While not strictly part of the Southern Highlands, being slightly further north and at a lower altitude, I am describing this wonderful property as part of my Southern Highlands garden post, because it was part of our terrific weekend away- in fact, it was the initial draw card, as its Spring Fair was being held this particular weekend and Glenmore House was only a 45 minute drive from Mittagong, where we were staying.
Moores Way, Glenmore, near Camden
Glenmore House is a very dreamy romantic garden and we were delighted to be able to visit it for their annual Spring Fair, having originally read about Mickey Robinson’s Kitchen Garden in the ABC Organic Garden magazine and subscribing to her blog. Her home and garden are an absolute delight and a must for anyone who loves organic vegetable gardening, as well as old farm buildings! Mickey, an interior decorator, and her husband Larry, a leadership communication consultant, bought the dilapidated old Georgian sandstone cottage (1840) with all its equally dilapidated outbuildings in 1988 and have renovated them all to the wonderful state they are in today. They also developed a beautiful garden with many different spaces, all visible from the house and full of plants, chosen for their scent and the family memories they evoked. Mickey has written about their journey in a beautiful coffee table book called ‘The House and Garden at Glenmore’, which was launched at the Spring Fair and contains many beautiful photographs and very informative text, as well as some delicious recipes! She describes all the different garden areas in detail, which have been illustrated in this map by Catherine O’Neill: Her favourite section is the kitchen garden and she gave us a very interesting tour and talk on the day. She also runs lots of workshops, which are advertised on her website and include:
Kitchen Gardening Days: Seasonal vegetable gardening with Linda Ross: crop rotation; successional planting; staking and structures; pruning; harvesting and storage; seed collection; compost making; pests – basically everything to do with planting and growing produce. Includes a delicious seasonal lunch in the loggia.
Seasonal Cooking Days:
Making stocks and broths: Michelle Schoeps: http://michelleschoepsorganic.blogspot.com.au/
Making risottos; desserts; cordials; jams and marmalades;
Preserving days; Slow Food days; and Tomato days.
Open Garden and Spring Fair
Spring Chamber Music Concerts
Other creative workshops:
Natural Christmas : Christmas decorating and table settings.
Christmas Willow Vines and Foliage workshop with Penny Simons.
Flower Workshops with Jardine Hansen, who arranges lovely blowsy bouquets of seasonal local flowers.
Herbal Garden workshops with Anthia Koullouros, a naturopath and herbalist, who founded Ovvio Teas (http://www.ovvioorganics.com.au/), which are totally organic and certified, and include a range of 38 teas – quite delicious, as we later discovered, having purchased three different varieties at the fair.
Collaborations with Nature: an Ephemeral Art Workshop with Shona Wilson, who creates fascinating artwork. See: http://www.shonawilson.com.au/.
Still Life Painting with Justin Van den Berg.
Natural Dyeing workshops with India Flint: Bag Stories; Botanical Alchemy.
A Journey Round Italy with Stefano Manfredi.We had a wonderful morning exploring all the different sections of the garden, as well as looking at the stalls including :
Secret Garden : Herbs and perennials
Camden Park : Rare plants
Patio Plants : Vegetable seedlings
Sibella Court : Tinkered hardware
Twig Furniture : Rustic garden furnitureMickey was also selling garden tools, baskets, vases, soaps and creams, scented water and and her trademark hat dress and apron from the Barn, the centre of her interior decorating business.Like Red Cow Farm, there is so much to this garden. It is well worth buying her book for more detail, but here are a few photos, illustrating some of our favourite aspects :
