Australia’s foremost horticulture writer JULIE LAKE says you don’t have to be a mad gardener to have a beautiful garden. Just two hours a week is all it takes.


Many people hate gardening!  This is amazing to those of us who have spent long years dabbling in the dirt – but it’s true!

They hate the very thought of planting and weeding, hoeing and mowing.

The acquisition of some new and rare plant species does not excite those who get their thrills from a new pair of designer shoes or a set of golf clubs.  And, indeed, why should it.

Gardeners are a mad breed and probably very boring to those who don’t find greenfly or the latest azalea variety an enthralling topic of dinner party conversation.

So, I wrote a book especially for those who find gardening a chore and a bore.  I thought it was the least I could do, being one of the mad breed who would rather have a new pair of secateurs than a pair of Jimmy Choos.

Because, you know, I have noticed one strange thing in my years of writing  and talking to people – even those who wouldn’t be caught dead at a rose show still like to possess a good-looking garden.

The book is called How to Have a Great Garden for Just Two Hours a Week and it’s proving rather popular with today’s post-yuppie, cashed up, mega-consuming, time poor home-owning generation which will spend a fortune making the inside of the house look like a Home Beautiful cover and wants a garden to match – but without spending a lot of time and money on it.

The secret of this book’s success is that today’s young (and youngish) home owners want solutions that are quick, easy, accessible and colour

Not for them the good old stuff about making compost and improving the soil and hunting slugs by torchlight.  They want a garden they can show off to their friends and neighbours  and which can easily be kept going – and growing – in those little niches of time still found between work and leisure.

And of course it’s an e-book so it can be easily downloaded to e-reader or tablet or phone – today’s home-owner is as likely to be found in the garden with a phone in his or her hand as a spade!

As it says in the beginning of the book, here you won’t learn about grand design or formal versus informal gardens. Nor will you learn about the challenges involved in growing rare and temperamental plants. Nor will you find anything about elaborate water features or espaliering fruit trees or the finer points of plant propagation.

What you WILL find is lots of easy information on how to create a really good-looking garden – and how to maintain it for just TWO HOURS A WEEK!

What it all comes down to is planning.  Get that right, I tell my readers, and the rest falls into place.

I’ve had a lot of fun over the years, telling people how to garden, and mostly I’ve been preaching to the converted.

It’s been a lot more of a challenge preaching to the UNconverted – to those who hate the very thought of gardening and need guidance just to establish a lawn and a couple of shrubs.water feature

Yet it’s been very rewarding to hear from people who have turned dull, weedy plots into stylish and much-loved outdoor rooms by following the simple steps in Great Garden for Just Two Hours a Week.

I truly believe that if each one of us could just find two hours in our busy lives to spend in the garden we’d all be a lot healthier and happier – and the world would be a better and more beautiful place.