Favourite Private Specialty Gardens : Part 2 : Dry Climate, Sustainable and Small Gardens

The Millenium Drought in Australia from 1995 to 2009 had a massive impact on Australian gardens, resulting in the adoption of a more appropriate style of garden design for our dry climate, especially given the future effects of climate change. These gardens are predominantly made up of low water use plants, which are adapted to drought, many of which are sold by Lambleys Nursery. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/08/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-nursery-gardens-in-victoria and http://lambley.com.au/. I have already discussed a perfect example of a Mediterranean Garden, Lixouri, in October’s post. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/09/20/favourite-private-country-gardens-part-2/.

Dry Climate and Mediterranean Gardens

Bedrock

141 Karoonda Highway (on Bookpurnong Tce), Loxton, South Australia   2.5 acres         Ph: 0427213322  BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.29.46BlogPrivSpec25%Reszd2014-10-26 10.43.07Once a quarry and the old drive-in site, Bedrock is situated in Loxton, 250 km east of Adelaide. Loxton is known as the ‘Garden Town of the Riverland’, due to its position on the Murray River, and has many low water usage, sustainable landscapes. We visited it in late October 2014 as part of the Renmark Rose Festival.

Bedrock is a magnificent grand scale garden with a tropical lush feel. BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.43.51Chris and Raelene Schultz developed the garden from scratch, when they bought the old drive-in site back in 2000. Hundreds of tonnes of rock and stone were used to build retaining walls and edgings, as well as a rustic stone cottage (2014) for accommodation and small functions.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.44.38 Recycled materials from the 1850s were used in the latter, which complements the 1923 weeping mulberry and their grandmother’s 40 year old roses.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.35BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.19 There is a pond with a cascading waterfall and waterlilies;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.44.09BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.43.16 a beautiful wisteria-covered arbour;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.45.23 and a sunken iris garden with an urn water feature.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.31.22BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.49.31BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.49.16BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.48.23BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.31.39Everything about this garden is dramatic and bold from the entrance sign to colourful pansy and ranunculus beds and the dry creek bed and stone wall feature.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.45.43BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.44.28BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.35.32BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.30.25BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.55BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.00BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.31.26 There are native plantings, a fruit orchard, trees and annuals and lots of quirky locally-made animal sculptures. It will be interesting to see this relatively new garden in a few years’ time.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.50BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.33.16Hill House

26-30 City View Drive, Wandana Heights, Geelong, VIC   0.4 ha (1 acre)

This is a much older garden (25 years old) on the top of the hill in Geelong, with panoramic views over the city and Port Philip Bay to the You Yangs and Melbourne.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2131BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2161 Originally a 90 year old windbreak plantation, the garden is built on a series of terraces, linked by curved hedges and stone walls.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2136BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2121BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2219 Entry is via a gatehouse structure with a shingle roof, which came from the rotunda building of the original Ceres Lookout.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2272BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2120 Recycled materials have been used extensively throughout the garden from the walls made of railway sleepers, salvaged from the South Geelong Railway renovations, and the petrified timber slab, excavated from a local quarry, under a metal tree in the south-west corner to the use of Japanese bath tubs and North Indian well buckets as plant containers and the retired band instruments hanging in the trees.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2146BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2181BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2149BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2228BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2138BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2203 This eclectic and whimsical garden has so many wonderful design ideas, which can be adapted to small gardens, courtyards and dry, shady areas.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2216BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2118BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2226BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2130BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2265BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2207 The use of Tuscan toppings, instead of lawn, saves water. Steel baskets of orchids are supported on the original pylons of the Portarlington Pier beneath the photinia hedge, while a storm-damaged cypress is used as a base for a metal flame sculpture.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2168BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2143BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2256BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2190 Other trees include: salvaged Red Gums (350 years old) on the eastern and western boundaries; Conifers; Gleditsia ‘Ruby Lace’ trees; Bottle Trees; pollarded, standardized Catalpa trees (ball-like canopy), Crepe Myrtles, Maple collections, Fiddlewoods and many palms.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2267BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2133 Bromeliads grow in the shady sheltered southern part of the garden, along with azaleas, while roses prefer the sunnier sites.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2222BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2155 There are many many pots, as well as original sculptures, and lots of unusual succulents including this strange Elephant’s Foot, Dioscorea elephantipes, which can live to 70 years old, shown in the bottom photo below.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2245BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2214BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2164BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2221BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2258

