The exotic vegetation that replaces indigenous plant communities in
urbanising regions, disassociates us from the rhythms and diversity
of the native landscape and a sense of the place; and we are the
poorer because of it.
Michael Hough, Professor of Landscape Architecture, York University, Canada.
Please check out my online nursery to see the diverse range of native plants I use in my landscapes...
I have greatly expanded the range of species available but please keep in mind that there are many Australian native species and cultivars that are not listed, particularly Grevillea cultivars.
If you are hankering for a species or a cultivar that I do not have listed then please email me with your request and I will see if I can get it for you.
Greg's irrigation controller
How would you like an irrigation controller for your ornamental and vegetable gardens with the following capabilities:
- Can potentially be controlled over the internet while at work or on holiday.
- Emails you when the clock battery needs replacing.
- Emails when the soil containing your precious plants has been dry for longer than the programmed time, and can optionally turn on that station automatically.
- Stores your program on an SD card so that, if power is lost, it simply boots up again, reads the propgram back from the SD card and continues on unhindered.
- Allows you to water your gardens daily, weekly or monthly and every 2 - 24 hours.
- Multiple user interfaces provided - web browser, MS Windows application over bluetooth, MS Windows application over wifi and android phone application over bluetooth.
- Allows you to individually suspend irrigation on stations between specified dates, e.g. over winter.
- Both 8 and 16 station versions of this irrigation controller are available.
- The electronic components come from China however the devices are put together in Melbourne, meaning Australian jobs for Australians.
The device is now available for sale.
Email me if you have any questions.
More details about these device is available here along with a user manual. I would welcome any suggestions you might have to improve my user manual - it is still a work in progress.
I have created an improved prototype - matrix board based but set out like a Printed Circuit Board (or PCB) with minimal loose wires.
Check out the web page interfaces to the device here:
Here they are - my professionally made Printed Circuit Boards or PCBs
They look terrific don't they!Still working on a suitable enclosure for it.
The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror,
The wide brown land for me!
A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.
Dorothea Mackellar, 1907
Thinking of a 'tree change'?
Then read this first.
Instant Turf Lawns
How many time over the years have you laid a lovelly new instant turf lawn only to see it turn to dust and weeds over a period of 2-3 years?
- There is a reason for this folks!
- Particularly in the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne, there just isn't enough average annual rainfall to sustain the couch and buffalo grass species that are used.
- These species have shallow root systems and originate from regions in other parts of the world with higher average rainfall.
- The 35 degree plus summer days take an additional heavy toll on these grass species.
- And they cope poorly with the heavy clay soils common throughout the northern and western suburbs.
- Einstein once said that the definition of madness is to keep repeating the same experiment and expect different results!
- This is a native lawn I sowed in June 2017:
- It is a mix of 'Oxley' Austrodanthonia geniculata and 'Griffin' Microlaena.
- The Austrodanthonia germinates and grows faster so you get an acceptable cover of grass in a relatively short time
- The Microlaena is slower to germinate and grow (at first) so this lawn is dominated by the Austrodanthonia at this time.
- There is some visible Microlaena to the left of the shadow - it has broader leaves.
- Pleasingly the relatively fast growing Austrodanthonia is doing a wonderful job at suppressing the broad leaf weeds and weedy grasses.
- These two species of native grasses blend well together and sometimes grow together in mixed grass communities.
- Native grasses have evolved over tens of thousands of years to cope with the low average rainfall, hot summers and heavy clay soils.
- Key among their adaptations are DEEP root system that penetrate 30cm or more down into the sub-soil where they can access moisture that remains there through hot summers.
- Indeed Bothriochloa macra, or Red Leg Grass, is known to have a 1.2m plus deep root system and is why this native grass species is often found growing quite happily n the driest and shittiest locations where not even Microlaena can survive.
- In short Melbournians, and Australians in general, must learn to stop attempting to change nature to suit their mindset on lawns......because this is a battle they can never win given how common degraded instant turf lawns are throughout the northern and western suburbs.
- They must learn to change their mindset to suit nature!
Chester Court, Epping
Tesselaar Road, Epping.
Tiling job in Epping:"Thanks greg. I will try it when i get back. You did a good job for me."
- The type of landscape that I love creating the most are natural ones that resemble Australia's natural landscapes. Here are two of my favourites:
- For short term weed control I use herbicides and thick layers of bush mulch.
- Unfortunately herbicides are a necessary evil given that most of us do not have that much spare time these days to devote to hand weeding.
- But my aim is always to minimise the their use as far as possible, and they are all biodegradable.
- A thick layer of bush mulch laid directly over the soil goes a long way to suppressing weeds and minimising herbicide usage for around 12 months until the ground cover plants get established and take over the weed suppression role.
- As you can see from the pond above, weeds have little chance of being able to grow through the dense covering of plants.
- The desert garden actually consists of a thick layer of bush mulch which I have then covered with terracotta tile 7mm minus.
- The bush mulch comes straight from the tree loppers that operate around the suburbs.
