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Robin Powell sifts through her ideas file, drawn from a year of garden visiting, to find garden inspirations, both practical and whimsical.

Aren’t some people clever!

Images - Robin Powell


Anne Ward's garden 'Gayton'.



We saw Anne Ward’s garden Gayton, above, on our Tastings: Orange tour last autumn. I loved this pergola, with its subtle arches and curves echoing the curves in the paths and the arching of the branches beyond. The colour too is in perfect harmony with the pink and lilac salvias and the sunset tones of the Rosa mutabilis behind. Below: When chef and gardener Jan Waddington decided an overgrown vitex shrub had to go, her husband Rob, with nothing to lose, thought he’d have a go at turning it into a cloud topiary before sending it to the mulch pile. The result is a living sculpture that adds to the view of the garden and paddocks beyond. 


Jan Waddington's clowd topiary adds nicely to the view beyond.


This stunning sculpture shows the importance of siting works in the garden. It is nestled into a clearing of spotted gum and surrounded by a lake of lush agapanthus, which in summer explodes into a froth of white. It’s at Petana, on the south coast of NSW, which will host a sculpture exhibition at Easter. Stay tuned for details at

'Petana', on the south coast of NSW



Gardeners are forever looking for clever solutions to everyday problems in the garden. These are a few that impressed me with their ingenuity this year. Below: These wood piles make swooping and curving low walls through which nasturtium ramble. 


Sweeping woodpile walls


 In need of a compost sieve, Mickey Robertson from Glenmore House, had a rustic one made to fit exactly into her wheelbarrow for easy use.

Mickey Robertson's compost sieve


Sculptor and artist Folko Cooper has a garden chockfull of amusing ideas and this bean frame of old garden forks was a favourite - note too the old bird cage acting as a seedling protector.

Folko Cooper's garden, 'Oakwood'


Cheryl Boyd is another artist with found materials, as the image below, this pergola of prunings shows. (Catch Cheryl talking to Robin Powell about making and using found sculpture in the garden at Collectors Plant Fair in April.)  

Pergola of prunings at Cheryl Boyd's   'Stringybark'


Brendan Moar's Sydney garden


Above: Brendan Moar used a zigzag of silver chain as the support for a climber on the tall adjoining wall of a small garden. Below: Another wood solution, this time an old water tank repurposed as a wood shed, at Petana.

Old water tank re-purposed as a wood shed.


For show

Appealing little details are part of the fun of a garden – for gardener and visitor.  Lindsay Green from Bark Ridge in Rydal is a stalwart of the town’s annual Daffodil Festival and features the flower all through her garden, (and not just in the garden – Lindsay may well have the world’s best collection of daffodil china!), including in this antique dolls pram.

Lindsay Green's daffodil display at Bark Ridge in Rydal


Seen at Queensland Garden Expo, Nambour this teardrop corten hanging container from Broadcroft Design with a cascade of rhipsalis is modernity itself;


Rhipsalis and corten hanging container.


When there’s no room for a pot, how about a jar of flowers, hung by string from a hook on the door.

No room for a pot? No problem.


Also for show is this fabulous collection of gal iron watering cans, framed by a wreath of leaves and barrow load of hearts-ease.

Gal iron watering cans.

About this article

Author: Robin Powell