Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

By Penny Woodward

Diggers' pumpkins, gourds and chillis

Diggers' pumpkins, gourds and chillis

We are so lucky to have such a good garden show in Melbourne, and an unsurpassed site in the Carlton Gardens and the Exhibition Building. I was there for four of the five days and don’t think I have seen so many people in previous years. There were some wonderful display gardens, fabulous floral displays and interesting gardening related commercial stands. Read more

Paradise pears

By Gail Thomas

Miniature, delicious paradise pears

Crunchy and delicious paradise pears

There’s nothing better than a fresh juicy ripe pear, simply by itself, as a perfect match with a glass of Sauternes or in any number of sweet or savoury dishes. Kicking off the season in January and February are the delightful tiny paradise pears, also sometimes known as sugar pears, crystal pears or faccia bella, with their rosy blushed cheeks. Read more

Heartwarming heartsease

By Penny Woodward

the three coloured faces of heartsease flowers

The three coloured faces of heartsease flowers

Heartsease (Viola tricolor) is a member of the viola family, closely related to pansies and violets. It has acquired an intriguing list of names over its long history, names that reflect its diverse characteristics. Some call it Johnny-jump-up and kit-run-about, both names earned by its endearing habit of suddenly appearing and then thriving in odd corners of the garden. In spring more than two years ago I planted heartsease in one corner of my garden. It grew quickly and flowered prolifically until the weather got really hot and dry. The plants died and much of the seed dropped to the ground, the rest I sprinkled around the garden. The following autumn many new plants poked their oval-shaped green leaves through the soil and a few weeks later began to flower. The cycle has repeated itself and I’m now at the point where I’m waiting for cooler weather and rain, and wondering where the new plants will appear this time. Read more

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