“Planty Fierce” … a Central Costa “Paradox”


Yucca elephantipes "Paradox" hero plant
Dracaena draco “Paradox” hero plant

And it is a paradox that Ray Henderson’s garden, by the same name, springs from the floor of Glenning Valley with such a rude blast ..

But why not ? It was certainly a no brainer for inclusion in “Planty Fierce,  a FREE 1 day garden-fest on Saturday 5th March,’16 of 4 fabulous, never before open to the public Central Coast gardens within 30 minutes of each other, so you can easily see them all with lunch at any of the best cafe’s within easy reach – what’s not to like ? Mark your planners now ..


At first, “Paradox” rushes at you from the drive like an irresistible, richly encrusted pizza and then, on closer inspection, it  becomes clear there’s a closely woven selection of plants going on here … each located with such great care that a strange cohesiveness binds all into one vibrant whole.

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Super charged, “Paradox”

It is a horticultural BLAST, mostly comprising the most sci-fi bromeliads, with complementary daubs of furcrea, aeonium, crassula and kalanchoe. A euphorbia here as ultra fine against a casual rug of oscularia there, with an outcrop of agave over there … you can feel the frisson just standing in front of this garden.

Many of Ray’s exceptional bromeliad hybrids and species for sale, bring plenty of cash and boxes you’ll need them !!!  

“Paradox” FREE Entry at “Planty Fierce”, Saturday 5th March 10am till 4pm

Ray Henderson, 25 Curringa Close, Glenning Valley 0413 345 297


Warm Bulbs are here to stay …

Hippeastrum aulicum – Equestrian Star Flower

Yes that’s right and species hippeastrum are spear heading the Amarylid Group in showing us designers what a versatile range of warm bulbs they really are ..

Crinums, Amaryllis, Sprekelia, Agapanthus, Clivea, Cyrtanthus and Scadoxus and many more, they all belong to this fabulous lily group and an increasing number of non-general line growers offering these seasonal flares to add to your work – just have to find out where they are !!

Charles Harland is a regular at Fairs like Collectors Plant Fair and Central Coast Plant Lovers together with his son Clayton and has been skilfully hybridising because…. because HE CAN 😮 

Hippeastrum aulicum x cybista

Easy to grow and beautiful to look at, these highly ornamental South Americans adapt easily to our East Coast Australian gardens and beyond. Some even lend themselves to Greenwall work as epiphytes or are lithophytic across rock crevices in moist micro-climates with leaf litter and surrounding tree sheltered bright light or morning sun. Undemanding, the only achilles heel they have is the gregarious striped Lily Caterpillar. Otherwise you can set and forget and be rewarded anytime between November and May with swathes of these elegant flowers that bring an easy grace to any garden.

Hippeastrum (cybista x aulicum & looks like some interesting back crosses to get these raspberry swirls)
Clay & Charles at Collectors Plant Fair
Clay & Charles at Collectors Plant Fair

Charles and Clayton Harland, Harlands Nursery 0423 327 700 in Sydney’s south west 

“Sea-Changer Launch” …so much for you !


"Sea-Changer" Shade Hut
“Sea-Changer” Shade Hut

 Happy Melbourne Cup and hope you back a winner today. A sure winner for you and your garden is the “Sea-Changer” Launch !  

Its best to have more than one reason to get people out of the city for a “planty” day on the Central Costa. So, together with         “Sea-Changer’s” 19th March Launch here 10am till 4pm  at 21 Lavinia Street, Forrester Beach, you can visit 3 other gardens, 2 of these with plants sales AND one of the best Australian bromeliad growers. You might like to start your day early by leaving Sydney Metro around 8am, onto the Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga. Just 20 or so minutes past the Gosford turn off, take the Budgewoi, Charmhaven & Charlestown exit, then left in Rutleys Road just past Doyalson.  

Bromeliads Australia & Apex Plants – 49 Rutleys Road, Wyee Point  plant sales 9am till 4pm, where you can find the near gammut of bromeliad perfection, from giant hero plants to tiny fascinations for your garden. Owners Bob & Gleness Lanarch and their son Jamie and his wife Jennifer can answer your every question to make sure of bagging a few treasured winners.

Bob Lanarch and hero plants Vriesea hybrids featuring ruby "snake skin" patterning
Bob Lanarch and hero plants Vriesea hybrids featuring ruby “snake skin” patterning
Grassy Tillandsia's
Grassy textural Tillandsia’s
Beautiful full sun hardy Alcantarea imperialis x vinicolor hybrids
Beautiful full sun hardy Alcantarea imperialis x vinicolor hybrids

 … and don’t forget Peter & Ruth Donnelly will severely tempt you with tables of many treasures for sale here at “Sea-Changer” like these beneath, happily growing at “Sea-Changer”.  

