Month: April 2018

Beautiful blooms in a Mapleton Garden

The garden – a place for quiet reflection, mundane work, play, escape or healing – is ever changing. Those of you who have your own plot know that a garden is an extension of the home. The garden owners possess their own individual style, hard work and willingness to create a personal, serene place. Friends and homeowners, Catherine and Max Standage have designed a beautiful home with an equally beautiful garden. Located at the end of a cul de sac with spectacular ocean views of the Sunshine Coast beaches, this property shows that in a short time with careful planning, hard work and motivation, a garden paradise can be achieved.

Of her garden, Catherine says,” I like to look out on my Mapleton garden and stroll around it, enjoying the form of the plants I have chosen to grow in the interesting and ever changing landscape that surrounds us. That I have designed and created this interesting place that was previously a cow paddock brings me great satisfaction.”

A storm is brewing in the distance



Catherine and Max’s garden is essentially an Australian garden filled with banksias, grevillias, golden kangaroo paws, grasses, fruit trees and healthy herbs. It is obvious that any visitor sees the pride in what they have achieved. Inspiration comes from gardening books and from visiting established gardens. Making the garden sit comfortably in the landscape is like easing back into a comfy chair to watch a film – the view, balance and position are all good.

Creative, child friendly, relaxed and well kept, The Standage’s garden demands a closer look.

There’s a seat designed and built by Max to take in the views. What can he see?



Favourite flavouring shrubs are the varieties of vireyas that grow well and picked to bring into the house for floral arrangements. Transformative.



A beautiful arrangement



Blossoming kangaroo paws ready to pick


One of the delights for Catherine and Max of having grand children is when they visit and see the excitement as they discover tadpoles and frogs, butterflies and many other insects, monitor lizards and wildlife. The lawn is important for playing bolle, badminton, kicking a soccer ball, flying kites. Even the kids can pick the cherry tomatoes, beans or watch the eggplants ripen. Limes are abundant. Nectar feeding birds are plentiful.





As the owners harvest seasonal vegetables or watch as different birds visit the garden, all the seasons offer something to appreciate.



A patchwork of stone steps leads onto the lawn


When I asked Catherine about any obstacles they encountered, she mentioned how challenging it was to get rid of the many weeds including thickets of lantana and strangling thorny vines like cockspur which infest the perimeter of their land. Protection of the fruit trees is vital too and the slope of the land keeps them both fit.

Up in the Blackall Ranges, heavy periods of rain come, but also managing the dry times that go on for months can be challenging. The colours of the sky Рstormy, indigo grey and  azure blue always a contrast.

Feather sculptures and bird bath enhance the space


As I wander through my friend’s garden, I really appreciate a measure of peace and wonder. What a joy to share in this pleasurable landscape. And like any keen gardener, I ask Catherine what is her most essential garden tip and tool?

She says, ” recognise weeds when they are small and pull them out. Be observant. I always have my secateurs with me when I work in the garden.”

And to finish off with someone’s else’s wisdom, ” every leaf on every tree you see out there represents the opportunities you will have in life.” Some words are like seeds.


Garden Project and a Son’s family garden

Newly married and I have already given my husband a project – one that we can do together. Bill will design a small potting shed and I will assist him. As if we both haven’t got enough on our plates without more work! Time management – 3 months! Cost – a few thousand dollars. Time – when it’s sunny and possible. Where?- at side of the house.

What do we need? Bags of cement, pavers, shovels, string, timber, post supports, spirit level etc. and patience, communication and inspiration.

Here’s the plot. Very ordinary.


Next the wheelbarrow and pavers.



And some weeds to pull out. Note the red soil!


Here is the fabulous book I am reading at the moment to inspire me.



I am glad we are not doing a huge renovation. This is manageable, achievable and enjoyable. Coming into the cooler months, I plan to show you a bit more of our little project. Thanks Bill for caring so much and making this a team effort.


Next is my son’s smallish garden in the leafy suburb of Kenmore, Brisbane. Tim has a young family, two boys who are lucky enough that their dad built them a pirate playground with ladder, rope swing, ship’s wheel, telescope and bridge. Ahoy! me hearties. An unforgettable area to escape to! It’s well hidden, too, in a corner of the backyard surrounded by trees, ginger, bamboo and small plants.



