Over the next two months, I am featuring specialist private gardens, which I have divided into 4 categories : Artists’ Gardens (October); Dry Climate and Mediterranean Gardens (November) ; Sustainable Gardens (November); and Small Gardens (November). It’s a very eclectic mix, but we were impressed by every one of them. Some of them cross over categories. For example, the gardens of Meanderings and Barwon Heads are both included in Dry Climate Gardens, but are also Small Gardens, while the Markos Garden, a part of Sustainable Gardens, is very much a Mediterranean Garden and a Small Garden. Hendrik’s Garden is also both sustainable and small, while Art Rocks is both a Dry Climate Garden and an Artists’ Retreat and Tickle Tank is an Artist’s Garden, which is only small- a mere 20m by 20m. I will begin with Artists’ Gardens, looking firstly at mosaics, then progressing onto painters. Again, this is only a very small selection of the wonderful gardens in Australia and the choice was often dictated by the availability of good photographs in my collection. I have covered other art-related gardens in my posts on Carrick Hill, Werribee and Heide and Sculpture Gardens: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/02/09/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-historic-homes-and-gardens/ and https://candeloblooms.com/2016/06/14/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-sculpture-gardens/.
I have always loved mosaics in the garden- they add colour and interest, especially in Winter, and can compliment plants when in flower. And they are really fun to make! No doubt through my posts, you have already seen my stepping-stones, my Mothers’ Day Bird Plate and my two bird sticks, the latter two made in workshops at the Geelong Community Garden with Helen Millar of Flock of Birds. See: http://www.flockofbirdsmosaics.org and https://candeloblooms.com/2016/05/10/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-education-gardens/. During the 40th Kyneton Daffodil Arts festival in Spring 2012, we visited:
Geraldine Phelan’s Studio and Garden
60 Dettman’s Lane, Kyneton, VIC Ph: (03)5422 7154 and 0478605540
Geraldine is a mosaic artist, who moved to Central Victoria in 2010. This is her studio. She does beautiful work and also teaches mosaic classes. Here are some photos of her gypsy caravan (above) and the mosaic work of competition entrants during the festival (above and below).The Flying Teapot
111 Inglis St, Ballan, VIC, 3342
A prominent and highly imaginative landmark in the main street of Ballan, this wonderful mosaic fence was created by Lou Callow, a local artist and teacher. There is so much in this wall, that I will let the photos tell their story.Tickle Tank
24 Hill Street, Mt Barker, Adelaide Hills, South Australia 450 m2
An AMAZING house and garden, built by Irene Pearce, a sculptor and professional potter for 27 years, which thoroughly merits the two videos made about it. See:
http://www.salife7.com.au/south-australia/gardening/open-gardens/tickle-tank and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ68CwYzKt0In 1998, Irene bought a 50,000 gallon concrete water tank, which was built in 1944 and was the old town water storage. She siphoned the water out and excavated 20 truckloads of soil, as three quarters of the tank was buried underground. The tank is 10m across and 4m tall and became her kitchen, dining and family room.
She bought three more tanks (3000 and 5000 gallons), which were lowered into position by cranes and became the bathroom, laundry and a small bedroom for her grandchildren. She hired a concrete cutting contractor to cut holes in the concrete tanks for doors and windows and used recycled jarrah from the original tank to make the doors. Irene has a very quirky, eclectic style and the dwelling has both a Greek (blue and white colours) and nautical feel (blue and white colours again; sail sun shelter; life buoys; ropes; shells; driftwood, sea horses, portholes).
It’s a wonderful place and so inspirational. Everything has been done on a very low budget and made by hand out of recycled materials, both in the house and the garden. I loved her driftwood handles on the cupboard doors, her hidden bath under the floor, the fungi lamps and all her collections.The multilevel garden is 450 square metres and is low maintenance, organic and water-wise. It has a series of open air rooms for relaxation, meditation, eating and adventures for kids. All the materials used in the garden are recycled or were salvaged from the site. The retaining walls became garden seats and the excess water runoff became a small creek, crossed by a recycled timber bridge. Irene sculpted a mermaid out of a stone wall and a dragon out of cement. Broken tiles were used to make a mosaic wall in the rose arbour (covered with Lorraine Lee), as well as a white wisteria mural outside the kitchen, mosaic window edges and tables and mosaic floors in the kitchen and shower recess. Apparently, since our visit in 2008, there is a new mosaic driveway. There is an old pot-bellied stove outside for cooking and heat, as well as a fire pit out of rendered concrete. The rendered stone walls maintain moisture and keep the plants cool in Summer.