Mesembryanthemum sp. ever flowering copper suns
Rosa sanguinea ‘Miss Lowe’s Rose’ coastal evergreen & winter flowering, makes a great hedge

Watch this space in coming weeks, for details of the other three mystery garden & nursery destinations … EXCITEMENT !  

Triple Graft “Rainbow” Frangi’s for fun ..

Novelties in ornamental horticulture, meh, we’ve seen them come and go…. right ? Every now and then a good grower comes up with something less of a gimmick and more of an asset though. Stuart & Joy Reiss from the Sydney Frangipani Co.  www.sydneyfrangipani.com 0452 504912 is one such and while you might still be thinking the triple grafts a bridge too far – I wouldn’t mind seeing one of these Rainbow Trees in 7 or 8 years with its beautifully merged yet contrasting flower shades, adding a certain scented je ne sais quoi to even the most tasteful of designs. Call Stuart for details on markets points of sale and cultural information on the best micro climate conditions for your new tree. 

Double graft plumaria acuminata, for extra interest why not ?
Double graft plumaria acuminata, in strongly contrasting gaudy interest, why not ?
Harmonising shades for added interest, could be good :o
Harmonising shades for more subtle interest, just as chic

Exceptional Bromeliads THIS weekend 10th & 11th October ’15

Simply the best species sun hardy neoregelias & their hybrids, vrieseas, tillandsia, guzmania and MANY more .. !! 

Just click here Brom fair 0ct2015 for opening times, NOTE trading on Sunday ceases at midday :0

Gary Flemming at Collectors Plant Fair will be selling at Concord Bromeliad Fair
Gary Flemming at Collectors Plant Fair will be selling at Concord Bromeliad Fair

Mark Paul from the Greenwall Company, Peter Tristram, Gary & Angela Flemming from Melanquin Nursery and Michael Firenze are some of the best of the former NSW Bromeliad Society growers and suppliers I use for my own Paradisus designs… A rare opportunity for your designs and to enrich your own home gardens from the one location over 1 & 1/2 days in Sydney.

Concord Senior Citizens

9 – 11 Wellbank Street, Concord

For more information contact Gary on 0265 5539868 or 0413 178884

and Peter Tristram Peter@bromeliads.com.au 



Central Coast Plant Lovers Fair Kariong, this Sat & Sun !!

CCPLF ’15 Growers

Click on the above link for good garden plants for your client designs, to expand your Growers List and diversify your own home garden towards the more interesting and resilient.

The Fair at Kariong Mountains High School, Kariong, Central Coast NSW, is open both days of THIS weekend, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th 9am till 4pm and forecasts are both pleasantly overcast so bring plenty of boxes !

CCPLF '14 Fair action
CCPLF ’14 Fair action

All stall holders are worth considering and the following are particular faves of mine for garden making plants par excellence –

Stephen Bridge at Addictive Plants, Andrew Harvie, Keith Tollis and Colin Hunt at Andy’s Rare Plants, Ross & Chris Bolwell at Bloom’n Greenery, David Fripp at Screen Trees Australia,  Klaus Eckardt at Green e Roses, Royal Botanic Gardens Growing Friends, Donnovan & Jessica Linney at Plant Life, Robyn Bible Geraniums & Pelagoniums, Wes and Lorraine Vidler at Weslor Nursery, Peter Teese at Yamina Rare Plants, Michael Dent at Aloe Aloe, Elaine Slade at Kawana Nursery and Bob & Gleness and Jamie Lanarch at Bromeliads Australia .. !!

Ipheion sellowianum
Ipheion sellowianum

You can always expect a stand out selection of very kool plants also, at Ruth & Peter Donnally’s Coachwood stall. Among so many faves across their tables just bulging with horticultural treasure, you can expect a good supply Ipheon sellowianum the golden Star Flower. Excellent ground covering companion to autumn white flowering Zephyranthes candida the Autumn Crocus.

Kalanchoe fedtchenkoi dwarf
Kalanchoe fedtchenkoi dwarf

Sometimes best contrasts to ornamental grasses with good humidity tollerance like ultra fine sage green Poa ‘Eskdale’, are found in the rubbery pink and eau de Nil green scallops of Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi dwarf forms as a nice little texture rug.

Senecio amaniensis
Senecio amaniensis

Or you might have a decent sheet of glossy but over homogenous glossy green Billbergia pyramidalis that pokes out into the sun, for a nice contrasting splodge of cochineal Senecio amaniensis. Crassula 'Springtime' Crassula ‘Springtime’

Or what could be nicer as a break from Mini Mondo Grass, to use the rich coffee shades of Crassula ‘Springtime’ between that brick or salt textured concrete paver slabs … heaven 🙂    


Rooftop ideas BH&G’s tonight !

DGN readers, there’s one Paradisus design I can show you especially, that just seems to give more every year.