Meanderings

62 Kennedy St, Castlemaine, VIC  Ph (03) 5472 4202    0.25 acres

A much smaller garden in Castlemaine, Central Victoria, an area renowned for its tough climate with extreme temperatures, heavy frost and low rainfall, as well as depleted soil from goldmining days. The garden was created by Barbara Maund in 1991 and was inspired by the English Arts and Crafts Movement, as well as medieval monastery gardens. The only plants from the pre-1991 garden were a 100 year old box hedge, a large mauve lilac, a nandina thicket and belladonna lilies. The garden was started around the 1895 Victorian stucco house and is semi-formal in nature. The design displays strong structural elements from the geometric garden rooms to the hedges and topiaried plant forms (circles, arcs, balls, domes, squares and rectangles), but is softened by a patchwork of self-sown annuals, perennials and blowsy old-fashioned roses, as well as the creeping thyme along the brick paths.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 394BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 398 Local landscaping materials were  used : gravel in the paths between different garden sections; old bricks contain garden compartments and create a series of circles, a shallow round pool (to reflect the moon) and the well; stone is used for stepping stones and paving; and slate for mulch , as well as iron and other recycled materials.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 396BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 397BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 405BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 401BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 408BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 419BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 406BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 412 Plants were chosen for their toughness and include perennials, succulents, iris, seasonal bulbs, roses and self-seeding plants. Many of the aromatic plants are Mediterranean in origin : lavenders, thymes and rosemary, as well as silvery artemesia, santolina and lambs’ ear, Stachys byzantinia. Very much a collector’s garden, there are 37 fragrant Heritage roses, fruit trees and over 70 self-seeding plants, all in one quarter of an acre!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 409BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 413 There are many different colour themes from the purple driveway tunnel and northern yellow borders to the central blue walk and circle and the white southern beds.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 415BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 411I loved the bright red berries of the pyracantha, trained along wires the length of the verandah and complimented by red begonias and white wooden stars.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 410 The topiary of the Australian map outside the old shed and the square box were very impressive.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 403BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 404BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 421 There were also lots of seats in the sun, shade and shelter, from which to admire the many vistas. In late Spring, the plants are treated to home-made compost and leaf mould, while blood and bone is applied in March and August. The plants are self-mulched with clippings year round. Watering is done by hand, using water from rainwater tanks and a grey water system.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 417BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 418BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 414When we visited Meanderings through the Australian Open Garden scheme back in April 2010, it was owned by Larraine and Jim Kollmorgen, but it has since been sold in 2014.

Coastal environments are also tough for gardeners with the salt-laden winds and sandy soils. I have already described Villa Lettisier, which protects its garden from the coastal winds coming straight off Bass Strait with huge hedges. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/09/20/favourite-private-country-gardens-part-2/. Corio Bay is much more sheltered, but still presents challenges to gardeners with strong winds, low rainfall and alkaline soil. We visited the next two gardens on the Bellarine Peninsula on the shores of Corio Bay near Geelong on the Cottage By the Sea Inc Open Day in March 2014. For the 2016 program, see: http://cottagebythesea.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/GARDENDAY2016.pdf

Seaview

965 Portarlington Rd., Curlewis, VIC BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.25.02A beautiful coastal country garden developed from an empty paddock back in 2000 around a newly built house. Right on the shores of Corio Bay, the property has superb views of the You Yangs.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.15.22BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.20.38 While the house was being built, native trees were planted on the south-west corner of the garden to protect it from the prevailing winds.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.24.11BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.23.16 In 2001, a lawn of Santa Ana couch was laid down- a perfect choice, as it does not require watering. The  large east-west garden bed was the first to be planted. I loved the vegetable garden.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.17.06BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.17.17 An original dam was converted to a small lake with rocks and plantings. A 35m deep bore was sunk in January 2007, its water feeding into the dam.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.06.26BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.05.58BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.05.04BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.07.35BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.07.44BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.09.46 Drought-tolerant plants, suited to coastal environments, were chosen and include : a rosemary hedge; a white cedar underplanted with flaxes and grasses; a Chinese elm to provide shade near the dam; an oleaster hedge on the southern fence, planted 2003 ;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.03.05BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.21.54BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.23.37BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.12.21BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.13.39BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.03.48 And a succulent garden, planted mainly from cuttings in 2010.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.01.18BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.01.29 There were also lots of interesting sculptures and wire work on display and for sale.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.10.48BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.16.00BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.29.52BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.08.29BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.08.48BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.13.48 Brambledale Farm

2115 Portarlington Rd., Drysdale, VIC

Bought by Elizabeth Vorrath in 1972, Brambledale Farm is a working farm, named after the original late 1800s cottage, which fell into disrepair and was demolished in 2009. Originally running sheep and growing crops and potatoes, the owners now agist horses and fatten cattle.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.23.22  A new house was built in 1974, with extensions in 1998.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.05 A stand of Tuart Gums protects the house from the harsh south-westerly winds.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.46.23 John Patrick designed a circular driveway with a pond, now a dry river bed. A haha wall at the front allows for uninterrupted superb views of Corio Bay and the You Yangs.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.23.36BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.20.57BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.53.47BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.22.05BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.25.35BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.25.39 A tennis court area was built in 1998, incorporating a stand of Lemon-scented Gums and two oaks, planted in 1975, including a Golden Rain Tree. A retaining wall and wide steps leading up to the house were built in 2006.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.41.24BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.43.37BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.24.42 This is a large well-established garden with formal and informal areas and superb plantings and combinations of colour and texture.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.50BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.37.49BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.33.09BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.44.28BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.19.25BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.27.14 Since the Millenium Drought of the early 2000s, the garden was replanted with hardy plants with low water requirements including : grasses and succulents; echiums and sedums; euphorbias and heleniums; kniphofias; a variety of salvias, lavenders and other sun-loving perennials; and a ground cover of Chinese Star Jasmine.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.27BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.27.50BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.25.05BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.27.25 Gravel replaced lawns and a new gravel garden, inspired by Michael McCoy, was built in 2008. I loved the bright sunny colours of these heleniums.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.45.24BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.45.15BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.44.13BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.44.05 I also loved the abundance, colour and variety in this garden, discovering new plants like the Castor Oil plant, Ricinus communis (photos 1 and 2); Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’ (photo 4) and Jack-in-the-Pulpit or Cobra Lily, Arisaema (photo 3).BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.29.09BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.29.19BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.23.54BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.16Attila Kapitany

