Where does your gardening inspiration come from?

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

This is the time of the year when Australian gardeners begin planning their winter migration.

Mostly to the mother country which, whilst it has its folksy charm, ignores the beauty of the French Loire, Italian villas and the garden of Ninfa, and the extraordinary creativity of Californian gardens like Lotusland.

My most inspirational moments have come from exploring wilderness areas in Australia, the US and Europe. Whilst constructed gardens have their appeal, I get more energised from walking in the wilderness and being surrounded by visually beautiful things which gives me as much pleasure as meeting interesting people.

My favourite part of the world is the Tasmanian wilderness and Lord Howe Island, as well as walking along The Cross Cut Saw in the Victorian alps (see second photo bellow).

Our family have also trekked in the Dolomites, preferring to keep below the alpine tree line where the wildflowers grow, as the high alps are devoid of plants and rather barren.

Most Australians still flock to the Chelsea Flower Show believing it to be the pinnacle of gardening appeal, but I find it too confected and crowded.

Walking through Flanders poppies and gnarled olive trees in Umbria or discovering delphiniums in the wilds of Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada are far more appealing for me than staged gardening.

Whilst I love the gardens of Hidcote and Sissinghurst in England, I realise their success and plant selection is not remotely transferable down under due to our blistering summers.

We have recently returned from the wilds of Corsica and the south of France in spring, just as oak forests were leafing out with their juvenile, forest-green leaves above clumps of Corsican hellebores. But walking through the Victorian alps as Snow Daisies emerge from melting snow, under the twisted trunks of snow gums is just as precious a memory.

Please write and let us and other Diggers Club members know what inspires your garden visions of paradise. Clive Blazey (1 March 2018)

We Garden Therefore We Are

Enjoy our gardens of quiet beauty,
Respite from traffic, bitumen and steel,
Soul restored from trees and fresh air,
Sanity, water, sunshine and flowers,
We garden therefore we are.

 

There’s no excuse for ugliness,
Wrote La Trobe Bateman moons ago,
Out with vulgar modern and brassy,
Sanity, heirlooms, beauty and flowers,
We garden therefore we are.

 

Nourishing life below our feet,
Harvesting fresh from soil to table,
Outing poisons and patents nature decrees,
Sanity, organics, seeds and flowers,
We garden therefore we are.

 

Preserving wilderness for animals and birds,
Restoring trees for habitat and home,
Bees and birds in natural harmony,
Sanity, preservation, empathy, power,
Being gardeners therefore we are.

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Clive Blazey

Clive is the founder of The Diggers Club, a pioneer in the rescue of heirloom vegetable and fruit varieties and author of seven books on flower, vegetable and fruit gardening.

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