Collectors' Plant Fair
Weekend of April 9-10, 2022
Hakesbury Race Club
If you like rare and unusual plants, make your way to Andy’s Rare Plants stall at Collectors’ this year, where Andrew Harvie and his mates will have things you’ve never seen before.
Orchids are found in every corner of the planet and come from the biggest family of cultivated plants on earth: 30,000 wild species. There are twice as many orchid species as there are species of birds! Orchids have had a 200-year journey from the tropical jungles to become the nation's most popular houseplant.
Story: Linda Ross
Images: Luisa Brimble
Weslor Flowers Plant Nursery began trading as a wholesale nursery in 1990 specialising in climbing plants. The nursery is owned and operated by Wes and Lorraine Vidler. They grow 150 species of rare and hard to find climbing plants as well as 135 Hoya species.
Meet our Orchid growers.
Image: Luisa Brimble
Mike is a tropical plant collector and modern day plant hunterwho is looking forward to his second year of Collectors’ Plant Fair. Mike travels the furthest distance of all our plant growers, driving his tropical treasures 2,600km from Tropical North Queensland to join in the fun. Our convenor Linda Ross spoke to him on the phone from the Philippines.
The houseplant community has christened its collectible rarities ‘unicorn plants’. Linda is a unicorn hunter and grows her burgeoning collection in her indoor tropical jungle. She grows them easily inside in her light and bright lounge room and will often take them outside during the summer holidays and keep them under the banksia tree. Rare houseplants are highly sought by indoor plant enthusiasts. Here are a few more to add to your collection.
Here are our tips for flourishing anthuriums when not living in the tropics.
Peter Nixon's top 6 plants for cool subtropical climate.
Four years ago garden designer Peter Nixon traded in his inner-city Sydney courtyard for a big blank corner block on the Central Coast and turned it into this!
Meet: Alan and Margaret Jackson from Maple Springs Nursery and Gory’u Japanese Gardens. They are coming to the Fair!
Maples deliver magnificent autumn colour, especially after a dry summer, which crystallises the sugars in the leaf. Most at home in cooler climates, many colour up well in warm areas.
Meet Peter Hey, of Just Cliveas and Rare Things - clivia breeder and grower of rare plants.
Interview: Linda Ross
Words: Kath Gadd
‘Banksia or grevillea’ I’m sometimes asked, in the native-plant lover’s version of ‘Batman or Superman’. For me, it’s banksia, every time. Let me explain. Banksias begin flowering in autumn and put on a wonderful show all through winter and into early spring, a time that can bit a bit dull in the garden. They appear strong and bold, their flowers stand upright on their varied and unusual foliage. There is something reassuring about their presence, whether as a feature shrub, border, backdrop or screen. And the birds, bees and small marsupials love banksia flowers for their abundant nectar and large seeds.
Meet Chris Cuddy, Perennial enthusiast and owner of Perennialle Plants, Canowindra. Find him at Collectors' Plant Fair in March.
David Kennedy’s Katoomba garden Clover Hill is a showcase of rare cool climate gems. Come see him at the Fair!
Plants in pots need the right nutrients, water, air and a quality potting mix to live happily ever after.
Some of the best performing roses for warm climates are old favourites -and we mean old.
Choose wisely and sunny daisies can be cheering up your garden all year.
Meet Mark Engall, citrus grower, and third-generation owner of one of Sydney's great nurseries.
Kath Gadd’s company is Mallee Design, a garden design business that uses only Australian plants, and does a neat sideline in beautiful, spun copper birdbaths.
As spring melts into the first days of summer Highfields is filled with the fragrance of roses, masses of floral colour and the murmur of the waterfall tumbling into the ponds.
Justine Smith’s beautifully grown rhipsalis flew off the tables at Collectors’ Plant Fair last year. Don’t worry if you missed out - she’s now supplying Flower Power with these hairy hanging delights under the Jungle Cactus label.
