Monday, 18 February 2013

Style notes: A bayside native garden

For this bayside gardener, a parched piece of earth became a labour of love....with stylish results.
The owner inherited a perished piece of lawn with the house five years ago.

She says there were also a couple of random tall trees which weren’t fabulous but provided shade at various points.

"The thing I liked best was the existing bluestone front fence - with its deep grey colour it was going to provide the perfect backdrop for my vision of a modern urban native garden,'' she says.

"I have always loved native plants, their variety of textures but especially their colours – from superb lime green grasses to that unique silver grey foliage of a towering banksia tree.''

Drawn to the features and colours of coastal design,  this was her starting point in deciding on the colours for this garden.

Her first job was designing a sort of coastal style walkway which would meander through the garden.

Inspired by the coastal walking tracks along the clifftops in bayside Melbourne, she got a contractor in to lay a path of compressed sand.

However that is where the outside help began and ended - she completed the rest by hand.

"I started with my grass garden first and used my local council’s indigenous nursery as a starting point, finding grasses unique to this part of Melbourne.

"I wanted to mix up the colours to provide contrast and interest, with a row of grasses lining the main path to the front door.

"The other parts of the garden needed to have more height and colour.

"I mixed correa, rows of westringia, grevillea in the most shocking lollypop pink and mini flowering gums. Later I filled out empty spaces with a native hibiscus and woolly bushes.

"Along the side fence I wanted a traditional hedge but using native trees and I chose coastal banksias,'' she says.

To complete the mix the owner has dotted some timber chairs and benches found by the side of the road along the path as places of respite, and added some birth baths as a water source.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

News and views: Jenny Macklin and her weekly budget.

So Australian Families Minister Jenny Macklin declares she can live on $35 a day when asked by a reporter if she could live on the level of welfare payments the Government will be paying single parents. Frankly it's hard to think of a more insulting aside to the many Australians struggling on this amount of money. And that's why her comments have caused such uproar. All I can say - as are many others - is that it is time for Jenny to stand up for what she says and actually try and live on that amount for a couple of weeks. Then she will be qualified to make a judgement call. It's interesting when you think about $35 and then think about what sort of costs as a family you incur on a typical day. Petrol, school lunches, dinner, bills, etc etc. And that doesn't even begin to account for all the little incidentals. Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt has cleverly put his hand up and declared he will give it a go and report back. Looking forward to hearing about his experiences.