1 Lough Court Rd, Narre Warren North, VIC   0.4 ha (1 acre)

http://www.homelife.com.au/gardening/garden-design/succulent-water-wise-garden

The ultimate dry climate garden, this dramatic succulent/cacti garden fully warrants its video footage, seen here at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jyfWFVHHVw  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T27q1Z6D4ko.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 641 Attila Kapitany bought this residential house block, overlooking an ornamental public lake, formerly a large farm dam, with his wife Michele back in late 2002. Attila has vast experience (over 30 years worth) growing  and marketing succulents and cacti. Once director of a family business of garden centres, including Paradisia, Australia’s largest succulent and cacti nursery (http://www.paradisia.com.au/), he was a President of the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia for 10 years (http://www.australiansucculents.com/). He has written 15 books on succulents and cacti, including seven books, co-authored with Rudolf Schulz. His book, Australian Succulent Plants, describes 100 of the 400 Australian succulent species, including 60 new species. Below is his hand-drawn mud map from our visit in March 2010.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_0324This is a very impressive, steep garden, built on terraces with garden rooms linked by paths of granitic gravel and sand. The design developed organically, rather than having a master plan, and gives the illusion of rivers of plants flowing down to the lake.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 604The block is screened on three boundaries (top and sides) by a 3m cypress hedge of Cupressocyparis leylandii ‘Castlewellan Gold’, planted from 2002 to 2003, with the front of the block left clear for the lake view. There are two holes cut in the hedge for peepholes over the garden to the lake.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 607Water had to be carted by bucket in the first 12 months, then mains water was installed with five garden taps positioned around the perimeter. The hard, dry, impermeable, nutrient-deficient soil has been improved with loads of mulch and humus and semicircular banks of compost and soil have been created on the downside of each plant to collect water runoff from higher up the hill and prevent it from disappearing down to the dam.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 575BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 591 There are over 10 000 plants of 1000 species, all raised by Attila and Michele from seeds and cuttings, collected on their travels, except for the central Bottle Tree, Brachychiton rupestris.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 594BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 621

There are 30 species of bottle trees, raised from seed collected from their natural Queensland habitat; blue-grey yuccas and Dasylirion wheeleri, grown from seed collected from their habitat in the desert regions of the USA; architectural agaves, gymeas (spear lilies) and aloes;BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 590BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 601 a saltbush collection ;BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 577 colourful ground cover succulents like aeoniums and crassulas;BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 617BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 580BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 596BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 581BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 599BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 584BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 583 and plants with foliage colour and nectar -producing flowers (for birds, bees and butterflies).BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 630BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 627 Seventy percent of the plants are succulents, while the rest are natives. One fifth of the plants are native to Australia. There is such an eclectic mix of shapes, patterns, textures and colours.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 598BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 624

BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 612BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 614 Height is provided by the bottle trees, the spear lilies and the White Silk Floss tree, Ceiba insignis, as well as the vertical stone installations of the Ruins. These angular basalt rock pinnacles mimic the Lost City of Northern Territory, while a patch of rusty red sand in the centre of the garden represents the Red Centre of Australia.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 635BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 622BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 633 It is well worth visiting this amazing garden, which is at its peak in late Winter/ Spring! Be advised to stay on the path though, to avoid being stung, poisoned or falling down the slope into the dam!

BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 631BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 637BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 620BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 602More information can be seen in a Garden Drum article ‘A Sucker for Succulents’ by Tim Entwhistle in 2013: http://gardendrum.com/2013/09/17/a-sucker-for-succulents/.

Barwon Heads

29-31 Bridge St., Barwon Heads, VIC    1128 m2

A much safer, much smaller garden, but equally fascinating in a totally different way !BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.52.23 Showcased during the Geelong Sustainable House Day in September 2014 for its retrofitting of a 1900s weatherboard beach house (including under deck water tanks between the house and the garage), it was the predominantly native garden around the old house, which really impressed us, especially as it had only been created in the last four years!BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.45.01BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.43.29BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.48.04 I loved the recycled brick edgings; the winding gravel paths;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.13BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.50.06 the skillful planting for colour and texture at all times of the year in such a small space;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.50.47BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.52.57BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.58BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.38BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.45.37BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.46.31 the use of old stumps, logs and branches and rock in the landscape, as well as lots of pots and wooden half-barrels; the beautiful grasses;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.51.07BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.47BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.50.29BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.48.43BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.46.27BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.49.58 the blue mosaic dish and rock bird bath and the espaliered japonica on the front fence.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.53.47BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.49.02BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.03BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.46.13Sustainable Gardens

Markos Garden

21 Barnett St Hampton, Melbourne, VIC   16m x 45m

http://www.markdymiotis.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRKrJuEN5uA

The last two gardens have focused on particular groups of plants (succulents/ cacti and Australian natives). This small suburban garden is no different, only this time it’s Mediterranean food plants! Its owner, Mark Dymiotis, hailed from Cyprus 55 years ago and bought this house with a bare garden in 1985. He has a passion for both Mediterranean food and the philosophy of Simple Living and has incorporated them both into his lifestyle and career , teaching adult education courses on vegetable growing, the Mediterranean diet, making sourdough bread and pizzas, oven building, wine making and olive preserving. It is amazing how much he can grow and produce in his tiny garden!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 015BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 014 The front garden on the street is Mediterranean cottage style and contains 3 cherry trees, 2 pomegranates, a persimmon, a grapevine pergola and a significant salvia collection, maintained by the Salvia Study Group. Mark grows salvias for their flowers, perfume, medicinal properties, drought and disease resistance and frost tolerance.

BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 020BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 009BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 021BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 018 The back garden has a small lawn with two olive trees; an orchard of four varieties of plums, three varieties of apricots, two types of pears, many varieties of figs, mandarins (two varieties on the one tree), a lemon tree, a Kiwi fruit vine and another grapevine pergola; raised vegetable beds with frames; a compost heap; three large rainwater tanks;  a shed (for wine making, olive preserving and making tomato sauce) and two brick wood-fired ovens for bread and pizzas.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 016BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 022BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 024BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 017 There are also two climbing roses (Lady Hillingdon and Iceberg), a mock orange, a jasmine and a honeysuckle. The raised vegetable beds are constructed with concrete and brick walls, to reduce water loss and insect nests, and are totally organic. Mark maintains high productivity with the use of compost, manure and green manure to improve the naturally sandy soil; crop rotation and companion planting: nasturtiums under the fruit trees; basil and stinging nettle in the vegetable patch; marigolds with tomatoes and zinnias with cucumbers and beans. In Summer, he grows tomatoes, capsicums and chillies; cucumbers, zucchinis and eggplants; marrows, corn and beans; and onions, purslane and amaranth. The Winter garden produces broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower; broad beans; rocket and coriander; and garlic, fennel and globe artichokes. Parsley, silver beet, celery, cos lettuce, spring onions and a huge variety of herbs are grown year round. I would highly recommend a visit to this garden, especially if you love home-grown food!

BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 011BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 013BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 025Hendrik’s Garden

9 Camden Rd Hughesdale, Melbourne, VIC   14km SE from Melbourne CBD  0.4 ha  15m x 48m

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3135331.htm

http://www.vanleeuwengreen.com/static/uploads/files/edible-eden-wfdgvdouwmov.pdf

Another very impressive, productive small garden, created by professional horticulturalist and landscape gardener, Hendrik Van Leeuwen, who bought place with his partner Nicole in 2005. Hendrik  started his landscaping business, Van Leeuwen Green (http://www.vanleeuwengreen.com/) with Jake Green in 1995. They design and construct, renovate and maintain gardens, so he had plenty of experience and design knowledge to put into practice. After renovating the Californian bungalow house, Hendrik and Nicole turned their attention to the bare front and back gardens, which afforded them a blank canvas with which to work. Design features include: foliage texture, colour and form; traditional seasonal flowering events; plant zoning for similar requirements; the planting of low water use, low maintenance species, which thrive in hot, dry conditions, and aesthetic food plants (vegetables, fruit and herbs). Sustainable features include:  the use of sustainable hard landscaping; rainwater harvest drip irrigation and recycled grey water; recycled red gum sleepers around the garden beds and chooks to recycle food scraps and produce poultry manure.

The formal front garden matches the design of the house and contains a front hedge of Lilly Pilly ‘Bush Christmas’ and two rectangular beds, edged with English box, containing central crab apples; Chinese Plumbago, Ceratostigma wilmottianum, echeverias and purple succulent, Aeonium arboretum ‘Schwarzkopf’; grasses and heliotrope. It has a restricted but effective colour palette, with bold massed plantings for visual effect and weed suppression and foliage contrast in colour and form.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 276BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 280The south side of the house is cool and protected, and has the appearance of a lush tropical rainforest, with two types of Strelitzia, S. nicolai and S. reginae; clivias; native frangipani and giant liriope. All the plants were chosen for their low water requirements, longevity, toughness and ability to withstand heat waves. Away from the house as you approach the back garden are large bottlebrush trees; grasses (Poa and Pennisetum) and sedges (Lomandra); herbaceous perennials, both native (kangaroo paw) and exotic (salvias and red hot pokers). Citrus, stone fruit and a Natal plum, Carissa grandiflora, grow along the southern fence.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 244BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 261BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 260The back garden is highly organized and productive with an organic vegetable garden, edged with railway sleepers; a chook pen; fruit trees and shrubs and herbaceous perennials.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 248BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 255 Bifold doors open out onto sustainably grown speargum decking, penetrated by a single olive tree, forming an outdoor living space. Salad greens are grown in boxes under the kitchen window for easy access and the deck is shaded by a pergola, clad with grape and kiwi fruit vines. A small bed in front of the decking contains cool climate bananas (Abyssinian banana, Ensete ventricosum), strelitzia and a bangalow palm. A low clipped rosemary hedge follows the decking near the outdoor toilet and a clipped lillypilly hedge screens the workshop and borders a small lawn, turfed with heat- and drought-tolerant Kikuya grass, which is watered with grey water. Key accent plants include a giant ornamental banana in the middle of the backyard and a lemon-scented gum at the very back.The northern boundary is planted with apple/ peach and citrus trees; mixed vegies and herbs (globe artichokes) and shrubs and perennials.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 273 The formal vegetable garden, near the chook pen, is heavily mulched with pea straw and chook manure to enrich the naturally sandy loam soil and is watered using drip irrigation and rainwater. I loved the red stems of the rainbow chard, the Russell lupins, planted for their flowers and soil nutrition, and the bamboo trellis of peas.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 274BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 252BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 251 There is also a round paved area with a fire pit (Castlemaine slate) for entertaining.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 272BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 263 There were so many inspiring ideas in this small garden! I loved its illusion of the tropics, despite the fact that it is situated in the far south of Australia. The neighbours also had a great sense of colour!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 283BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 284BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 285Small Gardens

