Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Decking in Summer Hill

Decking is a fantastic way to increase your outdoor living space.

This family home in Summer Hill has an expansive back garden. 

The Butchart Gardens built a wide deck to maximise the useable area.

Constructed from Tallow wood, the deck features 
weatherproof webbing to increase the life of the bearers.

Every structure needs a solid foundation.

Capped edging is an added feature, giving the impression of a floating deck.

To increase the life of the timber, we oiled it with a protective decking oil.

The sun came out as the deck was finished 

Just in time for some outdoor entertaining.

For a functional outdoor living space where you can enjoy 
Sydney's gorgeous Spring weather

Contact James Butchart
Phone 0408 264 964

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Man Who Planted Trees

This is the story of The Man who Planted Trees. 

L'Homme qui Plantait des Arbres

If you haven't read this book, you have missed a beautiful tale of one man's journey across a lost land, transforming the ground from a desolate wasteland to a lush, verdant expanse of green.

Published in 1953, The Man who Planted Trees was a work of fiction with a message that struck a chord well before it's time. This is an ecological fable that is as relevant today as it was 60 years ago.

When the Reader's Digest commissioned author Jean Giono to write a few pages for a feature article called "The Most Extraordinary Character I Ever Met", he created an allegorical tale that the magazine lapped up......

...until, an investigation by Reader's Digest found the author had misled the public by creating a work of fiction rather than a biography. "The Most Extraordinary Character I Ever Met" was to have been based on a real person, not some crazy, life-giving peasant who journeys alone, carrying out the work of God.

As the magazine's investigative team soon realised, tracking down the central character (a roaming shepherd who had never been schooled) was a thankless task. 

Indeed, finding the vast forests, planted so lovingly by the man or locating his tiny village, whose people had rediscovered the joy of trees, shade and fruit in abundance, was impossible. 

The Man who Planted Trees was not published by Reader's Digest after all, but in 1968, a German Publishing house, having "verifed" the existence of the shepherd from photographs, ran the story in an anthology of biographies. 

Giono had sent them a photo of "a typical handsome old man, clear eyed and with a calm expression,his bearing both proud and awkward, wearing what is clearly his Sunday best in honour of the occasion."

The anthology was a huge success and The Man who Planted Trees became a legend. 

The publishing house even went so far as requesting the name of the nearest railway station to the fictional village, so that fans of this lovely tale could visit the place where the man had lived and planted his enchanted forest.  

The author never revealed the location of that village. 

The Man who Planted Trees is a tale that belongs on every bookshelf. 

To have trees planted in your garden
contact The Butchart Gardens
Call or email James Butchart 

Phone: 0408 264 964 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tree Day

Any day is a good day to plant a tree, especially on Tree Day. 

July 31st is National Tree Day and we went along to the local GreenWay to lend a hand and do our bit to up the oxygen in our neck of the woods.  

The GreenWay connects the Cooks River Cycleway from Earlwood to the Iron Cove Bay Run at Haberfield, and it links the inner west council areas of Canterbury, Marrickville, Ashfield and Leichhardt, following Hawthorne Canal and Rozelle freight rail corridor. 

The proposed extension of the Light Rail along this corridor means less traffic and more trees.  Our local Tree Day Site was located along the Hawthorne Canal in Haberfield. 

Trees, trowels, gloves, instructions, water and biscuits were supplied (Italian biscuits of course... this is the Leichhardt Municipality after all). 

Our team of eight volunteers spent a pleasant few hours planting trees, shrubs and ground-cover native to the area.

Ed the friendly neighbourhood Lab supervised the workers. 

It's a great family activity, to plant a tree on a sunny Sunday morning. Nothing like getting your hands dirty and watching things grow.

Tools down.... time for some of those Italian biscuits!

These volunteers are looking forward to doing some more digging with their friends in 2012. A growing number of schools and community groups are getting involved every year.

For more information about National Tree Day 
and how you can get involved go to:

For information about the Greenway 
between the Cooks River and Iron Cove go to:

For a consultation with 
The Butchart Gardens

Contact James Butchart 
 0408 264 964

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Neutral Bay

Sometimes the simple things are often the best.
Using natural products such as sandstone, gives gardens a great feel. 

