Easy to grow and hardy! They stand up relatively well to drought conditions and tolerate a wide variety of soils. The Liquidambar is a widely used feature tree. Many ‘designer’ forms have recently been developed to suit a vast range of design requirements. One of the last deciduous ornamentals to lose its leaves after an intense Autumnal colour and summer shade, allowing winter sun to fill the garden. Liquidambar are truly a tree for all seasons.

Featured Species: Liquidamber ‘Worplesdon’

Tough, long-flowering and aromatic, Lavandula works well in many garden situations and styles. From classical and formal, through to cottage and perennial gardens, lavender can be used for hedging or to lend colour and height to a flowering border. Frost hardy and forgiving of the novice gardener, lavender fills a garden with a beautiful aroma.

Featured Species: Lavandula dentata - French Lavender

The camellia’s mid/dark green glossy leaves provide an evergreen backdrop to an extraordinary array of colourful flowers. Preferring an acid to neutral soils they tend to do well in the Macedon Ranges but will benefit from addition of humus to soils. With a little bit of TLC, Camellias will reward you with flowers through autumn, winter and spring.

Featured Species: Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

With well over 300 varieties to choose from, Grevillea boast a great diversity of foliage from sharp, needle-like to graceful ferny forms. Native birds are also unable to resist the allure of these pleasing Proteaceae. Superb nectar dripping flowers will enliven your garden with Spine-Bills and Honey-Eaters.

Featured Species: Grevillea longistyla

A very effective hedging or screening plant, Lilly Pilly boast many varieties suited to a diversity of uses. Better suited to the more sheltered garden, the Lilly Pilly hates a hard frost, especially when young, so give them some shelter for the first few winters. ‘Backyard Bliss’ is a new variety which offers a compact form (reducing maintenance) and psyllid resistance.

Featured Species: Syzigium ‘Backyard Bliss’

These plants are good to put in your garden if you want to go out to the backyard and pick a lemon... or an orange. Also, the fragrant flowers and beautiful green foliage are a joy for the senses. Citrus like a fair bit of food through the growing seasons but back off a little in winter to avoid delicate new shoots being frost affected. Some varieties are better than others for frost hardiness, while a north or west facing brick wall and a protected spot will yield the best results.

Featured Species: Fortunella japonica ‘Marumi’

A beautiful feature plant for a courtyard container or half wine barrel, olives work equally well as a screening plant, or bleached as an elevated hedge. Hardy against all the elements and easy to grow. Generally a very undemanding plant which gives great rewards in kitchen and garden alike.

Featured Species: Olea ‘Del Morocco’

The most intense display of flowers, bottlebrush are an iconic Australian Native plant. Preferring a more open soil structure, bottlebrush would benefit from a raised planting position, elevated above the clay soils of the Macedon Ranges. The callistemon provide a good food resource for native birds and animals. Suited for use as hedging / screening, or as part of a mixed border, bottlebrush are fairly low maintenance plants, but will benefit from occasional pruning to keep the canopy dense and healthy.

Featured Species: Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special

The ‘Sacred Bamboo’, or Nandina comes in many forms but all are particularly hardy to drought and cold. In the months of winter when the hard frosts start to occur, Nandina comes ablaze with intense foliage colour. From reds through oranges and yellows, this colour holds on through the cold months making this tough little evergreen an absolute star of the winter garden. As the common name suggests, the ‘Sacred Bamboo’ is at home in exotic style gardens, creating a hardy hedge or colourful focal point.

Featured Species: Nandina ‘Moon Bay’

With exciting new selected forms of native plants you really can have a low maintenance native garden. Some varieties, such as Acacia ‘Mini-Cog’ are especially useful. Mini-Cog features beautiful weeping green foliage and a compact habit. Here is a plant which looks equally at home in a bushland setting, a dry-creek bed, or in a Zen inspired Japanese garden.
Best planted in informal groups or clusters, but plonk a mini-cog into a contrast glazed ceramic planter and watch the colours pop as the lime leaves seemingly cascade out of the container.

