Live from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Flowers for Everyone Senior Florist Extroadinaire Jeff Smith live from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

Flowers for Everyone’s Senior Florist Jeff Smith is one lucky man and the envy of many of our florist crew at the moment, jetting off to London for a stint at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Here is a little bit about the wonderful Jeff, his experience of the Show, and a few snaps to tantalise any flower lovers tastebuds!

Chelsea Flower Show

About Jeff Smith

Number of years working as a florist: Over 16 years

How would you describe your style?: Structured 

Is this your first time to the Chelsea Flower Show?: Yes…. it’s every florist’s dream (the biggest flower display!). 

Why did you decide to go to the Show?: I’m on a study tour with 11 students from Sydney TAFE (Jeff is a teacher there). The class got to assist Joseph Massie on his large display.

Check out the ‘before and after’ pics below:

 

What was your personal highlight/experience at the show?: Working with the amazing Joseph Massie (UK top designer). Also seeing plant material we don’t get to see in Australia. 

How many days would you recommend for visiting the show?: One day, but a full day. (Tickets are about £100 each)

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Here are some more pictorial highlights from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Enjoy!   

Chelsea Flower Show 8

 

Chelsea Flower Show 9

 

 

Chelsea Flower ShowChelsea Flower Show 3Win a Copy of ‘A Year in Flowers’ Book by UK stylist and florist to the royal family, Shane Connolly (RRP $80). Enter our survey now to go into the draw.

chelsea flower showChelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show

Visiting Tulip Farms in Holland

It may not an obvious ‘must do’ on every Australian’s bucket list, but even if you are not a mad flower enthusiast it is hard to dismiss a visit to the beautiful tulip fields and gardens when visiting Holland. But to appreciate the tulips  in all their flowering glory, it is all in the timing.

Beautiful Dutch Tulips – When to Visit?

From mid-March to the end of May, tulips transform large parts of Holland into a colorful patchwork that ignites a passion for photography you may not have realised you had.

However, to witness tulips in bloom in their peak season, it is recommended to time your visit for mid to late April. This is when tulips are usually prolifically blossoming.

tulip fields in holland

If this timing doesn’t fit your travel itinerary, then it is not the end of the world! Bulb flowering beauties other than tulips also grow extremely well in Holland. The end of March is when the crocus season starts. The daffodils and early and small tulips are next, from the beginning of April. From mid-April the daffodils and the hyacinths bloom.

tulip gardens in holland

Where to Go?

The best-known bulb fields are located behind the North Sea dunes, between the cities of Leiden and Den Helder. Other bulb fields, just as lovely, are situated near Enkhuizen (Bovenkarspel, Andijk) and in the province of Flevoland (Noordoost Polder, Oostelijk Flevoland). Walking, cycling and car routes are available from the local tourist information offices in the bulb field regions.

Keukenhof in Lisse is covered by over 7000 bulbs in the spring and is one of the best places to get a good look at many different varieties of tulip, and go a bit snap-happy.

tulips in holland

At the end of the day, all you really need to do is take the train or bike through the countryside to see the tulips growing and blooming in field after field.

keukenhoftulipgardens11

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Sources

1. http://www.holland.com/us/tourism/article/tulip-season-in-holland.htm

2. http://www.holland.com/us/tourism/regions/flower-fields.htm

 

Violets: Grow, Decorate, Drink

GROW

Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have to abandon all gardening until spring. The next time you wake up on the weekend to a brilliant blue sky sunny winter’s day, get outside in the fresh air and plant violets into your garden.

Australian Native Violets in particular are known to be extremely reliable and compact groundcovers. Growing primarily on the east coast of Australia, they like sheltered areas where there is moisture. Forming a sprawling, mat-like groundcover approximately 100mm high, their luscious, bright green foliage and vigorous growth rate is perfect for rapidly filling bare spots in the garden (eg. between stepping stones).

Viola-hederacea-Native-Violet-1013

You can also trail it down rock faces and walls for a dramatic effect.

