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Talks & Presentations



The most acclaimed presentation topic for 2012 was the Botanical Gardens of Australia Tour.

Your talk last night made me want to go straightaway to visit one of the Botanical gardens. I will wait for a somewhat warmer day though. Thank you again for a wonderfully enthusiastic talk and slide show.” Secretary, Sow and Grow Garden Club, Hurstbridge.

Botanical Gardens of Australia Tour - Featuring highlights and interesting surprises.

Every state in Australia has a botanical garden with often very different plants in very different settings – some bizarre, interesting and just stunning pictures and plants were highlights of this talk.
Also some excellent regional botanic gardens that would be a worthy addition to your itinerary for future travels.
‘Australia’s eight capital cities and 150 regional botanic gardens attract 13 million visitors a year with 41% of Australian adults going every year.
Botanic gardens are the second most visited places in the country after cinemas.’

Attila showed us why.

It is obvious that people go to these gardens for the plants and their flowers.
Non gardeners go for recreation e.g. walk, picnic and social gatherings.
But how else are these gardens significant to Australians? Photographically and artistically rich with ideas, inspirational, relaxing, aesthetically pleasing.
And what about animals? The most animals and the closest humans can get to them in a city, besides in a zoo cage, is no doubt at botanic gardens.

Always a great place for inspiration to take home to your own garden.
The changes from one season to the next are not to be overlooked. So visiting the same garden more than once a year but at distinctly different seasons can show amazingly different scenes.
So much can be learnt about plants, how to grow them, and how to enjoy them back home, that it can summed up as a treasure within the heart of any city and a ‘must-see’ for travellers.



We regularly visit clubs, societies and other organisations to give presentations on a range of gardening and botanical topics focusing mostly on dry climate plants, specialising in cacti and succulents.
If interested please contact us for more information and any fees involved.
We bring a professional outfit of 'hands-free' portable PA system, powerful digital projector, laptop, books & plants for sale & information handouts. We also bring 30 years of enthusiasm and experience in entertaining in the horticultural field. (Please ask for national and international references).

In the last ten years we have expanded our speaking circuit to include international events.



Aside from us going out to give presentations at outside venues, we regularly have groups come to our display and trials garden for exciting and inspirational talks and informative tours.

Best times of day are from 10.30 am - 11.30 am or between 1.00 and 3.00 pm. Guided tour are available from your arrival time. These take 30-40 minutes for the guided part then allowing free time afterwards for people to wander around the paths for photos etc. We usually set up a stall with plants, cuttings and books for sale related to uor garden or the plants within it. Everyone likes to buy a piece of the garden especially of their favourite plant on the day.

Garden paths are many and varied, mostly sand gravel and stone. Many steps both paved and natural rock so therefore unsuitable for wheels and walking frames.

While much of the garden is dominated by succulents and lots of rare native plants, there is fair sized section with only cacti and a fair sized section of garden dominated by bromeliads. Lesser known and publicised is the more shaded parts of the garden where tropical and semi tropical bromeliads are plentiful. It is a complex garden with many layers and dimensions.

We have no shelter for rain and umbrellas are as essential as the cameras! We have no toilet on site. Highly recommend a toilet stop just before arriving. There are many petrol stations and a big shopping centre nearby. Alternatively bus is ordered which has onboard toilet. For emergencies we have plenty of private trees.

Other bus groups have asked for and organised a full day event where they go on to a second venue e.g. Cranbourne botanic gardens.

Garden Video - a glimpse at parts of our garden

After a visit to the garden, including a detailed and informative tour for the Mediterranean Garden Society, Melanie Kinsley their publicist put together a feature article with pictures about the visit. Some great earlier pictures of the garden at:

Some more recent pictures at:


A short video segment showcasing our garden that features succulents, many of which are native Australian species at:


Scouts, cubs, girl guides etc - NO FEE, so it is free! We have no covered area or toilets but seating for 30-35 people on stone steps in an open amphitheatre demonstating indigenous plant foods, plant care and potting up or can tailor to suit your group. Also comes with 30-45 minute tour along meandering paths and rocky steps of our famous one acre garden. It has many weird and wonderful aspects to entertain, even the rowdiest bunch. My wife and I work as a team and are always happy to encourage the love of plants and gardening to our young people. I have 7 years experience as both cub and scout leader (Officer, Vic. branch), so I'm well aware of the objectives of the Scouting movement and also have independent experience with other scout groups being touring around nurseries I have owned.



Below is a list of topics about which I’m regularly asked to speak (there is also a more specialised topic list BELOW).



Half to one hour talks with accompanying digital images are available. Beautiful plant images are just part of an exciting, educational and entertaining experience!

For special or full day events, a second or third talk is available at no extra cost.