Marg’s Tropical Cornucopia

66 Prospect Hill Rd, Camberwell, Melbourne, VIC   45m x 20m

This garden is another wonderful, inspiring, highly  productive ‘tropical’ garden in a small space, containing many semitropical plants rarely grown in Melbourne! Ian and Marg bought their 1883 house in 1984, then the neighbouring property in 2003. There are no lawns, just brickwork and paving, and the relaxation spaces have a distinctly Moroccan feel, from the outdoor dining area surrounded by bamboo to the rooftop garden and plant selection, especially the orange and pink bougainvillea ‘Tango’.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 010BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 001BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 015BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 002BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 008 In 1990, they planted casuarinas, a big figtree in the backyard, persimmons leading to the front verandah and Lamarque roses by the seat in the front fence, but the rest of the garden was planted from 2004 on, after the installation of two rainwater tanks (10 000 litres). A hydroponic vertical garden was inspired by Patrick Blanc. They even have their own beehives, which produce 30 kg honey annually, right in the heart of Melbourne!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 021BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 022

It is hard to comprehend the amazing variety and number of plants in this tiny garden : over seventy food-producing plants, forty different fruit trees and hundreds of medicinal herbs and perfumed plants, reflecting Marg’s background as a cosmetic chemist. Food plants include: three different types of avocado, seven types of banana, three fig varieties and three different grapes, apricots and other pome trees, limes,  guavas, a persimmon, a pomegranate, and a huge variety of tropical fruit trees like black/green sapotes, custard apples, mango, mountain pawpaw, jabotica and the delicious-sounding icecream bean!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 005BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 012 There are bottle trees, candlenuts, plants with red/black and variegated foliage, cannas and bougainvilleas for colour, giant bamboo for sound and many many succulents for their hardiness, architectural structure and Winter colour.

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Marg has achieved her incredible success by incorporating organic matter and weathered granitic sand, rich in volcanic nutrients and sourced from Dromana, into the sandy topsoil, as well as using her own foliar spray, Marg’s Magic Mix, a concentrate made from plant, fish and mineral sources, which is diluted and then sprayed on the plants.

The Nook

5 Tavistock Rd, Monbulk, VIC   0.2 ha (0.5 acres)

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3062916.htm

BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 022Another garden packed with interesting plants and valuable ideas for small gardens, The Nook is situated at Monbulk, the centre for the horticultural industry in Victoria, especially flowers, which are exported all over the world and berries for jam making, and the 1920s cottage is part of that legacy, having once been owned by fruit pickers. Val and Don Jackson extended and refurbished the house after they bought the block in 1999. Don was a contemporary fellow horticulturalist of Edna Walling, the association marked by the planting of three silver birches, Edna’s signature plants, at the entrance.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 021 The design of the romantic English cottage style garden owes much to Don’s efforts, but sadly he passed away in 2007 and the garden became Val’s therapy.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 008BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 016BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 010 Design elements include:  arches, trellises and arbours, covered with roses and clematis; meandering brick paths, steps and paving; a small bridge to a rose garden; a secret garden; an alpine rock garden; a borrowed landscape of the neighbour’s chestnut trees; distinct microclimates; and separate areas to suit plants with different growing conditions.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 007BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 006 BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 017BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 015BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 019Azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, hydrangeas, cyclamens, cliveas  and hellebores are grouped in the shade of mature walnut trees and a hazelnuts, while roses, succulents and vegetables are in the sunnier parts of the garden.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 018BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 012 I loved the herbaceous borders, filled with so many lovely cottage plants like foxgloves, delphiniums and salvias. Roses include: Mutabilis; Pink Perpetué; Clair Matin; Lavender Lassie; Paul Transom; and Graham Thomas , while Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’ and C. montana ‘Tetrarose’ cover the walkway. There are fuchsias and pieris; cordylines and ferns; many succulents; unusual evergreen plants like the aromatic Adenandra from South Africa and the burgundy Chinese Fringe Flower, Loropetalum chinense ‘Roseum’; and interesting bulbs like Hoop Petticoat daffodils and tuberous plants like Rhodohypoxis, which were new to me.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 020BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 013BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 014 This delightful small garden is packed with colour and perfume and is still open to the public through Open Gardens Victoria. See: http://www.opengardensvictoria.org.au/companies/25/62/The-Nook .

Coburn

134 Wooralla Drive Mt Eliza, Mornington Peninsula, VIC   0.2 ha (0.5 acres)

Finally, Carole Coburn’s delightful small garden, developed over 20 years, and fully deserving of the lyrical description by Open Garden Australia, back in October 2009 : ‘a Persian carpet, embroidered with rivers of jewel-like colours’. It did not disappoint!BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 150 The dense plantings include: lots of old-fashioned climbing and rambling roses, sprawling over pergolas, fences and arbours (eg. Mme Alfred Carrière);BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 172BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 148BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 168BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 169 Many small trees like maples, silver birches, a weeping cherry and palm trees;BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 149BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 130BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 126 And massed plantings of campanula, foxgloves and lamium; and Spring bulbs.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 173BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 170BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 147BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 156BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 158 The winding paths are bordered by hedging plants and there is a tranquil lawn.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 155BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 144BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 140 There is also a natural curved shaped pool with shallow stone shelving and an old timber decking, its edges softened by creeping plants, a spa and a pottery outdoor heater.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 136BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 137BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 162BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 160 I loved the use of planters and pots.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 131BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 157BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 164Visiting these amazing gardens has vastly enriched my knowledge of garden design principles and plants and all of them are prime examples of the huge potential in gardens, irrespective of garden size, climate and budget. I feel so lucky to have been able to access them through Open Gardens Australia, as well as various garden festivals, and look forward to getting to know some of the beautiful gardens in our new state. We have just returned from a weekend in the Southern Highlands, Sydney’s equivalent to Melbourne’s Mt Macedon, so I will finish the year with a December post about the fabulous gardens we visited. Next year, I am focusing on my beloved roses! Such wonderful dreamy gardens…!!!