Viola-hederaceae-spillover

What is the difference between violets, pansies and violas?

Pansies and violets both belong to the genus Viola. They share many similarities, but there are some clear differences to help define between the two.

1. Pansies have a more compact growth than violets.

2. Pansy flowers are usually larger, with distinct markings (or blotches) that can look like a face.

3. Note the flower petals – pansies have four petals that point upward and one that points downward; violets have three petals that point upward and two that point downward. (1)

DECORATE

Not only do violets provide fabulous ground cover during winter and flower profusely in the spring and summer, their dainty blue, deep purple, and mauve heads (and equally lovely leaves) also look super sweet in a teeny vase on your bedside table or bathroom.

DRINK

Fans of Masterchef will be quite familiar with the use of little violets as edible garnish in the culinary world. In addition to flowers ‘prettying up’ plates, you can also use them for flavouring and in beverages. Take a look at this rather delightful idea below for violet syrup.

violet syrup

Sweet Violet Syrup

Violet syrup is fabulous added to icings and butter cream for cakes, and is wonderful when used in beverages too. Only a small amount is needed to add to sparkling wine or lemonade for a delectable and elegant drink. Or why not try adding the syrup to homemade French macaroons or use to make violet ice cream?

All you need to make violet syrup is:

•40 to 50g Sweet violets (about 3 to 4 handfuls)
•150ml Boiling water
•300g White caster sugar

Click here to view recipe.

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Sources and Photo Credits

1. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/differences-between-pansies-violets-58561.html

2. http://www.secretgardens.com.au/plant-selections/plant-of-the-month-native-violet/

3. http://ideas.homelife.com.au/media/article-steps/3/0/321-1_asl.jpg

4. http://plant.daleysfruit.com.au/trees/m/Viola-hederacea-Native-Violet-1013.jpeg

5. http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5230/5634254145_970e19107c.jpg

6. http://flypapertextures.com/wp-content/uploads/violets-after.jpg

All you Need to Know about Pruning Roses

Did you know July is the month for pruning your roses? Okay, there are some exceptions. If you love growing roses and want to know more about when and how you go about pruning roses, read on!

Exceptions

1. It is not advised to go pruning roses in July if your roses usually have one single massed flowering in spring. These types of roses often include old-fashioned roses and most climbing roses. In this instance you should wait until after they have finished flowering, then cut them back.

2. In cold districts, it is often better to wait until around early August to prune, when there is less risk of new growth being damaged by frost.

Why Prune? Roses respond really well to a prune. Pruning stimulates new growth, plus it also tidies them up. Roses can look a bit shabby otherwise!

Techniques and Tools for Pruning Roses

  • Good quality gardening gloves to protect your hands from thorns.
  • Clean, sharp secateurs.
  • Small saw with a narrow blade that curves slightly (easier to manoeuvre inside the bush).
  • Lime sulphur (eg. Yates) and a good sprayer to apply.

pruning-tools

Parts to Prune

  • Cut out weak, spindly, criss-crossing or dead stems.
  • If established, consider removing some of the oldest stems, sawing the old, dark brown stems off cleanly at their base.

pruning roses

  • Remove remaining stems back to a few buds above where last year’s growth began. The topmost bud that remains after pruning should be facing afterwards.

how-to-prune-a-shrub-royal-gardens-landscaping

Stand back and assess. Does the remaining wood seem healthy and vigorous? Is the centre of the bush nice and open so that the sun and air can get right into it?

Completing the Job

Spray the whole roses and the soil beneath the bush with lime sulphur. This helps to remove rose scale from stems and destroy fungal spores lingering in the soil. A good layer of organic mulch over the root area is also a good idea, but don’t let it come into direct contact with the rose’s trunk.

In warm climates, before applying the mulch, spread some Dynamic Lifter Advanced for Roses or some Thrive Granular Rose Food. However, in frosty areas, it’s best to wait until the last frosts are over before feeding the roses.

