Last weekend Kathy and I had the most amazing day out at Paul Bangay's magnificent country estate, Stonefields. Over two days thousands of the garden loving public had the opportunity to visit and wander through this incredible display of craftsmanship all in aid of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. 


The weather could not have been kinder with crisp air and sparkling sunshine, it was a joy to behold as we ventured through those first gates into the White garden. Each area on the property was sectioned by meticulously clipped hedges creating intimate rooms to move through with so much to catch the eye you could have set up a chair for the day and just soaked it all in! Here's a little of what we loved...


That incredible sunlight couldn't be tamed, but it did create this pretty scene in the Blue Borders, a series of terraces leading down to the house framed on either side by these gorgeous garden beds.


The Tulip Parterres, seriously my nails aren't as well manicured as these beautiful English box hedges. I can't even imagine what this becomes in Spring when the tulips arrive. Another open day please Mr.Bangay?


These buxus sempervirens balls are placed through out the gardens and are a signature feature of Bangay's work. 


One of my absolute favourites, the Rose Garden! This beautiful rambling floral display is breathtaking and whisked me away to Monet's gardens in Giverny with all it's romance. The colours were so rich and the sun so bright it was almost overwhelming in it's intensity. An absolute joy to behold!


Can you believe the hotness of colour in these Dahlias? No filter here! And the lemons along the wall, so much detail!


Ok so it was only a matter of time before we started on about Autumn, but come on! I had been dreaming about these Maples before even arriving, in fact from the second Mr.Bangay posted these on his instagram account. You can have a look by clicking HERE


More beautiful borders full of Salvias and Penstemon, enough to make any English garden jealous!


And STOP!....So stunning in it's symmetry and simplicity, plus the incredible view behind me that I can only imagine the serenity on late summer's afternoon, G&T in hand... just begging to do a bomb dive!...Cannonball!!! How my five year old didn't end up in here is a miracle, thank you pool gods!


Oh those steps, the attention to detail, the bowling green lawn, I can't even....


Time to find some shade? Then why not join me in the Summer Houses for some much needed respite with these way too cute and somewhat Dr.Suessie clematis?


Now back to Autumn, after dragging myself away from the splendour in the pool and taking a walk through the woodland, with it's cooler micro climate allowing an entirely different range of plantings including hellebores, hydrangeas and the biggest King Soloman Seal I've ever seen! 


But my absolute favourite was this dovecote at the end of the Apple Walk. It's hard to believe that amongst all of the admiring horde it was almost peaceful in here, a stunning boulevard of clipped spheres and of course the beautiful apple trees. I'll take tea here's the view?


I apologise for the armada of photographs, but there were so many magical things to share with you it was hard to edit them out. An incredible experience I won't forget for a very long time as I'm sure many other visitors will agree was well worth it.

I want to pass on a huge thank you to Stephanie Alexander and her Kitchen Garden Foundation for putting on a wonderful weekend, hope you raised loads, you all worked tirelessly. Also to Paul Bangay and his team of clever gardeners for allowing all of us to descend on his magnificent property which is an incredible example of his work. And also to my Husband for secretly waiting in line to have a mountain of books signed by the aforementioned legends, Stephanie Alexander and Paul Bangay. They will be treasured forever!

For information on what plantings have been used I couldn't recommend more Paul Bangay's Guide to Plants and of course his new book The Garden at Stonefields, both of which can be found at  Why not book a private tour, dates for 2016 can also be found on the website and would make a very special gift.

If you'd like to learn more about the amazing work at the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation why not check out their website at

Jess x

We Heart Flowers: Lavender

 Sault Restaurant, Daylesford, so beautiful.

Sault Restaurant, Daylesford, so beautiful.

As we come to the end of another glorious Summer I thought how could I have overlooked the one flower we have here in abundance, Lavender! Most local gardens will have this hardy plant featuring somewhere along pathways, gates and fences, just waiting to be brushed against, setting free it's memory igniting fragrance. We even have it next to our trusty Hills Hoist, cleverly perfuming our linen as it dries in the breeze. 

Though Lavender has a tendency to lend itself to sensible house keeping tips handed down by Nanna, I know I have lavender muslin bags and linen hangers to keep my closet fresh. But once you see it growing in the field, great swathes of vivid purple, it definitely packs some majestic punch of it's own.