Cousin Matilda peers into the distance

Family time together out in the backyard is what make’s this garden special. It’s a garden that well lived in and it wins hands down every time. The hammock full of ants is used for games and grandma rest. The rope is tested for leaping off planks! and the slippery slide and sandpit, well used by all the neighbourhood kids.








From the verandah, parents can watch as children climb the ladder, walk the plank and captain the ship. All hands on deck! Watch out for sharks below!

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There’s a spot for everyone in this garden. Tim has designed his space effectively with attention to productivity in his vegetable garden, a chook shed, fruit trees and play areas.

Healthy cabbages, eggplants and herbs live happily beside seasonal vegetables. Mulching and a good compost is clear in this garden. Mulberry tree, peach tree, passionfruit vines and tomatoes grow well and out on the footpath for all the neighbours to take are basil and rosemary plants growing abundantly. The whiff and scent is amazing!

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Nothing is nicer than arriving at your son’s house and following Riley and Sam into their backyard. Say goodbye to weeds, hello to natives. Want to jump on the trampoline, well it’s squeezed in at the side of the house, a space saving device. Want to toast marshmallows – there’s a fire pit that Tim built.


In a short time really, I have watched this garden grow to provide shade, food and fun. All the neighbours in the street love the sunflowers when they bloom. They enjoy the limes, chives, corn, beans, and lettuces. There are no pets, but from time to time, dogs come and go. You’ll find possums and the odd snake.

One thing I notice every time I come and visit is the love and energy, commitment and dedication that Tim has in maintaining his young family’s garden. He is interested in plants, the environment, permaculture, recycling, bees, worms, raised beds, and escaping into a silence where he relaxes and unwinds. He learns as he goes for the beauty of this garden is the journey undertaken in creating a true home for his family.


Easter in the Garden

My Easter weekend has been spent in and out of the garden – misty spaces, muddy boots and roses blooming. All this Autumn rain is nice however, there’s so much work that I need to catch up on like bending over and pulling weeds, pruning hedges, cutting down nasty branches, and raking the passionfruit up that fall under the pergola.

In the garden down the stony steps I need to be extra careful of the slippery pathways and I find myself surprised, astonished and a bit overwhelmed at the growth. Up on the more level land, Bill and I are starting a project together called My Mist and Moss Garden Nook, simply a fancy greenhouse, potting cabin that I can enjoy. We have started the foundation but the rain has not stopped. You might like to check out the progress of this structure as it emerges near the clothes line.

In time I hope to pot plants, create floral art and spend time writing and recording in my gardener’s journal. Our next trip to the store is to buy pavers.

Easter is about appreciating the hope of Christ, being thankful for the gifts and abundance that we have. It’s about the glory and victory of Jesus over the Cross.

I like to admire my beautiful roses that edge my top garden.

The fragrance is intoxicating. I generally leave my roses in the soil to enjoy although down the track I would love to grow more to pick for the house. Imagine Easter filled with the scent of  David Austin roses.

Any of you who garden will know the surprises that awaits you when noticing the changes of time and the seasons.

Mist settles on the horizon in Mapleton

The garden in Easter brings me dirty fingernails ( I do wear gloves) more compost and mulch to spread, golden pumpkins and their never ending vines and leaves, cherry tomatoes to pick, snipping of the chives, basil and rosemary. It also brings me some aches and pains in the shoulder and back – will I ever learn to bend properly? To not over do things? To stop and smell the roses?

The rain has eased and I come inside. Muddy shoes at the door, gloves soaked in the laundry tub and a sweet text from my daughter who sends me this photograph.


Sometimes the cute bunnies hop about in search of chocolate eggs. Unfortunately, there are no hidden eggs in my garden this April. There are red geraniums, red peppers and a red faced, sweaty grandma who loves her Mapleton garden.

Stay with me for a garden series showcasing my friend’s unique and stylish gardens. Until then, have a safe and happy Easter with those you love.