Flowers for a day; for lots of days
No one does a hanging basket of summer flowers quite like the English, and, inspired by a recent trip, we’re determined to give it a good shake this summer. We’ve included here some favourite basket-happy plants with the right cascading habit - and some options for really hot spots. The thing is to design an arrangement like a posy, with a mix of textures and colours. Have fun, be bold, try something new, and toss it all at the end of the season.
Blue and white hydrangeas decorate long lunches and fill Church vases in the floral countdown to Christmas. Here we unwrap more goodies from the hydrangea family. You’ll think all your Christmases have come at once!
Rosemary, Bay, Oregano, Thyme and Curry Leaf; learn how to grow and care for these fresh summer herbs.
Learn how to keep your Geraniums healthy and happy.
Flamboyant chorus girls of summer deserve top billing for scandalous skirts of tropical colour. Those wanting to tone things down a bit have plenty of options.
Cucumbers are such a versatile vegetable with so many uses - sliced, grated, in salads and soups. Crisp. Crunch. Cool! With the heat of summer creeping up on us, the crisp cooling texture of cucumbers is essential in every salad or salad sandwich.
You can’t beat Kangaroo Paws for colour in a bush garden. Breeding these iconic Australian plants has improved both their disease resistance and colour range. And you can grow them with anything.
Wherever we take travellers in the tropics, from Mexico to Singapore, the Daintree to Cuba, there is one tree that grabs their attention - cacao, the source of our lingering love, chocolate.
These easy-care, minty-fresh flowery fillers offer reliable and long-lasting summer colour.
Add some summer dazzle to a sunny balcony with these pot-loving beauties.
A cloud of blue butterflies. Their showy red or violet flower panicles set against often triangular, large dark green leaves make these plants worthy of a place in your garden.
Frangipani are familiar as the scent of summer but the range of species, colours, perfumes and leaf shapes might surprise you.
Lemons cause gardeners much heartache. We’re here to help! Here are solutions to six common lemon problems.
Passionfruit are among the most productive of backyard crops, especially when the bees do their thing.
Edible members of this family include ginger, cardamom, turmeric and galangal, but here we introduce the flowering ones, which offer so much more than a tropical splash of lush green foliage.
An unpronounceable mouthful of consonants hasn’t stopped ‘Wapsipinicon Peach’ being pronounced delicious in tomato taste tests. The slightly furry skin accounts for the peach reference, and the rest is a river in Iowa. We call it a wapsi and think it’s a beauty!
Linda’s seven-year-old son has recently started collecting cactus and now has 73 displayed on a shelf on the veranda in morning sunshine. Here’s a brief introduction.
Need some advice on roses? Meet a walking rose encyclopedia!
Jeremy Critchley’s Green Gallery Nursery developed a focus on indoor plants once he moved into an apartment and wanted something different.
These beauties herald the warm weather with a loud blast of colour. Sandra Ross shares her growing experience.
Waterlilies are shy until the mercury hits 30, and then they unfold into beautiful blooms. We grow them in large bowls and pots, and pick them to decorate the table through summer.
A sweet slice of cold melon on a hot summer’s day – irresistible! Watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melons are easy to grow in the backyard as long as you have a bit of space. The vines sprawl and scramble and among the tangle are globes of summer sweetness. Jake Byrne tells how it’s done.
The Circles of Learning Team have been volunteering with Collectors Plant Fair for three years and we are thrilled to have them back at the Fair again this year. They will be the first friendly faces you see when you arrive at the gates, so be sure give them a smile as you get ready to begin your plant-hunting adventure.
This weekend is a once-a-year opportunity to purchase plants direct from The Green Gallery. They have been growing and saving a bunch of collectable jungle plants just for us this weekend.
Over 14 years The Collectors Plant has organically grown from a paddock in Bilpin to filling the grounds of the Hawkesbury Race Club. There is no doubt it is the most inspiring and fun weekend on the gardening calendar.
We are the biggest plant fair in Australia. BUT.