  1. Succulents for the garden (part 1)
  2. Leading Kids down the Garden Path.
  3. ‘Creating a Tropical Look in a Cool Climate’
  4. Rare and unusual plants
  5. Argentina –plants from high altitudes of the Andes down to tropical and subtropical rainforests (all habitat)
  6. Succulents Success (part 2) – includes propagation and nursery cultivation
  7. Boabs and Bottletrees and other extremely waterwise Australian natives.
  8. Tropical plants of north QLD.
  9. Australian native succulents, do we have any worth knowing about?
  10. Australian Boabs, Bottletrees and the Illawarra Flametree
  11. Succulent Projects (part 3) Imaginative and exciting ideas for gardeners who want to have fun with succulents. Includes useful, edible, medicinal and lots more.
  12. West Australian wildflowers – a different perspective
  13. Trees – A tribute to giants of the plant world
  14. Australia’s most popular native trees for gardens – (apart from gum trees)
  15. Photographing plants & flowers - great hints for beginners.
  16. Botanical Gardens of Australia - a pictorial tour of some of their best parts and plants.
  17. Our National Gardens - botanical wonderlands.
  18. Winter-loving Garden Succulents.
  19. The value of succulents in everybody's garden.
  20. Australian Succulent plants for the Garden.
  21. Some cacti and succulents are invasive or weedy.
  22. A guide to visiting cacti & succulents in the USA.
  23. Bromeliads of the desert and their spectacular flowers.


ASSORTED AUSTRALIAN NATIVE PLANTS - extra exciting NEW topics. These are mostly 30 - 45 minute presentations and are aimed at introducing the diversity and colour of notable and interesting species within each genus.

  1. Eucalypts - large and small
  2. Carnivorous - seaside swamps to humid rainforests
  3. Wattles - weird and unusual
  4. Cycads - are they palms, ferns or palm trees?
  5. Vegetables - those succulent indigenous food plants
  6. Native bulbs - and other bulbous plants
  7. Grass Trees
  8. Gymea and Spear lilies
  9. Calandrinias - jewels of the desert

*I can also tailor a presentation to suit your climate, conditions or other special needs or interest.

Please don't hesitate to inquire further.

Please enquire. This list of comprehensive & more technical topics is available for professional or specialist organisations.


  1. Australian native succulents - part 1 - Eastern Australia. (Includes some introduced species.)
  2. Australian native succulents - part 2 - Central & Western Australia. (All indigenous, including the ‘Wongan Cactus'.)
  3. Halophytes - as Worthwhile Succulents (all Australian native succulents)
  4. The life cycle of a plant collector - from a cactus and succulent perspective.
  5. Succulents - The Future.
    Fashion, fad or a permanent place in the sun. A look at current and future trends both here and overseas.
    What the industry needs to know.
  6. Waterwise Succulents in effective Garden Design.
    What do spring bulbs, roses, and formal gardens have in common with succulents?
  7. Australian Native Succulents
    Do we have any? Or any that are worthwhile? Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. This covers many rare and unusual plants some of which have never been trialled in gardens before. Also marvel at some majestic and spectacular giant succulent trees of our continent, some grotesque and monstrous, others appearing in need of a hug. Some interesting aspects of succulent plant use in the garden will be explored.
    This talk also includes a colourful visual tour of the lesser known and intriguing wild flowers and plants of the Western Australia wheat belt and the far North West. Including the strikingly attractive ‘wreath' and ‘feather' flowers.
  8. Argentina - plants from high altitudes of the Andes down to tropical and subtropical rainforests (all habitat) This is mostly a cactus talk.
  9. Copiapoa - part 1 - Introduction, habitat, cultivation and the production of our book, ‘Copiapoa in their Environment' (co authored with Rudolf Schulz).
  10. Copiapoa - part 2 - Chile, the Atacama Desert Revisited (5 years later). What's changed? What surprises were there? A team of international enthusiasts and botanists come together for this adventure. Some new spectacular pictures of plants, people and habitat.
  11. Echeveria Cultivars - Echeverias are often seen as the most beautiful and desirable of all garden succulents. An introduction to echeveria cultivars and their striking colours, swirls, frills used as individual statements or in creative garden design - ideal for a waterwise garden.
  12. Echeveria Hybridising - For over 100 years echeverias have been bred for increased colour, shape and form to what they are today - diverse and spectacular. Includes many of the famous Dick Wright hybrids from the late 1990's. Also a look at the species in nature and those which were used in early hybridising, and the features for which they were chosen.
  13. Ant Plants - bizarre and unusual myrmecophytic plants of the Cape York Peninsula of Australia. A range of plants including Myrmecodia, Hydnophytum and Dischidia species, as well as other curiosities of the area including native Nepenthes, our largest carnivorous plant.
  14. What you need to know - Which of our favourite cacti & succulents are also weeds in parts of Australia?
  15. Cultivation trials of Australian succulent plants - the failures and successes. Some quite spectacular.
  16. Bizarre and interesting relationships between Plants and Butterflies, Ants and other Insects
  17. Smaller cacti of the USA - a look at the less obvious plants of the desert landscape
  18. Opuntias - love them or hate them - many hundreds of species in all shapes colours and sizes in habitat and cultivation.
  19. Giant cacti of the American Southwest - the Saguaro (Carnegia gigantea) and the Barrel Cactus (several Ferocactus species) are the main focus.
  20. Spectacular Botanical Gardens of the USA - that feature cacti and succulents
  21. Succulent Orchids of Australia - mostly lithophytic and epiphytic plants of the east coast.
  22. Fire and native succulent plants and trees - featuring bottle trees and other fire-resistant Australian native plants
  23. Landscape Succulents of the Future - a look at possibly less common & obscure plants to many in the horticultural industry who are now looking at alternative, more structural xerophytic plants such as Dracaena draco, Yucca, Dasylirion, Dyckia, Hecktia, Puya, Nolina.
  24. Aeoniums, Aloes and other Winter growing succulents