Lee Douglas, Author at Kilby Park Tree Farm

20 Years of National Tree Day

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This Sunday will mark the 20th anniversary of Planet Ark’s National Tree Day, a fun and inspiring event aimed to get people actively planting trees and plants across the country. Two decades on and three million trees planted later, the effort is still going strong!

Today thousands of local children will be out getting their hands dirty, learning about the importance of planting new trees and looking forward to seeing them grow.

An especially important part of National Tree Day is the restoration of native trees. Creating ‘green corridors’ of local native plant options is not only beautiful but can assist indigenous animals, increase the quality of nearby water supplies, and encourages bird life. We currently have some beautiful natives available – The flowering gums Corymbia ficifolia “Baby Orange” and “wild fire” in particular are stand outs for beautiful blossoms and their contribution to native fauna – Koalas and birds love them!

Corymbia ficifolia “Wild Fire” (Flowering gum)

Find a local event this Sunday to attend here or if you’d like to find out more about ongoing bushland projects, Landcare and Bushcare always love a volunteer.


Happy National Tree Day!


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Visited the farm lately? You might have noticed our bright new addition…

In true Australian style, the boys recently gave our Farm a much needed update with a brand new bridge – totally hand built! And no DIY project is complete without a finishing touch to make it unique. Alex has dubbed the bridge ‘The Senkaki Bridge’ as its radiant red looks just like the gorgeous Senkaki Maple trees.

A little spot of brightness in Winter. What do you think of our handiwork?


The Kilby Team.

Plant of the month: Michelia Figo, the Portwine Magnolia

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As many of our plants ease into their bare winter looks, a little glow of green stands out amongst the greys and bronzes – The beautiful Portwine Magnolia.

Unlike other members of the Magnolicae family, the Michelia Figo is an evergreen and offers glossy leaves all year around. With warm weather, anticipate the beautiful flowers that give it it’s name – A purple-red bloom with a strong heady fragrance. For designs requiring more height, ‘White Caviar’, the hybrid cross of the popular Yunnanensis Magnolia and Michelia Figo, is a narrower option offering the same heady fragrance from a creamy white flower.

What truly makes the Michelia Figo stand out is it’s versatility for design. The figo makes for a beautiful compact stand alone shrub, can be potted and shaped, but we especially like it for the beautiful hedge it creates. With it’s large, brilliant leaves, you can anticipate a hedge that adds vibrance to your landscape no matter what time of year. ‘White Caviar’ can also offer a more interesting screening option.

We currently have stunning Michelia Figos available in three sizes (30cm 40cm and 50cm), so swing by the Farm to experience in person the impact of these gorgeous plants, and how you can use them in your next project.

Keep Cosy: 10 Greenhouses to love, covet and inspire

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We love being amongst plants, but sometimes the frost of winter is just a little too much. This week we are inspired by the beauty of the humble greenhouse, and the escape from the cold that they also bring. No longer stuck in the realm of daggy old designs, greenhouses can be customised to suit a variety of landscape designs, from rustic to ultra modern. Below, we share our top 10 favourites:

1. The classic potters greenhouse: Part storage, part greenhouse, we love the pop of spearmint on the door.

2. Romantic rustic: This greenhouse creates a stunning focal point for a field of wildflowers. Gorgeous in any season!

3. Classic timber: We think this greenhouse would look only better with age, and love the modern shape.

4. The upcycled space saver: No room? DIY with old windows and furniture pieces!

5. The sunny attachment: We love how this greenhouse is a part of the home, and can be used for storage.

6. The polished finish: This stunning Edwardian style greenhouse goes beautifully with a manicured courtyard.

7. The Dream: An indoor orangery complete with pond? We’d probably never leave.

8. The Convert: Convert your dingy old shed into a cosy space for your plants.

9. The ultra modern: We love the clean lines and Scandinavian vibe of this greenhouse.

10. The Classic: Veggie patch, old tin rainwater catchment and tidy little greenhouse? Perfect.

Do you have a greenhouse in your yard? Show yours off on our Kilby tag on instagram – #kilbyparktreefarm

All images via Pintrest

Plant of the Month: Acer p. Senkaki

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If you’ve been to the Farm recently you may have noticed a splash of colour standing out, especially around the office. These are our beautiful Acer p. Senkaki maples, a stunning Japanese tree worthy of our Plant of the Month.