Read more at http://www.yates.com.au/roses/tips/pruning-roses/#5EQ8uhi9eCRDA0aZ.99

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Sources and Photo Credits

http://www.yates.com.au/roses/tips/pruning-roses/#owvTlfaStpMSGKeC.97

http://royalgardenslandscaping.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/how-to-prune-a-shrub-royal-gardens-landscaping.gif

Winter Flowers for Garden Edging

It’s easy to get inspired by the unfolding colours and wild growth spurts that the warmer months of spring and summer bring. Gardeners love nothing more than getting their hands dirty and planting up a storm while the sun shines. But as autumn falls into winter our gardens can look a bit sad and drab. More often than not, those warmth loving shrubs and flowers we dug into the earth during spring go dormant during the cooler months.

So what to do during our relatively mild Australian winter months to keep the garden gorgeous? Check out our list of winter flowers for garden edging below and make your garden shine through the cold grey months.

Pansies

Pansies can be planted into the ground or pots and hanging baskets to add colour to your winter garden. Their pretty little heads do love a nice sunny spot to warm themselves during the cooler months, but as the weather warms up over spring and summer these ladies prefer light shade to keep them happy. Pansy seedlings need to be planted in autumn to enjoy their flowers over the winter and spring, and love a regular liquid feed. To keep pansies blooming as long as possible, pick the flowers or deadhead them.

pansies

Lavender

Lavender is known to flower prolifically in winter. The trick to ensuring your lavender blooms regularly is to give them a really good prune twice a year (after flowering) and then fertilise. And when we say ‘good prune’, we mean it. Don’t be afraid to really get in there and cut their stems right back, as they will spring back quickly! Plus they love sunny, open positions – so if your lavender is not thriving consider moving it to a different spot in the garden.

Winter Rose (Helleborus)

Helleborus

Once you start growing Helleborus you will develop a life long love for this low and leafy ground cover. Not only is their foliage beautiful in vase arrangements, but their pretty, delicate flowers make great picked flowers as well. Their spotted markings and range of colours from pale green to white, dusty pink to deep crimson are so unique it is hard to decide which one is your favourite! According to Homelife.com, these beauties love ‘light-dappled shade and are perfect for planting under deciduous trees such as magnolias, crepe myrtles and maples, where winter sunshine will encourage more flowers and the summery canopy will protect them from too much heat’. (1)

Paper Daisy

A winter-flowering native, the paper daisy (or Rhodanthe paper star) boasts thousands of star-shaped papery white flowers with yellow centres and a lovely blue-grey foliage. Growing up to 50cm in height, they look particularly fabulous planted close together, and love to spill over walls and cover the ground.

Primrose & Polyanthus

Polyanthus

fairy_primrose

Both Polyanthus and primroses are a variety of the Primula, and look fabulous planted in troughs and pots in the garden to add a splash of floral colour to your winter landscape. In addition to white Polyanthus, these 20cm high yellow centred lovelies come in a variety of strong colours including bright red, yellow and pink. Fairy primroses (or Primula obconica) on the other hand, are annuals that produce fluffy clusters of soft, lacy flowers in white, pink, lavender and magenta from winter to spring. Both love plenty of sunshine and a good seaweed fertiliser.

Miniature Cyclamen

miniature cyclamen

Not to be confused with the larger cyclamen plants we deliver as gifts, the miniature Cyclamen grows beautifully beneath deciduous trees (camellia and Buddleia are great), and surprise you in autumn as their little mottled leaves peak out from the earth after a long dormant summer hiding beneath the surface having a well-deserved rest. The pretty miniature cyclamen creates a beautiful petal carpet of white, pink, mauve and red blooms.

Lily of the Valley Shrub

pieris-japonica-katsura

Lily of the Valley shrub (or Pieris japonica) is an evergreen Japanese shrub that prefers cooler climates and flourishes under the shade of trees. It’s dainty bell-shaped little flower tassels come in an ivory and blush pink and are particularly popular in bridal bouquets.