Here, we've used selected secondhand curbstone blocks to create bench seating for a simple outdoor setting.

White diamond sawn sandstone paving helps define the entertaining area with Ophiopogon japonicus nana or dwarf variety mondo grass softening up the "block" effect.

Using galvanised steel, we've been able to create a curved garden edging. Galvanised steel is a relatively modern product increasingly utilised by landscape designers because of its versatility.

Using plants such as Ginger, Dwarf Magnolia, and Hawthorne, add colours which give this garden depth. Native grasses add to the palette.  A hedge of Syzygium paniculata Var. Leuhmanii helps to hide the large adjacent houses and creates a sense of secrecy.  All these plants are irrigated with a controlled drip system.  

The brief for this garden needed to accommodate a boisterous youngster, so a turf area to play on was essential.  This warm season Sir Walter Buffalo grass is doing well in the full sun.

By painting the fences with a matt black paint, all the foliage is highlighted, and when plants are flowering the dark colour of the fence helps the flowers to really stand out.

Hidden amongst the lower foliage are six high quality 20watt low-volt lights that illuminate this garden spectacularly at night. 

Lights are an essential item in all gardens.  

There's nothing more enjoyable than relaxing in the garden in the evenings in Sydney, especially in Spring and Summer.

A variety of different leaf arrangements add some intrigue, with all the plants jostling for position, but each coming into their own.

Typically Sydney. No garden is complete without a spray of Chinese star jasmine.

This Ginger plant, Alpinia caerulea, pops with vibrant colour.

We sourced low profile Lotus pots for the client to grow, strawberries, lettuce and a variety of herbs.   

At the entrance is a taller Lotus pot and Philodendron Var. Rojo Congo is thriving in the low-light conditions.

For a consultation with The Butchart Gardens 
contact James Butchart

Phone: 0408 264 964

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bellevue Hill

In conjunction with Luigi Roselli Architects and Landscape Architect, Susan Miles, this garden in Bellevue Hill incorporates many different elements. Cascading plants soften the appearance of the walling, Frangipani create a canopy over the front stairway and a selection of low balled shrubs and native species border the sunny lawned area. The end result is a garden with which the owner's are thrilled.

Agave attenuata and Dracena drago form a crown above a trailing Acacia baileyana (a prostrate form of Cootamundra wattle). The coastal rosemary Westringia fruticosa has been clipped to a ball to create defined structure next to a feathery Grevillea.

Native grasses such as Pennisetum alopecuroides and trailing Grevillea and Acacia soften the Western Australian limestone retaining walls, creating a delightful hanging garden. 

Metrosideros Thomasii , New Zealand Christmas Bush, displays a showy red flower and silvery new growth. This dwarf variety bursts with colour.

At the top of the stairs is a bell pot with small succulents and Strelitzia juncea.

Crucible pot on the verandah with Strelitzia juncea underplanted with Dichondra var."silver bells"

For a consultation with The Butchart Gardens contact
James Butchart 0408 264 964

Monday, July 4, 2011

Point Piper

The first day of July was overcast, with a soft intermittent rain falling. Perfect light for photographing one of our established gardens in Point Piper.

These water gum, Tristaniopsis laurina are loving the view. At their base are sturdy native grasses, Lomandra var. 'Tanika', framing a stretch of Sir Walter Buffalo.  The fireplace, a mild steel design, could also be used as a shallow planter. Not a bad spot for an outdoor get-together.

Dracena marginata provides a sculptural screen. The planter is a hardwood trough with galvanised steel insert.

Banksia serrata, adds another sculptural element to the garden. These trees are great for attracting native birds. They are fast-growing and withstand the harsh Australian environment.

Raphis exelsa are thriving in their hardwood trough. These palms are slow-growing, great for indoor and low light situations.

Raphis prefer a shady position and grow in a variety of soils.

Raphiolepsis indica is a salt-tolerant shrub. A hardy all-rounder, great for underplanting or as a border shrub. This variety has a small white flower.

In summer, Frangipani add a burst of colour while Tristaniopsis laurina create a formal entranceway.  It's encouraging to see native varieties being used for formal hedging in place of more traditional hedging plants.

For a consultation with the Butchart Gardens contact
James Butchart   0408 264 964