5 Best Garden Designs

As this sultry summer powered on, it became obvious to me that I had been a little wilful in my recent selection of plants and where to put them. While the camellias fretted and faded in their western position (yes, I know, duh! ) and the hydrangeas yelled out every day for water, I did notice one bed coping better than the others with the heat.

It contains climbing roses and a mix of flowering perennials. The lesson: grow more of these!

We have a flowering perennial as plant of the month this issue. It's one of John Patrick’s absolute favourites: sedum, also known as stonecrop.

5 Best Garden Designs Photo Gallery

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There’s the popular ‘Autumn Joy’ with its dusty pink flower heads that turn coppery as the seasons shift, but there are other cultivars to muck around with, too, and all of them are hugely useful mass-planted in the flower border. Check out John's story with design tips and plant combo ideas on page 14.

For more design advice, head to Michael McCoy's new series on page 52. Each month, he’ll explore another fundamental of garden design, giving you the tools you need to create a space that really works. And how do you make a garden that glows (and smells good) when the sun goes down? Find out on page 32, with expert advice from landscape architect Arno King.

Part two of the chook special starts on page 40, with a piece from Costa on his introduction to gardens, hens and the whole food-scraps cycle. And remember, it's bulb time! Don’t let March and April slide by without stocking up. Starting on page 26 are lists of bulbs that flower from winter to late spring, so that with some clever planning, you can have five months of rolling colour. Think big and plant as many as you can afford – you won't regret it. And Instagram (5'gardeningaustraliamag to keep up to date with the latest gardening news and to see some great photos.

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