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Paul Bangay on the best plants for year-long flowers and how to have a garden in a small space

The Property Addict / Luxury Lifestyle

Feb 05 2016

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Plus plenty of other pearls of wisdom for black or green-thumbed gardeners from one of Australia's best known landscape designers. 1. What's your advice for choosing a colour scheme for your garden? "Look to the house for clues, I often try and complement what is happening inside the house as you often view the garden looking through windows internally. Fabrics used on windows and furniture can often be reflected in the planting scheme of the garden. Fashions also dictate the colour scheme of the garden, its an exciting period now as hot reds, oranges and yellows are very much in favour in the garden, many herbaceous perennials offer many hues in these colours" 2.What is your advice for a black-thumbed person looking to create their first garden? "Limit your plant palette to a few reliable plants instead of many difficult to grow species. Often a garden planted with one or two species is highly effective and easy for beginners." PaulBangay1 3. What do you recommend planting for someone who likes to have flowers they can cut and bring into the home throughout the year? "Hydrangea macrophylla (pictured), its easy to grow and flowers prolifically." 4.What are your tips for designing a low maintenance garden? "Low maintenance is a bit of an elusive challenge in gardens, all gardens need good maintenance. To reduce the level of maintenance make sure the plant cover is dense to reduce weeds, use plants that don't require annual clipping or dead heading and maximize hard surfaces such as paving." PaulBangay2 5. What do you recommend planting for someone who likes to have vibrant green leaves they can cut and bring into the home throughout the year? "Magnolia grandiflora (trees pictured), picks well and last for ages." 6. What is the most popular plant your clients ask for in Australia? "Daphne is high on the list, everybody loves the winter fragrance." PaulBangay3 7. Do you have a go-to plant that works in almost any space? If so what is it and why does it work so well? "Trachelospernum jasminoides , Star jasmine (pictured), works as both a great ground cover and climber, it tolerates wet and dry conditions and will grow in sun or shade. It's an amazing all round plant." 8. Which is your favourite native Australian plant? "Syzygium spp. We use this is a hedge extensively." PaulBangay4 9. What's your number one piece of advice for creating a beautiful garden in a very small space? "Over scale rather that underscale features in a small garden. Drama is created from one large feature rather than many smaller pieces." 10. What is your number one recommendation for a low-maintenance potted plant in an Australian courtyard? "Agave attenuata." 11. What are your top three low maintenance plants? "Hedera canariensis Murraya paniculata Buxus microphylla var. japonica" PaulBangay5 12. What are the top things to consider before starting a garden from scratch? "Soil conditions, ensure you have well drained and friable and well composted soil. Watering system is suitable for your climatic zone. Make sure you understand the light conditions, i.e. What parts are shady and sunny in the garden. How you want to use the garden, i.e. Are you a serious gardener and needing lots of bed space or are you more interested in recreational spaces." 13. What is your top tip for getting the most out of your local nursery? "Find the owner and quiz them extensively on plants suitable for your local condition." PaulBangay6 Images extracted from Paul Bangay's Guide to Plants by Paul Bangay with photography by Simon Griffiths (Lantern, $59.99). vogueliving

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