1.The Persimmon Lawn at the entrance with its old Silk Floss tree Cebia speciosa; the peppercorn tree, under-planted with orange clivias; a pair of old persimmon trees; an old macadamia tree and a hoop pine.2. The old stone cottage was very sympathetically restored with two new wings, separate to the house, so it did not compromise the integrity of the original dwelling, and so similar in style that it is difficult to discern that they are not original. The front courtyard has a round pond of bulrushes, a dry stone wall and huge dramatic agaves Agave americana. Beautifully- scented frost-tender plants like ginger, ornamental banana, stephanotis, justicia, shell ginger and coral cannas fill the space between the main cottage and the bedroom wing. There is also a bed of Bourbon roses: Mme Isaac Pereire, La Reine Victoria and Souvenir de la Malmaison next to the house.3. The back courtyard with the steps to the gallery flanked by a pair of bay trees; a raised hexagonal stone pond with white lotus Nelumbo nucifera ‘Bliss’; crazy paving; a pair of timber Lutyens-style benches; a copper of Japanese Iris; verandahs clothed in grape vines; and numerous terracotta pots of succulents; pelargoniums; box spheres and pyramids; and mint and chives for the kitchen nearby. I loved its emphasis on white with hybrid musk rose Prosperity, Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ and Viburnum opulus; Hydrangea quercifolia and Japanese windflowers.4. The arc between the house, driveway and paddocks with its old peppercorn tree, yuccas, germander row and sphere; phlomis; romneya; philadelphus; santolina and salvias; Rosa brunonii along the fence; and a firepit.5. The Barn Garden with its Malus ioensis plena in full flower, a White Cedar tree, their daughters’ old cubbyhouse, a juniper hedge, philadelphus, maybush and roses. Rambling rose Félicité et Perpétue grows over the Barn and an espaliered pear tree ‘Sensation’ is trained on the end wall in between topiared balls of cotoneaster. I loved the belfry and the stable doors, painted with auriculas by artist Xanga Connelley.6. The Old Stables, which were converted to a pool house and have a pair of frangipani trees planted on the front wall, under-planted with Gardenia radicans, and a Climbing Cécile Brünner rose over the end of the building. The fence is covered with Trachelospermum jasminoides, with further scent provided by an apricot Datura and an Osmanthus fragrans at the bottom end of the pool enclosure.7. The beautiful 3 metre wide double herbaceous borders, which ran the length of the pool fence and were a riot of colour and scent with plantings of : Daybreak Yoshino Cherry Prunus yedoensis ‘Akebono’; New Zealand Flax Phormium tenax with its strappy bronze leaves; striking stands of Miscanthus sinensis; Rugosa roses Sarah Van Fleet and Fru Dagmar Hastrup; apricot canna lilies and burgundy pompom dahlias; cardoons and Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’; Achillea ‘Moonshine’; pink Valerian; Salvia guaranitica; clary sage; Russian sage Petrovskia atriplicifolia ; pink peony poppies; and Knautia macedonia. The southern end is marked by two timber lattice obelisks, supporting the rose New Dawn and a murraya hedge (bottom photo).8. The Dairy Garden with Iceberg roses, Lavandula angustifolia and a wire heart against the wall. The Dairy now has a semi-commercial kitchen and is used for weddings and workshops.9. The old hayshed, where Martin Boetz put on a splendid lunch for the day.10. The Croquet Lawn, complete with Labyrinth, where the stalls were set up, in front of the orchard of almonds, olives, apples, figs and crab apples, all protected with substantial wire guards.11. The Dairy Garden and Chook Citrus Yard (Valencia and Navel oranges, a Clementine and a grape fruit), a perfect combination as their scratching keeps the citrus surface roots free from weed competition. The chooks have the delightful names of Cabbage and Rose! Ross was very impressed with the picket fence of tomato stakes topped with rusty tin cans. I loved the red walls of the dairy covered with jasmine and the shady garden of Acanthus mollis beneath the huge Peppercorn tree.12. And the pièce de résistance, Mickey’s Kitchen Garden! It was so impressive with its black bamboo and mulberry supporting structures; raised traditional beds with crop rotation from legumes to leafy greens, fruit and root vegetables and the occasional green manure crop and chook cleanup at the end of the season; the intermingled guild beds, which confused the pests; the espaliered fruit trees and apple tunnel; the fully netted raspberry house; and the use of numerous companion plants: wild poppies; fennel; nasturtiums; tansy; wormwood; borage; lovage; calendula; sorrel and oregano.We also loved the behind-the-scenes area, hidden behind the potting shed, with beds of garlic, leek and onion; lots of potted plants; four huge compost bays, worked by a tractor; two aerobins for kitchen scraps; a worm farm in a bath and sinks of comfrey tea; as well as new workshop plots for natural dyeing and herbal remedies.And finally, there are informal areas beyond the garden fence, as well as the rest of the farm beyond. Mickey and Larry run a small herd of Red Angus cattle. Tomorrow, I will post the last section of our Southern Highlands garden treat!