Gardening talk

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The lovely garden of Tracey Fleischner in Sydney, which I visited with a garden group last week

When I first began gardening, 30 years ago, I gardened in a sort of vacuum: I knew no other gardeners in my local area, I belonged to no garden clubs and I got all my information from gardening books and magazines. Nurseries were the source of all my plants, apart from cuttings I gratefully received from my parents' Blue Mountains garden. When I did join a nearby garden club, suddenly the world of gardening opened up to me. Even though at that time I was the youngest member by something like 40 years, I was welcomed into a community of knowledgeable, hands-on gardeners with aeons of experience between them, and they willingly shared plants and tips with me. Those delightful gardeners encouraged my earliest tentative steps in cultivating my plot of land - and by eventually ensconcing me in the role of editing their monthly newsletter, they inadvertently launched me into the sphere of writing and editing, which is now my work.

Salvia madrensis in the garden of Tracey Fleischner in Sydney

Since that time, I have been involved with several garden groups, large and small, and I have always found the company of other gardeners to be inspiring. They have provided many answers to garden conundrums; they have told me about new plants and interesting gardens to visit, and I have had the pleasure of seeing their own gardens; and, of course, they have given me many of the plants that I now grow in my garden. The bonds that seem to spring up so easily amongst gardeners from all walks of life are one of the most charming aspects of our hobby.

Begonia Little Brother Montgomery - one of many plants I have obtained as cuttings from other gardeners

In this day and age, much of my connection to other gardeners is done via email or this website. During the Easter break, here at igarden we have developed a new feature for our members: discussion forums where you can connect with one another to help solve garden problems, share photos of your garden triumphs, and carry out conversations on a variety of topics beyond those covered in my blogs. Please feel free to use this feature to discuss gardening issues close to your heart - if there isn't a category for something you'd like to discuss, please let me know.

We already have one discussion begun: Vanessa, who lives on Sydney's northern beaches, has a garden bed she'd like to revamp and would love to hear suggestions from other igarden members. Click here to read about the issue, see a photo of the garden area, and join in the discussion.

Not yet an igarden member? It's easy to join, free and there are no strings attached! As well as being able to participate in the discussion forums, you will receive email alerts whenever I post a new blog (if you wish), you can take part in our free Plant Share facility, and you will receive offers of special member benefits from time to time. Click here to join our online community today!