Garden Party In Noosa!
Summer is here and the time is right for dancing in the streets, on the rooftops and in our gardens. Pete Goodlet offers sage advice to get this party started!
You’ve sorted your dancefloor, be it decking or paving. The food is sorted thanks to the BBQ. The drinks are chilling, guests are arriving. But is your garden dressed for the ball? Great plant selection and placement will make your garden the belle of the season.
A successful garden, much like a successful party, needs a tailored mix of individuals. Bring in a few bushie types to add strength to the background; sprinkle a chorus line of colour through your beds to tie it all together and always make room for a showstopper in a Dior gown.
Getting the mix right is vital to achieving balance throughout your garden. Too many showstopping Divas and mayhem will erupt. Your eye will not only be distracted, it may even be dislodged by a competitively flung stiletto! When using a plant as a focal point you need to give it the space to shine. Keep the underplanting subtle or simply mulched with pebbles.
In a courtyard, you may raise your diva up onto a pedestal in an elegant hourglass pot. Cycads are an excellent specimen to use in this way, simply mulched with black or white pebbles or given a flowing skirt of Dichondra Silver Falls. Much like men in their dress suits form a monotone backdrop to the colourful outfits of their companions, a lush green hedge or background planting will not only provide privacy but will allow the foreground plantings to shine.
Clumping bamboos and giant white bird of paradise can each provide a fast-growing, informal screen in our subtropical climate. A Lilly Pilly hedge can be clipped to form a dense green screen. There is quite an art to hedging and it is important to trim the plants on a regular basis. Plants tend to reach for the sky before spreading their branches. Correct shaping will encourage a dense privacy screen.
It takes a little patience to trim their tops when all you want is height, but your patience will be rewarded. A flowering hedge of sasanqua camellias with a border of gardenias will give you the density you require while also adding colour and perfume. The perfect dance partners for a narrow space!
Don’t be afraid to add colour to your garden. It’s the subtropics, we can be a little splashy! Clump colour together to create a pattern that delights the eye, and add strong structural foliage to tie the whole outfit together.
Just like party guests, plants can be divided into many groups, but the one that comes to mind is the lushes and the teetotallers. The lush will be demanding their next drink while waving its big floppy foliage about, while the teetotaller demurely declines a top-up of their lime and soda. While a drought-tolerant plant may not be able to drive you home after the party, they deserve a place in every garden.
The toughest of these plants are succulents. Perfect for pots or gravel gardens, they make an excellent entrance plant leaving more water for the lushes in your more intimate internal gardens. Feeling a little befuddled, like you’ve just knocked back one too many margaritas? Plant choice is a challenge, the nurseries bring out new varieties on a daily basis and the choices can be head spinning.
The lads at Earth Creation Landscapes all got into landscaping through a love of plants. What better way to show off their favourite plants than to build a perfect party place or a sweet private getaway. Get the layout, the lighting and the planting sorted and like a party with great décor and the perfect mix of guests, your garden will be an absolute success. Let the dancing commence! What plants make the Earth Creation Landscapes team dance?
Lords of Landscaping
Stuart: Alocasia macrorrhiza / Elephant Ears What’s not to love about this evergreen perennial. Its gigantic, striking foliage creates an instant feature in any garden. Its common name, Elephant Ears is quite fitting when you see its glossy green leaves up to a metre in length with prominent veining on the underside of the foliage. It’s a must!
David: Metasequoia glyptostroboides / Dawn Redwood Having learnt tens of thousands of plants from the age of 12, my favourites are ones with cool names. I like this one because I taught my son Paul how to pronounce it correctly when he took a branch to school for show and tell – he was 6 years old.
Lads of Landscaping
Toli: Licuala ramsayi / Australian Fan Palm This unique palm symbolizes the beauty and lushness of sub-tropic Queensland. Its large leaves create a cool understory to walk in and for rainforest plants to thrive.
Josh: Tristaniopsis luscious / Kanooka Gum Very useable in a residential landscape, this gum can be a feature, a screen or even used for boundary line planting. It has attractive foliage with an awesome trunk and bark.
Benny: Cyathea Cooperi / Aust Tree Fern This beautiful prehistoric plant fits into almost any garden and being native to Queensland, it thrives in our conditions.
Craig: Philodendron ‘Rojo Congo’ The firm, glossy, beautiful burgundy green leaves makes this plant perfect for creating a tropical atmosphere around your garden or indoor living areas. A true show stopper!