees along with local species, are being used to both treat sewerage waste and to stop the growth the desert. In this situation the gum trees can grow plantation timber at four times the rate of a typical European plantation and absorb excess nutrients such as nitrogen that could harm the environment.
In 2013 the genome of the Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus grandis) was sequenced. This has given scientists an insight into the specialised metabolites that create the oils the trees use as a chemical defence. The original inhabitants of Australia have been using these oils for tens of thousands of years for medicinal purposes and eucalyptus oil is now widely used by the pharmaceutical industry. The research has shown that there is great diversity in these particular genes and this helps to explain why some species are better at repelling insects and why koalas will only select particular species.
Eucalypt, Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia.
The term Eucalypt includes trees which are amongst the closely related genera of Corymbia and Angophora as well as Eucalyptus. The differences between the three are related to the leaf positioning, the flower stalks and the bark. The term gum tree has become the common term for all three eucalypts whether or not the trunk exudes a sticky gum like substance. Eucalypts belong to the family Myrtaceae and are related to tea trees (Leptospermum), paperbarks (Melaleuca) and bottlebrushes (Callistemon). The name Eucalyptus comes to us from Modern Latin. It was coined in 1788 by French botanist Charles Louis L’héritier de Brutelle from Greek eu “well” + kalyptos “covered”. Anyone who has been hit by a gum nut will know how well covered the seed is.
The world’s tallest flowering plant
Eucalyptus regnans is the worlds tallest flowering plant. Amongst the trees, it is second to the California Redwood in height but grows five time as fast. One specimen in Tasmania’s Arve Valley, nicknamed ‘Centurion’, has reached 99.6m in height. It is the not only world’s tallest flowering plant but also the tallest known hardwood tree.
Eucalyptus regnans occur mostly in north-east Tasmania as well as the Derwent and Huon valleys. It can also be seen in the higher rainfall areas of the eastern highlands of Victoria south of the Great Dividing Range.
The scented gums
The genetic diversity of the chemical defences of the Eucalypts leave a clue in the aroma of the trees. The lemon scented gum Corymbia citriodora has a distinctive lemon smell which is very noticeable after light rain. This tree is common in South East Queensland and residents of the Melbourne will be familiar with the smell. This tree is the source of the lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Typically this essential oil contains citronella, citronellol, geraniol and isopulegol. Lemon eucalyptus essential oil, which is produced by distilling oil from the twigs and leaves, is well known for its ability to repel insects. One eucalypt in particular has been know to alter its chemical defence in order to protect itself. In 2013, biologists discovered that a Yellow Box tree Eucalyptus melliodora in a sheep paddock in Yeoval New South Wales could change the smell of its leaves from one side to the other to protect itself against attack.
There are other gum trees with a completely different fragrance. These trees have evolved their chemical defences to smell like peppermint. One of these is the South Gippsland peppermint Eucalyptus willisii. Similarly the dark green leaves of the Narrow leaved Peppermint Gum (Eucalyptus Radiata) have a peppermint smell when they are crushed. Another well known scented gum is Tamania’s Eucalyptus coccifera or the Mount Wellington Peppermint Gum. The adult leaves are an attractive blue green colour changing from the hearts shaped juvenile leaves.This tree, like many gums, has grey and white mottled bark.In summer creamy-white flowers appear.
Wood from Eucalyptus trees.
The timber from eucalyptus trees has been used for a long time in building construction, flooring, and furniture. Species such as the Sugar Gum (Eucalyptus cladocalyx) with its pale yellow brown heartwood and Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) with its wavy grain and brown heartwood can be used to create furniture. The species of Ash such as Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), Alpine Ash (Eucalyptus delegatenis) and Shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens) are often used for dining tables, staircases and flooring. These hardwood timbers are also great structural timbers due to their strength.
Landscaping with Gum Trees
Not all gum trees are forest giants. Varieties such as Eucalyptus gunnii “little boy blue” will fit in the smallest landscape garden. Eucalypts are evergreen trees, but tend to shed leaves, and sometimes bark, continuously during year. For this reason it is best not to place them too close to your swimming pool when designing your poolside garden. Take a look at some screening plants instead.
Care of your Gum trees
There are no longer active volcanoes on mainland Australia. This ancient geology means that many native plants have evolved to survive in low phosphorus soils. The actual tolerance to phosphorus will depend on the part of Australia the plant originally comes from. To be on the safe side, use a fertiliser like Neutrog Bush Tucker for your Australian Native plants. For more care tips take a look at our Tree Planting blog.
