January Heat Wave Sale

Melbourne’s forecast to have a heat wave until Wednesday the 9th of January. Traditionally, it’s hard to sell plants during a hot spell, and nurseries & growers often have a hard time of it.

This is because of the myth that plants don’t like heat. Actually, given plenty of water and nutrients, plants absolutely love the heat! Think of a hot, tropical rainforest, where we find plenty of heat, but also water. The result is an explosion of plant life. With Melbourne’s water restrictions lifted from December 1st 2012, you can now water your garden at any time on any day. This means no problem providing plants with the water they need. The combination of heat and water make it a big growth period for plants.

I want Melbourne gardeners to enjoy the heat wave; we don’t get enough of it down here. So I’m putting together some excellent specials for everyone to enjoy. Check out my Specials page for all the details.

Now, while plants love the heat, we might not always agree with them. If you’d rather be at home with the air-conditioner, or down the beach, you can browse our specials online, order over the phone, and take advantage of our $34.90 delivery service within metro Melbourne.

Dutch Box Hedge

Box Hedge Bonanza

The bare rooted box hedge season is over, but don’t worry, they come in pots too. Gardeners from all over Melbourne are still pouring into our nursery and ringing the phones off the hook to buy box hedging plants. So I’ve gone wild and sourced thousands of box plants to satisfy the demand, and instead of raising the prices, I’ve decided to lower them!

We’ve got English Box, Dutch Box, Japanese/Korean Box, Tom Thumb, Box Leaved Privet and our special BoxOz hedging plants.

Choosing Your Box

With so many varieties to choose from when selecting a box hedge, the choice can be difficult. Here’s a guide to choosing the right box hedge for your conditions, to ensure a great healthy border or hedge.

Dutch Box Box Leaf Privet BoxOz English Box Japanese Box Tom Thumb
Low Maintainence yes yes
Full Shade yes yes yes
Fast Growing yes yes yes
Wet Soil yes
Salty Soil yes
Full Sun yes yes
Small Hedge yes yes
Drought Tolerant yes yes

Box Hedging Specials

English Box (Buxus sempivirens)

A stately English Box garden, featuring hedges and topiaries.

The advantages of English Box hedge and border is that it only requires one or two trimmings per year. It needs very little water and it grows in almost any soil, except for a very heavy or poorly drained soil. English Box grows in full sun through to the very deepest shade. In fact English Box will grow with no direct sunlight. English Box is the best of the low borders when you have a border that is partly in full sun and partly in deep shade.

If the traditional English Box border isn’t your thing then try our 3ft standard English Box for only $109.90 or the 2ft standard English Box for only $89.90! Mix up your English Box Hedge and make it stand out by adding our 50cm tall Englsih Box at $59.90 great for topiary, shaping into a perfect ball or cone.

BoxOz (BoxOz lonicera)

BozOz potted and clipped to both hedges & topiaries.

BoxOz Lonicera has been specially developed by Chris & Marie’s, and is our exclusive hedging plant. It has a deeper green foliage, a denser finish and more clearly defined shape than the traditional Englsih Box.

BoxOz Lonicera is the best plant with which to create your perfect hedge or border as it grows quickly and once your hedge has developed its easy to maintain with only a few trimmings a year. New shoots are soft and easy to cut and trimming is an effortless relaxing experience.

Some traditional hedging plants grow only an inch or two a year. BoxOz Lonicera will produce a calf high border in under twelve months, a knee high hedge in around 18 months, and a waist high hedge in 30 months. Almost any soil is suitable, as long as it is not too swampy. Fertilise your BoxOz Lonicera occasionally with a complete fertiliser, and water as required.

Box Leaf Privet (Ligustrum undulatum)

Box Leaf Privet is one of the most popular as it grows all year round, it will grow in almost any soil or conditions and if it is kept trimmed it looks as good or better than English Box. Box Leaved Privet love hot sunny positions, they don’t do well in a shady corner, and almost any soil as long as it is moderately well drained.