 

 

 

 

Favourite Private Country Gardens: Part 2

Last week, we started looking at some of the beautiful private country gardens, which we visited during our time in Victoria. Here are a few more stunning gardens:

1. Villa Lettisier

1936 Boneo Rd Flinders   0.8 ha (2 acres)

Situated at the end of the Mornington Peninsula, we visited this amazing garden on the morning of 1st November 2009 through the Australian Open Gardens Scheme. Inspired by a love of Italy and the magnificent coastal scenery and clifftop views, the owners built a Palladian-style house (based on the 16th century architecture of Andrea Palladio) on an imposing site and commissioned well-known garden designer, Paul Bangay, to design a formal garden to complement the perfectly symmetrical villa.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 235BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 108BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 109 BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 174Originally an old dairy farm, mature pre-existing cypress, oaks and Moreton Bay figs provided a framework for the garden.  The grand driveway curves through this parkland, with the odd glimpse of the house and ocean, then straightens up to provide a long formal approach to the gravel forecourt in front of the villa.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 228BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 201BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 210 An old dairy shed was retained as a reminder of the property’s history.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 124 I loved the entrance to the walled garden with deep red climbing roses growing against bright ochre walls.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 110

The walled garden provides essential shelter against the coastal winds and echoes the symmetry and formality of the villa. It is divided into a series of garden rooms.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 203BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 206BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 133BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 126BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 127 The initial forecourt contains climbing and  bush roses and a Rugosa hedge of  ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 202BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 115BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 116BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 111BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 204 Leading towards the villa are four beds of pillar roses- two pink and red; two cream and apricot, each with their own obelisk for a climbing rose and many irises. Here, the garden walls are covered with espaliered Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’. Olives provide a secondary axis, their silver grey foliage contrasting with the glossy green magnolia leaves.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 120BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 121BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 128BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 130 The centre room is created by a huge hedge of Leyland cypress, edged with clipped rosemary. Here the secondary axis is provided by fountains with wisteria. The next room is lined with walls, covered in the fragrant Rugosa rose ‘Roseraie de l’Haie’, one of my favourites, and contains four reflection pools.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 129BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 132BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 134BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 135There are two more walled areas: a delightful formal vegetable garden and a long aqua pool, set in grass. The vegetable garden is entered through a tunnel, formed by espaliered fruiting pear trees, trained over a metal arch.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 176

The walls are covered with espaliered lemon trees and the four garden beds divided by low hedges of box, lavender and curry plants.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 188BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 183BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 181BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 190BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 192 Obelisks, in the centre of the beds, support apple trees.

BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 178BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 185 The long skinny pool is lined with a hedge of box, in front of walls covered with fruiting figs.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 175And then, there were the mind-blowingly, stunning perennial borders either side of the walls, a later addition to the overall design and continuing the symmetry, equilibrium and balance of the garden.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 155BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 137BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 142BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 148BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 223BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 147BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 151 Gates were put into the walls on either side to access the perennial beds and hedges of olive trees protect the borders. BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 159BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 141One side was all pastel colours, while the other side featured a bold, dramatic colour range.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 161BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 162BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 166BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 169BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 226 This garden is rarely open to the public, but it was open last March as part of the Mornington Peninsula Garden Tour, a full day costing $195 per person and run by Open Gardens Victoria and featuring four gardens : The Garden Vineyard already discussed; Rick Eckersley’s Musk Cottage, a garden I have yet to visit and not to be confused with Musk Farm Garden, described later in this post; Cruden Farm (see : https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/02/part-2-favourite-private-gardens-historic-gardens-part-2/ ) and Villa Lettisier. Who knows, maybe you might be able to get a personalised tour, like we did with the gardener’s friendly basset hound, Bella!BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 2532. Barb and Pete’s Garden