Related Landscaping ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Design
Palm trees form a quintessential part of the Melbourne Landscape.
Palm trees such as the Canary Island Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis) were amongst the earliest landscape garden plantings in Melbourne seaside parks. These, along with other varieties are often used to create a feature or a focal point in Melbourne Gardens. The climate of the Melbourne can make many plants susceptible to fungal diseases. This is also true with Phoenix canariensis. As with most plants, pruning will help to improve the airflow around the plant and reduce the chances of a fungal disease like Fusarium oxysporum. This is the fungus which causes fusarium wilt in Phoenix canariensis.
The famous floral clock at Melbourne Botanical Gardens with sweeping lawns and Canary Island Palms (Phoenix canariensis). A great place to go for Garden Design ideas.
Tall Palm Trees in the O’Donnell Gardens St Kilda near Melbourne’s Luna Park.
Sandringham Band Rotunda behind a Canary island palm near Sandringham Lifesaving club. A hardy plant for coastal gardens. Native grasses are good plants to grow beneath these trees.
A large palm providing shade near Sandringham Lifesaving Club.
When pruning, it is also important to sterilise the pruning tools to avoid spreading diseases between plants. Many fungus spores will survive in the soil, so it is important not to use any soils which may have been contaminated. The Centennial Park in Sydney has seen the destructive impact of the Fusarium wilt on the Canary Island date palms on the Avenue of Nations. As with the Irish potato blight, having all of the plants in an area from the same genetic stock can be a problem when diseases start to spread. If planting new trees make sure you choose disease free stock from a reputable plant supplier.
Macarthur street near Gordon Reserve East Melbourne. Palm trees opposite the entrance to Parliament Station Melbourne.
Frankston Park near Port Phillip Bay. Canary Island palm. Frankston is a southern suburb of Melbourne.
Pruning Palm Trees
Palm Tree Cleaning Melbourne
When pruning these trees it is important to use sharp, sterile and well maintained tools. Heavy gloves and safety glasses need to be worn, as the palm fronds have sharp spikes which can cause a nasty wound or infection. Make sure your ladder is well secured. as even professional tree pruners find this job difficult. Wait until the frond is completely brown before trimming it.
Palm tree diseases prevented by pruning.
Some other problems to look for in your palm tree include the sugar cane weevil borer and the palm weevil borer. Do not use sugar cane mulch or bagasse near your trees as the female sugar cane weevil is attracted to it. Trees should be mulched with a top quality mulch that contains no palm or sugar cane material. The dead fronds as seen in the picture above, create a shelter for the adult beetles to hide under during daylight. For this reason, it is important to remove these fronds and dispose of them correctly.
Garden maintenance for your Melbourne Palm trees.
As with most plants, healthy growth will protect against diseases. Give your palms a good feed with a fertiliser like Neutrog Seamungus that contains nitrogen as well as trace elements like zinc. With a dripper irrigation system and some good rainfall your plants will remain healthy and disease free.
Tree pruning tools.
When tree pruning, it is important to make sure your chain saw and pruning saws are sharp and well sterilised. This will help prevent palm tree diseases moving from plant to plant. A 50/50 mixture of bleach and water or some methylated spirits will help sterilise your pruning saw.
Weevil and borer damage to trees.
Keeping the fronds neatly trimmed will remove a hiding place for pest. Insecticide and fungicide is applied at the same time to prevent disease. It looks like the help came to late to help the tree below.
Generally, many palm species create a lot of maintenance work, especially when they are planted near a pool. For this reason, we generally recommend other plants for poolside locations with better screening ability and lower maintenance. At our recent swimming pool landscape project in Ashmore we replaced many of the high maintenance palms with low maintenance screening plants.
The biggest mistake I see in garden design is people using palms to create privacy. A palm should never be used as a screening plant, the bottoms are full of dead fronds, they are messy and tacky. Hedging plants such as a Syzygium smithii ‘resilience’ or Murraya paniculata works as far better screen around pool and window areas. Hedges create less mess, are less maintenance and create a far cleaner look. A palm maintained to its true glory should be used as a feature. It should be lifted allowing light and fresh air in, it should show off its beautiful trunk and preserve only the lush green foliage at top. The same can be said of the banana like plants such as strelitzia nicolai.