Luculia

luculia-gratissima

This rosy pink, slender-tubed flower with a super pretty name not only has a beautiful perfume but makes a great picked flower for the house (make sure to give their woody stems a good crush before putting into a vase so they can drink the water). Growing to three metres it prefers its roots cool and its top warm.

If only you knew this soon enough to plant in time for a winter show yes? Many of these plants need to go into the earth during autumn. Here’s a handy website that provides a planting guide for some of these winter blooms: http://flowerpower.com.au/information/garden-diary/autumn-time-to-buy-now-sow-and-plant-guide/. Alternatively bookmark this blog article for reference when you visit your favourite plant nursery next autumn!

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Sources & Credits

http://www.homelife.com.au/gardening/features/winters+flowers,4350

http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/fact-sheets/in-the-garden/flowering-plants-shrubs/pansies/#.VXYxpRHqHug

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4133/5011618539_bafab4e029_b.jpg

 

Sweet Peas for St Patrick

“In 1699 a Sicilian monk called Franciscus Cupani sent seeds of the local wild sweet pea to his friend, English schoolmaster Dr Robert Uvedale. This was the beginning of a love affair between gardeners and sweet peas that continues to this day”. (1)

pink sweet peas in vintage can   sweet peas in mason jar

Over the centuries sweet peas have been crossed and hybridised to create a wide range of shapes and colours, yet at a cost to the strong perfume sweet peas exude.

If you want to grow the `authentic` sweet pea as nature first designed them, look for the `Original Sweet Pea` seeds by Yates. A small, bi-coloured flower with an intoxicatingly strong scent, this darling sweet pea is truly special and brings back memories of grandma`s garden 🙂

HOW TO GROW SWEET PEAS

WHEN TO PLANT?

Sweet pea seeds should ideally be sown in Australia on St Patrick`s Day (March 17). Not law mind you, but a good guide to follow! Essentially February, March and April are the months to plant.

If you live in hotter climates, waiting until April or May when the soil has cooled down may be wise. Seed packets are available at your local nursery or garden centre from late summer. Seedlings are available from mid autumn.

sweet peas    sweet peas on trellis

WHERE TO PLANT?

Sweet peas like sunny positions (a good six hours of sun) with good drainage. Most varieties require some support for climbing, and prefer an east-west orientation to get as much sun as possible.

Before sowing, add some complete fertiliser to the garden bed, and in the majority of areas a small amount of dolomite lime (a soil pH test of pH6 is pretty close to ideal, if it is was pH5, you would be adding dolomite). Water the soil well the day before planting and sow in a moist bed, 20cm apart and 2cm deep. Try to avoid watering again until the seedlings have emerged. When young seedlings appear, poke some little sticks int he ground to help guide them to their climbing support.

purple sweet pea trellis  purple sweet peas

WHEN TO PICK?

Sweet peas grow and flower during winter and are picked in spring. It is lovely to enjoy the colour and fragrance of sweet peas growing in your garden, but if pods are allowed to form it sends a signal to the plant to stop flowering. So once flowering, pick and enjoy! Picking early in the morning for the best perfume.

Once they have finished flowering, dig the spent plants into the soil where they will add extra goodness.

Note: Sweet peas can suffer from powdering mildew fungus, so use a Rose Gun Advanced to control both fungus, as well as insect pests and mites.

vase of sweet peas     old fashioned sweet peas   pastel sweet peas

VARIEITIES OF SWEET PEAS

Yates has two new sweet peas – Pink Diana and May Gibbs Sweet Pea Fairy – in its range this autumn. The former is a long-stemmed, fragrant pink and the latter a ground-covering, pink and white bicolour.

The most popular Yates sweet pea is Colourcade, a cheery blend of mixed colours. It blooms early in the season, thus avoiding any late spring hot spells. Bijou is a popular, low-growing (to 60cm) variety that suits smaller gardens. Pixie Princess is a tiny sweet pea that doesn’t need support and looks at its best in an attractive container. There are many other sweet pea varieties available in the Yates range so it’s worth checking out the autumn seed stands.

