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The choices we make

By Tim Sansom, CEO of The Diggers Foundation

As our climate changes, so must our ideas about what we plant in our gardens.

As I write this, the northern hemisphere summer is getting started and Canada has just experienced a heatwave that, according to a group of scientists at an organisation called World Weather Attribution, would be ‘virtually impossible’ without the atmospheric inputs resulting from humans burning fossil fuels.

Our summers are getting hotter, storms are getting fiercer and weather extremes are becoming more pronounced. We gardeners are well attuned to these changes in our own gardens, as we observe firsthand the impact these extreme conditions have on the plants we cultivate. As we learn to better match our plant selection with our environment, we look to plants that perform well in these extremes.

In this issue, Simon Rickard talks of pressure testing perennials for their capacity to withstand heatwaves in his garden and, likewise, our gardeners at Heronswood and The Garden of St Erth make careful selections of plant varieties for our gardens with a view to creating beautiful and abundant garden[1]scapes with plants that can withstand all our increasingly warmer summers throw at them. 

Choosing the right plants is vital when creating a beautiful and climate-appropriate garden, but when you walk into a hardware store nursery, or even your local garden centre, the majority of plants on offer are not presented in a way that helps a gardener make the right plant choices.

In fact, most nurseries are set up for impulse buyers looking for a splash of short-lived colour and many of the new plants that come on the market in Australia come from Europe or the United States, where they are bred for gardeners who have milder and wetter summers than much of Australia.

The choice is yours. Don’t be tempted by the ‘What’s New’ stand with its dazzling bright colours because most of these plants won’t make good garden plants. If you want to make an ornamental garden that is aesthetically unified and sustainable, it is best to do some forward planning. Read up a little, choose plant combinations that match each other for colour, form, flowering time and above all, resilience.

After all, it’s much easier (and far more pleasurable) to tend a garden that is in-sync with your environment rather than fight against the force of nature – you’ll never win.

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FIELD OF SUNFLOWERS COLLECTION
FIELD OF SUNFLOWERS COLLECTION
SEEDS: S780
It seems impossible to only grow one variety of Sunflower with the iconic joy they bring to the summer garden. Why not grow a small field with the wonder and diversity of Sunflowers from the multi-stemmed and rich ‘Prado Red’, the iconic single-stemmed ‘Van Gogh’, ethereal ‘Moonwalker’ and the colossal ‘Giant Russian’. All sunflower wishes and d...
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GRAPE - BACKYARD VINEYARD COLLECTION (4 plants)
GRAPE - BACKYARD VINEYARD COLLECTION (4 plants)
PLANTS: WGRCO1
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2 year membership  + Free Seed Sowing Poster and 2 seed packets
2 year membership + Free Seed Sowing Poster and 2 seed packets
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A beautifully illustrated heirloom ‘sow what when’ poster for all areas of Australia so that you'll never have to think about what to sow this month again! You will also receive some free Kale 'Red Russian' and Broccoli 'Green Sprouting' seeds to get your garden started.
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