Tasmanian Garden Paradise

This largely photographic blog entry is all about Jubilee Gardens in Cascade, Hobart, Tasmania.  It is literally someone’s suburban back-yard, albeit a half hectare backyard, that is so incredibly jam packed with plants the visitor is liable to ‘nature-overload’ (a.k.a. very happy).

Jubiee gardens lawns

Jubiee gardens – a rare open space

Ted Cutlan and Joy Stones have collected thousands of plants and put them together into an extraordinary display that takes a wonderful few hours to enjoy to the full.  It’s very orientally inspired and has been only opened at peak flowering season around early November.  However since 2012 Ted and Joy have found that the demands have exceeded their capacity and it will not be open to the public from 2013 onwards and therefore this photo record will have to suffice from now on.

Purple rhododendron

One of the many fabulous rhododendron

Its a massive undertaking that is the result of years of plant collection and nurturing with the main plants being Rhododendrons and Azaleas, all of which are in superb condition and make a wonderfully colourful display.

Orange Red Rhododendron

Rhododendrons in all colours

As you wend your way down the property through narrow, twisting pathways the higher trees provide the necessary dappled shade for many of these delicately featured oriental plants to thrive in peak conditions.

Wonderfully delicate Acers

Wonderfully delicate Acers

Ted and Joy are experts with ornamental Maples as can be seen by the collection of over a hundred different varieties especially Acer japonicum and Acer palmatum  (originating from Japan) that feature extraordinarily dissected and multi-coloured coloured foliage.  They propogate Acers in their well equipped greenhouses and continue to sell them to locals.

Red and orange acers

You don’t need to wait for autumn with these delicate acers

Then there’s the Camelias, many different varieties and species but because this garden is well sheltered from cold winds and sun-scorching, just about every plant you see is in perfect condition (a rarity even in the big botanical garden).

Full bloom camellias

Camellias in full spring colour

Another potent symbol of springtime are the cascading Wisterias, to be found at many turns of the twisting pathways or drooping elegantly over pergolas or garden archways.

Wisteria

Wisteria

Jubilee Gardens also has a splendid collection of Clematis too, again climbing over trellis or fences.

Striped Clematis

Many varieties of Clematis on show

Jubilee Gardens boasts a fascinating collection of trees of all kinds including many conifers and some very elegant cooler climate deciduous trees.  They provide the needed shade whilst also adding to the overall rich textures of the gardens.

Confier cone

All plants are in superb condition

Water features seem to be such natural bed-fellows with any ‘Japonicas’ and ‘Sinensies’ and of course they also attract birds and frogs and a plethora of other bugs and insects – all part of the self-sustaining natural environment that is celebrated here.

Pond

Striking water features are used for contrast

But we shouldn’t forget that very special foliage plant that is scattered in amongst the footings of the more spectacular blooming shrubs – I refer of course to Hosta and no end of colourful, ankle high spring flowers.

Hostas in shade

Hosta love this dappled shade

With so much to feast the eyes on at ground level you may not find time to look upwards – but if you do you’ll see Mount Wellington towering above – Jubilee Gardens being set in its foothills in Hobart’s south – as discovered by some of the GardensOnline team recently.

Author: Bob Saunders (www.gardensonline.com.au)

GardensOnline team hard at work

Some of the GardensOnline team hard at work

Mulching Vegetables

In planting out the raised veggie beds recently I decided to try some different approaches to see if yields improved.

The most obvious is the addition of mulch and this time I’m trying sugar cane mulch.  This should help maintain soil moisture, keep roots cooler on those hot Sydney summer days and (I like this one the most) keep weeds at bay.  The most depressing thing about being a lazy gardener is watching the weeds stealing the nutrients from your prized crops.  Not only do they yield less, they become more susceptible to disease and pests.

So rather than be a slave to weeds I thought we’d give them less chance this year.  One or two have poked through since but its a lot easier to spot them now.  Overall I’d say the incidence of weeds has decreased markedly already.

Sugar cane mulch on vegetables

Sugar cane mulch on vegetables

Then there’s the leeks – recognising that they’ll need earthing up as they grow, I’ve planted them in a trough with the soil already piled up alongside to earth them up with later.  Essentially this will mean longer and whiter leeks come harvest time.  And I reckon leek soup on a cold winter’s day is pretty damn good.

Those are Pak Choy, by the way on the left of the photo.  If you haven’t tried Chinese vegetables yet then I’d highly recommend them. Quick and easy to grow and a wonderfully fresh, crisp ingredient in stir fry.

They’ve all had regular waterings with Nitrosol which is essentially a sort of liquid blood and bone with a few extra nutrients thrown in.  Excellent at promoting good root growth which is what we want at this point in the growing cycle and also loaded with nitrogen for good leaf growth.

Mulched Tomatoes

Mulched Tomatoes – well spaced out

I’ve also been more careful to give all plants a bit more room. Its easy to crowd them in, wanting to grow as much as possible but in a moist summer climate the threat of fungal attacks are high so lots of room for air to move around is vital.  These tomatoes have plenty of room to breathe so instead of filling the gaps with companion plants like lettuce as I’ve done in previous seasons, this time they are left open.  I’d say that comparatively growth is above average already simply from leaving all the nutrition to the tomatoes.

Author: Bob Saunders (www.gardensonline.com.au)