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Welcome to the fifth issue of my newsletter. I will be mailing it out quarterly to my gardening friends. I hope that you enjoy reading it.
Gardening Australia films my garden
October is always a beautiful time in my Mt Lawley garden and Josh Byrne and a crew from Gardening Australia television show (Fridays 7.30pm on the ABC) came over to film a segment which will run in 2018.
Josh is also writing an article for the Gardening Australia magazine which I am particularly thrilled about as I write for the magazine very regularly.
We're friends and had a lovely day chatting about my favourite things - tea roses, cottage gardens, creating a garden in dry rooty shade and the importance of improving the soil.
The garden was looking good with lots of colour - though I had pulled out part of my Mutabilis rose hedge and replaced it with Viburnum tinus - so this area did not have 'structure'. 
I'm actually sorry that I did not pull out the whole hedge of Mutablis as while I cut it back really hard it has not grown back dense like I expected.
I'm looking for another spot for Mutablis as it is one of my very favourite roses and I think that I'm going to plant the Viburnum along the whole length of the upper lawn area.

The echiums, candlelike spires of blue, were looking fantastic in the garden when we filmed.

Tea and apple and cinnamon muffins with Josh.  (I made some for the crew too of course) 

Garden tours: France and the Channel Islands

Places are filling fast on my tours to northern France and the Channel Islands next year.
I'll spend the first three weeks in September in Brittany and Normandy and two weeks straddling  May/June in the Channel Islands.
In France we see many private gardens and historic towns in five of France's most beautiful regions: the Ile de France; Upper and Lower Normandy; the Loire and Brittany.
The tour is an introduction to a wide range of gardens and includes medieval monastic gardens, grand Renaissance estates, and intimate modern creations., gorgeous villages and grand chateaux like Chateau Sassy (pictured above).

The walled garden of Chateau de Cannon in Normandy.
In early September the weather is good and the crowds are fewer
We explore a rich variety of village architecture in a number of ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’ including the pretty half-timbered houses of Lyons-la-Forêt (pictured below) and Dinan, the medieval stone houses of St-Céneri-le-Gérei, the walled towns of Vannes and Saint-Malo, and the charming wash houses of Pontrieux.

Visits to major monuments include the Abbeys of St-Georges de Boscherville and Mont Saint-Michel; and Notre-Dame (Rouen) and St-Étienne (Caen) cathedrals.


On the tour to the Channel Islands we  stay half our time in  Jersey and from Guernsey take excursions to the nearby islands of  Herm, Burhou and Sark.  The Island is warmed year round by the Gulf Stream and has dynamic ecosystems which are each a sanctuary for an incredible variety of flora and fauna.  In spring, when we visit, the clifftops are covered with wildflowers (including a place where we see a meadow with 40,000 flowering orchids) and subtropical gardens burst with colour. 
We have many local guest guides to introduce us to the birdlife, archaeological and war heritage and historic  iron age and Roman artifacts and visit the unique glass church of St Matthew with glass doors, screen and altar produced by Lalique. 
For more images and information visit ASA Cultural Tours
Summer garden projects 
I've been making a few changes in the garden.  The potted Big Splash Pelargoniums in the trough planters near the entry gates are struggling in the summer heat.  I plan to pot them into smaller plastic pots which I can have in the troughs for cooler months and move into the shade when summer hits.
I will pot up some Euphorbia Blackbird (if I can find some) and leave these in the troughs over summer, swopping them with the Pelargoniums.
In the veggie patch I've got a good crop of rainbow chard, beetroot, capsicums and tomatoes.  I love chard.  My favourite way to eat it is stirfryed with garlic and served with a splash of oyster sauce.

Big Pink Splash Pelargonium
Problems in the garden at the moment include infestations of barnacle scale on my fig tree (pictured below) and gardenias.  The scale is of course moved around by ants and I've been picking them off by hand as well as using an organic white oil spray. The ants are very persistent! 

Other changes include putting a collection of succulents beneath the Tecoma hedge.  The hedge, which screens us from our neighbours, was here when we moved to the house almost 19 years ago.

The shade beneath it is full of roots and the sands are non wetting so it is only suitable for very hardy plants.
For structure I am using Aloe attenuata which has soft rosettes of blue-green.  It is indestructible in sun or shade and is thriving! Eventually I want to have this plant along its entire length. Scattered around it are Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe, which is not as keen on the shade, preferring dappled light in our climate and a few greyish echiveria succulents that had been multiplying in pots.
I'm trying to 'make do' with what I have but may make changes after I have had a 'think'. Planning a new area is one of the gardening aspects that I like the most.
The aim is to have it looking good and need little regular maintenance.
I have neglected this area for years but in 2016 we bought an outdoor setting for the front veranda and use the area for our morning coffee. 
However.... the view was spoiling my coffee break -  which forced me to renovate. 
La Seigneurie garden on Sark, Channel Islands

Garden talk for the Karrakatta Club

I'm presenting an audio visual presentation on 'The Great Gardens of Europe' on Friday March 2 at Perth's Karracatta club.
I've got some fabulous images and will be talking about some of my favourite gardens in Italy, France, Channel Islands and England.
The talk is at 4 Sherwood Court, Perth at 11.30am.
The cost is $25 which includes a welcome drink and the presentation or $59 per person includes the welcome drink, presentation and a two course lunch with tea and coffee.
Dress is smart casual but no denim
RSVP is essential by February 23 by telephoning Mona: 08 9325 8111 or email:

Perth Garden Festival
I am currently organising the speakers for the Perth Garden Festival and this year, along with my podcast partner Steve Wood from All The Dirt podcast am running the food theatre area.
The event is from April 12 to 15 and they already have more nurseries booked than last year - so I am expecting great things.
I have booked three super stars for the Kleenheat Outdoor Kitchen - Vince Garreffa from Mondos, television cook Anna Gare and the 2017 Good food Guide chef of the year Guy Jeffreys from Millbrook Winery.
We have worked together on the recipes and they are going to cook some wonderful food and Steve and I will talk about growing the vegetables.
For more information visit:

Why am I  getting this newsletter?

 You're receiving this newsletter because you are a 'garden friend', attended my open garden, asked to receive it on Facebook or travelled on one of my garden tours.
Each month I'll be writing about what I'm doing in my home garden, providing some garden hints and inspiration and information on some of the world's most beautiful gardens.
If you want to read more gardening articles or facts sheets or have a friend who wants to subscribe to this newsletter visit my website:
I'm in rose heaven at the Chelsea Flower Show
Copyright © * February 2017* *Deryn Thorpe*, All rights reserved.

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Deryn Thorpe · 13 First Ave · Mount Lawley, WA 6050 · Australia

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