Some interesting facts about Palms
Palms are members of the family Arecaceae which is also known as Palmae. Amongst the monocots, Arecaceae have one of the longest fossil records, once thought to extend more than 80 million years ago to the Late Cretaceous Period. Recent research by Dr Bill Baker of the Royal botanical Gardens Kew shows that diversification of extant lineages of palms started about 100 million years ago, during the mid-Cretaceous period. These plant were really around with the dinosaurs. As such an ancient family they give us an insight into the evolution of the rainforest. The Arecaceae are a distinctive and structurally diverse monocot groups. Palms also have collateral, rather than compound, vascular bundles in their stems and silica bodies that are borne in specialized cells (stegmata) throughout. Vessels, often with simple perforation plates, are found in roots, stems, and leaves.
(“Arecales.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010.)
Related Landscaping Information from Red’s Landscaping and Civil
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.
By Callum O’Brien – The Melbourne Landscaper Blog
For more information on the Canary Island Date Palm
A Small garden can be a design challenge for even experienced landscape designers. If you are living in a Melbourne townhouse with a small backyard, and you might be thinking about what can be achieved in such a small space. Designing a garden for a small space in your Melbourne front yard or backyard can present some unique problems for the home gardener. Not least amongst these problems can be the lack of direct sunlight. Some similar design philosophies to large garden design can be followed, but there is more to it than just scaling everything down.
A fountain as a small garden focal point
Small Garden Focal Points
As with large gardens the logical first step with your tiny garden is to decide on the focal point or focal points of your garden. This can be a small tree in a pot or in the ground, a piece of sculpture , a small water feature or even a rock. A great focal point for the compact garden is a xanthorrhoea johnsonii. Once the focal point is decided upon, it can be made to stand out by some clearing around it and with some garden illumination.
A path leading to the focal point will draw your eye to the feature. If your house has nearby windows, try to place the focal point where it can be seen out of the window. Consider how your garden will look from other vistas as well. Think about the views from other windows and any pathways. Less desirable views can be screened out with hedging plants or screening plants creating the illusion of depth. Walls and fences can be made more attractive with an espalier fruit tree screen or a vertical garden. If you have a views of nearby trees or parkland, work with these views to enhance the view from your own garden.
Small Garden Plant Selection
Select plants that attract native birds and other native fauna into your garden. This will certainly add to the interest in your garden. Aim to create contrast and balance in your plantings making use of foliage textures and colours but avoid having too many different plants or themes. By repeating shapes colours and shapes your garden you will develop a central theme. Choose species and varieties that are low maintenance and do not grow too large.
Starting with your focal point or tallest shrub use the design concept of layering to plan out your garden plantings. Proper layering will ensure each plant in the layering scheme has adequate light and add to the illusion of depth. If you are planning a garden against a hedge or a boundary, place the taller plants at the back. Unless you are building a hedge, use trees and shrubs of varying height in the back row. This way you will create a much more interesting garden that takes your eye along different levels.
Plants to consider for the garden focal point include magnolia grandiflora ‘teddy bear’ and magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ and the crepe myrtle. These can either be planted in a large pot, with colourful annuals, or in the ground.
Low maintenance small gardens
For the bottom layer of your tiered garden, a ground cover like creeping boobialla is an excellent choice for attracting birds and suppressing weeds.
It is often the case with the small garden that regular maintenance tasks like mowing and edging the lawn become a real difficulty. Two native sustainable alternatives to lawn grasses are Dichondra repens and the Native Violet Viola hederacea. This will save a lot of effort getting the lawn mower out as neither of these require regular mowing.
Other plants to consider for the bottom layer include Lomandra hystrix , Lomandra longifolia and Lomandra seascape. These hardy grass like plants are well suited to Melbourne. Their tolerance of coastal sea breezes and their ability to tolerate full sun and part shade as well as a variety of soils. The species of lomandra with the blue green foliage, Lomandra Seascape, will create an interesting colour contrast in your garden.
Native grasses with Blue Green Foliage like this Lomandra Seascape are ideal for event tiny gardens.
For the levels or layers in-between consider using Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta), if you have enough room. It will grow in part shade or full sun and will tolerate some salt spray if you are right on the coast. Although it can eventually get to two metres tall it is very slow growing. Growing it in a pot will limit its height.
Another choice for the small garden is the Coastal or Native Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa). This plant is native to the sandy and coastal areas of NSW even growing down to beach level. This versatile plant can be either be grown as a tree, as a hedge, or even as a prostrate ground cover plant. For best results trim it regularly to achieve the shape you want. Other species that should be considered is the melaleuca, and the banksia robur.