Ian & Noelene Dawes Cremorne rooftop is an exception…. and do you know, you can see Better Homes & Gardens presenter Jason Hodges show how easy this unirrigated space, made from exciting DGN succulent and water storing plants, is roaring away this winter. Hope you can tune in for planting ideas in your own designs.

Better Homes & Gardens, 7pm Channel 7, today Fri 24th July  

Winter fire 

Cremorne rooftop                                                                                                                                                    

Bromeliad Garden Nursery for Sale

Bromeliad Garden Nursery
Beautiful growing facilities

Specialist Growers Marc & Stephanie Grubski at Glenorie have been well known to me over many years for beautifully cultured bromeliads and impeccable facilities in Harrisons Lane. Bromeliad Garden Nursery stock always distinguished itself in the market place with plants that were well hardened to garden conditions. Marc & Stephanie have always worked  with  this in mind, now the time has come to sell their bromeliad business, its stock offer maintains a broad fit across most outdoor growing conditions.  

Guzmania hybrid
Guzmania hybrids beautifully grown

Now focusing available time and resources on year round production rose growing, an opportunity  exists for new interest to take over the reins.

Stock comprises of variety of 20 000 plants including Guzmanias, Vrieseas, Neoregelias and Alcantareas as main lines.  

All infrastructure and equipment will be included. 

Marc & Stephanie are prepared to provide extensive training to new owners.
Favourable leasing agreement can be negotiated and will include substantial free of lease period.

Huge tax benefits because this is primary production and the business will have very high depreciation.


Click here for more info

24 Harrisons Lane, Glenorie NSW 2157,
phone:    +61 2 9652 1140   
Mark 0411 406462








Microbes Make Gardens Grow

At Islands in the Stream, compost worms feed microbes that new gardens need for plant growth. Vermiculturist Lee Fieldhouse has confirmed a deep suspicion I’ve always had, that my gardens were missing something during their early establishment. Some plant families like Rutacea (citrus, murraya) and Acanthacea (mackaya bella, ruellia) seemed especially affected showing persistent chlorosis well into the second year.

Cow paunch, you know you're standing in it
Cow paunch, you know you’re standing in it

Turns out the humble earth worm has a lot more to do with this than I ever knew. It appears their castings and spit are colonised by very specific microbes that contain chemical signatures unlocking nutrient gates to plant root systems. So no worms, no castings/spit, equals no or low microbes, means limited or no nutrient availability to plants. 


Designers necessarily import rather large quantities of “soil-less” component parts (sand, spent mushroom compost, ash, recycled sewerage waste and composted wood chip in one form or another) comprising imported mixes that pass for “dead” top soil, devoid of beneficial soil bacterium and fungus. 

This means nutrient is locked up from plants in new gardens, while we wonder why they sometimes fail to thrive despite slow release, organic nitrogen like manures and other goodies used at planting time.

Having used Lee’s odourless, fairly light weight worm processed, microbe enriched paunch with all new planting here at the “Sea-Changer”, I can attest the new garden has been far more robust and pest resistant than usual. The sterile mix I brought in to correct levels and plant in over underlying estuarine silt, is now bulging with worms where there were none and has lost the nasty anaerobic “stink” it had .. Used in another new garden at MacMasters Beach for Tania Wilson to equal effect, I’m now sold, BIGTIME.

Microbe enriched worm processed finished product
Lee grinning into microbe enriched worm processed finished product

Aside from bagged product, Lee also has a liquid form available soon, that I used at planting to bring root systems into instant contact with nutrient and as a foliar drench without a single loss to “plant shock” during heat wave conditions. This combination resulted in far less time for plants to “bite” into top soil at planting. 

Islands in The Stream – Lee Fieldhouse

66 Tea Tree Lane
Mitchells Island NSW 2430


0429 197 596





Semi-shade gravitas

Bob Lanarch & Giant Snake Skin Vriesea
Bob Lanarch & Giant Snake Skin Vriesea










Vriesea continues to evolve into larger plants that pull focus in garden designs like few alcantarea can in the shade.

Bob & Gleness Lanarch together with their son Jamie at Bromeliads Australia on the Central Coast, have made great strides in hybridising  V. fosteriana patturns with the larger V. seideliana species. “Snake skins” of rich ruby claret colours have brought plants the size of most Alcantarea imperialis without a tendency to “shade stretch” out of shape and loose condition.

Snake Skin Vriesea
Snake Skin Vriesea


Bob says the sun hardiness of his beautiful hybrids would withstand all but the harsh west sans scorch, so its wrong to tar them the “shade only brush”. Best time to introduce these excellent hero plants into your north facing design would be now until end October.


Bob & Gleness and Jamie Lanarch, Bromeliads Australia 4359 3356 & 0416 188 812 sales@bromeliads-australia.com.au