283 Keys Rd Flinders     1.2 ha  (3 acres)

The same day (1st November 2009), we visited Barbara and Peter Labb’s garden, also open through the Open Gardens Scheme and  equally impressive, but in a totally different way. Peter and Barbara bought the small farm in 1994.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 355There was an established garden and windbreaks along the driveway and the south side of the house, as well as young plantations of Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus ovata) in the damp gullies of the paddocks. Barb and Pete were keen to link the garden with the paddock plants to create a wildlife corridor, and to this end, they built an informally shaped dam with a floating island and planted the dam walls with native trees and the house paddock with hardy shrubs with aromatic foliage and nectar-producing flowers.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 319BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 367BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 366BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 385BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 269 BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 362BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 360BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 307BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 371They now have plenty of birds and six frog species frequenting the dam.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 330BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 333There was also a long preexisting pergola, which initially finished at the start of the paddock. It was extended in 2004 to connect the old garden with the newer parts of the garden. The pergola is covered in climbing roses.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 295BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 304BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 370 Pete and Barb love their old roses and have planted over 200 different types from old-fashioned Ramblers to Rugosas and Species roses, like the wonderful hedge of Stanwell Perpetual, which lines the driveway (Photo 4). Photo 5 is Mutabilis.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 317BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 309BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 321BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 337BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 260 They are under-planted with lots of drought-tolerant annuals and perennials: self-seeding poppies and forget-me-nots; geraniums and catmints; culinary herbs like borage, thyme and lemon verbena and companion plants for pest control (pyrethrum and nasturtiums).BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 323BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 338BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 344 They use comfrey, with its deep roots, to bring up nutrients from the subsoil, and mulch to break down the heavy clay soil. Dense planting also shades the soil and prevents runoff.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 325BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 327 The lawn is planted with an avenue of claret ash. Asparagus, rhubarb and sweet peas are planted in the vegetable garden and there is a worm farm and beehives, as well as a new orchard.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 256BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 257BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 258BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 331In 2004, their son David built a glass shed, timber studio and loggia, overlooking the dam, for family gatherings.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 267BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 300BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 284 The new garden around the buildings was designed with climate change in mind and contains native flora and succulents amongst the gravel.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 390BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 276BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 285BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 272BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 286BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 277BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 283 It even has its own little creek with its own ecosystem.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 391 It is an interesting garden with lots of colour and texture and lots of grasses and sedges.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 290BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 291BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 382BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 402BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 381BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 398BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 397 I loved all the sculptures.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 288BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 261BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 282 I also loved the fire pit and the seating and the huge plate glass windows, looking into the garden and over the dam –a perfect position to view all the visiting wildlife and unwind!BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 270BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 271BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 265BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 306

3. Musk Farm

11 School Rd. Musk  Between Trentham and Daylesford   3.5 acre garden, 32 ha property

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3711069.htmBlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 199BlogPrivCountry20%Reszd2016-07-14 15.12.19We visited another inspirational garden on 25th October 2009 : Musk Farm, which was created on an old school playground by Stuart Rattle, a leading Australian interior designer. The 1871 rural school was closed in 1992 and the school gardens, for which the students had won numerous awards, fell into disrepair and were smothered by weeds and blackberries. When Stuart bought the place in 1998, there was a windbreak of mature Monterey Cypress trees, a large Blue Cedar planted in the late 1870s; a school oval, an old tennis court, a toilet block (which became a potting shed), a small shelter shed from the 1950s (which was transformed into a Summer House) and miles of concrete paths. The map comes from the Musk Farm garden guide book, which we bought on the day that we visited.

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He renovated the 1870s schoolhouse, then developed a beautiful romantic garden, inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 127 A series of defined areas are integrated into a whole by walkways, interconnecting architectures, extensive hedging and garden ornamentation.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 166BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 216BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 149BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 155BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 152BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 157The garden is more formal on the upper areas near the house and becomes increasingly informal toward the wild and wooded areas beyond the old oval.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 154BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 209BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 179BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 186BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 192BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 187 The garden displays strong design principles, as well as allowing Stuart to indulge in his  individual plant passions (eg his collections of Galanthus, Rhododendrons and Viburnums).BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 161BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 177

With rich volcanic soil, a cool climate and an annual rainfall of 1000 mm, Stuart was spoilt for choice when it came to plant selection, although the long drought from 2001 to 2009 was a major challenge for the lawn and the rhododendrons!BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 156BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 175 The garden is constantly changing and evolving.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 131BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 145BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 146 The 14 garden rooms include : a Motor Court; a Rondel; a Trellis Garden; a Shade Garden; a Summer Garden; a Terrace; a Picking Garden; a Chestnut Lawn and Viburnum Border; a Pear Walk (Manchurian Pears, under-planted with Hypericum); a Court Garden on the old tennis court; Galanthus beds; a Rhododendron Garden; the Oval and Basin (a pond replacing the old school cricket pitch); a Woodland with thousands of daffodils and bluebells; and an Autumn Garden.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 200 The rooms are divided by large clipped hedges of English Box (Buxus sempervirens), Viburnum tinus, and the traditional Edwardian hedging plant, Privet (Ligustrum vulgare). There are so many treasures in this garden from the  rare Galanthus to some of my favourite climbing old roses and species roses ; the viburnum and rhododendron collections; the tree fuschias, hellebore species, self-seeding aquilegia, dwarf gladioli and bearded iris.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 182BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 174 I particularly loved the Picking Garden with its twin blue urns, the masses of recurrent scented roses and buddlejas, dianthus, geranium, herbaceous peonies and a 4o year old Tree Peony.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 142Unfortunately, Stuart met an untimely end in 2013 and Musk Farm Garden  was sold in 2014. While it may not be possible to visit the garden, you can visit it in a book, recently written by Paul Bangay, called ‘Stuart Rattle’s Musk Farm’, now available online on Paul’s website: http://www.paulbangay.com.au/stuart-rattles-musk-farm-now-available/

