Top ten list of garden plants

  • Abutilons of all kinds
  • Buddlejas old and new
  • Epiphytic orchids and ferns
  • Gordonia species
  • Heliotrope, Lemon verbena, Fennel and herbs
  • Michelias of all sorts
  • Perennial Salvias large and small
  • Species Camellias
  • Tea and China Roses
  • Weigela of all types

Montville Rose

Monday, March 2, 2020

the big catch up

Just a few short weeks after the rain started and the garden has revived from the prolonged dry weather. It's as if it never happened. Suddenly it is time to pick up the pace with garden jobs and to tackle the weedy bits and tame some crazy shrubs. Yesterday Brent came to take down some higher branches on the red cedar, and bolly gum, macadamia and a few others. This has followed up on his last visit when he tamed the front hedge of duranta and privet  ,a job that no one really looks forward to but looks amazing when it is done. That's about it for help in the garden now and the rest is down to me which is fine.
Yesterday was a sad day as we watched the big bunya pine next door get taken down as it was dead. It now lies on the ground and Shadow for some reason is scared of it. A few weeks ago I collected several small Bunya trees from around the base so we might be able to grow another one near by. I like properties that have a few large statement trees , just to marvel at their size and age and Bunyas are particularly important on the Blackall Range .
We have had a couple of visiting groups recently and people seem to enjoy visiting our garden. It is interesting to see what gets the most attention. The coral fountain is popular and lately it has been the begonias and brugmansias that have been in full flower.The masses of macadamia nuts on the ground are also noticed and some people even race up on the verandah to use our vice to open some.  Family visits are generally more frantic with children running around the path ways, looking for bugs and hanging out with Shadow.

Statues in the garden.

Well, I love a good statue as much as the next person and they definitely draw the eye and create a focus in the garden landscape. The questions are what?, why?, where ?, how ? and who?

What statue will you choose for your garden ? Do you have a spiritual need for a deity or will a classic gnome or wild animal such as a giraffe or elephant be on your wish list. These recognisable statues often tell visitors to the garden something about the owner . Sometimes they raise more questions than answers.
Statuary and garden ornamentation often includes features such as concrete balls and some abstract features involving water. It is worth mulling over the statue you will choose for some time as a rushed purchase can lead to tears.
Why? Of course the why seems such an obvious question, why not ? Statues are everywhere , they are in the shops , magazines and on tv. They are all around your suburb and they can be an inexpensive addition to any garden.   Resin , plastic and concrete statues come in all shapes, sizes and colours and there are sure to be many that will appeal to you.
Where? This is where many gardens come undone.A statue can make or break a garden. A constipated cupid sitting on a ball needs an appropriate spot in the garden,maybe a private corner?
A cheeky gnome or large green frog too needs just the right spot to make it work.
How ? This question runs through your mind as soon as you purchase the statue. First of all , How the heck is that thing going to fit in the car ? Seats down, seats up, seat belt , ropes or special delivery? If the sculpture is light weight and slightly quirky such as a family of meerkats this will be no problem unless you are using public transport. If on the other hand you are taken by a life sized version of Michelangelo's David or a Greek goddess it might be time to organise a ute or trailer and lots of blankets and ropes. The last thing you want is something to break off David!
Who ? This does not really apply to the statue but more to who is going to be viewing the statue. Who visits your garden  ? Do you want to get a reaction ? Do you want to offend? Luckily gardeners are so polite they will generally say they love your statues to your face but over on the other side of a bush they are either laughing their heads off or seriously questioning your sanity.
I say go for it , buy or make some garden statuary for now and for the archaeologists of the future. Just imagine the delight when the 2060 Time Team turn up at your place and dig up the meerkats , the oversized snail and the cheeky gnome . Kyleigh

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Big dollar Gardens

I guess like many people who are interested in gardens we get a bit excited about watching new tv programmes about the topic. Alas, we find the current trend is to call in a garden designer and part with exorbitant amounts of cash .Call me old fashioned or "cheap " but it really takes the fun out of it for me. Just imagine the banter , google box style that is going on in most homes as some surburban home gardens  get a  big dollar revamp . Is it the gormless owners who want a pastiche of a garden to fill in that tiresome space around the mansion or is it the insipid presenters who cast a few doubts but always come around to loving the outcome . 

