These are blog posts that Sian Thomas, Assistant Events Editor has made.
Despite my Welsh-sounding name, I am in fact Australian. Like Britons, Australians are enthusiastic garden-makers – although the climate can often present serious challenges. While visiting Melbourne in January, I stayed with a friend who was fretfully trying to keep her small courtyard garden alive despite water restrictions which mean she can only water twice a week, between 6 and 8am. The searing temperatures – reaching a record 47°C (117°F) – had scorched even the hardiest plants, and evergreen trees were so stressed that they were shedding their leaves. The beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens were also showing the strain, with the large ornamental lakes sadly depleted – though the Perennial Border, one of my favourite areas, was its usual arc of eye-popping colour.
Faring better was my parents’ garden of mostly native species. Their idea was to use local indigenous plants that will grow with rainfall only. One of the plants they have used is pretty yellow-flowered Goodenia ovata (hop goodenia), which grows easily from cuttings and provides a dense ground cover. Traditionally, local Aboriginal women used the juice of this plant as a sedative for their babies, who sucked it from their mother’s fingers.
When the weekend weather is good, and when travelling, I love to visit gardens and historic houses. It’s difficult to nominate favourites, but there are two gardens that have particularly stayed in my mind