Westringia fruticosa or native rosemary is an ideal plant for the Melbourne garden. Plants with fine leaves make your garden appear larger.
Add a splash of Colour
Now you have planned your garden focal point, and vistas and various layers, it is time to add a few extra splashes of colour. This can done with annuals in pots or by planting plants like the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae). This plant is tolerant of partial shade and it can also cope with the wind, salt and sandy soils of the Melbourne. Its stunningly beautiful orange and blue flowers will stand out against the layered foliage backdrop you have created behind.
Window Boxes and Hanging Baskets.
Additional colour can be added to your garden with window boxes and hanging baskets. These use very little space and can be used on balconies and patios.
A Pergola and garden Path to create vertical interest
If you still have room in your garden, a structure like a pergola could be considered and another trick you can use is to to create curved garden pathways using a light coloured gravel or stone path. Using light coloured paving or fine gravels along with fine leaf plants in your garden will help to create the illusion of extra space.
More home garden landscape gardening ideas from Red’s Landscaping.
The melaleuca is a genus of flowering evergreen Australian native shrubs and trees. It is a member of the myrtle family, Myrtaceae.
What soil does the Melaleuca prefer?
Melaleucas generally prefer well drained friable soil and full sun.
What are the other names for Melaleuca?
The smaller varieties have been known as honey myrtles, tee trees, ( including tea trees or ti trees) or bottlebrush. The Larger species are also known as paperbarks.
Is the name Melaleuca Greek?
The name Melaleuca comes from two Greek words. In Greek melas means black, similar to the word melatonin. In Greek leukos mean white and comes from the proto Indo-European work leuk meaning light or brightness. It is related to the medical term leukaemia. It is not really known with absolute certainty how the melaleuca got this name. Perhaps the first ones seen had been affected by a bush fire that turned the trunks black. The white could be from new branch growth or even from white flowers. Some species have white trunks.
Which Melaleuca variety is used to make tea tree oil?
Melaleuca alternifolia, also known as the narrow-leaved paperbark or narrow-leaved tea-tree is grown commercially for the production of tea tree oil. This species is native to South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
What is tea tree oil used for?
Historically tea tree oil has been mainly used for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also now known for its anti fungal properties. It has been said that Captain Cook learnt about the medicinal properties on the Melaleuca from the indigenous inhabitants of New South Wales, who had probably been using it for tens of thousands of years. It wasn’t until the 1920s that western medicine discovered that tea-tree oil was much stronger than the commonly used antiseptic at the time (carbolic acid) and caused much less irritation. With the invention of modern antibiotics during Work War 2, tea-tree oil declined in usage. I
What varieties of Melaleuca can be grown as Garden Plants?
There are quite a few varieties of Melaleuca that can be grown as garden plants in Australia. One important note is when selecting plants, make sure they are in good health and free from rust or scale. Check for the presence of powdery bright yellow or orange-yellow spores on the leaves or stems. These are indicators of myrtle rust. Melaleucas are suitable for both home landscaping and commercial landscaping.
Melaleuca Armillaris Bracelet Honey Myrtle
Rounded shrub or Small tree which grows 3 to 6 metres tall and 1.2 to 3 metres in diameter. It has fine needle like grey-green to deep green leaves. In spring and summer it produces dense clusters of cream bottle-brush style flowers that will attract birds.Tolerant of most well-drained soils and situations, including moderate frosts and extended dry periods and temporary water logging. The Fast growing plants respond well to pruning and can be grown as a fast growing hedge or screen. A note of caution, as this variety has the potential to spread rapidly. Melaleuca thymifolia is probably a better choice for your Melbourne garden.
Another rounded shrub or tree, it grows to between 2 to 5 metres tall and about the same in diameter. The leaves are an elliptical mid to deep green on the upper side, but paler on the underside. In summer it produces 20 to 25 mm in diameter bottle-brush style red or crimson flowers 40 to 80 mm long.
Melaleuca thymifolia (Thyme-leaf Honey-myrtle)
With its frequent flowering and ability to be successfully grow in a range of conditions in a small garden, Melaleuca thymifolia is a popular choice for Melbourne gardeners. As It comes naturally from New South Wales and Queensland, growing in mild, moist areas and light soils, it is well suited to the coastal region of the Melbourne.