My own personal struggle with Francophilia, has meant dealing with hedonistic dreams of lavender fields, Peter Mayle style lazy lunches and a few too many cheeky chablis. So it was with great excitement that we moved to Daylesford to be spoilt with two Lavender farms, Sault Restaurant and Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm, both serving food and wine and me free to saunter about in my Breton stripes.

Now though, I am the proud owner of two of my very own Lavender rows, albeit in my garden, there'll be more in years to come, but it's a start! So until they become photo ready I'll share a few more ideas of how to use and enjoy this handy little bloom...

Honey Lavender Macarons, recipe via

Simple but beautiful centrepieces, via

The most stunning wedding details from June Bug Weddings, for more click HERE it's a must see!

Blueberry Lavender Fizz, recipe via what's not to love


And finally, just a little more gorgeousness from Sault Restaurant and that incredible Gwendolynne dress!

Jess x

For more ideas on how to use Lavender you can check out our Pinterest page by clicking HERE

Keep a look out for our upcoming feature on Sault Restaurant, Daylesford on the blog, it's such a local stunner, not to be missed!


We Heart Flowers: Cosmos

 Tuscan Garden by Arabella Lennox-Boyd via Pinterest

Tuscan Garden by Arabella Lennox-Boyd via Pinterest

The romance of flower filled meadows is truly magical, and maybe my love of watching a few too many Jane Austen movies maybe to blame...serious chick flick territory here guys sorry! And no I wasn't offended in any way by the movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, to be honest the more the merrier, and while you're at it add in all the Bronte Sisters with a side of Thomas Hardy and I'm a happy girl! So if Mr.GDD wants to do a 'Darcy' and throw himself into Lake Daylesford fully clothed, in period costume of course, who am I to argue?...That gives me an idea...another time maybe!

So with this in mind and with Valentine's Day beating down on us, it's the perfect time to celebrate the stunning cosmos flower. Floppy, sweet and full of cheery colour it's not hard to imagine why so many of us want garden paths and meadow lanes filled with them. Part of the Daisy family they are incredibly hardy though not keen on a hard frost (but neither am I), and are self seeding so you'll be able to enjoy them over and over.

 Hello May Magazine's stunning capture from a magical wedding on the NSW south coast see more   HERE

Hello May Magazine's stunning capture from a magical wedding on the NSW south coast see more HERE

It's hard not to smile, is this not the most romantic bouquet? All those rosy hues are just bursting to add joy to someone's special day...

 No need to fuss over elaborate arrangements though either, throw them together in a group of glass vases or wrapped in brown paper and it will certainly enhance its 'just picked' wildflower appeal. Truly Romantic...

Almost as romantic as this?...go on you know you want to... 

Happy Valentine's Day to all the romantics out there.

Jess x

More stunning Cosmos ideas to enjoy over on our We Heart Flowers Pinterest board just by clicking HERE

We Heart Flowers: Go Native

Just a few weeks ago I was completely enraptured with the smell of fresh pine after the Christmas tree was installed, now its the sweet scent of gum leaves greeting me in the morning and I'm loving it!

This week I spotted this incredible Christmas wreath posted on Instagram by a dear friend, absolute Australian native flower perfection! Our gorgeous natives often get brushed aside for those showy European types and yes I've fallen under their spell at times too. All drama, well fragranced, great accent what's not to love, and the flowers are nice too...oops! 

Madelene Sutton from Flower Heaven Trentham is the genius behind this festive Aussie wreath. She's a local girl and when I say local I mean fifth generation (at least), which is REAL local and she has the most stunning Instagram account collecting images of her flower foraging work. You can check it all out by clicking here. Once you see it you'll understand why you have to be 'on the list' to get one of those incredible wreaths.

Madelene's work was a great reminder to me of what is literally right outside our doors, in our gardens, on our nature strips and in our parks (just not the national park as there might be a nasty fine with that fresh bouquet of Callistemons).

Flowering Eucalypts, you can't beat that colour!

My Joost Bakker moment...Round Gum Leaf

Seriously it was such a revelation to me, yesterday I toured (and raided, thank you Kylie) a lovely friend's garden. Today I jumped in the car with a pair of secateurs, god that sounds really dangerous, and went foraging for Round Gum leaves on the side of the road. Who am I?...Joost Bakker?...Come on!


Callistemon fruits

Now I'm not going to try and recreate the masterpiece by Madelene, but I have stuffed every vase I have and am now making plans to add a few Aussie babes to my new garden. There'll be no better way to decorate my Christmas table. And with Summer getting a pretty dire forecast, I'm thinking those tough locals might have a better chance in the sun than those english roses. Though what is it they say about Englishman and the midday sun?...hmm

Ok so I've snuck in a cheeky South African, technically still an Antipodean??? Pin Cushion flower

Bush Mint or Round leaf mint, it smells devine!