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Sources

1. http://www.yates.com.au/autumn/tips/autumn-is-sweet-pea-season/

2. http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1329106.htm

3. http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/fact-sheets/in-the-garden/flowering-plants-shrubs/sweet-pea/#.VPjzT5X9nug

4. https://www.pinterest.com/ffeaus/sweet-sweet-peas/

 

Spring Flower Festivals in Australia 2015

If you love gardening and flowers, or simply like a good excuse to get away to the countryside for a weekend, we recommend noting this list of spring flower festivals in Australia on your ‘to do’ list or calendar for the year.

NEW SOUTH WALES – ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY…

The Bowral Tulip Time Festival

15 September – 27 September 2015

If you adore tulips and gardens in general, a country escape to celebrate the Bowral Tulip Time Festival is a smashing idea! This year the Festival will be celebrating its 55th year, aligning with the colour ‘Hot Pink’ and the theme of ‘Mother Nature’. They are also partnering with The Garvan Research Foundation and aligning with the ‘Love your Sister’ campaign, a great cause to support.

The event features planting of up to 100,000 tulip bulbs, centred on Corbett Gardens, in addition to a large number of Open Gardens to visit. Over the duration of the festival, the Southern Highlands will come alive and bloom with colourful activities, offering a multitude of interactive experiences for everyone, from the young visitor to the young at heart, including a Street Parade, Street Markets, Dogs Day Out, Music in the Gardens and children’s entertainment.

bowral tulip time festival

Berry Gardens Festival

Thursday 08 October 2015 to  Sunday 11 October 2015

There is so much to see and do in this scenic part of the Shoalhaven. Why not plan ahead for a special weekend at a beautiful time of the year, when the beach crowds are not there and the countryside and its flowers are at their most bounteous? Berry Gardens Festival offers garden and flower enthusiasts the opportunity to explore eight beautiful open gardens in Berry and surrounds. The gardens are selected for their design, plant varieties and creativity. From vast rural landscapes to small cottage gardens in the town, there is always something new and inspiring to see.

The Festival also raises thousands of dollars for local charities and not-for-profit organisations every year.

Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival)

Saturday 27th September 2015

The Cowra Japanese Garden holds an annual Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) with many exciting cultural experiences to demonstrate the traditional Japanese way of life. Sakura Matsuri is a much loved event in the Cowra cultural calendar. It is a time when the natural beauty of spring and the simple elegance of centuries-old traditional Japanese culture combine in the unique Australian setting of the Cowra Japanese Garden.

Now in its 25th year, Sakura Matsuri has developed into a showcase of Japanese arts, crafts and cultural activities, culminating with a Family Fun Day. Be part of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, learn the secrets of Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), calligraphy or bonsai, enjoy beautiful kite flying, watch the skills of the martial art experts or see real Sumo wrestlers in action.

Cowra Cherry Blossom Festival

Leura Gardens Festival
The gardens of Leura, situated in the Blue Mountains 100 km’s west of Sydney are famous for their magnificent displays of azaleas, rhododendrons, dogwoods and camellias, as well as flowering annuals, perennials and bulbs. The blaze of springtime colour in the gardens attracts visitors from all parts of Australia and overseas. There are big gardens and small gardens in the Festival and each garden has its own distinctive character. Plus who wouldn’t want an excuse to spend a weekend in a cosy B&B in the Blue Mountains?
leura garden festival

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY – THE FAMOUS FLORIADE…

The Floriade Flower Festival

12 September – 11 October 2015

The Floriade flower festival in Canberra is an annual festival brimming with the scents, sounds and sights of the Canberra spring. Held over a month, each year revolves around a different theme translated into the floral displays of that particular year, including vast expanses of flowering bulbs and various other blooming plants in parkland beside the waters of Lake Burley Griffin. And entrance is free!

