Meet the Geraldton Guardian’s new regular gardening columnist, landscape architect and mother Annalise Fosberry. Annalise has recently returned to live in her childhood hometown of Geraldton. Her latest green thumb project is her “blank canvas” garden in her family’s new home. It is a great responsibility to have a garden space and also a brilliant joy. The wonder of planting a speck of a seed and watching as it gradually grows into a plant. My name is Annalise, I’m a landscape architect and keen gardener, indoor and out. My Granma had a richly layered productive garden, my Mum has a beautiful flower garden and I am now creating my own family garden here in Geraldton. From a young age my parents included me in our garden. My children are at the heart of our garden and its design, too. I garden because I enjoy the industry of working outdoors, but more so the rewards of having a beautiful outlook from the house, a cool space to sit on a hot evening, or a warm corner to soak up the afternoon winter sun — and of course a bounty of fresh home-grown produce. My aim is to assist and encourage you to take on enjoyable gardening experiences to create a garden that you love. I liked reading the late Stan Maley’s columns, The Garden of Life, particularly exploring gardening in our local climate and I hope that I can continue to bring insight, advice and local experience to you. I’d like you to feel empowered to try gardening, be it planting a single tomato bush, some wildflowers, sustaining an indoor plant, or simply pulling out that forsaken Dongara Daisy. So what does a landscape architect have in their garden? I have a blank canvas. We have inherited from the previous owner a lawn from the veranda to the back fence, some thin strips of garden bed along the side fences and a large unirrigated garden bed next to the driveway. I’d like you to read along as I watch how the seasons (and this wind), create unique pockets in the garden, as I learn from neighbours and locals who’ve built interesting garden spaces in Geraldton. And as I transform this blank canvas into what I hope will be a vibrant, life-filled space. What have I done this week? Apart from collecting the outdoor setting from the four corners of the block, I planted a patch of pink and white everlasting daisies (Rhodanthe chlorocephala ssp rosea) from seed into a full sun position. I hope they will be a riotous display come September. I also planted seeds for climbing beans, beetroot, sugar snap peas and carrots in my veggie beds. Design-wise I’m watching how long the shadow is cast by the northern boundary fence, so much so that the garden bed there is in full shade at this time of the year. So I will need to plant shrubs that can grow at least half-a-metre tall to reach the winter sunlight and not rot away in the darkness. In contrast, I’ve planted a native finger-lime tree in a small bed against the northern wall of the house. The winter sun will warm the wall behind it keeping the soil warm and the small tree growing throughout winter, come summertime this bed will be partially shaded by the eaves of the house, thus protecting the tree from the harshest rays. Weeds pulled up early in the season don’t set seed to make lots of weeds later in the season. With just a small amount of time each week the routine of keeping a garden becomes less laborious and more enjoyable. So this afternoon in my garden with a warm cup of tea I’m sheltering from the strong wind and planning how the garden might look this time next year.