 One such garden and I use that term loosely was no more than a car space at the back of the house. Naturally the whole thing has to be decimated so a " blank canvas " could be the starting point even a mature tree removed which naturally enough was providing shade to the house and needed to be replaced with a fancy roll out blind. Others have gone to great lengths with industrial scale earth works and hard landscaping all with the goal of being able to sit down and have a glass of wine in it when it's finished. The fact is you can sit down and have a glass of wine in your garden without the hoo haa. It is the predictability that sends me off to make cups of herbal tea so I probably haven't managed to watch one entire programme yet !! Did I miss something ?

 Where are the gardeners who will actually assess a property and start to retain mature trees and a broad palette of plants? Where are the landscapers who don't feel they have to build an edifice of hard surfaces with little pockets for plants? In all the eco talk , the bottom line is that doing less is far more sustainable . Generations of people have created gardens that haven't overwhelmed  the dwelling or the suburb.It seems a bit ridiculous that the statement about growing your own vegies is juxtaposed with the three redimix  trucks lined up in the driveway . 
 It simply isn't necessary and if you have a lot of excess cash go and fund a wing at the local hospital in preference to building a mega mansion,garden extravaganza and pretending that you have  eco /sustainable credentials. Give me a humble dwelling and garden any day.
Look I obviously need a glass of wine so I will go and sit down at my stone circle /fire, which is just a circle of actual stones(no expense spared ) and wait for the fire ban to lift. Kyleigh

Friday, August 9, 2019


Firstly to the Open garden.
We plan to open the garden again ‘’A Royal Spring Open Garden” on October 5th and 6th 2019
New and returning visitors to "The Shamblea" at 85 Western Avenue Montville will be able to see an extensive display of orchids, spring flowering shrubs and many rare plants.  Once again “The Shambles” will host a plant stall, toy and treasure stall and light refreshments.  So, if you plan to visit please bring cash and bring bags to carry home your loot.
Already over the Easter Weekend this year “The Shambles “ Open Garden and Plant Stall at Montville raised $5770  for the Western Queensland Drought Appeal. The garden has been opened for charity at least once a year since 2001. Organisations such as Legacy, Cittamani Hospice as well as the local community organizations have benefited from funds raised in the past.

But before we get as far as the October Open Garden plans are under way for a September book launch our our latest books. Our colourful book “Our Queenslanders, houses ♦gardens: Their Second century” illustrates the case for recognition and protection of our architectural and horticultural heritage. In fact, “The Queenslander” house may be Australias best known architectural style on the world stage.  As well as defining aspects of structural detail, our book describes the experience of living in a “Queenlander’ and illustrates fine urban and rural examples of these houses and gardens.  Our book touches on Architecture, History, Horticulture and Queensland identity with colourful images on most pages.

In the 21st century the pressure to subdivide and repurpose urban land threatens to remove or permanently alter the “Queenslander” which once defined the streetscape and the identity of our towns and cities. Modern tastes and expectations of housing lead to alteration of the “Queenslander” structure which threaten this vernacular housing style often making it unrecognisable.

“Our Queenslanders, homes♦gardens: Their second Century" and the accompanying book “Queenslander Gardens, Plants for their Second Century: with Historical References” will join our other high quality self published gardening and childrens books.  see our
website   As in the past we have produced books in hard cover and in full colour. “Our Queenslanders, homes♦gardens: Their second Century" a hard cover book of 400pages will sell for $65, which will cover our printing costs. Only 100 copies have been printed.