Floriade also holds ‘Nightfest’ over five nights, where you can see the Festival transformed into an illuminated wonderland after dark. The ticketed twilight event is now in its eighth consecutive year, featuring stellar light shows, live music, comedy and DJs. Whether you would prefer to spend your evening wandering through the night markets or chilling out with a cocktail while listening to some smooth tunes, this moonlit extravaganza has something for you.

Floriade

nightfest

WESTERN AUSTRALIA – A NATIVE EXTRAVAGANZA…

Kings Park Festival

1 – 30 September 2015

Formerly known as Perth’s Wildflower Festival, the Kings Park Festival is a springtime celebration at Kings Park and Botanic Garden. The festival is themed with special and interactive events and spectacular displays of Western Australia wildflowers.

QUEENSLAND – MOUNTAIN FLOWER FESTIVAL

Carnival of Flowers

Friday 18 September – Sunday 27 September 2015

Nicknamed The Garden City, Toowoomba is a farming and garden mountain community that celebrates its Carnival of Flowers in September over a 10 day period. The Festival includes a Grand Central Floral Parade and the Flower, Food and Wine Festival in Queens Park. Celebrations, competitions and community events take place throughout the carnival.

VICTORIA – THE GARDEN STATE…

Bathurst Spring Garden Festival

Saturday 31st October – Sunday 1st November 2015

The Bathurst Spring Garden Spectacular offers 11 spring gardens in and around Bathurst to tour, from formal town gardens to historic and large country gardens. Proceeds go to local charities.

Renmark’s Rose Festival

16th October – 25th October 2015

If you’re a rose or garden lover you will thoroughly enjoy a visit to Renmark in October for their annual 10 day long Rose Festival. The festival includes activities, displays and demonstrations that will enthuse and delight those who appreciate natures’ beauty.

Renmark is also the home of Ruston’s Rose Garden which houses the National Rose Collection and has 27 acres planted out to roses and ornamentals.

renmark rose festival

Tesselaar Tulip Festival

10th September 2015 – 6th October 2015

Visitors will be spellbound by the majesty of over half a million tulips on display at the Tesselaar Tulip Festival. Tulips are undoubtedly the stars of the show at the Tesselaar Tulip Farm but you will also discover so much more with live entertainment, market stalls and tempting foods. Close to Melbourne, through the enchanted forests of Mount Dandenong, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival (The Tulip Farm) is situated in the hills of Silvan. Tie it in with a weekend jaunt wine tasting in the Yarra Valley!

 tesselaar tulip festival

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Paul Bangay Private Garden Tours 2015

Attention avid gardeners, passionate horticulturists and designers. Paul Bangay, currently regarded as Australia’s most celebrated garden designer, has released 2015 private tour dates of his personal garden Stonefields, one of the most iconic gardens in the country.

Paul has designed more than 2100 gardens around the world, including New York, St Tropez, Positano, Jamaica, New Zealand and The Cook Islands. Stonefields is his personal ‘patch of paradise’ in rural Victoria and has been his labour of love for the last eight years.

“In that time he has placed his signature style of precise clipped hedges, oak-lined driveways, symmetrical parterre plantings and carefully manicured lawns and water features on what was previously a vacant paddock of nearly 20 hectares”. (1)

Paul Bangay Stonefields Garden

Paul Bangay Stonefields

2015 PRIVATE TOURS

Paul’s exclusive tours are held in each season and include morning tea, where you have the opportunity to chat one-on-one with Paul about his garden design feats, failures, and grand successes. His most recent publication, ‘The Gardens of Stonefield’ is also available for purchase and signing on the day.

You can book either as an individual or small group, with numbers limited to 30 – 40 people to ensure a personalised experience.

The cost is $220 per person and bookings for the below dates can be made online.

