garden design, Uncategorized

Why I’m Different From The Other Guys

There’s three main ways I’m different, here I’ll explain what’s really important to me.

Horticultural Knowledge.

I actually do know about plants, I didn’t go to TAFE just to get a qualification. I have had a passion for biology since I was a teenager, top 5 percentile for HSC Biology. I’m very interested in ecology and the interrelatedness of all things. I really have turned deserts into low maintenence jungles.


I’ve got a passion for design in all aspects of life. I have a qualifications in Millinery (hat making and design), Floristry, Jewellery and Textile and Fashion design and Sculpture. I’m not just interested in things that look hot right now and would fit into a magazine, I’m interested in the design and how it relates to you and enhances your life. Everyone wants to look like they know what’s going on but design that really solves problems is timeless.


I believe I’m unique in the way that I bill my customers. I charge by the hour and I have two main billing structures. For complete design work including horticultural knowledge I charge $90 an hour and for either horticultural or design knowledge or skill, I charge $50 an hour. I do not add extra for plant or material purchases. A lot of people in this field will routinely double the price of plants and materials and they charge more than I do for labour. Most people in this field prefer to charge for the complete job – that way they can hide a lot of charges within the quote. I don’t do that because I want my customers to be empowered to take charge of their garden or indoor plants. I’m always there if you have questions or need physical input but the best thing I can do for you is give you confidence that you can grow beautiful things. You can grow anything if you understand its needs. I want to make that simple for you. That’s a life skill everyone deserves.


Bronte House Open Garden Day

Get ready to drool.

It was dark, it was tropical, it was on a steep slope, there were startling moments of intense light and powerful succulents.

Everything was sculptural, everything was amazing.

I’ll put the full 35 photos as an album on my Facebook page



Cyclamen season

Here’s one I’ve styled in a vintage Australian pottery vase.

Its cyclamen season down under. I’m an ex-florist and I just love what we call potted colour. You can pick up cyclamen cheaply at florists and green grocers, prepared in green houses for easy and lasting indoor gorgeousness.

Cyclamen are summer dormant which means they hibernate in the warmer months and reemerge in autumn and winter. If you take a cyclamen home and it appears to die after a few months it’s not dead it’s just sleeping.

Cyclamens like bright shade and to get the best flowering I would not give them more than an hour of winter early morning sun. Too much sun stresses them. Keep it away from heaters too, it likes the winter.
For the best performance let them dry out between watering. The flowers will appear to fold over (the stems wilt) that is the time to water. The water will run straight through into the water dish. Leave it for an hour then check under the pot. If the water has been drawn up into the potting mix you are golden. If not, pour off the excess and relax. When your cyclamen goes to sleep it will first draw nutrients and glucose out of the leaves into its root bulb (corm), don’t interfere, water very cautiously allowing it to drain thoroughly until the plant is shrivelled. Or dump it thoughtlessly under a tree in your garden or side return. Make sure it can drain freely. Let the summer weather have its way with your apparently dead and dried up pot. You could also plant the corm under a non deciduous tree (it needs that winter shade).
As the weather cools, winter rain will revive the plant and you can then give it some worm tea or other gentle fertiliser and return the pot to bright shade for maximum joy.


Gift ideas with a touch of green

This is one of the easiest, cheapest, cheekiest and ironically personal gifts you can share.

First you need a container.  What I want you to think about is what you drink with this person.

Booze? Think gin bottle, bottle of wine, champagne.

Tea? Think teapot, samovar

Cocktails? Think shakers, martini jugs, unusual cocktail glasses.

Coffee?  Think ceramic mug, coffee pot, even an instant coffee jar might be appropriate.

If you don’t drink anything together or you’re not that good friends yet but you’d like to be, find a lovely vase.

Remember its personal.  It’ll mean more if its elegant but honest.

Where are you going to find that perfect item that is so individual?  Well if you’ve got a bunch of money and time to wait for delivery I guarantee you can find the perfect item online. Search for images and follow the trail of crumbs. You could also go direct to etsy, ebay, gumtree etc.

If you don’t have time and this is my preferred option, then get your awesome self to the local op-shop -Vinnies, the Salvos, Red Cross etc.  My local Vinnies is a treasure trove – its not cheap because well.. Bronte, but it makes up for that with the range.   The other thing to note about your local shop is that it will carry items that reflect the tastes of your local area, so if its coffee you drink locally then you’re probably going to find lots of coffee themed options locally.

When you have your perfectly personal vessel you need a plant that will be happy in most light conditions and grow well in water.  Philodendron is my go-to water plant.

pexels-photo-827518.jpegYou can find one at your local plant shop BUT I wouldn’t bother.  Philodendrons are practically weeds, they’re often used by local councils because they can take quite a bit of neglect.  They self propaagate by layering (sending out stems that have the capacity to grow roots whenever they find a likely spot)  You don’t need to rip up the whole plant, look for a wandering stem.  Examine the stem and you’ll see roots questing for a place to find water and support.  Break off the stem below the root nodes and carry your pirate booty home.  All you have to do now is recut and wash the stem, rinse the leaves and roots gently with water (no detergent needed) peel off any dead leaves, and trim roots that are clearly dead and place your prize in the bottle, cup, jug, teapot or vase with plain water with at least one little root submerged.

Put the Philodendron in bright shade, for example a south facing window sill (I’m in Australia and in the northern hemisphere that would be north facing).  The Philodendron roots will really take off if the pot is dark and doesn’t let in light but they will still grow in a clear glass so to get things started I suggest you wrap glass vessels in a dark cloth for the first few weeks if you have time to spare.

If you want to give the Philodendron a boost, once the roots are established you can add a scant amount of fertiliser in the form of a few grains of slow release to the water but I suggest you only do this occasionally.

Philodendron are so easy to keep and they’ll take off with little to no fuss.  Search Google images for styling ideas and tips on care.IMG_20180226_112839

This philodendron is the easiest to keep in water.

Happy shopping, happy planting and don’t forget to top up the water levels.


Plant Planner

pexels-photo-164401.jpegBeautiful plants in just the right pot are as good as a vase of flowers.

I choose and deliver plants in their prime that will look fabulous and replace them before you get bored.  All you do is water, I’ll even leave you a note on when to do that.

If you would like a longer term green housemate I can advise you on good choices for your position and source a perfect specimen.

Servicing Sydney’s East exclusively
Use the contact link for a consultation


I have to introduce myself to potential customers in my target business areas.

I’m all at sea, so nervous to approach new customers.    Even though I love helping people find out what they are looking for in the shop, poking my head into people’s businesses and shops is really intimidating and frankly I get a stomach ache at the thought of it.

Yeah me, Miss Friendly-chops in high anxiety!  I know a strength for me is sales, I genuinely like the interaction – finding out what people are trying to achieve – its always adding life and beauty and maybe impressing someone but there’s always something the customer is trying to avoid too – and that’s really the core of the sales process.   This customer wants something impressive, masculine but something that won’t need a lot of light.  And another customer wants something colourful but not quaint, but not a succulent and slow growing in mixed light conditions.  All that’s easy, that’s just a conversation.  Introducing myself to people while they are at work, sometimes interrupting their flow and knowing I’m sure to hear so many “Thanks but No Thanks!” well it turns me into a scaredy cat.

After planning, scheduling, struggling and then bailing on my plans (I even put on my new dress and favourite sandals) I have recruited my brother to babysit me through a few of these sales sweeps.  Thanks for little brothers (32 years old).  What a relief that I don’t have to start until Monday.  (It’s Saturday.)