As it flowers for up to eight months of the year, it is great for attracting and keeping bees and birds to your garden. The plant has blue-green foliage and young stems are reddish when growth is reasonably rapid. As you can see in the picture, the elliptical leaves are about 10 mm long in even pairs pointing upwards close to the stems. Small clusters of stemless flowers appear on mature stems below the new growth. In colder climates, the flowers are bluish-purple in early winter changing to a rich pink or mauve in spring and summer. Regular watering will result in many beautiful large, soft pink flowers. A dripping irrigation system will produce great results. As it recovers well from drought and pruning is not really necessary to create a shaped plant, it provides a low maintenance option for your Melbourne garden.
Melaleuca incana Grey Honey Myrtle
The Grey Honey Myrtle is originally from the south of Western Australia. It is a weeping shrub with blue-green or grey foliage.
By 5 years old it will grow to about 2 m high and wide which is a fairly rapid growth rate. Eventual height is at least 3 m though size and shape can be controlled by pruning. The soft pale yellow brush-like flowers are up to 2.5 cm long. The good news is the flowering plentiful and will attract birds and other wildlife. For best results, keep well watered and you will be rewarded with a profusion of flowers. This species can be pruned to form a hedge as it has a dense frame of thin branches from the base. Once established it is resistant to drought and reasonable resistant to frost. If you water regularly with an irrigation dripping system, you will be rewarded with lush growth as well as flowers. As you can see in the photograph, the Leaves are narrow and around 15 mm long. The beautiful yellow brush-like flowers are up to 25 mm long.
Melaleuca leucadendra also known as Fine Leafed Paperbark, Weeping Paperbark or White Tea Tree. This is a large hardy native tree with attractive weeping bright green leaves and papery bark as its name suggest. Typically the bark is white or pale and the dead bark is layered with the appearance of paper.The maximum height of these is about 13 metres with a spread of around 9 metres. The profuse flowers are creamy cylindrical bottlebrush spikes. The tree is native to northern Australia but it will grow on most parts of the mainland.
The leaves can be used as a source of tea-tree oil. This plant is both a food source and nesting site or habitat for birds.
The good news for Melbourne Gardeners is that this tree is tolerant to the coastal conditions such as salinity and poor or sandy soils you may encounter in suburbs like Broadbeach. It favours an open to sunny position, so it is an ideal street tree .
Other Species Melaleuca linariifolia
Melaleuca linariifolia will grow to around 9 metres. It can be used both in landscaping or home gardens. It is native to southern Queensland and the east coast of New South Wales. It usually around swamps and along watercourses. Common names include Narrow-leaved Paperbark and Snow-in-Summer, due to its prolific clusters of fluffy white flowers. Some smaller varieties to consider are “Sea Foam” (2.5 metres) or “Snowstorm”, (1.5 metres).
More Australian Native plant information from Red’s Landscaping
Landscaping Concrete needs to be the correct grade with the correct reinforcement for the job it is selected for. Otherwise cracking can occur. To properly decide on which mix to use, it is important to understand what it is and what factors affect its physical properties. There are many different grades of concrete available, so it important to pick the correct one for the job. Coupled with this there are different grades of steel reinforcement to choose from.
Bending stresses are not normally a problem with garden paving when a properly prepared sub base has been created. Steel reinforcement will however, help to prevent cracks opening in the pavement.
Generally, the path should be at least 100mm thick N25 concrete. N25 means that the concrete will achieve a compressive strength of 25 mPa after 28 days. If you are in a part of Melbourne with a reactive clay soil, you need to ensure there is sufficient thickness of roadbase under the paving to cope with the expansion and contraction of the soil.
Preventing Cracks in landscaping concrete.
Even the strongest concrete will be weak in tension or bending and even properly cured concrete will have microcracks. Therefore, to minimise cracking steel reinforcement must be used. For pathways, this should be at least SL 72 using saddles to keep it in the top 1/3 of the concrete. SL72 means that the bars are each 7mm in diameter with grids of 200mm. The path should be laid on 100mm thick class 3 roadbase , if it is for public spaces. If there is any possibility of a vehicle driving on the path, then the path needs to be built like an exposed aggregate concrete driveway. This will be the case with any vehicle crossovers in the path design. In these cases the concrete needs to be at lease 125mm thick N32 (32mPa) concrete with SL92 mesh laid on at least 100mm of class 2 roadbase.
