open gardens for stephanie alexander foundation

Our good friend Paul Bangay is opening his Stonefields country property on from November 19-20 to support the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation.

Paul has created a magical seven acre garden in Denver, Victoria. It is home to beautiful perennial gardens, walled gardens, woodland gardens, rose gardens, veggie gardens and so much more. Spring is a beautiful time to visit gardens and an opportunity to visit one of Australia’s best is a must.

Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden Foundation is  a great organisation that encourages children to learn about fruit and veg and cooking. The results are amazing and life changing for the kids involved. Have a look on their website for further details.

Paul has also launched a new book: Paul Bangay’s Guide to Plants. It’s a great book for anyone that needs a little guidance or inspiration as Paul details his favourite plants for all aspects.

Paul Bangay StonefieldsPaul Bangay StonefieldsStephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden FoundationPaul Bangay StonefieldsPaul Bangay StonefieldsPaul Bangay Stonefields


flavour filled easy veggies

Being a country lad I love getting my hands dirty and getting into the garden. So recently, to get my garden fix, we invested in some great veggie crates from the Little Veggie Patch Co.

Based in Melbourne, the Little Veggie Patch Co was set up by Matthew Pemper and Fabian Capomolla in 2008. The guys are working on the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation which is a fantastic initiative to encourage kids to get outside and into the garden. And they’ve also just launched a great simple veggie garden book, how to grow food in small spaces.

So, the veggie crates arrived a few weeks later filled with beautiful, rich, manure filled soil. We decided to keep it simple first time round and planted them out with beetroot, tomatoes, sweet corn and strawberries. All I can say is how easy and fulfilling the whole process was and still is. Every morning I take a look to see if any new strawberries are emerging and the tomatoes are just appearing. Take a look at pictures (a little proud….maybe)

However, the most rewarding part is showing all the little kids that pop in to the showroom what a strawberry or tomato looks like before it ends up in that awful supermarket plastic packaging. I was amazed one day to be asked by a little boy what the strawberry was attached to the plant and sitting on the soil!

So grab your kids and get outside! In your garden, courtyard or balcony there is always space to grow a little something. I’m glad my Mum made me do it many years ago, cheers Mum!

Eco Outdoor Brookvale ShowroomEco OUtdoor Brookvale Showroom The Little Veggie Patch Co

interview with matt leacy

Matt Leacy from ‘Land Art Landscapes‘ will be our first Spring expert appearing in the Brookvale showroom this Saturday, so make sure you’ve put aside some time to come in and say hi!

Here’s a little bit from the man himself…

Describe your style. My style is quite eclectic and varies depending on both the client and the site. Each site is always different and poses different challenges and opportunities; likewise, each client has a different style sensibility so my approach for each garden is pretty unique. I like to understand what inspires my clients and then start with a fresh blank page and create something just for them.

What inspires you? Landscapes that are designed with longevity in mind; gardens should get better with age. Perfect form and structure complemented by the art of soft plantings. For me, the building and landscape should sit comfortably in unison, one should not compete with the other.

Your favourite outdoor space? My mother in lawʼs mountain garden and any national park with a beach.

One tip for people as they head into Spring Now is the time to get started on your outdoor space! If you start developing your garden or renovating your outdoor space now, youʼll be ready in time to enjoy it during the warmer months when youʼll use it most. Now is also the time to mulch your garden and prepare it for the drier months. The mulch will help to retain moisture and keep the soil cool. It will also assist in combating the weeds or at the very least, make them easier to remove. Spring is also the time to fertilise most plants in your garden, so feed them up as the growing season kicks in and youʼll get you maximum growth during springtime.

interview with matt cantwell

Matt Cantwell from ‘Secret Gardens of Sydney‘ is another expert who will be appearing in store this Spring, so read on and start thinking of some questions you can throw his way…

Describe your style. Sydney is an eclectic city with a range of architectural styles and personalities; so as a garden designer, flexibility and an ability to adapt to different styles is key. I like to focus on the right proportions and ensure that a good footprint and the right balance between the variety of requirements in a garden have been addressed. Itʼs then simply a case of using the right materials (be it flooring, walling, plants, sculpture, pots or furniture) to complete the picture and deliver the desired look.

What inspires you? People inspire me. It could be my clients or simply the general observation of the way people live and interact with their surrounding environment. Be it inner city, suburbia or further afield, there is so much to live, breath and take on board. Keeping an open mind is essential for any good designer. Of course I am always inspired by nature. Itʼs very hard to top some of the beauty created by mother nature, but we can certainly work with it.