4. Lixouri

24 Hague’s Rd Barkers Creek    20 acre property; 2 to 3 acre garden      Ph (03) 5474 2747

http://www.gardenatlixouri.com/Lixouri_Site/Garden_History.html

I was blown away by this beautiful Mediterranean garden, which we visited on 31st October, 2009, as part of the Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens Inc. Max and Margaret Beyer bought the land in 1980, after spending 7 months with their two young daughters on the Greek island of Cephalonia. They had previously spent 8 months in Greece, back in the mid 1960s, and had a love affair with the Mediterranean style and way of life.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 028BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 029They built a two-storey mud brick house over a period of 20 years, starting in 1983, and by 2000, the garage/gallery and Margaret’s stained glass studio were completed.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 060BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 063 They were keen to be as self-sufficient as possible and are totally reliant on their own solar power, with the odd use of a backup generator in Winter. Heating (and cooking) is provided by a slow combustion heater, with a hydronic heating system attached, and they have a solar hot water system.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 082BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 032BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 050 They planted 260 olive trees of 3 different varieties : ‘Barouni’; ‘Californian Queen’ and an Italian variety ‘Fratoia’ along the gravel driveway in 1981, having to hand-water every single one by bucket during the 1981 to 1982 drought, but it was worth it, as they produced 125 litres of olive oil from the 2014 crop.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 035The north-facing terrace garden in front of the house was the first part of the garden to be planted, but the combination of drought and the hard, compacted clay soil made growth difficult and slow. The climate of Central Victoria is very similar to the Mediterranean climate with short, clear seasons: a cool sunny Spring with showers; hot dry Summers; a rainy Autumn, which can have crisp sunny days and wet cold Winters, also with crisp sunny days. The garden owes much of its success to clever plant selection, soil improvement with organic mushroom compost and old cow manure and heavy mulching, with a  7 cm  layer of pea straw, cane or lucerne, to reduce water evaporation and keep the soil cool. Most of the plants are hardy and drought-tolerant.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 033BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 047Here is a photograph of a map of the garden, taken from page 172 of ‘Gardens of the Goldfields: A central Victorian Sojourn’ by Mandy Stroebel (2010) :BlogPrivCountry20%Reszd2016-07-14 16.41.13The house is shaded in the front by a large post-and-beam pergola, covered in the Cherokee Rose, Rosa laevigata, a white muscat grapevine and a purple wisteria, grown from cuttings of an old vine on a house near Barkers Creek School.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 042BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 040

Earthen pots and elegant urns hold colourful succulents and bonsai conifers, which thrive in the dappled shade underneath the pergola. The use of large terracotta pots is repeated throughout the garden and reinforces the Mediterranean feel.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 031BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 038BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 037The front garden is divided into three terraces by sandstone walls, built by local stone mason, Russell Jenkins. BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 081Recycled brick, sandstone steps and gravel (locally sourced from Dunolley) paths wind through the garden beds and terraces to the olive grove and down to a tranquil dam with a sandy beach and a wooden jetty, whose steps are flanked by bowls of succulents. The dam is fringed with yellow water iris, grevilleas, birch and willow and white gums and is set against a backdrop of blue gums, paperbarks and almonds. Max buried water pipes under all the garden beds and driveways, so that every single drop of water feeds into the dam.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 083BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 045BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 036BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 079 Above the dam are two smaller ponds, which filter the water en route and are lined with prostrate grevilleas, water iris, grasses and small trees.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 068BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 061

The terrace garden is a mixture of native and exotic plants and trees : tightly clipped, rounded forms of white cistus, hebes, grevilleas, westringia  and salvias and soft flowing plantings of old roses; self-seeded Flanders poppies and Queen Anne’s Lace; artemisias and echiums , bearded iris; euphorbias; lavenders, carpet thyme and rosemary are set against accent plants, like the upright punctuation marks of pencil pines and the structural shapes of cordylines, yuccas and New Zealand flax plants.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 044BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 039BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 051

A tall curved wall, between the house front and the garage, divides the terrace garden and the studio garden and protects a mature lemon tree from frost.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 080

It is covered with buttercup-yellow ‘Mermaid’ rose blooms in Spring and Summer and has an arched gateway, topped with a tiny belfry, redolent of Mediterranean villages, and iron gates designed by  local artist, Trefor Prest, which lead from the eastern courtyard to the gallery/garage and Margaret’s studio.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 065BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 048BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 052

A porch with a balcony and wrought iron balustrade, added in 2005, reinforces the Mediterranean feel.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 070BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 064BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 066 The bank below the garage/ gallery is covered in rock and planted with ground covers and thymes.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 077The studio garden overlooks a natural reflective pond and contains a Japanese maple, a white Judas Tree and a Sorbus, which has white Spring flowers and orange Autumn berries. There are plans to build a wooden Japanese bath house behind the garage.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 043BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 062BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 069The vegetable garden is directly behind the house and is very productive in Spring and Autumn with carrots, lettuce, broccoli, chard, garlic and Spring and brown onions, mixed in with sweet peas, oriental and Flanders poppies, lavender and sunflowers. Summer vegetable gardening is limited by the heat and the hot dry winds.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 072BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 074BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 073 The vegetable bed is edged with  dry sandstone walls and screened from the house by the southern embankment, which has been planted up with native and exotic shrubs and plantings including: a Chinese Pistaccio, a flowering cherry and dogwoods; coastal banksias, correas, bottlebrush and grevilleas; ceanothus; hardenbergias; roses; hollyhocks, wall flowers and self-seeded Californian poppies. Other deciduous trees in the garden include oaks, a Japanese Pagoda tree, an Albizia with lime-green flowers, a Manchurian pear and a medlar.

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Lixouri is a very impressive garden with a lovely warm feel and is well worth visiting if you get a chance. The garden is open by arrangement or can be visited during the annual Castlemaine and District Festival of gardens Inc. This year’s festival is from 29th October to the 6th November 2016. See : http://www.festivalofgardens.org/.

These are only a small number of the amazing gardens we saw in Victoria and I haven’t even started on the other Australian states! I will also be writing a few in-depth posts in the future on individual gardens like Red Cow Farm, Sutton Forest, Southern NSW, and Glenrock, Tenterfield, Northern NSW. Next month, I will be focusing on specialty private gardens.