Landscaping concrete. Steel reinforcement helps to prevent large cracks opening up in your concrete.
For paving, the steel mesh should be placed about 30mm from the top surface. When reinforcement steel is placed too near the surface, it can corrode. Expansion results as steel is converted to iron oxide through corrosion. This expansion can crack the concrete surface and accelerate the concrete cancer.
Concrete block garden retaining wall with coping next to the alternating exposed aggregate path.
When the crack is caused by corroding steel, corrosion is typically visible at the slab surface. In the case of retaining walls, the wall is in effect a cantilever beam with the soil applying pressure to the wall. Steel reinforcement will help increase bending strength of the wall.
Architectural Landscaping Concrete in Melbourne
Modern concrete is now available with an enormous range of colours and textures. There are some available that can mimic the appearance of stone, but at a much lower cost to the landscaper. There are also some techniques by landscape architects to break up a large expanse of concrete by using alternating contrasting colours.
Exposed aggregate Concrete Pathway using alternating coloured concrete. The appearance is also softened by the mulched garden bed with plantings of native grasses. These architectural concreting techniques provide a very cost effective solution but maintain the aesthetic appeal.
Related Concrete information from Red’s Landscaping and Civil
Dog friendly landscape design often involves a play area with a nice patch of lawn. People often ask how can I have a nice garden with my dog? A small path of lawn will provide recreational space for children and pets in your backyard and is one of the best dog garden ideas. In this landscape garden design, a stepped brush fence creates a screen for the colorbond garden shed. If you have a lot of brush fence, consider breaking it up with some vertical gardens. Having a shed in the backyard means that all of the fertilizers, garden machinery and fuels can be safely locked away from the doggie. A grevillea and a feature garden as well as screening plants add to the effect that makes the small garden appear larger than it actually is.
The lawn creates a valuable space for pets to play or for entertaining guests as well as contrast and a beautiful green space for the garden.
Dog friendly garden Couch lawn. A stepped brush fence creates a screen for the colorbond garden shed.
What Ground Cover is safe for dogs?
Dog friendly garden surfaces
Hard wearing couch lawn can be an ideal surface for pets and children to play on.
Couch Grass Santa Ana couch
The grass chosen was Santa Ana couch Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis which is a hybrid variety of Nullarbor couch. Its soft matt is ideal for pets and small childrenIf you are in a colder climate, your couch may go a little brown over winter. In this picture you can see where the shadier part of the lawn has just started to brown. This is a temporary condition and your couch will revive once the warmer weather returns. If your dog likes to wee on the lawn keep a bucket of water or a hose handy to wet the lawn down where your dog has been. The key to making the lawn child friendly and dog friendly, is in the layers below the lawns surface. The lawns should be laid on a sandy loam soil to maintain a soft surface in the case of falls. See our blog on Lawn Care for more information.
The lawn slopes gently down to a stained sleeper edge and raised garden bed. The blue pansies contrast beautifully with the white alyssum and white garden chairs. Herbs for the kitchen are also grown in this raised garden bed. Raised garden beds and pots help to keep young dogs and puppies away from plants. The landscape garden design features wooden decking and a rendered concrete retaining wall. Pavers sunk into the lawn help to reduce wear marks and create a contrast with the rich green couch lawn. The potted plant and pedestal along with the pavers create an illusion of depth for this landscape garden design. The lawn pavers lead to garden steps to access the lawn area.
Rear Fence Privacy Screening, couch lawn and elevated planters. The potted plant and pedestal with the lawn pavers create an illusion of depth in the Santa Ana couch lawn. In the top right hand corner sandstone lawn edging and antique slate steps. Limoniums handle Australia’s coastal garden conditions and climate well.
In this landscape garden design, Sandstone edging is used at the top of the antique slate step. The sandstone provides a wonderful contrast to the lawn and its neat edge helps with garden maintenance of the lawn edging. The steps can be used as seating for entertaining as well as providing access to the lawn area. Small dogs and older people might struggle with steps this height, so a dog ramp is provided by the edge of the lawn. This ramp also helps when the mower needs to be brought out to the front yard.
How can I protect my garden from my dog?
Gardens can be protected from your pet dog by raising them up or using concrete or terracotta pots. Vertical gardens is another way of having a nice safe gardens with your dog. Avoid the use of lightweight plastic pots.
Raised Garden Bed Constructed from rendered concrete block construction. This makes it difficult for small dogs to dig in the garden. Behind the pansies is the stained wooden garden edging.