We need you to know a few things before you set out.
A selection of fresh and tasty food options, smoothies, gelato and coffee will be available at the fair.
We have assembled the most delicious food trucks in Sydney to provide sustenance during your weekend plant hunting. There will be a range of vegetarian options available.
Drum roll please. The A-Z of this year's rare and collectible plants (some never seen before) and all your old favourites. A taste of what you can expect to find this weekend. Print out our SITE MAP and plan your plant hunting route.
We have just had news that an incredible variety of tropical plants are in a truck and are on their way from tropical North Queensland TO OUR FAIR!!
Let’s start with a little list shall we...
‘Sally Holmes’ is a strong-growing shrub rose with lightly scented, clotted cream-coloured, single flowers held in large bunches.
Words: Linda Ross
In the Garden At Red Cow Farm
Words and pictures: Ali Mentesh and Robin Powell
A dahlia with dollop of clotted cream and a hint of coffee
Opening pale peachy pink then fading to soft coffee cream ‘Cafe au Lait’ is a celebrity-status dahlia. The multi-petalled blooms are up to 25 cm across and there may be 40 on a plant at once, so strong support is essential. The colour of this dahlia can vary depending on the age of the bloom and the amount of sunlight it receives.
Words: Linda Ross
Meet the growers: Matt Reed and Mike Morant growers of rare and unusual perennials, alpines and bulbs.
Create a shell garden with Jo from the Plant Artisan.
Words: Jo Aquilina and Linda Ross
In November 2014 David Kennedy and Andrew Dunshea, creators of Katoomba’s wonderful Clover Hill, embarked on a new garden over the mountain in Little Hartley. In this extract from Claire Takacs’ new book, ‘Australian Dreamscapes’, David tells what happened next.
Mickey Robertson’s kitchen garden at Glenmore House is as beautiful as it is productive, experimental and instructive. Here she shares tips from her autumn garden.
When we asked nurseryman Chris Cuddy to share his expertise and his favourites from this family of long-flowering, easy-care plants his big challenge was what to leave out!
The Secret Garden and Nursery is a not-for-profit community and therapy garden that allows variously abled people to work together in a beautiful space. It’s also a great local nursery, with plants at bargain prices. Every year they come to Collectors with a truckload of salvias, ornamental grasses and handmade bee hotels.
Gil Teague's Florilegium has published some of our best garden writers, including Peter Valder, Margaret Hibbert, Michael McCoy and Alistair Hay, but we know it best as Australia's only specialist garden bookshop.
Collectors' will stage an Old School Flower Show. Bring a flower to exhibit at the show. Great prizes are on offer and everyone's welcome!
All of these plants are easy to grow in Sydney, but are not easy to find in garden centres. Track them down at the Collectors' Plant Fair, Hawkesbury Racecourse Clarendon; and if you see them in a friend's garden, beg a cutting.
The Collectors' Plant Fair is perfectly timed to plant spring bulbs. This year Easter is followed by the school holidays to give us the necessary down time in the garden.
To say that Alex Elliott-Howery and her husband James Grant have a café doesn't begin to tell the story. Cornersmith is not just a café, but a pickling and preserving business and school, and a trading hub for the produce gardeners of Marrickville. And I'm excited to tell you today that Marrickville is coming to Clarendon - yes you heard right - we're getting a little inner city pickling magic at Collectors' Plant Fair!
Iris run in the bloodlines of Sharon Drinkwater. Her father, Graeme Grosvenor, started Rainbow Ridge Nursery in Dural on the outskirts of Sydney in 1970. The nursery is Australia's largest specialist iris and daylily nursery and has won multiple awards for its world-class hybrids. The nursery recently relocated to a picturesque paddock outside Orange and right now it's overflowing with a rainbow of iris blooms.
2005 marked the tenth Collectors' Plant Fair, a fixture on garden-lovers' calendars. Peta has been there from the beginning. Today we salute the history of Australia's Most Treasured Gardening Event and how it came into being.