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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Trinny and Susannah of gardening?

What your garden says about you.

Michael and I have decided that this Friday we will be the Trinny and Susannah of gardening as we have been invited to Brisbane to consult on the" Collies Garden" at Brighton.
We are keen advocates of the domestic garden and what that garden says about you from the street.Almost everything that Trinny and Susannah say can be related to your garden.
I don't feel comfortable showing my garden .
There's nobody in my life to dress up my garden for.
This shapeless garden protects me from the world.
Is my gardening underwear really that unkempt?
Nobody really sees my garden anyway.
I don't really want people visiting my garden anyway.
Gardening is a real burden to me.
Someone might see my garden and make a nasty comment.
Now back to the garden. We have asked that the Collies prepare a white board and lots of coloured pens for us to brain storm with. (I have always wanted to be the person in a cop show who sets up that map of clues. Lots of photos, string lines and lists. )
We will go on a deep and meaningful journey of discovery as we throw around some new gardening directions and some totally unattainable goals over a cup of tea.
A domestic garden is an awesome place that reveals your peculiar personality to the street and the world at the front and has those special private places that only you know about so lets keep it that way.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Gatehouse at "The Shambles
Perfect weather and a wonderful selection of trees, shrubs and perennials in full flower helped make our ANZAC weekend Open garden a very enjoyable success. Lots of delighted visitors came and supported the event which proceeds go to Legacy Australia. Legacy catered tea nd scones and had a stall of ANZAC badges and momentos and books.

Legacy Australia, catering and fundraising at "The Shambles"
 Our Border Collie 'Bear' proved to be a very popular part of the event, as did the treasure hunt for children. On Saturday afternoon music was provided by 'Smokin Melaleucas, which lead into a relaxing dinner for all of us after the gates had closed.
Everything seems to flower on time. Megakapasma at "The Shambles"
The Gordonia axillaris, the perennial Salvias, Plectranthus, the Holmskiodias, Brugmansias, Camellia sasanquas and just about every other genus in the garden was showing off, helping to make the event a wonderful show for visitors. 
Thankyou to all our visitors, to Legacy Australia and to the 'Smokin Melaleucas' for making this a memorable weekend                  Michael Simpson  

Monday, April 20, 2015

A bit of light entertainment

After you have paid your respects at the Anzac Day dawn service and walked in the parade it will be time to head up to Montville and do your bit supporting that great organisation"Legacy" by coming to our open garden at " The Shambles". Purchase a cup of tea and scones and take a wander in the garden after all I  have done nothing but chores in the garden for several weeks now and I think it's looking pretty good.
There are plenty of flowers and a few new bits to discover but wait there's more.
At around 2.00 pm the back verandah will be alive with the sultry sounds of the
 "Smokin' Melaleucas". Feel free to sing along or tap your feet as you pass by .
Just a quick reminder to visitors that it is a good idea to bring a  cardigan as it gets a bit nippy this time of year.
The cost of entry to the garden is $8.00 . As far as I know the music is free.
So forget the music festivals at Byron and Gympie have a stroll and enjoy the ambience and be home in time for Gardening Australia! See you in the garden, Kyleigh
Here's Michael labouring over a hot key board in preparation for this weekend. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hot Bottoms

As you may have noticed we have a very shady garden and this makes it quite hard to do very much propagating of new plants especially when the time comes to harden them off in a sunny spot.What ends up happening is the huge task of moving new plants around to sunnier spots.A favourite spot is the paved area near our front verandah . There really is something about the pots having hot bottoms that gives them a boost.

Family Garden

Michael and Leo having a plastic cup cake on the verandah.

As we have always said our garden at "The Shambles" is not a show garden but a family place. It is a delight to be able to watch our grand children explore and discover places and plants in the garden every time they visit.We are opening our garden this week end with the Open Gardens Australia and what is essentially a very private place for family and friends can be seen by others in our community on the Blackall Range or further afield.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Changes at The Shambles

I don't see our garden as ever being finished. You know like a  Television garden make over where everything is honky dory at the end of the show. Our garden is always changing and growing and surprising us even though we see it every day.
Lately there have been some changes to the house itself with the addition of a new verandah necessitating the removal of stairs ,paver's and bricks.As usual it didn't take long for all this valuable
landscaping stuff to find a new home. Many would say" why didn't you just chuck the lot out and get a man in to pave it properly?" Are you kidding me?  To not  have the struggle of moving pavers and rocks with inadequate equipment is unheard of at The Shambles.
The problem with getting a paving man in is that it probably would still be a work in progress with all those special tools and levels. Throw in a couple of days of rain and it would all grind to a halt.Not to mention the mess.Shock Horror!
I'm sure they end up with a fancy schmancy  finished job eventually but it just  wouldn't be the same!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Open garden Approaches but we are still adding new plants.

Our next Open garden and the last with the soon to be defunct Open Gardens Australia Programme is on 25th and 26th April, the ANZAC weekend. from 10am til 4 30pm, both days.
A new verandah on the eastern side of the house is all but finished along with necessary house repairs.
New planting positions have been opened up and some of our choices are "brave " to say the least.

Bauhinia tomentosa

Luculia “White Frill”   Leaves similar to L. gratissima. Flowers large and pure white, pink in bud, heavily scented, in early June. Very dainty, pretty new form. Yamina rare plants introduction. Luculia dont like us, but we live in hope . It will be planted in a sheltered position below the new verandah.

Kalmia latifolia is an unusual shrub which is native to eastern North America. It is a beautiful shrub with interesting flowers that is suitable in the cooler regions of Australia. Must be kept moist, acid soils partial shade, which are all available below our new verandah. This is probably a fool hardy attempt and like Daphne, Kalmias are probably too ambitious for our climate. 

Wrightia religiosa, Echites religiosa  Shrub to 3 meters, small pendant and fragrant white flowers. The genus was named for William Wright (1735-1819), Scottish physician and botanist, by Robert Brown and  first described as a genus in 1810       Thailand, Vietnam.  This is establishing well on our Eastern border garden.

Bauhinia tomentosa Medium to large shrub to a small tree, up to 4m in height. Leaves are divided into two lobes, light green in colour, with a leathery texture, carried on branches that are often drooping. It produces large bell-shaped, bright yellow flowers with a black to deep maroon coloured centre from December to March. The fruit are pea like, slender and velvety. They are light green, turning a pale brown with age and are produced from January to June or even later. Bark is grey or brown. Yellow Bauhinia is native to tropical Africa and can be found as far as India and Sri Lanka. This is far more likely to be rewarding as we saw a very healthy specimen at "Trafalgar House" Buderim.

We replaced Rondoletia amoena  our 4th attempt to grow this old fashioned and usually tolerant shrub. Wish us luck.

Pray for rain, but not during the open garden
Michael Simpson