The night Andrew laid down the law

Andrew and Cathy Olive

The first Clever Country Gardens dinner–talk was a huge success. Andrew Laidlaw, landscape architect for the Royal Botanical Gardens and presenter of the garden spot on ABC radio, spoke to the gathered 70+ crowd as much about his philosophy of garden design as about what plants he puts where. From my perspective here are some of the gems of Andrew’s philosophy that caught my attention:
• there is no excuse for not having a creative garden
• green is good both psychologically and socially. People need green infrastructure. Cities need green spaces
• bring wild landscapes into children’s lives
• embrace ALL plants, those native to Australia and those not
• match plants that enjoy the same conditions e.g. climate
• location, location, location. Understand where you are going to plant with respect to aspect, shade, soil, water and micro-climate, and plant for the location
• select plants for form and foliage. Flowers are only around for a limited time (and are a bonus) so think about the colour of the leaves
• plant in multiples, repeating patterns and repeating forms, rather than just putting in one lonely individual of each type of plant
• combine strappy upright plants with ground covers
• ‘green walls’ often take a lot of resources, including water and energy, to maintain
• ‘green roofs’ are great for a whole bunch of reasons – introducing gardens to new spaces and insulation.

DSCN7345-300x300Andrew presented a slide-show of stunning gardens he has designed, highlighting the above principles. I left the dinner with more than a few new ideas to think about.

The next Clever Country Gardens dinner talk entitled ‘Reconciliation Ecology’ is at 6pm on Friday 8 May at the Old Flour Mill Gallery in Euroa. Cathy Olive, Project Manager for the Euroa Arboretum, will tell us how to bring wildlife back into our gardens – by installing butterfly beds, lizard lounges and frog bogs, nest boxes and insect hotels. A home for all critters!