Ruston’s Roses and Renmark Rose Festival

Now, it is time for the promised post on Ruston’s Roses and the Renmark Rose Festival! David Ruston is a big name in the rose world! He has been President of the World Federation of Rose Societies and has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to floriculture (1984) and England’s highest rose award, the Dean Hole Medal, given to him by the Royal National Rose Society in 1994. He is held in such high regard that there is even a statue of him in Renmark! Having heard about him for years, it was wonderful to finally visit his garden in Renmark, South Australia, in the 3rd week of October, 2014, during the Renmark Rose Festival, as part of our Old Rose holiday.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.35.35Ruston’s Roses

70 Moorna St. Renmark, South Australia

Open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm, except for Good Friday and Christmas Day

http://www.rustonsroses.com/

Just 5 km from the centre of town and covering 27 acres (11 ha), Ruston’s Roses is Australia’s largest rose garden with 50, 000 bushes of 4000 different rose varieties, including Species Roses; Rugosas; Old European Roses – the Gallicas, Damasks, Centifolias and Mosses; Bourbons; Teas; Noisettes; Hybrid Musks; Hybrid Perpetuals; Hybrid Teas; Floribundas; Miniatures and Ground Covers; and David Austin and Delbard Roses.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.36.41BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.35.55 Since October 2005, it has been home to the National Rose Collection and also has a large collection of Tea Roses, perfectly suited to the warm dry climate of the Riverland region. The first two photos below show the native vegetation along the Murray River in this area and the 3rd photo was taken adjacent to Ruston’s Roses.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 11.12.44BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.25.15BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.20.14 Renmark is situated on the Murray River and while much of the Mallee vegetation is scrubby and dry (see above photos), the abundance of irrigation from the Murray allows lush productive gardens, not just for roses, but also citrus, grapes and almonds.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 10.22.16BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 10.09.32BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.19.25BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 15.00.22 Here is a map of the location of Ruston’s Roses taken from their official brochure:Image (563)David’s father, Cuthbert Sowersby Ruston, was a soldier-settler from England, who bought 30 acres of land in the Riverland with a friend in 1919 and proceeded to develop a commercial fruit orchard, which supported the two families.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.12.18 In 1924, he planted roses around the family home, as well as Lombardy Poplars, Melias, a Norfolk Island Pine and a Lemon-Scented Gum, all of which still shade the house.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.57.06BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.49.14BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.35.16 In the late 1920s, he planted more roses: Mme Jules Bouché, Lady Hillingdon (photo below), Rosa laevigata and Hybrid Tea, Constance, for David’s grandmother, Constance.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.58.50 In all, his father grew 300 rose bushes, including many Teas: Devoniensis; General Gallieni; Hugo Roller; Lorraine Lee; Mrs B Cant; Mrs Herbert Stevens (photo below) and White Maman Cochet.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.46.51 David was born in 1930. He worked on the family property and started to plant roses along the open irrigation channels, in fact anywhere he could find a spare bit of land!BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.15.13 Gradually, he removed vines, established trees as backdrops and windbreaks for the roses and planted more roses for the cut flower trade.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.25.59BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.28.23 He started Ruston’s Roses in 1968. By the mid 1970s, the entire 11 ha had been converted to roses within a garden setting with large trees and shrubs and hundreds of iris (700 varieties from Bearded Iris to Louisiana Iris and the largest collection of Spuria irises in Australia), as well as daylilies, watsonias, criniums, agapanthus and clivias. BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.39.16The 1990s were a particularly busy time with the cut flower trade, but the drought and increased competition from West Africa and South America greatly affected the business at the time. Looking to retire, David sold the business to his niece and daughter of his twin brother, Anne Ruston, and her husband, Richard Fewster in 2003. They instigated a modernization program of the horticultural practices and in 2004, introduced a ‘No-Till’ regime, along with state-of-the-art computerised irrigation and fertigation systems to replace the prior flood irrigation. All pruning is now done by machine.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.37.16BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.24.15 In 2005, the Ruston’s Roses Visitor Centre was opened and now caters for over 10 000 visitors from around the world each year!BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.25.52 It includes:  A fully licensed café for morning and afternoon teas, lunches and dinners, and functions for up to 200 people, including weddings and conferences;BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.00.06BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.01.39 An information desk; a wonderful gift shop with lots of rose-related merchandise from books, beauty products and gifts (photo of the beautiful rose cake plate and cake fork set we bought from there) to local gourmet produce and arts and crafts like Dudley Siviour’s corrugated iron sculptures (last photo below of a kangaroo and sheep); BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.07.04BlogRustonRenmkReszd2017-04-12 10.58.47BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.18.32Floristry and cut flowers for sale; and for the men:

A Classic Car display of vintage and historic racing cars, including MGs (4th photo, yellow), a Citroen (3rd photo, yellow), an Amilcar (a rare grand Sport Surbaisse, seen in 2nd photo below, red), a Ford, a Zeta (one of only 28 ever made), a Bradfield, a Scootamota (the first motor scooter), a Lotus Mk VI 1955, a Lotus Eleven 1958 and a Lotus Elite 1961. See: http://www.the-lowdown.com/ruston-roses-private-collection/ and http://www.rustonsroses.com/images/BarossaVisitsRustons.pdf.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.10.30BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.07.35BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.07.28BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.07.08Outside is a brightly painted Massey tractor (the first vehicle my husband ever drove at 8 years old, though his tractor certainly wasn’t as pretty!!!);BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.58.19BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.59.32

A rusty old horse-drawn lucerne mower for making hay;BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.29.12BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.29.19 And some delightful rose-coloured glasses, through which to view the garden! This delightful artwork was made by Helen Burgemeister and is titled ‘Looking at the World Through Rose Coloured Glasses’. BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.56.00BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.53.32BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.56.14 I loved the Climbing Graham Thomas (1st photo below on the left of the walk) and Troilus (2nd photo below) in the David Austin Walk, a tribute to the many David Austin Roses planted for their cut flower trade.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.53.19BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.52.23 In fact, Ruston’s was the largest cut flower grower of David Austin Roses in Australia! Each year, the property supplies 50 000 dozen roses (600 000 stems) to florists in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, as well as 400 000 buds of grafting wood to Australia’s nursery industry.BlogRustonRenmkReszd30%Image (562)We had a wonderful day exploring all seven rose patches of the garden, as seen in the map above from the official brochure. We started at the old homestead, where David still lived when we visited in October 2014. I loved the entrance path!BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.47.21BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.00.09 Here, the garden is delightfully informal, blowsy and overgrown, with lots of colour and areas of sunshine and dappled shade.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.41.19BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.41.34 I love the way he grew annuals in pots to provide instant mobile colour in bare patches.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.40.50BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 08.40.59 The old packing shed beside the house was covered with a native frangipani in full bloom on the left and rampant honeysuckle on the right of the photo below.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.02.26 We were able to get an excellent overview of the property by climbing the lookout tower.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.25.17BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.25.45BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.25.24 There are six flushes of blooms each year, with a nine-month flowering season from early September to the following Winter. This lovely golden rose is the Polyantha Rose, Lavinia Evans.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.42.44BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.42.49 It would be a beautiful venue for a wedding (1st photo below)! The beautiful metal sculpture near the wedding lawn in the 2nd photo below is titled ‘Lifeless Planets Surround Us. Let’s Not Make Earth Another One’ and was made by Tony Hanes.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.21.24BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.23.47 I particularly loved the National Tea-Noisette-China Collection with lots of old favourites (like Noisette rose, Alister Stella Grey in the photo below) as well as many different types of Tea Roses, which were new to me.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 09.34.18 Here is a list of the roses held in this section: http://www.heritage.rose.org.au/hriai-tea-noisette-china-collection and http://heritage.rose.org.au/sites/default/files/Renmark%20Tea%20bed.pdf  and   http://www.heritage.rose.org.au/sites/default/files/Renmark_Plant_List_by_Class_.pdf. You can read more about this wonderful rosarian and his garden in his book: ‘A Life with Roses’ by David Ruston 2011. See: http://www.heritage.rose.org.au/publication/life-roses.BlogTeaRosesReszd25%Image (615)