Dog friendly garden surfaces. Paved courtyard with table and concrete plant pots. The aggregate near the Lilli Pilly provides good drainage and helps to prevent muddy paws.
Magnolia in a raised pot near the paved courtyard.
Plants to avoid for Pets and Children
For pets and small children there are many plants that should be avoided. There are plants that are toxic to pets, and some which will cause skin irritation. For example, Moses in the Cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) and Zebrina ‘Wandering Jew’ (Tradescantia zebrine) should be avoided if you have a dog, as they have been associated with allergic skin disease. Other plants to be avoided include holly, poinsettias, cycads and oleander. Another plant to avoid is the Duranta erecta which is often sold as a hedge plant but is poisonous for your pets and children. When planning your garden, talk to the horticulture expert at your local plant nursery for help with pet friendly plant selection. Even the pebble mulch we have used in this garden will be a problem if your dog likes to chew on stones. It is important to keep your dog entertained with toys and chew bones as well as keeping an eye on them in the garden.
For splashes of colour around the garden, viola, pansies and lobelias were added to the shrubs growing in pots. Out of the reach of puppies and small dogs. Snail pellets should also be avoided if you have a puppy or small dog.
The dog friendly backyard. Small plastic pots are easy for dogs to pick up and create a mess. Does that look like the face of a naughty dog or just a puppy exploring the world?
Another effective way to keep your pet and garden separated is to use a vertical garden or a garden wall. This will mean that your plant is safe from your new puppy and your new puppy is safe from your plants.
Dog Friendly Paved Courtyard
This landscape garden design features a paved courtyard, a dark green magnolia grandiflora “little gem” was planted in a square garden pot. The pot was painted dark brown to create an aged ceramic look. (The pot is actually fibreglass.) As its name suggests, little gem is a compact variety of magnolia. It will help to give your garden a tropical feel.
The orange marigolds go well with the blue lobelia and dark green Magnolia. Around the pot you can see the start of a box hedge and the pebble mulch. In the background climbing roses in concrete pots, and wall mounted pot plants add to the effect.
Magnolia grandiflora “little gem” in a planter pot.
Magnolia grandifolia ‘Little Gem’ is a compact cultivar that will flower at a young age. Shiny oval-shaped leaves are dark to mid-green. Large creamy-white chalice-shaped flowers are very fragrant. You will see these flowers appear through summer and autumn. A slightly acidic, rich soil with plenty of organic matter is recommended. In this courtyard, the plant is protected from hot northerly winds. The elevated pot keeps the plants out of reach for puppies and small dogs.
Australian cities are rapidly expanding into greenfields areas to accommodate our way of life, however, this is threatening the habitats of Australia’s wildlife. In order to sustain healthy populations of native wildlife, we need to adapt our methods of gardening in urban environments.
While the average suburban backyard is not likely to become a sanctuary for threatened wildlife, by making a few simple planting choices, you can reduce the threat of native animals reaching the endangered species list.
Plants and animals evolve together in what is known as a symbiotic relationship. Animals help with pollination, seed distribution and germination. The plants in return provide habitat, protection and foods. Choosing locally indigenous plants for your garden is essentially creating a preferred habitat and food source for local indigenous animals. Aiding native animals over generations will in turn provide them a genetic advantage over introduced species, as they will continue to evolve with their companion plants.
Additionally, choosing locally indigenous plants prevents unwanted pests. Plants evolve to produce phytochemicals, which poison and deter insects, however, an insect species will co-evolve with usually one type of plant. For an example of this, take a look at our blog on eucalypts. Over thousands of years as the plant evolves greater amounts of phytochemicals, the insect evolves to produce greater amounts of inhibitors, these block the phytochemicals effect. A species of insect is so fixated on its co-evolved species of Plant that it will not recognize any other plant as a potential food source. Choosing indigenous plants and weeding out invasive species, will kill off an insect’s food source and irradiate an introduced foreign pest.
For example, foreign pests such as fire ants are one of the greatest threats to agriculture and horticulture industries.
The current epidemic of fire ants is set to cost Queenslanders billions and poses a bio-security risk to the natural habitat. The fire ant epidemic arose when the killer ants hitched a ride from palms being imported from Mexico.
Queensland’s tropical climate teamed with foreign palms creative an attractive environment for these invasive insects. However, indigenous palms support native and non-invasive insects. The desire for foreign palms contributes to a great financial and environmental cost.