Some of our beauties at Kilby Park

Like most Japanese varieties of Maples, Senkaki offers smaller leaves that go through spectacular colour changes throughout the year. New growth is bright green, standing out against the bright coral bark, before fading into apricot and all shades of red in the Autumn.

Left: Kilby Park Tree Farm. Right: Source

Beautiful as this may be, the Senkaki shows it’s true beauty and individuality in Winter. Standing out against the stark deciduous trees around it, the intense red of the Senkaki’s bark is fully revealed and makes for a wonderful focus when the rest of the garden is fading into its winter hues.

Left: Source  Right: Source

Like many Japanese Maples, Senkaki likes the dappled shade of larger trees nearby and makes for a beautiful spot of colour amongst evergreens, or placed in a group for a real punch. We love how the Senkaki has been placed in this traditional oriental garden below – Teamed with other plants that offer colour in Winter, the garden remains as beautiful and interesting as it would at the heigh of Spring.

Image via flickr

Come and chat with us today about placing an Acer p. Senkaki in your next design.

Beautiful and Bare – Inspiring images for Winter

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Even though it’s frosty, dark and getting bone chilling cold, Winter still offers some beautiful moments in nature. Bare trees allow a glimpse into their structure, cloudy days highlight beautiful light and shade, and native plants offer a burst of colour in the midst of a sleepy monotone. Today we are sharing with you a couple of our favourite images from around the globe and home that highlight the beauty of the coldest season.

Bare Tree – Source

Canal Du Midi – Source

Snow gums in Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. Source

The Winter Garden (Sir Harrod Hilliar Gardens, UK) – Source

Anglesea Abbey Winter Gardens, UK. Source

The Mottisfont Ancient Spring, Hampshire. Source

Share your beautiful winter garden images with us at our Facebook page, or via the #kilbyparktreefarm hashtag on Instagram.

Mindful in May: Keeping up the good work!

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Today is the final fundraising day of Mindful In May (and not too late to donate HERE to bring water to much needed communities in Uganda) and we are incredibly proud to have been involved in such a beneficial community action.
Meditating daily has proven to be a challenge for the Kilby team as we are all busy people, but choosing to find that five minutes is a wonderful chance to stop, recalibrate, and start again with a fresher mind.
But for those in the horticultural industry, or who just love to garden – You’re already at a wonderful advantage to start improving your mental and physical health. The benefits of working in parks, gardens and amongst nature are enormous and well documented. Some of the stand out benefits include:
1. A decreased risk of stroke and heart disease due to contribution to your 2.5 recommended hours of exercise per week.
2. Studies have shown gardening reflects lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – in difference to a group who stayed indoors and read. This is thought to be due to our natural connection to the Earth and the satisfying contribution planting or maintaining plants offers. “Horticulture Therapy” is also an effective method for reducing depression and anxiety.
3. Daily gardening has been shown to lower the risk of dementia by 36% – Thought to be due to the endurance, dexterity, problem solving and sensory awareness that gardening requires.
Combine these benefits with those that come with mindful meditation practices – a mind better structured to deal with stress and negativity, increased immune function and a reduction of genetic ageing (It’s not all just sunshine – It’s also science!) and you’ve got yourself a wonderful kick start to a happier life.
Whats your favourite relaxation technique? Have you found your balance of being busy and taking time for yourself?

Beauty all year round with the Dogwood

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Dogwoods are often loved for their stunning bracts during Spring, and are a popular item for bridal bouquets and floral arrangements, but what about the cooler months? This month, our Kilby dogwoods have shown off their spectacular Autumn foliage.

At the farm we currently have three dogwood options available. All dogwoods available feature bright green leaves, beautiful flower bracts with insignificant petals in the centre, and in summer will develop ornamental fruit that birds love.

