One Thing - Fiona Brockhoff's Garden

Another video.  This time one of the most game-changing gardens in Australia

I’ll add a pic, just to entice you..



  1. I saw Fiona’s garden several years ago and found it very quietly satisfying but I hadn’t put my finger on why. Thank you for this insight and analysis. You have solved my mystery.

    1. Really? I’d like to imagine that I could answer lingering Catherine Stewart questions in 1 min and 38 seconds, but I hardly think that it’s possible. You winding me up?

    2. Only so I can press ‘play’ again.

  2. A delayed response…I had never thought about the plants in Fiona’s garden in this way – but low-glamour is spot on and totally fitting given her selection is based on what will survive in the conditions. I really like the idea of modest plants being ‘up-valued’. I found a photo of one of Fiona’s designs in Flinders where a NZ flax has been given the space it deserves and looks like a movie star standing proudly with a modest supporting cast of succulents and grasses. When you contrast this treatment with what I see all around me in new-built townhouses, that same, perfectly good NZ flax is being seriously de-valued by cramming a dozen of them into a front entrance where they will never shine and will end up being savaged and hacked back to try and make them fit the space. Thanks for helping to crystalise the thought!

    1. I love it when someone else crystallises an otherwise vague thought for me, and I also love it when I can do that for someone else!
      And as for your later point – it makes you wonder what proportion of garden plants (lets start by an estimate of, say, 98.7%) find themselves in devaluing contexts, or devaluing company.
      Furthermore, Fiona’s garden makes me ponder the possibility of developing that kind of restraint myself. But it’s not long before I’m forced to face the crippling truth that I simply can’t live without a few high-glam plants. It’s depressing how often, in gardens the world over, plant acquisitiveness gets in the way of really good design…

    2. This analysis came as I was scratching my head trying to write a piece about the lack of diversity and adventurous planting in our suburban gardens. I’m thinking that the skill needed to have such restraint with a limited palette of plants is so special and rare that most of us can’t hope to succeed – we should leave it to those with a gift, like Fiona. For the rest of us mere gardening mortals, it might be far more fulfilling if we expand our plant selection in new directions and out of our comfort zone, create more diversity and keep the horticultural industry afloat while we’re at it! Plus, growing and experiencing new plants is most of the fun isn’t it?

  3. Very nice! I love the natural design and the way it flows with subtle native elements. It’s beautiful, great work Fiona! Thanks for sharing the video.

  4. Yes, you really have put your finger on what I, also, love about this garden. I think that the garden of the late Nicole de Vesian has almost the same quality though a little more rustic, at any rate there is an integrity to them both which is exhilarating. So hard to achieve.
    Thank you Michael.

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