To create a dense bushy low hedge or border you only need to plant 4 plants per metre. Box Leaf Privet loves plenty of water, regular fertilising and regular trimming, given these are provided, you will find that you can create a dense fine traditional or English Box style border in just one full growing season with very little cost.

Dutch Box (Buxus sempervirens “Suffruticosa”)

If your looking for a small hedging plant then this is the one for you. Dutch Box is a dwarf box that grows with dense, glossy green foliage and works well in shaded areas.

Dutch Box likes full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil, but will tolerate a wide range of soils and conditions. It should be clipped to maintain a formal shape.


Japanese or Korean Box (Buxus microphylla)

Japanese or Korean Box is a fantastic compact shrub with dark oval leaves. It’s the perfect drought tolerant hedge, it has a higher tolerance to heat than other varieties of Box hedges, requiring little water once established. It does best is full sun however it can tolerate part shade just as well.

Japanese/Korean Box has a fine leaf, and is low and slow growing.


To order your plants, phone (03) 9355 0000. If you can’t fit in a visit to our nursery, take us up on our unbeatable $34.90 delivery to anywhere in metro Melbourne. Other delivery options are also available. You can also pick up your order from us in Campbellfield.

Mini Makeover “Awesome” Lift for Dianne

When we arrived at Dianne’s place Marie & I jumped out with big trays of mauve, purple and white primula that looked fantastic. We walked into the garden and Dianne who was at the gate burst into tears. She told us she’d had a terrible year, she had lost her husband a year ago and 4 months later had moved into a small unit and she was missing her old home. She hadn’t been well and hadn’t been able to make the garden in the unit nice, so this was a big thing for her.

We went to work and mixed in plenty of peaty planting mix, as parts of the bed were dry powdery sand. This will break it up and allow better moisture penetration and holding. I then planted a large 4ft tall Standard Lilly Pilly at either end of the bed, then a border of Japanese Spindle bush around the bed and the white lavender and purple primula in the middle of the garden. This garden is small and easy to dig and we thought that the best way to have colour in a bed like that all year round is by planting annuals twice a year. I expect the Primula will finish by late September and we told Dianne to plant some Petunias, as these will flourish until the next Primula or Viola season.

Dianne is a feisty lady and she hopped in and helped us do the garden. She put on a lovely afternoon tea, which was great as we had skipped lunch to get all the things together for the garden, and sent us each away with a big hug a kiss. Just as we left, Dianne’s daughter, son-in-law and 10-year-old grand daughters arrived. We asked the grand daughters what they thought of the garden and they said “Awesome”.

Mini Makeover Lift for Barbera and Mick in Hastings

Barbara and Mick recently retired to a house with no garden in Hastings. They have begun planting their garden up and are trying to achieve an attractive low maintenance garden. In the front in the porch area, where they sit under the veranda, it looked a bit flat so we decided to place two striking pots and plants there. We chose two tall ripple pots in brilliant green dappled with black streaks and we planted two large silver/grey giant Agave into them. Agave have a very structural look and gave the garden a strong focal point.

My idea when decorating an area with pots is to use large visually exciting pots and plants that really make a statement. Too many small pots can create a cluttered look with no real impact.

Barbara was excited that they won the garden makeover as Mick had a massive heart attack a year ago, and since then they have had a tough time where they have had to completely reorganise their lives from working in their own real estate business to retirement and a carer’s roll. But this week Barbara felt their luck had changed as they won Burgos bunch for lunch and then a Chris & Marie’s mini makeover. Barbara and Mick are a lovely couple, we enjoyed our visit, our morning tea and the makeover and we hope their luck has changed.

A Big Splash of Colour for Megan and Brad

Marie & I completed a garden makeover for Brad and Megan from Yarra Junction, who live on a lush green farmlet. They had a round about in the middle of their driveway of approx. 28m2 where a rose garden had become old which they had removed. The garden bed was bare and they wanted something new and different.

Because Megan & Brad are surrounded by green fields and green trees, Marie and I felt that what was required was a really good strong splash of year round colour. We chose a mixture of colourful Coprosmas, hardy low growing shrubs that come in beautiful pinks, purples, yellows, and we also chose a mixture of different coloured Flaxes in purple and yellow. We also chose French Lavender for its grey foliage and lovely blue winter flowers, a happy wanderer to be used as a groundcover and a Eurypos daisy with its grey foliage and bright yellow winter flowers.

