Violets: Grow, Decorate, Drink


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).


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


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)


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.


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







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


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


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.



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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XMAS CURATED: Xmas Gift Ideas We Love!

We are well and truly into the advent calendar now folks! So for a little inspiration we have curated our favourite Xmas gift ideas into the most fabulous combinations at equally fabulous prices, so you don’t have to work out what goes great with what. All of the below are available for Sydney delivery right up until Xmas Eve…



‘The Vixen’ is one of our most popular flower arrangements for Xmas. Starring rich burgundy lilies, creamy roses, festive berries and fresh evergreen, this gorgeous gift also comes with a free ECOYA Mini Metro candle. Order now for Christmas!    Ecoya Mini Metro Candle


Perfect for blokes (who like dark chocolate!) – The hardy bromeliad can be enjoyed as either an indoor or outdoor plant, and is perfect for a balcony or modern apartment. And our rusty tool kit chocolate box? Well, this little number is handmade in Tuscany by maître chocolatier Andrea Slitti, and flown directly to our head office in Sydney. These are special chocolates. Quality, Italian made, 60% cacao dark chocolate to be exact. And in the shape of tools, which in itself is quite quirky 🙂 Order now for Christmas!

Rusty Tools Chocolatebromiliad-plant-xmas

UNDER $100


Spruce up a friend, partner, relative or employee’s Sydney apartment this Christmas with our miniature fir Xmas trees and your choice of either a ‘Warm Bonfire Nights’ or ‘Fresh Pine Needle’s ECOYA Xmas candles. With an 80 hour burn time, these beautiful quality candles offer maximum enjoyment and are the perfect complement to a little Xmas tree in a summery seagrass basket! Order now for Christmas!

mini fur xmas tree

warm bonfire nights


This is an ideal gift for mum (or the mother in law). Let’s face it – what mum doesn’t like getting spoilt and how often does mum get sent flowers? Our sweet Vanilla Cream flower arrangement is presented in a stylish chevron-print basket and features seasonal blooms including classic roses and gerbera daisies. Add to this an Xmas ECOYA gift containing your choice of French Pear or Lotus Flower scented hand cream and candle, and mum has all the elements required for relaxing and pampering over the holiday season. Order now for Christmas!white xmas flowers          Ecoya Xmas

UNDER $155


A handy, rustic wooden crate starring a large flowering hydrangea plant, Italian chocolate ‘tortina’  handmade in Tuscany by maître chocolatier Andrea Slitti, and a bottle of Chandon bubbly. The fantastic three – flowers, chocolate and sparkling wine. Love, love, love! Order now for Christmas!

white hydrangea

Nocciole Chocolatechandon

UNDER $185


Twenty stems of beautiful snowy white roses and berries in a ‘Parisian’ pot is the perfect match for an ECOYA Xmas gift box containing a scented Madison jar candle (80 hour burn), mini metro candle and reed diffuser (available in French Pear or Lotus Flower). Stylish and a little decadent! Order now for Christmas! *Please note: The picture featured below is based on ten rose stems, this offer uses twenty.

White Xmas

Ecoya Xmas



A spectacular ‘long and low’ table arrangement starring rich red and creamy roses, perfumed white oriental lilies, orchid blooms and berries. The ultimate festive flower arrangement to add colour and beauty to the home over Christmas. Plus a decadent bottle of Moet Champagne to fill everyone’s glasses with for a Xmas toast. Beautiful bubbles and blooms, you can’t go wrong. Order now for Christmas!

xmas flowers


How does a rustic re-usable wooden crate filled with tropical mangos and a bottle of Moet Champagne sound for Xmas? Good yes? Now add a Xmas fir tree (90cm) in a summery seagrass basket and you are really on fire. Fresh fruit for the holidays, bubbles for Christmas lunch and a cute fir tree to spruce up the abode. Order now for Christmas!

mango and moet

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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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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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