 Cornus Kousa: A native of Japan, Korea and parts of China, this offers white flower bracts in late Spring. Grows 8 – 12m tall and looks striking as a focus plant.

 Right: Via BFS.biz    Left: Via Eurodogwoods.com

Cornus k. Satomi offers heavenly pink bracts in Spring and is an upright spreading cultivar that attracts butterflies. Depending on planting, flower bracts can range from a delicate to deep pink – A perfect choice for a landscape needing a pop of colour.


Left: Via CNBhomes.com  Right: Via Yearroundveggiegarden.blogspot.com

Cornus ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’ has a narrow form and lax layered branching habit with stunning white bracts. This option is a hybrid of Cornus Florida and Cornus Nutallii and made resistant to dogwood anthracnose. Like all dogwoods, Eddies White Wonder makes for a wonderful backdrop layer to garden designs, or stands alone as a stunning tree.

Left: Kahootsdesign.com  Right: Eurodogwoods.com

For an option that delights throughout the year, we can’t go past the dogwood – Pop in to have a look today and plant in happy anticipation of Spring. Seen any in your travels? Share your finds with us on the #kilbyparktreefarm tag on Instagram.

Mindful In May: An Update

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As many of you know, Kilby Park has been a part of the Mindful in May challenge, which involves practicing mindful meditation daily while raising money to provide clean drinking water for third world countries. Find out more about Mindful In May here.

5 minutes of meditation a day is the goal, so that’s not difficult right? You’d be surprised! 
Speaking to both Alex and Tanya, the two agreed that their main challenge was setting aside that time to actually do essentially nothing. Mindful meditation centres around the practice of letting go of thoughts and living in a moment – Something clearly very tricky for these two who are always busy on the farm.
As the centre of the Kilby tornado, Tanya is brilliant at doing fifty things at once and somehow keeping all balls in the air. Her encouragement for doing the challenge was a very busy May both at the Farm and at home, so she well knew that she needed all the practice she could have to keep sane! Her commitment to the task was brilliant, and hopes next week she can report back at the end of the challenge having achieved a new level of inner serenity.
Alex, when asked about the challenge, gave me a suspiciously guilty look before laughing. I asked whether he thought his difficulty was a generational issue, being a young bloke in a world where you’re always switched on, and he agreed – “It’s hard to take a moment to sit and do nothing, when in that time you could be talking to someone, reading this or that, or just thinking about what you’d be doing after”.
Overall so far, Mindful in May has brought into focus the challenge of ‘Stopping’, a relevant thought when we’re all so busy being busy. If you’d like to find out more about Mindful Meditation and the benefits it can bring, or make a donation to the Kilby Team to go towards clean drinking water for those who need it most, check us out here.

Sunny Inspiration for Cold Days: Native and Coastal

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We’ve loved watching our deciduous varieties show off their Autumn colours, but sometimes you want something that looks spectacular year round. That’s why we’ve round up 10 stunning landscapes full of native options to keep you feeling toasty even when the weather would have you feeling otherwise.

The Essence of Australia garden in Cranbourne is a beautiful example of spectacular natives!

Native landscape design inspiration

We love this combination of stone and plant life – Pic via lifestyle.com.au

Native garden design inspiration

A smattering of trees brings any native landscape to life.

Native landscape design inspiration

A beautiful low maintenance coastal inspiration.

Native garden design inspiration

Ferns and stone bring a touch of Gippsland wonder into this backyard design.

Native garden inspiration

A dry creek bed adds a point of interest to any landscape and juxtaposes with interesting plant options.

Native landscape garden inspiration

How stunning is this combination of textures – Native grasses, wood, stone and steel.

Native garden design inspiration

Keeping ponds and dams safe doesn’t mean compromising your design!

Native garden design inspiration

What a perfect example of levels and hierarchy! Fiona Brockoff Design.

Native garden design inspiration

Another dry creek bed design – Beautiful with lush plants.

Feeling inspired? We have a variety of native tree options currently available at the farm to get your design up and running!