...And the Living is Easy

While much of the country has been sweltering, we down south in Victoria have been enjoying the most perfect summer.

We’ve had regular rains, and no days over 40C.  The countryside around me is still, in parts, green.  That hasn’t happened since 2010/11, and in that case it was like we skipped summer altogether.   This summer has felt like a summer, with night after night of balmy, sit-outside-with-a-drink weather, but with none of the stress.  Every year from now on, we’ll be saying ‘yeah, it’s an alright summer, but not like that incredible summer of 16/17.’


Adding to this layered lasagne of benefits, our water tanks have experienced the stress-relief of one (adult) child having moved out, and the other spending nearly half the summer in Italy.


Consequently, for the first time in living memory, I’ve dragged out the sprinklers (full of spiderwebs in the shed), and set them up.  The rains have been regular, but there’ve been moments when it has threatened to dry out below optimum, and I’ve absolutely revelled in having the resources – for once! – to respond.


My favourite sprinkler is one of those old-style risers with the head that makes that fabulous back-to-childhood chit-chit-chit sound as it works it’s way round the arc and then the fl,l,l,l,l,l,l,l (roll the ‘l’) as it returns to the starting position.  Honestly, I’d put it on for the sound alone.  I’d play a CD of the sound, through outdoor speakers.


And so, in a perfect year, my garden , timed for late summer/early autumn, is reaching its climax.  I love it like I’ve never loved it before.



  1. It has been a delight!

  2. You deserve to revel in every moment of it Michael. A bit like us last year but certainly not this….so bask in it joyously 🙂
    I was going to email you today anyway to say everyone is SO looking forward to seeing you on the tv tonight! You’re ushering in a whole new era of garden viewing Michael and send you very best wishes on this exciting day! Mx

    1. Thanks Mickey. In introducing an interview this morning, someone played an audio of that moment when we’re looking around your garden – that moment when you pull out a parsnip, and we both give it a long, deep sniff. Hilarious!

      Looking forward to seeing you and the your garden on High Def tonight. So far I’ve only seen it in Vimeo low def!

  3. Love your well worded reflections. I am so excited about tonight’s show!

    1. Thanks Caroline! Hope the show lives up to expectations!

  4. I so loooove your grasses, I wish I could grow them as well as you do. In hot Perth only pennisetum look good, miscanthus and calamagrotis that I have tried do not perform here, unfortunately. I am so envious. Please take lots of pictures of your perfect garden, they might come handy in a future publication.

    1. Thanks Barbara. I love ’em too. Shame there’s not more work done on garden-worthy native grasses. It’s a totally neglected area. All we seem to be offered is the ubiquitous Poa lab. And the occasional kangaroo grass if you look hard.

  5. It has been the most ‘forgiving’ of summers hasn’t it? Forgiving for newer plantings and all those poor little ‘as-yet-unplanted’ pots of bits and pieces that usually get irretrievably fried over a long dry stretch of high 30s. It’s been the first summer in ages to enjoy the garden without feeling the need to rescue things or worse, watch them frizzle up. Looking forward to Dream Gardens on ABC tonight – congratulations on the first baby going to air!

    1. Forgiving is a lovely word. It has totally re-set the bar regarding summer expectations for the future.

  6. What have I missed – –are you on tv tonight Michael?

    1. Hi Suzanne
      Yeah. Dream Gardens on ABC1 at 8pm. Congratulations on not knowing about it. After a month of heavy advertising, others are complaining about over-exposure!

  7. It has been the most lovely summer, hasn’t it? We’re in the Dandenong Ranges and we enjoy similar evenings here. Just can’t see the sunset from where we are, although we can see the glow between the trees facing west. Love your post.

  8. Those are stunning shots of your absolutely stellar garden. The colours do reflect that late summer/ early autumn feeling to perfection. Like many others I will be glued to your program! Congratulations in advance! It will be great, I know.

    1. Thanks Claudia! It’s not a style that suits everyone. But it sure suits me. There are moments…fleeting moments of glorious light during which it makes me ache to look at it…

  9. Loved the show last night. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks so much Margaret!

  10. Hi Michael, watched your new show last night and loved it, so refreshing.
    What a talented family, it was like magic. I think you have to be a bit OCD
    to do something like that. I would give it a go. I look forward to the next one.

    1. Hi Gary. Yep, they’re a talented family alright. You should try some of Rosi’s cooking!
      So pleased you enjoyed it

  11. I loved the show, Catherine (of Garden Drum) commented that she would prefer if you did David Attenborough or Monty Don sort of reporting but I do not think it would work in this setting. I might be wrong, however ;). That garden looked like it was taken from a child’s book about Peter Rabit :). Looking forward to the next one.

    1. You’re right. The garden was very like a child’s perfect idea of a vegie garden. Episode 2 could not be more different! So glad you liked the show

  12. Missed the show. Boo hoo. Will catch it on iview next week. Yes, this has been a stunning summer. Not great for tomatoes though!

  13. So good I watched it again today. People need inspiration in this crazy world.

    1. I agree. Messages of hope are needed right now!

  14. These photos are delightful Michael and congrats on your new television show. I also liked the way you captured in words what we’ve been feeling in this magical central Victorian summer (right now its also the fruit trees – peaches and plums – that are cropping like never before!). As per an early comment the mass grass plantings that can be seen in some of the pics are fabulous – what varieties are these? Did they get any supplementary watering?

    1. Thanks Brian.

      The grass in the first and third pictures (very upright) is Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’. I find that it needs very little or no supplementary watering as the extension growth that leads to flowering happens early in the growing season (Oct/Nov) before we really dry out. The miscanthuses are much more likely to be effected by drought as they bulk up and flower much later, when it’s dry.

      The grass (out of focus) in the second picture is Stipa gigantea – my favourite by far. It too comes into flower early, so its flowering is not effected by drought.

      And the very small straw-coloured grass in the second last big picture is Festuca glauca. It hasn’t had any extra watering, but may have liked it if it did. It’s another early-flowerer, so same goes for watering.

      Of course, this year isn’t a great gauge of their drought tolerance. It’s been easy for them, and for us.

  15. Australian gardening programmes are bitsy. They never allow the viewer time to take in the information, moving onto another segment as if they’re using up a lot of valuable time, and apologizing for being so frivolous. Annoying. And so with great anticipation, I placed it in my diary, I got all excited, and then life somehow got in the way and goodness me, I missed it! (lucky for i-view) Thank you Michael McCoy, I really loved it. My friend lives on ‘Cloud Hill’, read ‘Heartbreak Hill’ if you’re a gardener. Along with knockout views of snake island and the strzelecki ranges comes the wind, rabbits, kangaroos, wallabies, cattle breaking out…… you know, the typical country stuff. This leads her to the walled garden. Your first episode was perfect timing, it defined our ideas and gave us a lot to think about. So looking forward to the next program.

    1. Thanks so much Julia. So pleased you enjoyed it. Tonights story couldn’t be more different, and may have rather less to say to your friend on Heartbreak Hill – other than that heartbreak can be overcome!

  16. Stunning. Do you ever open your garden to the public Michael, I would love to see it ‘in the flesh’ ?

    1. Hi Jo
      I’ve never opened this garden to the public. I’m not sure whether I will or not. It’s really not in a fit state, despite how the pics look. The camera allows you to block out all the ugly bits!
      I’d like to think that one day it might be worthy of opening, at least…

  17. Hi Michael!Your garden looks amazing. The flowers you’ve put up are really stunning. You’ve done a really great job on your landscaping.

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