“Our Queenslanders, homes♦gardens: Their second Century", after chapters defining the structural features which define a “Queenslander” goes on to discuss the use of timber or masonry and takes some time over structures such stumps, stairs verandas and details concerning corrugated iron and structural ornamentation. Chapters concerning “Queenslander” interiors discuss everything from paint and pressed metal to electrical fittings and furniture.  The “Queenslander” garden is treated in similar detail with chapters on botanizing and collecting, through structural features such as fences, gates and bush houses to the planting palette.
In the latter part of the book urban and rural examples of “Queenslander” houses and gardens are colourfully illustrated along with note pages on familiar Queensland plants such Frangipani and Agagpanthus.

“Queenslander Gardens, Plants for their Second Century: with Historical References” is based on a detailed inventory of garden worthy plants for “Queenslander” gardens and where available historic references of their use in gardens in their second century.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Easter in the garden at Montville

This is just a note to say that our garden "The Shambles" at Montville is accessible for people who have walkers and wheelchairs . The property is relatively level and there are bitumen paths throughout the garden. We are very aware of places being inaccessible for people with mobility issues and around the garden chairs are sited to enjoy views and give people a break off their feet. As this Easter there is a prize home open up the street we hope to see many visitors here to support the drought /flood fund raiser. Ironically the prize home is not wheel chair accessible even though it is supporting a special needs organisation. It seems a missed opportunity to design a home that is  not both attractive and accessible as even the fittest and youngest of us can break a leg for example. It is also a worthwhile consideration as the population ages that  instead of needing to relocate have a home that can accommodate your changing needs.It is the same in the garden as we find having good pathways is more comfortable for most people to use and has a extra bonus for our grandchildren when they bring their scooters. 

When you are gardening for the long term you get to see the garden evolve as growth occurs . So often people say they can't look after the garden anymore and proceed to move into a village with a postage stamp sized lawn and a bunch of annoying neighbours. The fact is you might just have to reduce your standards, let some of it go a bit wild and maintain enough of a walk way to get to the front door!Lets face it there are a lot of mowing contractors out there who know nothing about the finer details of plants but they can do a quick sweep with the whipper snipper or a hedger so you can have the illusion of control . Kyleigh

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


"The Shambles" 85 western Avenue Montville, Qld

Sat 20th Sun 21st April, Easter Saturday and Sunday

9am to 4pm


$6 entry children free, ample on road parking

Many parts wheelchair accessible, Heritage garden around  century old farm house

Visit popular tourist village at Montville

Michael Simpson

0458 429524

Monday, March 11, 2019

the summer autumn feeling

Michael has taken total responsibility for all publicity for the open garden and his routine documentation of plants that keep coming . I have been working on the garden as usual and always find that an impending date on the calendar for an Open Garden increases the need for a multitude of lists , working bees with unsuspecting visitors and new ideas to be implemented. I can be found most  days out in the garden somewhere with Shadow not far away. I am still trying to figure out a useful thing for him to do apart from looking like a spunk !
During my latest visit to Sunray a local  family owned nursery at Nambour we had a brief dicussion about the Nursery Industry and how gardening in the 80's and 90's was huge and supported in the media. We had the Open Garden Scheme, some really focused gardening programmes and it seemed that a lot of people were very keen. Since that time it is obvious that many people now live in units, have smaller gardens and perhaps have a more interior life style with electronic devices. I also find that the scope of gardening has narrowed to the point where if I see any more school children in their vegie gardens I will scream. Honestly even if you have the best crop of home grown beans and carrots  there will be a fussy toddler or 10 year old who will refuse it point blank. Time to be quiet!

This weird Autumn /Summer weather does not appear to be affecting the garden. Everything is so hardy and resilient  including some pretty flowering weeds that are filling in some gaps.
We are looking forward to seeing visitors at the Open Garden  this Easter and as usual will have a treasure hunt for the children .