Friday 13th February 2015 – 10.30am

Friday 15th May – 10.30 am

Friday 2nd October – 10.30 am

Friday 20th November – 10.30 am

IMG_1235

Paul Bangay

 

ABOUT PAUL BANGAY

Paul Bangay’s garden designs are internationally renowned for timeless elegance and classic simplicity. His extensive list of projects span private and public commissions in Australia and New Zealand, as well as further afield in Europe, North America and the West Indies. His distinctive approach has been featured in countless publications and he is a sought-after guest on gardening and lifestyle programs. Paul has published nine garden books including The Defined Garden (1996) and The Garden at Stonefields (2013).

Learn more about Paul here.

the-garden-at-stonefields-cover

STONEFIELDS ‘THE FARMHOUSE’

As an alternative (or addition to) a private garden tour, you also have the option of booking to stay at The Farm House at Stonefields, and wander Paul’s gardens at your own leisure.

Located an hour and 20 minutes North East of Melbourne, halfway between Kyneton and Daylesford, The Farm House at Stonefields is a labour of love for Paul Bangay.

The Farm House is set 100 metres from the Main House and garden at Stonefields, Paul’s country residence, and is surrounded by two large paddocks where Paul’s herd of rare breed British White cattle freely roam.

Paul Bangay

Paul Bangay Stonefields Garden

The Farm House boasts four bedrooms, two with an ensuite, a large sitting room complete with wood fire heater, open-plan kitchen and generous – yet inviting – dining room.

Chic and comfortable by design, The Farm House is surrounded by French doors, and each room looks out onto either vast swathes of flowering perennials or cascading groves of crab apples, fruit trees and the large vegetable garden.

The Farm House next to Stonefields has allowed Paul to invite guests to enjoy a walk around Stonefields iconic main garden during their stay. This once in a lifetime opportunity – for the weary traveller, garden aficionado and day-tripper alike – offers a glimpse into the magic and majesty of Paul’s design.

Rates and reservations can be found here.

Paul Bangay

Paul Bangay

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Sources:

Attract Butterflies into your Garden

You can’t beat lying on a hammock in the garden with gazillions of butterflies fluttering around you. Create your own butterfly garden and start attracting these flitting, flapping beauties into your yard.

HOW TO ATTRACT BUTTERFLIES

According to Better Homes & Gardens, you want a sunny spot, nectar-rich flowers, a little garden ‘chaos’ and a mud puddle. Yes, a mud puddle! Who would have thought pretty butterflies would be attracted to mud!

SUNSHINE & BUTTERFLIES

When planting butterfly friendly gardens, do so in a sunny spot that offers protection from the wind. Butterflies use the early morning sun to warm themselves and retreat to cooler, shadier places during the heat of the day. Okay, they like moisture too – see below under ‘Mud Puddles’ for how to simulate this environment!

Butterflies and Lavendar

CONSIDER COLOUR

Create a butterfly garden by planting colourful beds en-masse, particularly in blue, yellow and red. Some research suggests grouping plants together according to colour, creating ‘big colourful clusters that butterflies just can’t resist’ (3).

BUTTERFLY FRIENDLY PLANTS

Choose nectar-rich flowers to create a butterfly meadow (they particularly like tubular or ‘long’ flowers to pollinate). Different species of butterflies are attracted to particular plants, so it would pay to determine what butterflies are native to your area before designing your garden.

Butterflies and Grevillia     Butterflies and Daisies

Here are a list of some butterfly favourites:

  • Bottlebrush
  • Buddleia
  • Daisies
  • Grevillia
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Lavendar
  • Meleleuca
  • Marigold
  • Alyssum
  • Flannel Flower
  • Rice Flower
  • Sunflowers
  • Verbena
  • Helioptrope
  • Banksia
  • Wattles (including Silver, Black Wattle & Blackwood)
  • Eucalypt
  • Tea Trees
  • Clematis
  • Purple Coral Pea
  • Running Postman
  • Native Violet
  • And just about all wildflowers, check with your local nursery on what they suggest for your area!

*Lantana may be extremely popular for butterflies but is an obnoxious pest in Australia and best to avoid planting.

Butterfly and Buddleia

FEED THE CATERPILLARS!