Your favourite outdoor space? Having traveled extensively, I love city parks like Central Park in New York. For many it is their backyard, so to see people simply being outside and enjoying the outdoors can entertain me for hours. Throwing frisbees, having picnics, taking a break from work or teaching a child to ride a bike, itʼs wonderful to see people enjoying these public open spaces. Often being outside like this makes people feel good but they donʼt necessarily think about what is drawing them to these areas. As cities grow and become more populated, thereʼs a real focus on this aspect of design and how it encourages good health and peace of mind.

One tip for people as they head into Spring. Look outside the back door, do you want to spend time out there? If so, get organized and get your outdoor space into shape. We have an enviable climate and lifestyle here so make the most of it! Call a professional and get some advice. You may do it yourself from there or you may be in the position to get the job done for you, either way just get it right so that you want to spend time outside at home. Whether itʼs somewhere to eat meals, entertain family or friends, or just get your partner outside in the fresh air! Youʼll be amazed at how spending relaxing time outdoors can provide balance to your life.

Matt will be appearing in our Waterloo showroom on the 3rd of September between 10-12pm, so make sure you come in and meet him!

interview with sharon harris

As one of our experts appearing in-store,  Sharon Harris from ‘Harris Parnell Garden Design’ was kind enough to take a few moments recently and answer a few questions for us…

Describe your style. My style varies as our motto is ʻCreating Individual Gardensʼ. We donʼt really have any one particular style and pride ourselves on planting a garden that suits our client, the house and the micro-climate of the site. Many of our gardens combine both formal and informal aspects; we often incorporate vegetable gardens, and sometimes perennials and grasses depending on the site. However a good base structure in the garden (generally created by plants) is a fundamental part of our designs – I love to use plants with bold colour, hence my soft spot for perennials, but plant form and texture is also key, so we give consideration to multi-seasonal plants as well. We are known for using a good balance of soft and hard landscaping, itʼs one of the aspects of our design that appeals to clients.

What inspires you? A garden space that speaks to the soul; where all the elements in the garden are in balance. By this I mean that no one aspect of the garden stands out, but rather all the elements work together to create a space that welcomes and envelopes
you. A space that is as peaceful as it is beautiful. No matter what challenges we face as garden designers, this is the kind of designed space I always strive for.

Your favourite outdoor space? The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne; itʼs truly a beautiful space in the middle of the city, an oasis and an inspiration.

One tip for people as they head into Spring. Celebrate colour. To add colour into your garden you donʼt need to add more than one or two plants to brighten the space.
If you have areas of your garden that arenʼt working, donʼt be afraid to use colour. It doesnʼt even have to be through planting, it could be outdoor fabrics, a bold sculpture or even just a cushion.

Make sure you get down to our Richmond showroom this Saturday the 3rd of September between 10-12pm, so you too can ask Sharon about any questions you might have regarding your outdoor space.

the ol’garden shed - Colourful Garden Shed magnet

Whether it be a place you store a few of those rusty gardening tools, your workshop retreat or a forever growing storage area, I’m sure we can all agree our humble little backyard dwellings leave much to be desired.

But don’t be disheartened, there are many ways to improve this outdoor space!  How about a bit of colour, maybe some plants of the edible kind ? … a few good outdoor furniture pieces that could turn your space into an extra room??…….the list goes on.

There’s no doubt a garden shed can be both stylish and practical, however it just might take a little more time and effort to get it up to scratch.

Check out the images below for some inspiration, peep over your neighbour’s fence for an idea or seek some handy advice from a landscaper/designer in your area and lets ’embrace the emerging modern lifestyle of smaller but smarter spaces’.

a young urban farmer’s garden

Young Urban Farmers is a new Toronto-based venture that lets consumers enjoy home-grown vegetables without having to do the gardening themselves. Young Urban Farmers specializes in edible vegetable gardening, with a focus on organics. The company’s Young Urban Farmer garden service can set up either raised garden beds or direct in-ground gardens, both complete with all the materials necessary. Soil mix, transplants and seeds, garden tags and stakes are all supplied; optional extras include trellises, shiitake mushroom logs, worm composters and education kits. All customers need do, then, is specify what they hope to grow and choose between YUF’s basic service option — which includes an initial garden setup, a gardening instruction manual and a mid-summer checkup — or the full service option, which includes ongoing maintenance roughly twice a week.

Article borrowed from Springwise