The garden has a wonderful, blowsy, overgrown feel and is a mixture of exotics and natives, all so densely planted that it is difficult for weeds to get going. Plants include : Hardenbergia and purple Native Mint Bush; fruit trees and crab apples; roses; hardy native grasses; herbs; self-seeding annuals; hardy cottage perennials; Spring bulbs and lots of succulents in pots. There is so much to this garden- we actually went round twice, taking a million photos for future ideas! Here are a few of Irene’s delightful sculptures:Painters:
Heysen Rd, Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, 5245 60 acres
10am-4.30pm Tuesday-Sunday and Public Holidays; Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday $10 Adult; $8 Concession; $5 Garden only
While we were in South Australia in October 2008, we also visited the home of two of South Australia’s most famous artists, Hans Heysen and his daughter Nora.Hans Heysen bought the 1878 colonial villa in August 1912, where he lived with his wife Sallie and 8 children until his death in 1968, aged 90. He renovated and updated the house from 1912-1920, decorating it in a Federation Arts-and-Crafts style. It is still privately owned by the Heysen grandchildren and very little has changed since the days when Hans was still alive. The comfortable old furniture and textiles, Hans’ paintings and Nora’s portraits and all the old books and magazines give the house a very welcoming warm feel. There is a wonderful light throughout the house and a beautiful window overlooking the garden. I immediately fell in love with this beautiful old house and its equally lovely garden!Hans loved his garden, laying out all the garden beds and building the stone paths, walls and steps out of sandstone and quartz. He planted mainly exotic species : Himalayan Cedar trees, after which the property was named; Crab Apple Malus spectabilis; Chaenomeles japonica; Bourbon roses including one of my favourite roses, Souvenir de la Malmaison, painted by both Hans and Nora; Tea roses (Duchess de Brabant) and Hybrid Teas (Queen Elizabeth); lilacs; iris; massed zinnias; Spring bulbs and old-fashioned perennials.We also walked around the property, stopping at 11 viewing boxes, where we could compare prints of Hans’ landscapes with the exact location of each work. Winner of the Wynne Prize (the landscape equivalent of the Archibald Prize) nine times, Hans was most famous for his portraits of gum trees, the 600 year old River Red Gums Eucalyptus camaldulensis and White Gums Eucalyptus rubida. He was such a keen conservationist, that he bought neighbouring properties to prevent the trees from being cut down.The entrance price also includes a tour of the studios of both Hans (photos 1 and 2) and Nora (photo 3). Nora was the first woman to win the Archibald Prize in 1938, as well as being Australia’s first female war artist. It was wonderful to see all their charcoal and pencil sketches; lithographs of agricultural scenes, sheds and draughthorses; the paintings of gum trees with the play of light on their trunks; and the paintings of still life and floral arrangements.When we visited ‘The Cedars’ back in 2008, because the property was still privately owned, it was impossible to get public funding for it and the money from sales and entrance fees only covered insurance. The potential cost of upkeep of the house was a barrier to future National Trust involvement, so it was with great delight that I discovered that in April 2016, the property was granted $1 Million from the Federal Government for its upkeep. It is a beautiful historic property and well worth visiting if you get a chance.
Wentworth Falls Art Gallery
161 Falls Rd, Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains, NSW 2782 PH (02) 4757 1139 Just under 1 acre
10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday and Public Holidays
Established in 1990 by Anne and Ian Smith, the gallery is housed in an early 1900s weatherboard cottage in a large mountain garden, a two minute walk to the Falls Reserve Picnic area and lookouts. Anne paints luscious females and Ian is a ceramic artist, so they both have workspaces at the back – a studio for Anne and a pottery workshop for Ian. Both their work is on sale, as well as art work by Garry Shead, Wendy Sharpe, Bernard Ollis, Max Miller, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman and John Olsen.I loved their beautifully landscaped mountain garden with its Japanese Maples, conifers and native vegetation, huge tree ferns, azaleas and rhododendrons, chaenomeles, box hedging and topiary, hellebores and lots of outdoor statues. It had such a peaceful relaxing feel and was so green, unlike my final artist’s garden, a complete contrast :
199 Teesdale-Inverleigh Rd, Inverleigh, VIC 3321 Ph (03) 5265 1370; 0417522010
4km from Inverleigh; 20 minutes from Geelong and 1 hour from Melbourne
Owned by artist and teacher, Adé Loe, and environmentalist, Bronte Payne, Art Rocks is a studio gallery and Bed & Breakfast accommodation. They run workshops and weekend retreats for sculpture, mosaics, ceramics, drawing, painting, glasswork and making glass beads.We visited this property as part of the annual Golden Plains Art Trail in March 2012 and were blown away by its dramatic use of colour and contrast; its amazing cacti and succulent garden and dry climate plants;
its sculpture park; its use of recycled material and its panoramic views.
It is a great example of dry climate gardening and leads very neatly into the next category: Dry Climate and Mediterranean Gardens, which I will discuss next month, along with Small and Sustainable Gardens.