Tag Archives: flowers

Valentine your garden

14 Feb

Happy Valentines Day!  Instead of the usual soppy cards and roses, I like to look for some different, fun and unique ideas for showing my loved ones how much I care.  It’s not often that we go over the Valentines top at Drawn Outdoors HQ, but one day I might just surprise Mr Perfect!

Oh Happy Day had this idea for transforming your lawn into a loved up artwork. You might like to try it out, the instructions are at Valentine’s Day Garden Heart Attack

Activekidsclub.com has a great idea to spread the valentines love to our feathered friends (though the instructions will need a little adaptation for those of us in the southern hemisphere).  Take a look at Give a Heart to the Birds.

trendhunter.com has found a more extreme way to demonstrate your love.  Check out their Valentine street art gallery

And my favourite outdoor valentine project is this one from Playscapes.  Because everyone loves a playground, check out this fantastic playground designed by a year 3 class in Denmark and realised by landscape architect Helle Nebelong.   The Playscapes article is here.

Love and Valentine’s kisses to you all,



Plant Lovin’ – NSW Christmas Bush

21 Dec

When Christmas means summer, sun, beaches and BBQ’s the landscape around you looks a little different to the traditional fir trees and snowflakes that symbolise a northern hemisphere festive season.  Sydney is the natural home to one of the most gorgeous christmas plants, the New South Wales Christmas Bush.  I have been noticing a lot of NSW Christmas bush plants in the gardens around our new place, it’s making it feel a lot like christmas.  While we lack an actual plant in or gardens, I think I might take myself up to the new Harris Farm Markets up the road and pick myself up a bunch of “flowers” to help decorate Drawn Outdoors HQ!

So here’s the Christmas Bush low down…

Name: Ceratopetalum gummiferum – NSW Christmas Bush.  There are Christmas bushes native to other states of Australia, so don’t forget the NSW bit!

Description: An evergreen large shrub or small tree that generally grows to about 4-5 metres high.  The best feature of this plant are the “flowers” that are spectacular around Christmas time.  The real flowers of this plant are small, white and relatively insignificant, but as the flowers are pollinated and the fruit develops, the sepals surrounding the fruit enlarge and give a reddish pink flower like appearance

A great photo showing the white flowers and the red fruit and sepals developing. Photograph from http://www.friendsoflanecovenationalpark.org.au

What you’ll love about them: They’re native to the Sydney region, so you’ll feel like you’re doing your bit for biodiversity conservation.  If you’re a Christmas lover, this plant will always add a bit of garden colour to your Christmas decorations.  In terms of garden design, the NSW Christmas bush works best in a bush garden style, but can work equally as well as a feature in a more traditional style garden.  They can work well as a screening plant or as a feature, though when they’re not in flower they aren’t anywhere near as spectacular as when they are.

The gorgeous sepals and fruit of the bush look like flowers photo from Wirreanda Nursery

Basically, these plants are bright, fun, festive and easy.  They are a feel good plant that will generally make you smile and with a few fairy lights strung amongst the branches you will have a traditional Aussie Christmas tree in your own garden!

What they love: Sun! They love it hot and a little bit dry.  They are the perfect temperate climate plant and can stand a little bit of wet, a little bit of cold, but really they like it nice and sunny and dry.  You can give them a little bit of native plant food, but they’re generally pretty happy.  They do like a bit of a hair cut after “flowering”, and you can be pretty generous with how mush you trim.

The not so great bits: There aren’t a lot of bad things about this plant.  It’s relatively low maintenance, it will just look after itself and it doesn’t drop too many leaves fruit or flowers.  It looks good all year round and it looks great in the middle of summer.

Great as a bunch of flowers for Christmas! Photograph from http://www.friendofflowers.com

I have given a few NSW Christmas Bush plants as christmas gifts over the years and it always goes down a treat.  If you’re stuck for a gift for a garden lover, give a NSW Christmas Bush a try.


Floral interlude

19 Oct

I’ve found myself taking a lot of photos of flowers lately, and thought I would share a few with you – I love spring!!!

Ahhhh… so pretty!


Baby steps or giant leaps?

18 May

Well, I would consider last weekend a success.  I didn’t get 5 ticks in the boxes, but I came  close.  3 ticks and some amendments and a happy family at the end of Sunday.  What did I do, what did I achieve and did I take any baby steps or giant leaps?

I have this theory that every job done is either a baby step or a giant leap closer to an end goal.  Generally, at the moment my goals are finishing unpacking and sorting out our new place, designing and building our garden and getting Drawn Outdoors off the ground and growing.  Well, they are the big ones on top of the day to day – getting everyone out of bed, fed, dressed, cleaned etc… So, when I say this weekend was generally a success, here’s why.

