Question about your order? See our COVID 19 Update here. Online orders are currently only open to members only. Orders are taking a minimum of 3 - 4 weeks to despatch based on current reduced-workplace COVID restrictions. Our response times to email and phone messages are between 5-10 days.

Question about your order? See our COVID 19 Update here. Online orders are currently only open to members only. Orders are taking a minimum of 3 - 4 weeks to despatch based on current reduced-workplace COVID restrictions. Our response times to email and phone messages are between 5-10 days.

Welcome to the university for self-taught gardeners

We gardeners are a critical lot and are very hard to please.

We love being outdoors but then every few years we have to battle the elements; the heat waves that desiccate our plants or the storms that tear our trees apart. Having to be battle-hardened is what we signed up for because we have an intimate relationship with our best friends – plants.Every year we begin with tremendous optimism and end slightly disappointed.Is the problem botanical, horticultural, artistic or practical? The journey of the self-taught gardener never ends, is full of pitfalls but, to quote Gertrude Jekyll, “the power of intelligent combination is the nearest we can know to the mighty force of creation”.
The alumni of self-taught gardeners
Vita Sackville-West, who created the world-famous garden of the 20th century, Sissinghurst, was what I would call a plantswoman/gardener. She was blessed to be able to call upon her husband, Harold Nicholson, to create a ground layout upon which she could create her work of art. The practical left hand assisting the artistic right to create an iconic, world-famous garden. Wikipedia don’t describe Vita as a gardener – they say she was primarily a poet and writer, as well as a garden designer. Being a self-taught gardener clearly has no kudos.
The great French and Italian self-taught gardeners
The creator of the world’s most visited garden Versailles, Andre Le Notre, studied mathematics, painting and architecture as the foundation for his gardening career, being in charge of the most expensive garden ever created 350 years ago. Painting was Claude Monet’s driving force behind the very recent popular garden at Giverny, an hour from Paris. Whilst plants take centre stage in most gardens, at Villa d’Este, just an hour’s drive from Rome, the focus is the sight and sound of water flowing through great epic sculptures whilst plants are there simply to provide shade.It’s hard to believe that all the 500 jets operated without modern pumps over 450 years ago. Now we haven’t even begun to consider Japanese or Chinese gardens some of which are over 1,000 years old.
Why is there no kudos for being a self-taught gardener?
So what has this got to do with being a self-taught gardener you may ask? Well, over 90% of the world’s finest gardens were completed before gardening education began to be professionally taught. At a cocktail party many years ago I was asked what I did for a living. “I am a gardener” I said and my companion apologised for asking, presuming I would be embarrassed to admit to such a lowly occupation.  If I had said I am an economics graduate,  a businessman or a philanthropist he would have been satisfied but it would not have been an honest answer. What I have learnt from gardening is worth all the study at school and university, because “I now know what I don’t know” and that is both humbling and the beginning of wisdom.

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In The Garden - Highlights at Heronswood in August

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In The Garden - Highlights at Heronswood in September

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In The Garden - Highlights at St Erth in April

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In The Garden - Highlights at St Erth in August

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Is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore the world’s most interesting garden?

Is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore the world’s most interesting garden?

Let’s pretend we believe in climate change, but not at the expense of GDP

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Monsanto’s DDT was banned in Australia in 1987. When will Monsanto’s Roundup be banned?

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Plants as Lovers

Many of us gardeners are obsessive plant compulsives – we can’t take our minds off them.

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The corporatisation of our food supply

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The potential collapse of organic gardening in Australia

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We have been fighting Monsanto for 20 years

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Member Exclusives
STRAWBERRY 'CHANDLER' POTTED
STRAWBERRY 'CHANDLER' POTTED
PLANTS: PSTCHP
The most delicious of all the large fruited strawberries. Huge berries up to 60g are produced in profusion in summer. Easy to grow in most climates, these have to be the chef's choice. 82/100 in our taste tests.
Member $6.95
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MULTIFLORA PINK ROSE CLUB SPECIAL 10
MULTIFLORA PINK ROSE CLUB SPECIAL 10
PLANTS: RMULP10
A profusion of apple blossom pink flowers in Spring smother this vigorous self supporting rose. This fast growing thicket becomes an ideal farm fence or informal hedge. 10 plants.
Member $59.90
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2yr membership +FREE vegie seeds
2yr membership +FREE vegie seeds
Membership: MNE2VS
Grow the best tasting vegies with free Tomato 'Tigerella, Beetroot 'Bulls Blood, Silverbeet 'Fordhook' and Spring Onion 'Red' seeds (one packet of each, valued at $21).
Member $79.00
Non-Member $79.00
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