Many thanks to Wombat Hill Nursery for identifying my finds and to my lovely friends Kat, for the wreath photo (lucky girl, she's on the list) and Kylie for letting me take some 'samples' from her garden.

Cheers and have a Merry Bush Christmas

Jess xxx

We Heart Flowers: Hydrangeas

I feel incredibly guilty for admitting this but for the longest time, mainly during my misguided youth, I associated Hydrangeas with old lady's gardens and printed curtains that were always in the bargain bin. And until becoming the owner of my own collection of these generous blooms I would never have regarded these as a spectacular feature in any garden. What a dill!

After the first summer in our house in Daylesford, I discovered the joys of this amazing plant when a pair of hydrangeas almost seemed to explode into flower, with blues, pinks and purples. The intensity of colour and shade is decided by the acidity of the soil, very clever! Summer is the season for Hydrangeas, and as long as they've got a semi-shaded spot and regular water they will lovingly keep blooming for you with their huge lolling heads. They actually remind me of those amazing retro swim caps, all petals and colour. Friends would come to visit and take away armfuls of stems, such a lovely gift to give. 

 This incredibly romantic wedding setting via Pinterest from   Style Me Pretty

This incredibly romantic wedding setting via Pinterest from Style Me Pretty

Hydrangeas last really well as cut flowers too, so keep a look out for them at florists and flower markets. So beautiful as table settings especially cut very short so the arrangement is all about that amazing ball of petals. These flowers are so impressive for colour and size, they make the most beautiful wedding bouquets too. 

 This gorgeous wedding bouquet image via pinterest from   Martha Stewart Weddings

This gorgeous wedding bouquet image via pinterest from Martha Stewart Weddings

This year I've discovered a hot pink variety from Wombat Hill Nursery,  which are now greeting visitors at my front door, what a welcome! 

 My beautiful pink ladies are greeting all my christmas visitors!

My beautiful pink ladies are greeting all my christmas visitors!

What a good lesson in humility when I realised those little old ladies knew exactly what they were doing, I'm so thankful they were planted in my garden too.

Jess x

More ideas for Hydrangea plantings, arrangements and weddings can be found on our We Heart Flowers Pinterest board.

We Heart Flowers: Peonies

 Peony Passion, I can't help myself!

Peony Passion, I can't help myself!

Like a fleeting Summer romance, or maybe more like a high school crush, Peony season comes and goes, with almost as much passion and wistful feeling. I absolutely love Peonies and my FOMO issues with this gorgeous bloom is up there with coffee withdrawal. We are so blessed to have the amazing Spring Hill Peony Farm just around the corner, the down side being I start behaving like a crazed rock groupie! Driving past looking for the sign, is the sign up? I think I saw it? Quick pull over!!!! Actually I've found out I can subscribe to the Springhill Peony Farm newsletter and can now still my beating heart by checking my inbox, genius!

So it's no surprise for this, my inaugural 'Flower of the week' post to be dedicated to this beautiful bloom. For the longest time I didn't even know how to pronounce Peony, making it sound like some sort of smelly horse, when in fact it sounds like pee-a-nee, so much sweeter than the pongy pony!

 Peonies make for Wedding magic!

Peonies make for Wedding magic!

It was while planning my wedding that I discovered the peony after believing it was some sort of super rose, so romantic and full it's a nuptial favourite. The peony also has the most delicate fragrance and is very kind to hay fever sufferers like myself and I can sniff away to my heart's content with out a single 'achoo'!

 Peony heaven in the Spring Hill Peony Farm paddock last year.

Peony heaven in the Spring Hill Peony Farm paddock last year.

So if you're lucky enough to have a ticket to this weekend's open day up at Spring Hill enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. It's absolute heaven, and I'm definitely going again next year. And if you don't have a peony farm around the corner then make sure you check out your local florist or flower markets as these stunning stems are only going to be around for a few more weeks. Making sure to keep them cool and they might last that little bit longer. 

So until next year my darling one, parting is such sweet sorrow. Or until next week when this flower flirt moves onto her next bud crush!

If you'd like to read about our visit to Spring Hill Peony Farm last year click here.

Looking for Peony inspiration, check out our Pinterest Board by clicking here.

Jess x