Renmark Rose Festival

http://www.renmarkroses.com

Renmark is known as Australia’s rose capital! There is even a Renmark Rose, which can be found in front of the fountain and is featured on the Rose Drive pamphlett.BlogRustonRenmkReszd60%Image (564) The Renmark-Paringa Council has compiled a list of its 53 public rose gardens, which form the Renmark Rose Drive and Walk. Each bed is mainly planted with a single variety of rose, the name of which is noted, along with its family, in the brochure. The council maintains over 3500 rose bushes at a watering cost of $100 000, though recycled water is used for the majority of beds. The Renmark Rose Festival was the brainchild of Eithne Sidhu, who collaborated with David Ruston, to run the first Rose Week in 1994 to attract tourists to the region. They were certainly successful! Now in its 23rd year, it has become a major regional event in South Australia and the largest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting thousands of visitors and contributing significantly to the region’s economy. Held over 10 days in the 3rd week of October each year, it includes numerous activities in both Renmark and surrounding areas like Loxton. It is a very interesting area. Founded in 1887, Renmark is Australia’s first and oldest irrigation settlement, had the first houseboats on the Murray and the first community hotel in the British Commonwealth (The Renmark Hotel 1897), still operating as a community hotel today.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.48.06BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 16.36.20BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.47.13 Festival activities include: tours of the historic Olivewood Homestead; river cruises on the Murray on the steamer PS Industry 1911 (photos below); a fair, market stalls and a ball; champagne breakfasts, suppers and high teas; visits to wineries and breweries; a scarecrow competition; a mystery bus tour; art trails, displays and workshops by local quilters, woodworkers and egg shell carvers; floral displays and flower arranging workshops and a lantern festival on Nardoo Lagoon at the end.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.44.33BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.47.47 There are also a large number of private gardens, open to the public over the festival. We visited three wonderful gardens, all totally different! The first was owned by Donna and Danny Hoffman, who had a vast horticultural knowledge and a superb one acre formal garden over 20 years old.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 14.03.24BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 13.54.36 He grew Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Miniatures, David Austins and other old-fashioned roses, along with a wide variety of salvias, succulents, established trees and conifers.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 13.53.44BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 14.04.11 I loved the driveway edged with mature climbing roses.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 13.50.14BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 13.52.56 The next garden belonged to Alan and Fleur Carthew, who developed a one acre informal garden on a sand ridge bound by citrus and avocado trees (background of 1st photo).BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 15.02.01BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 15.01.17 The garden is 55 years old and has only had 2 gardeners. The Sprekelia (Jacobean Lilies) and Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lilies) at the front entrance were a picture (photo 1). I also loved the exuberant display of modern Shrub Rose, Sally Holmes, beside the white statue of the reflective girl.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 15.04.17BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 14.56.51BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 14.57.34BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 15.07.18 It contains large established trees, an orchard, chooks, exotics and natives, including Kangaroo Paw (photo 1), Leucospermum (photo 2), Grevilleas (photo 4), Callistemon (also known as bottlebrush, surrounding the metal goat sculptures in the 3rd photo), Banksias, and many  roses.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 15.09.01BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 15.20.39BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 15.04.40BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 14.56.27 I have already discussed our final garden, Bed Rock, developed by Chris and Raelene Schultz on the site of the old drive-in in Loxton. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/11/08/favourite-private-specialty-gardens-part-2-dry-climate-sustainable-and-small-gardens/.

Loxton and Surrounds

We thoroughly enjoyed exploring this area!  Here are some of the places we visited en route to Bed Rock.

Bella Lavender Estate

19 Dalziel Rd Glossop

Open Monday 10 am to 4 pm; Wednesday to Sunday 10 am to 8 pm; Cloed Good Friday; Christmas Day and Riverland Fire Ban days

https://www.bellalavender.com.au/

A wonderful spot for lavender-lovers!BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 11.57.40BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 11.58.02 2500 plants of twenty different varieties are grown on the property,  their essential oil distilled and incorporated in a range of their own beauty products: soap, hand and body lotion, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, floral water, massage oil, arthritis cream, insect repellent and lip balm, which are sold in the shop along with wheat-bags, sachets and other gifts like lavender mugs and china.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 12.07.11 They have a fully licensed café, where we ate wood-fired pizza for lunch overlooking the farm. There is also mini-golf and a playground.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 12.16.24BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 12.14.53We drove down to the river, where Daisy Bates camped for four years from 1936 to 1940;BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 10.09.27BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 10.12.05BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 10.16.40 And we visited Wilabalangaloo, a lovely old property donated to National Trust as a Flora and Fauna Reserve by Janet A Reiners (1895 – 1990). Here is a map of its location from the official brochure and photos of the entrance and the old sandstone house with Aleppo Pines (Pinus halepensis) and Lemon-Scented Gums (Corymbia citriodora).Image (565)BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 12.55.56BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.00.13BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.49.20Wilabalangaloo Nature Reserve