I took a trip to the Riverside Farmers Market, which was a lovely start to the weekend, and tick number 1.  The Karma Soap Company, one of my Bizness Babes friends was holding her first stall there, and we (the Drama Queen, the Daredevil, my Mum and I) dropped by to lend our support. While I was there, I took the opportunity to not only do some of my weekly shopping, but checked out the plant and flower stalls for a little bit of garden inspiration.  I would love to include some productive elements to the garden, and herbs are high on the list of must haves.  The end result was a whole lot of really fun baby steps and a DramaQueen with a gorgeously painted face and a purple helium balloon! (more about the balloon later)

The Karma Soap Company stall at Riverside Farmers Market

Herbs glorious herbs

The second tick on the list was my trip into the blogosphere – I found a couple of new blogs, but confirmed my suspicions that there aren’t a lot of people out there in cyberspace doing much with landscape – so, my question is, does this mean there’s a gap in the market or is it an avenue no one is interested in travelling down? Add another thing to the Drawn Outdoors to do list…

The third and most enjoyable tick was our Balmain baby cino.  I got to catch up with the lovely Katherine and have a very girly chat and she got to grill me about what I was doing with this Drawn Outdoors thing – the process helped me work through a couple of issues I’d been wrestling with.  You see, Katherine and I have the same schooling. We’ve known each other since we were 7, and switched and changed schools together right through to University where we both studied landscape architecture.  So, if there’s anyone that understands why I think the way I do it is her, and I value her feedback and input immeasurably.

All up, so far a lot of little baby steps, very fun baby steps, but nothing I would call a giant leap.  Until I spent Sunday morning with a friend I met through the Drama Queen’s mother’s group.  Philippa is a marketing guru who, after many years in the corporate world is toying with the idea of heading out on her own.  She very generously gave me some of her time and expertise and helped me work through my branding for Drawn Outdoors – something I was having a bit of trouble getting my head around – finally one giant leap for the weekend. Needless to say I left with quite a few more things for my to do list, but a very renewed sense of purpose and direction.

In terms of my missed ticks for the weekend, the Drama Queen and the Daredevil were a little under the weather for most of the weekend, so heading out and doing anything too strenuous was pretty much off the agenda, instead I decided to make a baby step start to the garden – I did say baby step!  Both of my little people love being out in the garden, so we did a bit of seed planting.  Not sure that we used the most horticulturally sound techniques, but we  had a heap of fun, and that’s what it’s all about.

The Drama Queen hard at work being supervised by the Daredevil

Finished pots, and the Drama Queen hard at work

the Daredevil tried his hardest, but had more fun trying to destroy the Drama Queen's hard work

What happened to the balloon? Well, the Drama Queen learnt the hard way what happens when you let a helium balloon go outoors.  Many tears later, we had a house full of balloons, and had learnt that it was no use crying over balloons that had flown away when we could put that energy into finding more balloons to play with – maybe a good lesson for us all!

And yes, I did have my glass of wine!


Searching for inspiration

11 May

So where does a design come from?  Is there a magic formula, is it trial and error or is it just luck?

For a lot of people it is a really difficult thing to come across.  They agonise over the right answer, and it constantly eludes them. The reason is there is no right answer.  Design is such a subjective thing, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  What works in one garden will be a disaster in another.  It all depends on the site, the surroundings and the personalities.  One and one doesn’t always equal the same thing in the design world.

Some people love energy and excitement and seeing something new around every corner, others love the elegance that can be found in pure, simple clean lines.  Me, I’m somewhere in between.

Where do I find inspiration and ideas for my designs?  The reality is that there really are very few completely original ideas in this world.  Every designer, whether they be an architect, an artist or an advertiser will draw inspiration from their peers.  They will always be searching for, and finding inspiration in the everyday and in the extraordinary.

I find inspiration from other landscape architects and designers, fashion, movies, books, art, nature and the list goes on and on.  Each garden will send me searching for a new set of fresh ideas.  Each holiday will bring me home with a new swag of inspiration.  But most importantly the inspirational search should start with the garden owners or users.  Who is going to love and nurture this new space?

I’ve started the search for inspiration for my garden, by trawling the photos on our hard drive – most of my travel photos are pre-digital camera and still in the between houses storage, so I’m itching to find the magic box to unleash the nostalgia trip, but until then…

Snowy Mountains National Park

Gorgeous home grown flowers from my baby shower

Sculpture Garden at The National Gallery in Canberra

Public art in Geelong - I love the whole collection of people along the waterfront in Geelong

Just a taste of what’s to come…

Hope you’re starting to be Drawn Outdoors!


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