Ask at your local nursery or do a bit of visual/online research into what butterflies are native to your area. Find out what their caterpillars look like and what their favourite plants are. Apparently caterpillars are quite fussy. You need to ensure they have an appealing diet to munch on! Yes, your leaves are going to be munched but the pay off is worth it…

Caterpillar favourites include:

Shrubs & Trees – Wattles (Acacia sp.), Bush Peas (Pultenaea sp.), Purple Fan Flower (Scaevola sp.);

GrassesLomandra sp., Poa sp. (including australis, tenera, labillardieri,) and sedges like Gahnia sp. and Carex sp; and;

Ground Covers – Purple Coral Pea (Hardenbergia violacea), Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata).

ATTRACT LARVAE

Your butterfly garden just became even more gorgeous – attract larvae and provide shelter with the likes of Crepe Myrtle; Citrus; Paper Daisies; Kangaroo Grass; Cotton Bushes; Sassafras; Snapdragons; and Native Violets. It is dependent though on the variety of butterflies native to your area as to which they will prefer to lay their eggs on.

Butterfly Garden   butterfly garden

GO ORGANIC

Avoid poisonous pesticides and products containing Bacillus thuringiensis – use organic pest control methods instead.

CREATE CHAOS

Butterflies love a bit of chaos so ‘untame’ your butterfly garden and create a more wild and carefree environment… a little bit like butterflies themselves.

PROVIDE A MUD PUDDLE

Pretty butterflies are attracted to pretty flowers and…mud puddles. Try placing a shallow dish of muddy water in a sunny spot or alternatively dig a couple of small, shallow depressions in the dirt and periodically fill them up with water. When butterflies gather in mud puddles it is actually called ‘puddling’. They land there to suck water out of the soil, which is why it often happens ‘en masse’, creating a visual display to behold! Add a couple of flattish rocks aka sun loungers into your butterfly garden so they can land and sun themselves too. A bit like a Club Med for butterflies 🙂

butterfly mud puddle

MAKE A DIY BUTTERFLY FEEDER

Offer an alternative butterfly food source, particularly if you are not in a position to go planting a designer butterfly garden. There are lots of websites that give instructions on how to set up – it is very easy to do and a fun weekend project to do with the family.

Butterfly Feeder

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Sources:

Better Homes and Gardens February 2001

http://www.zoo.org.au/sites/default/files/10-steps-butterfly-gardening-zoo-highlights_1.pdf

http://www.sgaonline.org.au/butterflies/

Photo Credits:

http://www.pinterest.com/ffeaus/butterfly-garden/

 

 

 

Spring Hill Peony Farm

Every year the Spring Hill Peony Farm in country Victoria host a picnic and open paddock day.

Punters from all over descend on this beautiful property, less than two hours drive north west of Melbourne, paying a small admission into the paddock to pick a giant bunch of peonies. A mix of Melbourne hipsters and country hipsters, Asian tourists, families and Maggie Beer-esque ladies swinging baskets on their arms, tramp along a picturesque trail under ancient gums, to a field of peony roses blooming in white and every shade of pink.

 

charlotte in the peony farm

peony farm

peony flower fairy

peony flowers

the flower fairy

Heading back from the paddock laden down with peony roses, the rest of the day can be spent lounging on the grass under the gums, listening to music, sipping wine and enjoying a picnic. To add to the overall beauty of the scene, is ‘The Little Church’, a quaint old white weatherboard church used for weddings, creating a backdrop filled with rustic charm and character.

spring hill peony farm

sprng hill peony farm picnic

spring hill peony farm

the little church at spring hill

little church at spring hill peony farm
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Peonies

Stunning peonies are not only an extremely sought after, super popular flower (brides love them!), they are only around for a short time each year (late spring to early summer) which makes them extra, extra special. If you are ever planning a visit to Melbourne in November, we highly recommend hiring a car and timing a trip around the Spring Hill Peony Farm Annual Picnic and Open Paddock Day.

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