Old Sturt Highway, 4 km NE Berri

Open Dawn to Dusk. Closed on Riverland Fire Ban Days. Free.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/wilabalangaloo-reserve/

Situated on the western bank of the Murray River and covering 92 ha of mallee country, it’s a fascinating landscape with a 1 km stretch of 30 metre high sandstone cliffs 3 to 6 Million year old, known as the Loxton-Parilla Sands.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.32.06BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.34.52Oxidation of iron over the centuries has produced the red, yellow and brown ochres, which give the property its aboriginal name Wilabalangaloo, meaning ‘Place of Red, Yellow and Brown Stones’. Its a perfect home for Welcome Swallows.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.35.13BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.36.11There is a self-guided interpretive nature trail and a clifftop viewing platform. See: https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Wilabalangaloo-Nature-Trail.pdf.BlogRustonRenmkReszd50%Image (566)BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.26.00 There are over 80 indigenous plant species and a huge variety of wildlife, especially birds. We took lots of photos, including:

Sacred Kingfishers surveying their kingdom;BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.15.20 Zebra Finches, who were diving in and out of their huge nest;BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.16.50BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.18.29 Whistling Kites, soaring overhead, the air filled with their plaintive cry;BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.48.05 Rainbow Bee-Eaters, looking for insects;BlogRustonRenmkReszd3014-10-26 13.31.16 Shelducks dabbling;BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 09.46.27Pelicans cruising;BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 11.16.39And Stumpy-Tails (also known as Shinglebacks or Two-Headed Lizards) sunbaking!BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-25 10.29.25 I just loved the colours of the vegetation and landscape: the reds and ochres; the blue-leafed mallee and old River Red Gums; the silvers of the saltbush and bluebush; and all the coloured lichens.BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.10.59BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.46.31BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.46.12BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.47.29BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.51.38BlogRustonRenmkReszd2014-10-26 13.53.38 It is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Next week, we return to the last of the posts about garden books: Garden Books: Inspirational Gardens and Stories Part Three, after which the book posts will start exploring our natural history library.

A Garden Weekend in the Southern Highlands: Part 3

And now, for our final two gardens, both relatively young and both collectors’ gardens: Perennial Hill and Chinoiserie!

Perennial Hill

1 Nero St. Mittagong  Ph 0409244200 or 0413004740   1 acre

September to March: September Open Daily 10am – 4pm; October to November Open weekends; December Open the first two weekends; then finally, an Autumn Festival in April.

$8 Adults; $7 Seniors; Under 16 years old: Free.