- It is usually quite fresh and the fact that it is actively 'cooking' when I lay it means that it creates a very hostile environment for weed seedlings.
- However it does need topping up every 1-2 years because it thins out as it cooks, and weeds eventually start establishing in the garden bed.
- This mulch is a completely sustainable product because there is never a shortage of trees throughout the suburbs that need to be lopped or removed and the 'mulch miles' are minimal.
- The mulch contains a mixture of both woody and green leafy material.
- The green leafy material in particular breaks down quickly, enriches the soil with nutrients and organic matter and encourages earth worms.
- All in all it is a terrific and cheap soil improver if you use it on your garden beds over a long period of time.
- Fresh bush mulch:
- Aged bush mulch:
- The convenient thing about this sort of mulch is
- Leaf debris etc. that blows into your garden from the street simply blends in with it.
- You can shred your garden waste and use the resulting mulch on your garden beds - it quickly bleaches in the sun and blends in.
- It is inexpensive and you can afford to lay it thickly.
- The problem with more formal gardens with decorative mulches is that leaf debris is very noticeable and spoils the look of the garden bed within weeks or months:
- The red desert garden and the natural pond above are informal, so any leaf debris that blows onto them blends in with their overall look - you would expect to see some plant debris in the desert or around a pond.
No Plastic Weed Mat
- I won't use plastic weed mat so please don't ask me.
- It simply does not stop weeds as well as a 5-10cm thick layer of tree mulch laid directly over the soil and maintained!
- And it's a completely avoidable form of plastic pollution.
- Unlike the herbicides I use, plastic is not biodegradable, will last for thousands of years and it will do greater and greater environmental harm as it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces which can be consumed by insects etc.
- Many weeds simply grow through the weave and then, when you hand weed, you end up tearing holes in the weed mat which allows even more weeds to grow.
- It prevents earth worms from incorporating organic matter from the mulch into the underlying soil.
- It reduces infiltration of rainfall into the underlying soil.
- It reduces aeration of the soil.
If you would like to learn a bit more about the environmental harm that plastics do then please click here.
- As well as a fully itemised quote I will prepare a landscape plan for you property detailing all aspects of the work I will carry out.
- This will take the form of a Microsoft Word document and will include:
- All the plant species.
- All soils, mulches and pebbles.
- All edging, retaining walls and paving materials, including construction details.
- Weed control methods and maintenance instructions.
Have you got possums in your roof?
They always seem to end up nesting in your wall cavities don't they!
Meaning that they prefer tight little nooks rather than your open roof space.
So instead of continually trying to get them out of your roof why don't you provide them with alternative accommodation they would no doubt prefer anyway.
Buy a couple of flat pack possum next boxes, assemble them and put them up in any convenient trees or even up under your eves.
The nest boxes have been designed by the Melbourne Wildlife Sanctuary according to the types of tree hollows that their research has shown that possums tend to favour.
Got drainage problems?
- Don't solve it the hard and expensive way with excavation, geotextiles, aggy pipe and gravel.
- Plants are the perfect 'water pumps' - they transpire.
- Transpiration is the process where by water, containing nutrients, is:
- Taken up by the roots from the soil.
- Drawn up through the microscopic tubes called xylem, that extend unbroken from the roots tips to the leaves, via capillary action.
- And then released from the leaves as water vapour.
- If you have a wet area near the house then plant it out with a variety of aquatic herbs like:
- If the wet area is a safe distance from any structure then plant it out with small gum trees - the soil under mature gum trees is always bone dry.
With a native lawn you can simply let the grass go to seed, mow and collect the clippings plus mature seed and then scatter the clippings plus seed where you need it.
Or just buy some new seed for a fraction of the cost of replacing artificial turf.
And you don't necessarily have to mow native lawns if you don't mind a 'meadow' rather than a lawn.
'Griffin' Microlaena stipoides
'Oxley' Austrodanthonia geniculata
Do you own acreage?
- If you own acreage in the City of Whittlesea municipality, or any adjacent municipalities, and have DEPI on your back about Serrated Tussock, Paterson Curse and/or other noxious weeds then I can help.
- For a reasonable hourly rate I can spot spray these for you.
- I have a current ACUP and 10 years experience in noxious weed control using a range of herbicides.
- Give me a call or email me.
- Why not incorporate some bush tucker plants into your garden?
- May of them a great looking ornamental plants and they produce something you can eat or cook with as well.
- Check these out:
1kg fresh quandongs
1kg caster sugar
Chop up the fruit and combine with sugar and water in a
large saucepan and put it over medium heat, stirring
constantly as it comes to the boil. Lower the heat so it
simmers. Cook until it reaches setting point (usually 45 minutes or so). Test by dropping a teaspoonful onto a cold saucer. Let
it cool, and when you push it with your finger, it should
Be careful not to overcook and caramelize the sugar as this will alter the colour and flavour of the jam.
Once its ready, pour into sterilized jars and seal. Should keep about a year unopened in the pantry, refrigerate once opened.
My tough guard dog Rocky...
Well he reckons he's tough anyway!
Download Video: "Rocky on slide"