By choosing native plants over non-native, wildlife habitats and urban environments can not only co-exist but also thrive together. As such, it is crucial that this idea widely adopted by the populace and in particular by town planners, urban and landscape designers and even the home gardener. In doing so, we can work to prevent future bio security risks and we can prevent further damage to our landscape and agriculture industries. Most importantly however, we can restore safe and healthy habitats for Australian wildlife. It is also important to be careful with any pesticides you choose. Recently the European union has banned the use of the three neonicotinoid pesticides on open ground and and Bunnings has decided to phase them out in Australia. A great way to encourage birds and other wildlife to your garden, is to set aside an area as a natural habitat that also encourages pollenating insects to visit your garden.
Photo of a juvenile Cracticus nigrogularis, more commonly known as the ‘Pied Butcher Bird’.
This bird sings complex flute like melodies, the most common of which shares some characteristics with Beethoven’s 5th symphony. His home is the beautiful Cupaniopsis anacardioides, more commonly known as a Tuckeroo Tree, both plant and animal are indigenous to most parts of north and eastern Australia.
Wildlife in the Garden article published by Callum O’Brien for more information on natives please visit my horticulture and Landscaping blog
Sandringham Estate – Concrete pot on a pedestal and garden path.
Sandringham Gardens in Norfolk is one of the the most beautiful of all the Royal properties. The grounds, which are more than 25 hectares, have been redeveloped by successive monarchs since the original purchase by King Edward VII (Then Prince of Wales) in 1863. Prior to becoming a Royal home the property past through the hands of a few owners each of which put their own design stamp on the landscape design.The Cobbes family owned Sandringham was by from 1517 to 1686, after that it was bought by the Hostes. Latter it was inherited by the Henley family before 1794. At that time there was already a landscaped park with a new home.
Potted Colour with stairs and pathway by the home.
Garden Benches and aggregate paths.
In 1836 John Motteaux purchased the property from the Henley family. Motteaux sold the property to Charles Spencer Cowper. The Hon. Charles Spencer Cowper was the son in law of British Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. He commissioned the famous gothic architect Samuel Sanders Teulon to design and construct the conservatory as well as make alterations to the home.
House tower with clock
Cowper sold the property to Edward Prince of Wales. Edward was the son of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria had hoped that a move away from the big cities would benefit Bertie’s moral character. Alas, Bertie had several of his mistresses visit him at the property including actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Liilie Langtry as well as Lady Randolph Churchill.
Flowers in a concrete pot on a concrete pedestal. Topiary hedge and herbaceous borders with a garden path.
One of the first impressions of the Sandringham gardens are the Oak trees. The Commemorative Oak trees are planted in a landscaped forecourt lawn close to the main entrance of the property. Alongside the entrance there are neatly clipped yew tree hedges.
Big blue lilyturf or Liriope muscari an evergreen herbaceous perennials forming compact clumps.
Neat hedges and garden.
There is a walled kitchen garden around 300 metres from the house which originally had a rose covered pergola with oak cross beams supported by brick piers.
Landscape Architect Geoffrey Jellicoe
Influential Landscape Architect Geoffrey Jellicoe created the formal hedged enclosed garden in 1947. In the words of Jellicoe,- “The need for garden secrecy .. is answered here decisively in the Chinese conception of a box within a box within a box”. A central path leading to the beds of herbaceous plants is flanked by pleached trees.
Landscape Architect Geoffrey Jellicoe is famous for many landscape gardens within the UK. One of his best-known landscape designs was at Shute house.
In the 1960’s Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II Initiated a densely planted shrubbery of magnolia, camellia and Rhododendrons. These these acid loving plants was brought up to Sandringham from the Windsor Castle gardens. These plants can be found in the area of the garden near the Northwest garden wall.
Landscaped hills with various conifers and a lake.
The gardens at Sandringham Estate are great to visit any time of year. Even in winter the hills planted with conifers and the streams, lakes and woodland walks provide beauty and interest.
Sandringham Estate Gardens with lake.
A garden Path between two neatly trimmed hedges- Sandringham Gardens. Interesting even in Winter.
Above the lake is Queen Alexandra’s summerhouse. Nearby there is sixteen species of oak trees and a beautiful cascading stream.
Sandringham house also has interesting historical exhibits inside including a collection of Royal vehicles.
Royal Vehicles on display
More garden information from Red’s Landscaping Melbourne