Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can achieve a beautiful garden. It just takes a tiny bit of research and a moderate amount of effort.

I was recently lucky enough to chat to Georgina Reid, landscape designer, founding editor of The Plant Hunter online magazine and gardening expert for Belle Magazine, about what we should be doing to help our gardens flourish here in the Southern Highlands.

Georgina Reid, belle Magazine’s gardening expert, was also instrumental in creating the app Plant Life Balance and edits her own digital magazine, The Plant Hunter!

Georgina is a wealth of information and has years of experience in the gardening and landscaping industries. Before launching The Plant Hunter in 2013, Georgina spent nearly a decade working as a landscape designer; firstly for others, like Jamie Durie and Garden Life, and more recently for herself.

She’s also facilitates regular plant and design based workshops, and speaks at writing and cultural events. She’s got qualifications in journalism, horticulture and landscape design, so, it’s safe to say she knows her stuff! She recently worked as a consultant to an amazing new app called Plant Life Balance , which perfectly matches plants to you, your home, your gardening prowess and your lifestyle.

Keep reading to find out how you can help your garden grow beautifully!

Love Di xx

You’re the gardening expert for Belle magazine. What does that job entail?

I get the opportunity to chat design with some of the world’s best garden designers and landscape architects. It’s a great gig!

What are your favourite plants?

I can’t really say I have any favourites. The older I get, the more I find beauty in everything. At the moment I love anything the wallabies don’t like eating!

Here in the Southern Highlands, we have a cooler climate that has less humidity. What kinds of plants would you best recommend?

There are thousands of different plants that will grow well in the Southern Highlands – it really depends on the style of garden you like, what your soil type is, how much sun the area gets, how much wind, how much maintenance you are willing to do… all that stuff. The best way to make sure you have plants that are happy and will grow well in your garden is to do a thorough site assessment (this will help you understand sun, aspect, soil etc) and then visit your local nursery and ask for their advice based on your site assessment and your likes and dislikes.

What are the best kinds of plants to grow indoors in this type of area?

I think many of the same plants that grow in Sydney or Melbourne would be fine for the Southern Highlands. Things like Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’, Spathyphyllum ‘Sensation’, Hoya australis, and most rhipsalis species should be fine indoors in the Southern Highlands.

On that note, certain indoor plants are known to be best for purifying air and improving mood. Can you please suggest the best plants for the home in this regard?

Many indoor plants improve air quality by filtering out particulate matter, or air pollution, and other airborne toxins caused by organic chemicals in things like paints and furniture finishes. Some of the winners in this regard are spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), devils ivy (Epipremnum aureum), dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) and many others. Check out this neat little app I worked on called Plant Life Balance – it’ll help you choose the right plant for your home –indoors and out.

What plants are best to keep in an office environment for a stress-free and harmonious environment?

Generally, research has found that a mix of plants, rather than a clump of the same plants is more likely to induce feelings of wellness. So, in an office or at home, consider using a range of different types and sizes of plants for the ultimate stress-free environment.

What would you suggest as the ultimate home herb garden?

My ultimate herb garden would have to be huge and include everything! I love cooking, so I’d definitely need the standards – parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, mint, dill – and then there’d be edible flowers, pollination attractors and a bunch of weird and wonderful herbal curiosities.

What are your tips for those of us who don’t have a green thumb? How can we help our gardens flourish with as little effort as possible?

I’m sorry to say, gardening is about effort! If you want a good garden, you need to work at it. There’s no such thing as a low maintenance garden. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can cultivate one, but the way to do this is to garden. A green thumb is not something you are born with, it comes from digging, planting and playing with plants.

What is the best natural way to deal with weeds?

Pull them out, making sure you remove roots and all! No chemicals required – just hard yakka. And, it’scheaper than a gym membership.

Pictures of Georgina Reid by Daniel Shipp

If you wish to learn more about life and property in the Southern Highlands, please contact me via www.belleproperty.com/bowral