The Garden, Oh the Garden – Part 2: The plants!


As I sit here lamenting another wet day in Sydney (it has seriously felt like it has not stopped raining in Sydney for the last year!) I take solace in the fact that my plants will be happy. If you read part 1 of this series, you will know that I have removed a lot of stuff from my garden – weeds. Now I want to talk about what makes many gardener’s hearts skip with joy: the chance to create a garden through planting.

Before travelling and having children I worked as a bush regenerator. It was a job I enjoyed and the study and practice of bush regeneration made me very snooty about anything other than native plants. Not only native, but locally indigenous. At my parent’s house (I lived in an apartment) I sought to create this bush garden paradise, but my parents sold their house and I never really got to see the garden established.

Now I don’t hold such snooty ideals. When I realised that after my labour of weed removal, I would be able to treat myself to new plants, I immediately set off to a commercial nursery, rather than the community nursery I would have once shopped at. Over the last year or so, whenever I go to a nursery, I am like a child in a toy shop. I have a skip in my step and I am simply overwhelmed by all the choices. I fill my trolley with all sorts of goodies and I have to admit, a lot of flowering plants. After I lived in a desert surrounded by nothing but buildings and sand, I really felt like having colour and beautiful flowers around me.  Unfortunately a lot of nurseries are a bit far for me to travel to, so a lot of my plants have been bought at the local Bunnings, where there isn’t the most amazing variety. I know that my husband always gets nervous when I tell him I’m going to Bunnings, because he knows that some hundreds of dollars will be billed onto the credit card!

I once used to scoff at gardens like mine as being ‘so typical’. Now I love these ‘typical’ features. I did try and rectify this recently by participating in my Council’s ‘Backyard Habitat’ program. I have to admit though that a lot of my native plants have been removed or not survived the 15cm mulch accidentally placed over them (more on that later).

So what have I planted? Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum), Magnolia, Cammelias, Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), some succulants, lavenders, roses, Rhododendron, kangaroo paws (Heamodoracae), Westringia, Grevillea, bottlebrush (Callistemon), some Cordylines, small ficus plants, and flowers like petunias and pansies. While this is not a comprensive list, it gives you an idea of the type of things I’ve planted.

Now that it is nearing summer, I have been able to observe the plants over the year and also the movement of the sun over the seasons. I now know where in my garden consistently gets sun and where it is always shaded.  I have an idea of the type of planting I want and where.

I do admit however, that I am not so good yet at all the things I have to do to maintain the plants, but as this is the first year, I think I will learn these skills in the years to come.

Here are some photos of before and after the new plants… if only it would be a little sunny, so I could go out and sit to enjoy these beauties!

Before – overgrown with sgraggly azaleas, privet and cassia


After – cleared out and more modern
Before – Front of the house
After – Pink Kangaroo Paw. Not all of my kangaroo paws have survived, but these are doing well.
This Ficus ‘alley’ was an investment, but it does make the entrance to the house look so much better than before.
These Rhododendruns are gorgeous!
My poor Natives corner has seen better days. This is my next project!


After – Star Jasmine likes its new spot. I had it somewhere else and it was struggling, then I moved it here by this fence…I think it’s happy!


Lavendar is one of my favourite scents. I just love the smell of lavendar and mine thankfully for now, are thriving.
The rainforest I’ve created under my lemon tree. This part of the garden is always shaded, so the ferns and bromeliades like it here.


4 thoughts on “The Garden, Oh the Garden – Part 2: The plants!

  1. smartgardener November 18, 2012 / 7:27 pm

    Am new to the world of WordPress and blogging, my husband is trying to get me introduced so here goes. Your the first I’ve read and I just need to tell you about your standard ficus trees.
    Watch them! They have the most amazing ( damaging ) root system imaginable.
    As well as being a qualified horticulturalist, I work in a nursery and have my own garden care business I have seen what these now innocent beauties can do. Roots will seek out water in drainage pipes, sewer pipes, crack pavement,lift tiles.
    Keep them small and trimmed and roots will stay minimal ( of sorts)
    I don’t want to alarm you but that’s what can happen.

    Enjoy the garden, and rain is good! To a degree.
    From one ex bush regen worker to another .
    Always happy in the dirt my mother used to tell me.
    She must be right, I am.

    • em0navari November 19, 2012 / 11:41 am

      Hi there. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your thoughts on the Ficus. Would you say the same principle applies to a fig tree? I bought one on the weekend because they’re yummy, now I’m worried about planting it in the ground. Any thoughts?

  2. smartgardener November 20, 2012 / 10:10 am

    hi again,
    You should have little concerns about your ficus fruit tree, it doesnt have ths same habit as as ficus benjamina or microcarpa varieties sold as a standard. your fruiting tree will basically reach only 2- 3 metres in height, as they fruit on new wood, it is a good idea to prune it every year or so. so never fear they wont get out of hand. Enjoy the fruit, your right they are yum. I have mine in large ceramic pots.

    • em0navari November 22, 2012 / 10:27 am

      Phew! Glad to hear it. Right now, I have to muster my energy for tomorrow, as I have to put some netting around my growing vegetables. Don’t want the possums to eat everything!

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