Marcelle Nankervis is a Horticulturist who has worked in the Horticultural Media for over 16 years.
She is passionate about Permaculture, Sustainability and Gardening for the Future.

Marcelle regularly writes for Your Garden magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.
Her first book was Plants for Australian Dry Gardens (Murdoch Books).
Marcelle's second is Smart Gardening (Exisle Publishing).

Welcome to my Blog!

As a horticultural writer I often come across people, stories, tips, tricks and real gems of information that never really make their way out of my notebook. I am hoping to share a few of these insights here as well as my own gardening experiences, which includes getting my children excited about plants.

I believe that a strong connection with the garden and our landscape when we are young is vital. I am hoping that educating my children in "Green Living" and "Smart Gardening" will provide them with the fundamental building blocks necessary for them to live long and healthy lives, while also doing their bit in helping to create a sustainable and green future for all.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fertilisers Explained

I was just doing some research when I stumbled across this excellent article on fertilisers and vegetables.

It is written by Derek Brooks from Worsley, Manchester for the National Vegetable Society in the UK. 

It talks about the importance of N:P:K and the many types of fertilisers available (both Organic and Inorganic).

It is an excellent article and a great read for vegie growers everywhere.

Read it yourself at:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chives and flowering Alliums

The gardens at Lambley.
Click image to go to the catalogue.
My chives are flowering now, and it always reminds much just how much I adore the flowerheads of flowering alliums. Every year I think that I should include some ornamental alliums in the garden, and then I promptly forget until the next year when my chives flower again.

The first time I really noticed just how beautiful alliums were was at Lambley Nursery and Gardens in Ascot, Victoria. David Glenn had mixed them into his perennial borders and they really were the stars of the show providing colour, contrast and excitement.

He lists Allium sphaerocephalon (Drumstick allium)  in his autumn catalogue (100 plants for $50). The drumstick allium grows to around 1m, takes up very little space and flowers profusely in December.

Allium giganteum
Click image to go to catalogue
 from Australian Gardener
So that gives me flowers in November and December.
But what about the rest of summer?

January and February showcase the large flowerheads of Allium 'Globemaster' (Allium christophii x Allium macleanii) and Allium giganteum. Producing large flowerheads up to 1.2-1.8m tall, these showy alliums are available from February to May via mail order and will fill the garden with spectacular flowers in summer. 
Well, that will certainly have my long awaited desire for a garden full of alliums covered.

Now if I can just remember to order them ....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Review: Shack by Simon Griffiths

In all honesty, I probably cannot provide an unbiased review of this book because Simon and I are friends. However, I can say that it is interesting, inspirational and has certainly given me a few ideas for my own shack!

Here is what Penguin have to say:

In Australia shacks have become our protest against the brick veneer, the place where we unwind on holiday, the workshop that feeds our soul.
Photographer Simon Griffiths has travelled the countryside, from Jericho in Tasmania to the remote coast of Broome, to bring us images of shacks that are both familiar and exotic. We meet the shack dwellers – a mix of artists, environmentalists, fishermen, homebuilders and socialites – and experience the pleasure of inhabiting spaces that are at once monuments to self-expression and symbols of old-fashioned common sense.

Beautifully put-together, Shack is a book that takes us back in history, out into the remote reaches of the famous Australian landscape and inwards to connect with our common desire for retreat and renewal.

It is a great collection of images of an old Aussie icon. Check it out by clicking here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Win a copy of my book!

Hi - Just thought I would let you know that Go Greener Australia is giving away a copy of my new book - Smart Gardening.

Read the review and enter the competition at:

Good Luck!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fire safe plants

After the Black Saturday fires, what to plant in the garden became quite an important topic. So, following on from last week about cleaning up around your home, if you are in a fire prone area, consider planting fire safe plants.

Naturally, some plants are less or more flammable than others.

Unfortunately Aussie natives are often highly flammable, because this is part of their lifecycle, which explains how fires spread so easily through our bushland.

Some highly flammable plants to avoid close to your home are:
Acacia sp. (Silver Wattle)
Japanese maples are highly flammable
Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple)
Acmena smithii (Lilly Pilly)
Bambusa vulgaris (Bamboo)
Betula pendula (Silver Birch)
Cupressus funebris (Mourning Cypress)
Eucalyptus sp.
Grevillea sp.
Leptospermum sp. (Teatree)
Melaleuca alternifolia (Paperbark)
Monstera deliciosa (Monstera)
Pinus sp.
Pittosporum undulatum (Sweet Pittosporum)
Quercus robur (English oak)
Spiraea catoniensis (May)
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)
These ignite easily and can spread a fire rapidly.

Some plants that are less flammable and better suited to gardens close to homes include:  Artemisia sp. (Wormwood)
Camellia sp.
Datura suaveolens (Angels Trumpet)
Diplarrena moraea (White Flag Iris)
Hebe's are low fire risk plants

Gazania hybrida (Treasure Flower)
Hebe speciosa (Veronica)
Hemerocallis aurantiaca (Day Lilly)
Hydrangea macrophylla (Hydrangea)
Hymenocallis littoralis (Spider Lily)
Hymenosporum flavum (Native Frangipanni)
Lampranthus aurantiacus (Pigface)
Lavendula angustifolia (English Lavender)
Passiflora herbertiana (Native Passionfruit)
Pelargonium peltatum (Geranium)
Pomaderris apetala (Dogwood)
Prunus sp. (Plum)
Syzigium australe (Lilly pilly)

While all plants will burn, it is wise to plant less flammable plants close to your home. Especially in fire prone areas. We should be able to enjoy living among the trees, but we must also do all we can to minimise the risk of a fire starting and spreading in our garden.