As a central feature we planted a purple hop bush, a very hardy purple leaf compact shrub, and a bright blue flowering native Hibscus with a few other assorted small flowering shrubs to fill it up. With a mixture of brightly coloured foliage plants and assorted flowerings shrubs, the island will create a colour hot spot that will light up the entrance of the property.

To get the job done quickly Chris chipped off all the weeds with a sharp spade, then we tipped pine bark directly onto the bed with a tipper and spread this evenly on the bed before planting our plants. This way it only took 15mins to spread 1.5m of mulch. Then we scraped aside the mulch to plant the plants, and then put the mulch back around them, being careful not to bury the bottom of the plants with a thick layer of mulch because this can promote collar rot.

The whole job took 2 hours to complete.

Mini Makeover Two-Story Townhouse in Carrum

Rebecca has a two storey town house in Carrum that she purchased brand new. It had been ‘landscaped’ by the developer prior to her purchase and the turf and most of the plants had passed away prior to her moving into the property, the garden that was left did nothing to enhance her property.

Rebecca in her email said that she wanted modern plants like Yucca, Agave and Flax. When I went over and looked at the property there we were really poor attempts at modern gardens on both sides of her property, and I felt that another modern garden would blend into the poor modern gardens on either side and the overall result would be unspectacular.

I felt that she needed a large tree and I chose a Weeping Pagoda tree to go into the middle of the garden. Although it’s large now, it won’t grow much bigger and also being planted in sand it has a deep tap root and wont require too much water in the future.

I felt that a nice small hedge would define her feature tree and stand out and not blend into the neighbouring gardens, so we planted a hedge of Tom Thumb (Japanese spindle bush) around the perimeter of the garden. Then to make sure Rebecca was happy, we gave the garden a modern accent by putting a few Agave through it. Then we planted Daisy Spray and Silver Bush in a square pattern inside the hedge so that the garden would become full of flowers and vegetation inside the hedge and under the tree within a matter of months.

To complete the job we chipped off the weeds and dug out all the surviving plants from the original garden. I had some employees from the store helping because it was a front yard that we were attempting to complete in 3 hours. To keep down the weeds, we covered it in weedmat, cut holes in the weedmat and planted through the weedmat and then mulched the whole area with pine bark.

Rebecca came home just at the time when we were starting to plant, and she was delighted at how big her simplified front yard looked when we changed it from a two zoned area of a lawn and gardens beds to one zone. She put on a fabulous afternoon tea of chocolate dipped shortbread and lamingtons, which was greatly appreciated by all, as we’d landscaped quite a large area and needed that sugar energy boost.

When it was done Rebecca was really pleased at how her new front garden made her whole property look and she was pleased with the design and choice of plants. Even though what we had done was totally different to what she had visualized, she was particularly thrilled with the pagoda tree as it was well established, with a beautiful artistic weeping shape.

Mini Makeover Veggie Patch for Tony and his daughter

This week we made over a Veggie patch for Tony and his daughter, Lynne of Langwarren. They were lovely people. Tony has been a merchant seaman for 37 years and before that he was in the Royal Navy and is a veteran of D. Day. These days he keeps an immaculate garden and his hobby is growing tomatoes in his veggie patch.

What we did was to fork the garden over and give it a weed. Then we spread a few kilos of dolomite lime and several bags of Surecrop compost and forked over again. I dug the 2 ½ x 3-meter patch into three beds, with two paths, about 2 meters long through the centre. Tony had some nice hardwood slatted paths for keeping your boots clean. I placed these, one for each path. They’re a good idea because you can kneel or walk and not get you feet too dirty. They were painted white – an old skill Tony had acquired in the Navy.

