Christmas is coming. Do something

December 9, 2015


  • Unique sculptures and water features can add drama and interest to your garden
  • Sculpture don’t have to be expensive you can use materials you find locally
  • Interesting pots full of colourful foiliage, grasses veggies or herbs make a great statement
  • Drainage is one thing you cant ignore plan it from the start of your garden.
  • If you cant fix the drainage easily think about your plant choices.
  • Acorus is a great little plant to add foliage colour to ponds or boggy spots.

Have you had your Christmas party yet? For the past couple of weeks we have been preparing a landscape for a Christmas party.  The weather has been fantastic for getting outside and getting work done. It seems that finally summer has come and with it some wonderful warmth.

The Christmas party we have been preparing for was at a private home in Alfredton. The highlights for us were installing a large and heavy water feature and a large sculptural wall panel that the owners had bought in Indonesia and shipped home.

Guests at the Christmas party were greeted by a goddess sculpture overlooking Green goddess Arum lillies and tiger grass planted to handle wet feet.

The biggest challenges we faced were getting access to the backyard and drainage.

Access to the backyard was limited to a very narrow path accessed through a door at the back of the garage. Limited access meant we couldn’t use a bobcat or a dingo. Instead we used a mini mobile crane, and lots of care. The two sculptural pieces look fabulous in their new home.

The other challenge we faced was drainage. Previously the gardens had been planted with dry tolerant plants. These had worked ok in some places because of the slight slope which allowed some drainage to occur. There were several areas around the house where small garden beds were fully surrounded by concrete and buildings. The heavy clay underneath the garden just did not allow rainfall to drain away easily. As a result many of the plants that had previously been planted were struggling and many were dead because they had drowned and their roots had just rotted out.

Interestingly when we were removing several of the plants that had been planted straight in the heavy clay in the backyard the holes we dug started filling with water. We looked around for a pipe that we had broken but it turned out to be only surface seepage.

The solution to a drainage problem can be quite involved. If you have time and motivation the best solution can be to install a series of drains under garden beds and lawn areas to drain the water away. If these drains are below the level of the stormwater pipes you may need to install a pump. Its best to consult a plumber or a landscaper for helpful advice with this.

Another really effective strategy is to raise the level of your garden bed which is what we did at the back. We mounded organic compost and planted straight into that and the new plants are loving it.

If you have a bed which is “concrete locked” and you cant drain under it, or raise the level of the soil then the next thing to do is change your planting scheme

One particular bed which was visible through a window at floor level in the lounge room. It needed something dramatic so we planted Acorus gramineus. This is a great little plant with long, narrow, slightly curved leaves that splay out into a mound. It comes from North Amerca and Asia and can grow around water ways in very wet soil or either fully or partially submerged.

Some other plants we used in similar very damp locations were Tulbaghia violacea or society garlic. It has a pale mauvy flower and is really drought hardy but interestingly it will also handle being grown partially submerged at the edge of a pond. Green Goddess arum lilles and Liriope were useful. To add some height we used Thysanolaena maxima or Tiger Grass. Although it’s not a true bamboo it added a tropical feel.

Speaking of Christmas, have you organized all your shopping yet? If you need some tips to get something great for the gardener in your life then pop back here next week and we will give you some help. Meanwhile happy gardening and have fun.

At TOP hEDGE our Green Gardeners know all these and many more ways to make you a hero in the garden – So if she loves your garden but you never have enough time give us a call on 5330 1071 or email murray@