Featured Species: Acacia ‘Mini-Cog’

An absolutely spectacular family of trees which are available in both deciduous and evergreen forms. The evergreen varieties range from compact varieties suited to hedging or espalier, to broad crowned shade tree varieties. Huge white fragrant flowers are a key feature of the evergreen magnolias, pleasantly offset by lush green foliage. Some forms also feature a felt textured rust coloured underside to the leaf. For the sheltered garden, some may like to grow deciduous Magnolia. Famed as ‘barometer plants’ the deciduous forms are known for their spectacular show of flowers borne on bare branches, which seem to emerge just before the Spring winds start each year

Featured Species: Magnolia ‘Little Gem’

Gardens with Tuscan and Japanese themes find conifers indispensable and their strong architectural forms are well suited to the structure required for formal and classical styles. Generally low maintenance drought and frost hardy, these undemanding plants are making a strong come-back as the backbone of many beautiful gardens in the Macedon Ranges and Melbourne alike.

Featured Species: Cupressus sempervirens ‘glauca’

Many Eucalypt species provide a valuable resource for Koalas, Sugargliders, Bats and Native Birds. Naturally suited to our environment there are so many species to choose from

Featured Species: Eucalyptus mannifera maculata

A range of varieties with elongated strappy foliage. One variety, Cordyline Australis, is known as the ‘Cabbage Palm’. A type of starchy meal was once made using pulp from the centre of the plant. This practise reportedly inflicted a certain amount of intestinal discomfort upon early Australian settlers, perhaps to the amusement of the Indigenous Australians from whom the practice derived. The Cordyline is now more commonly used as an Architectural foliage accent plant and an interesting array of coloured forms are available.

Featured Species: Cordyline ‘Pocahontas’

The New Zealand Flax have become a favourite in Australian gardens over the last couple of decades. As drought cycles and busy lifestyles take their toll on more traditional plant varieties, Phormium provides the dual benefits of strong architectural foliage form and beautiful colour options. A range of sizes are available to suit any garden, from compact forms (about 30cm HxW), to spectacular large varieties (2x2M) which make a strong statement when mass planted.

Featured Species: Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’

Suited to a morning sun or shaded position, Azalea and Rhodies enliven gardens with intense flower colour displays. Often planted as an understorey to Deciduous Ornamental Trees, which allows the gentle Winter sun to recharge the plants in the lead-up to flowering times. A rule of thumb for planting is to aim for minimum groupings of 3-5 of a kind, planted in drifts, which helps avoid the ‘fruit-salad effect’. Preference is for soils tending to acid which can be achieved by incorporating plenty of humic matter. Regular feeding is a must, but avoid mushroom compost or strong, un-composted manures.

Featured Species: Azalea indica ‘Luci’

There are a plethora of opportunities available to the modern gardener to get into veggie gardening, and some are more exciting and innovative than others. You can grow in apple crates, wicking beds, vertical gardens, raised planters, wine barrels, hot-houses, green-houses, and even in the ground.

Featured Species: Winter Veggies

A heartening recent trend is the move back to horticultural diversity. In drought, water restrictions took their toll on the range of plants people were growing in their gardens, and the variety of plant material available commercially. The recovery has been fantastic with the re-emergence of richly textured and colourful Perennial varieties that put gardening back on the agenda. Perennial plants help mark the seasons and assist the gardener in creating an ever-changing visual tapestry. Many perennials are easy to propagate which means that a small initial investment will return many-fold over the years as plants are divided or grown from cutting. An individual plant can be nurtured and over time established into a sizeable massed planting.

Featured Species: Penstemon Species

Quick to establish and tough as you can get, the Westringea are available as small, medium and large shrubs. Best pruned regularly to ensure a dense healthy foliage, the native rosemary can play a structural role in classical or formal inspired gardens if it is clipped tightly, or left more relaxed to suit a bush-garden environment. Taller forms are well-suited to use as screening hedges, and the more compact varieties sit well amid mixed shrubbery.

Featured Species: Westringea ‘Deep Purple’

Fast growing, beautiful foliage form and colour, and an effective screen up to 2.5m. The Purple Hop Bush is one of the more interesting forms from a visual perspective, but can be short lived. Regular pruning increases the density of the plant, and enhances its longevity. Hop Bush works well with a wide range of complementary plantings, both native and exotic, and is particularly useful as a background or ‘spine’ planting along a dry border. Suggested companion plantings include Echium, Euphorbia, Furcrea, Phormium, Artemisia and Buddleija.

Featured Species: Dodonea visicosa ‘purpureana’