All of these veggies will do well planted now and the garden will be producing before spring
We then planted a row of seed potatoes, Nicholas, which is their favourite. Then on either side of the potatoes we planted lettuce and spring onion seedlings. We planted everything from punnets, as seed is slow to germinate. In the next bed we planted onion, cabbage and bok choy and cauliflower. Then we planted Leek, Carrot, Broccoli and Beetroot (just a little of each). The last bed was a bit dry and full of roots from the neighbouring Pittosphorums, so we planted, across the top of the patch, Silver beet, which is the toughest of all the veggies. Near the fence we planted a row of popular and hardy herbs, such as Parsley, Mint, Thyme and Rosemary.

Tony and Lynne were very appreciative and made us afternoon tea. Tony offered us a shot of Rum, It was pleasant and sunny in the yard and I was sorry I didn’t take him up on the offer, as I still had a lot of work to do that afternoon.

What is interesting about the makeover is that a lot of people don’t plant their veggie gardens until spring, but all of those veggies will do well planted now and the garden will be producing before spring.

Mini Makeover for Michelle in Knoxfield

Michelle from Knoxfield sent us a photo of a lovely round flower bed approximately 6ft in diameter. Although we were going to do a rose bed this week, when we received Michelle’s email, Marie was touched by the simplicity of the request, saying here’s my bed all it needs is a Weeping Cherry.

The bed looked particularly nice because Michelle had put a brick border around it with some old bricks from her back yard

I had a beautiful Snow Fuzan which is the same as the one marketed by Flemings that they call the Snow Fountain. This looked beautiful in the centre of the circle.

The bed was a bit empty so we mixed in 10 bags of our planting mix, this bulked up the soil and made the bed nicely mounded.

We planted the Snow Fuzan in the centre and then planted 40 Daisy Spray which is a dwarf clumping form of the Seaside Daisy that flowers profusely all year round. I thought the Daisy Spray was a good choice as it will complement the Snow Fuzan when it is in full flower and not detract from it by being too showy. I felt in needed to be something that looked good all year and also something that is low to show off the shape of the Cherry.

It only took an hour or so for Marie, Michelle and myself to dig in the extra planting mix, plant the Weeping Cherry and the Daisy Spray, and complete the makeover.

As we finished the job Michelle’s’ young grandsons woke up from their afternoon nap and one of them very surprised said “That’s Chris and Marie!” They helped us plant the last few plants and tidy up the mess.

Michelle seemed very excited at the look of her new garden centre piece. She is now thinking of doing another round bed with a Cherry on the other side of the front path.

Kevin and Carmel’s Low Maintenance Garden

We chose this garden bed to do our makeover as it was a nice size and shape, and it was begging for a low maintenance garden.

The hard thing about this job is that I had decided to use over 1 ton of river stone and we only had 2 hours to do the job. We had some help, so there were three of us with a 15 square metre garden bed to complete in 2 hours. We wanted to complete the garden and photograph it with Kevin and Carmel before the light failed.

First job was to dig the garden, rake it over, smooth it and clear out the old plants and weeds. We also dug the soil away from the brick edge so that the river stones could cover the weedmat on the edge of the garden bed with the stones fitting flush with the bricks.

We gave the whole garden bed a final smooth with a steel rake and we were ready for the weedmat. We laid 2 sheets side by side over the bed and pinned them down with a few handfuls of pebbles. We then placed the plants in position and Marie, using a Stanley knife, cut a cross in the weedmat where each plant was to be planted. I dug a hole in the soil beneath the cross and put the surplus soil in pots so that I didn’t end up with too much soil on the weedmat.

We planted the plants, swept the weedmat clean and closed the cross up around the plant to get good weed protection.

At this point it was around 4.00pm and neighbours coming home from work were driving slowly past and they seemed surprised by the instant garden.

Daisies Garden Supplies gave me over a ton of really nice coloured river pebbles. To make the job go quickly I picked them up from their yard in Carrum Downs and got them to put them into big buckets so that I could take the buckets off my truck and tip them directly onto the weedmat. This is a very clean way of operating and saves a lot of shoveling (pebbles are hard to shovel). I would like to thank Daisies Garden Supplies I have used them for over 30 years and they are my favourite garden supplier because they carry a wide range of product, give good advise and charge a reasonable price. Daisies Garden Supplies have yards in Carrum Downs, Ringwood and Ashwood. I showed the chap in the yard a photo of the kidney shaped garden bed and asked him what volume of pebbles it would take. He said about 1 metre and he was exactly right.

