Six top gardeners share their New Year’s sequel for 2022

  1. During the January break: review the friendly ideas from Instagram followers in response to a few inquiries for ideas for super hard plants for the edge (an area that is particularly challenging) and also for hard true red flowers for the gravel garden.
  2. In summer: Continue to reduce water consumption while monitoring the plants and making them harder.
  3. Over the coming years: Get more out in the garden. I’ve been particularly timeless this year, but tooting around is one of the things I enjoy the most.

Leon Van Schaik, Emeritus Professor of Architecture at RMIT University and author of To do, see; To see, to do

Leon van Schaik's drawing of his garden

Leon van Schaik’s drawing of his gardenCredit:Leon van Schaik

This year it dawned on me that my new-to-me garden is a garden of layers, a series of theatrical drops or picture planes. An axial road runs straight up through the planes. Other paths wind up the climbs between the drops.

I spent the winter on regenerative pruning, bed renewal, mowing and planting, all for the purpose of highlighting the range of aircraft. I also had five structures built – three tall pyramid-shaped climbing frames and two smaller white racks, one with a bird box – and a new bridge leading to the winding path up the hill. Spring was a revelation, the flower marched up the hill. I planted more trees, moved roses and reinforced the structural idea.

The new year? Enjoy the garden with family and friends. See what summer does, fill in gaps, prune in multiple views, compost, prepare for the next planting season.

Stephen Ryan, nursery and former Gardening Australia speaker

Stephen Ryan ready for work

Stephen Ryan ready for workCredit:Craig Lidgerwood

Since the garden is more than 30 years old, it’s time to evaluate each section to see which plants are doing well and which are not. As the garden has matured, everything has grown a lot and some plants no longer work so they go out and new plants go in their place.

Peter May, consultant and retired horticultural academic

Peter May's Kyneton Garden this fall.

Peter May’s Kyneton Garden this fall.Credit:Peter May

The main garden area with us will have had its sixth summer at the end of this one, and since it has generally behaved so far, I do not expect too many surprises in terms of performance – unless of course it is much much drier or much wetter than what we have had over the last few years.


What I have been thinking about, though, is that a few areas require some work. I think the more sophisticated garden writers call this editing. There are a few bare spots that need to be filled and there are a few combinations that need to be rethought. There is a bushy Ceanothus to be taken by hand and a lump of iris to be lifted and thinned out. There will no doubt be a longer list as summer unfolds.

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