I carried the buckets of pebbles and tipped them onto the garden bed and Marie spread them.

At 4.30pm the job was done and Kevin and Carmel looked slightly stunned!! They gave Marie and Nikki a big kiss and a hug, they seemed to appreciate the finished garden bed and we took final after photos at 4.30pm.

I chose 2 large Yucca Sculptures to go at either end of the bed. Yucca Sculptures are Yuccas that have been grown up, cut back and then they re-shoot back with large Multiple Yucca Heads facing out in all directions, these plants add some age and character to the bed.

We then planted a border well in from the edge of the bed to give them room to grow an alternating planting of Agave attenuata and Phormium Platts Black Flax. The brilliant green of the Yucca and the soft blue-grey of the Agave and intense purple-black of the Platts Black Flax make an exciting contrast. Many Flax grow big and unruly and lose their colour. Platts Black stays compact and keeps its colour.

These plants require very little water, fertilizer or trimming and are well suited to a low maintenance garden. In fact, Chris and Marie’s Plant Farm is the home of low maintenance gardens!

Large Yucca Sculpture 2 x $70.00 = $140.00
12” pot Agave 10x $39.90 = $390.00
8” pot Platts Black Flax 10 x $24.90 = $249.00
Large sheet of Weedmat 1 x$39.90 = $39.90
1 metre of pebbles 1 x $120.00 = $120.00
Total cost of this instant makeover that looked completely finished $938.90 and quite a few aches and pains.

If you bought smaller sized plants this job would cost:
10” pot Yucca 2 x $29.90 = $59.80
8” pot Agave 10 x $9.90 = $99.90
6”pot Platts Black Flax 10 x $12.75 = $127.50
1 mete of pebbles 1 x $120.00 = $120.00
Large sheet of Weedmat 1 x $39.90 = $39.90
Total cost $$447.10
Planting smaller plants requires much less physical effort.

Mini Makeover for Tania & Con in Melbourne’s East

Chris & Marie completed their first mini makeover for Tania & Con from Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs. 3MP listeners emailed in some photos and background information of their gardens and Chris & Marie selected Tania & Cons garden where a nice centerpiece planting lifted the existing garden.

The idea was to complete a small garden project that would really give somebody a garden lift, a planting job that anybody could complete in their own garden at a minimal cost. Chris & Marie selected Tania & Con’s garden as it was very neat and nice but a little bit plain. Chris felt the centerpiece would really give their garden a big lift. When Chris & Marie met Tania she was a really lovely person and deserving of the mini makeover, they were happy to plant some plants in her garden to give it a lift.

Chris used a sharp spade and cut a neat garden edge in a round circular shape. The lawn was a variety of couch, so he carefully skimmed off the lawn with a spade and Marie raked and picked out the small pieces of root. The circle created was approx. 1.4m round. The soil was dug out to a depth of 18 inches deep and some planting mix was incorporated into the bottom of the hole and a bare rooted Celtic Cascade Kilmarnock Willow was placed into the hole on top of 6” of soft cultivated earth.

The hole was then filled in with planting mix. On top of the soil Chris used some Dolomite Lime and planted 50 mixed coloured Geraniums around the base of the tree and bare rooted English Box every 15cm around the perimeter of the circle.

Chris & Marie used a drop sheet on the lawn so that it didn’t get dirty whilst they were digging so it was just a matter of gathering up the weeds and excess soil once the job was finished.

Chris & Marie used an advanced Celtic Cascade Kilmarnock Willow valued at $200 (a smaller 1st year specimen can be purchased for around $20).

They also used $15 worth of Geranium seedlings, $60 worth of English Box plants, $100 worth of planting mix & $2 worth of dolomite lime. The cost of the project with the advanced weeper was under $400 and if a 1st year specimen was used the cost would have been under $200.

As you can see the mini makeover lifted the garden!