http://perennialhill.com.au/

Established on the sunny side of Mt. Gibraltar in 2001 by Craig and Julie Hulbert, Perennial Hill has been described as ‘a jewel in the making’ and also contains many rare botanical treasures.blogchinois20reszdimg_1478 Craig has had his own landscaping business for many years, while Julie has extensive horticultural experience, having worked in a number of nurseries.blogchinois20reszdimg_1496 Her passion is perennials, while Craig’s love is rockery plants and conifers and together, they have been able to indulge those interests in a series of rooms with different themes and styles.blogchinois20reszdimg_1504blogchinois20reszdimg_1510 Even though it is only 1 acre and still a relatively new garden, it feels much larger and older. It is amazing that when they first built their house, it was a completely bare paddock with a few eucalypts on the lower bottom corner and a small grouping at the top of the block.blogchinois20reszdimg_1473 The garden is situated on a steep exposed slope and has good volcanic soil and good drainage. From the road and entry, only the conifer area and rockery garden is visible, but there is so much more, hidden behind high Leyland Cypress hedges.blogchinois20reszdimg_1492blogchinois20reszdimg_1482blogchinois20reszdimg_1593blogchinois20reszdimg_1488 On one side of the house is a walled garden and rose avenue and on the other side, a potting shed and propagating area.blogchinois20reszdimg_1502blogchinois20reszdimg_1507blogchinois20reszdimg_1509 The area behind the house is more level and is cooler, wetter and shadier than the front, allowing a totally different set of plants to flourish.blogchinois20reszdimg_1547 blogchinois20reszdimg_1508blogchinois20reszdimg_1548There is a French parterre, topiared shapes and poplar hurdles and dry stone walls, blogchinois20reszdimg_1551blogchinois20reszdimg_1565blogchinois20reszdimg_1554blogchinois20reszdimg_1513 as well as a sunken garden with a dwarf Mondo grass floor, and double mixed perennial and shrub borders.blogchinois20reszdimg_1540blogchinois20reszdimg_1558blogchinois20reszdimg_1522blogchinois20reszdimg_1518blogchinois20reszdimg_1550 Perennials include: Pulmonarias; Campanulas; Salvias; Geums; Penstemons; Filipendulas; Monardas; Lysimachias; Francas; Helianthus and Rudbeckias.blogchinois20reszdimg_1476blogchinois20reszdimg_1575blogchinois20reszdimg_1474blogchinois20reszdimg_1592blogchinois20reszdimg_1481 Other plants include: Ranunculus; Leucadendrons; and Echiums with Digitalis.blogchinois20reszdimg_1573blogchinois20reszdimg_1581blogchinois20reszdimg_1536 I loved all the different combinations with a strong emphasis on colour and texture, as well as light and shade.blogchinois20reszdimg_1516blogchinois20reszdimg_1559 I also like all the garden accessories from birdcages to pots and statues.blogchinois20reszdimg_1512blogchinois20reszdimg_1572blogchinois20reszdimg_1529Craig and Julie have a large collection of Sambucus and Cornus, including the rare Cornus alternifolia argentea. They also have some very rare trees including: Dacrydium cupressinum (New Zealand Rimu) , Cunninghamiana lanceolata (China Fir); Cedrus atlantica glauca pendula (Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar); Abies lasiocarpa compacta (Dwarf Arizona Fir); Cedrela sinensis (Chinese Cedar); Pseudolarix amabilis (Japanese Larch) and Fagas sylvatica pendula (Weeping Beech).blogchinois20reszdimg_1569blogchinois20reszdimg_1582blogchinois20reszdimg_1586blogchinois20reszdimg_1577Julie runs a number of propagating workshops, as well as workshops with titles like:  Gardening in a Cool Climate; Creating a Summer Border; and An Introduction to Perennials, which covers the main family groups; use of perennials in the garden; soil preparation prior to planting; ongoing maintenance and pests and diseases. They have a market stall, as well as selling plants and gift ware in their garden shop in the house. They are also opened the garden for the inaugural Rare Plants Market Day on the last weekend of November. I look forward to seeing the development of this garden over the next few years. Julie and Craig are a lovely couple and very generous with their knowledge and time. They are constantly looking at new ideas to incorporate in their garden. Their new herbaceous perennial garden was inspired by Alan Bloom’s garden at Bressington, Norfolk, one of the 42 gardens they visited during a recent 5 week trip overseas.blogchinois20reszdimg_1499 If you would like to see more photos, Australian Country Magazine wrote an article on this beautiful garden in their November issue.

Chinoiserie

23 Webb St Mittagong   1.25 acres

Ph (02) 4872 3003; 0412 507547; 0411 783883

Late September to the end of November 10 am to 4.30 pm   $7 per adult

http://www.chinoiserie.com.au/

Not far away from Perennial Hill is another plant collector’s garden, established by Chris Styles and Dominic Wong in 1999 and specializing in peonies! They grow over 100 varieties of peonies from Chinese and Japanese Tree Peonies, which flower from mid-September to mid-October; European and American Tree Peonies, which bloom from mid-October to early November and Herbaceous Peonies, which finish the peony season from early to late November. The peony nursery is close to the house, the umbrellas shading the blooms from the intense sun. This pink peony is Hanabi from Japan.blogchinois20reszdimg_0319blogchinois20reszdimg_1453We visited this lovely garden last Autumn, but while we were in the area this weekend, we popped in for a quick sniff of the peonies, which were in full Spring bloom. Not all peonies are scented, so I was keen to smell them before making any decisions on peony selection, as tree peonies are quite expensive. They certainly have an unusual scent and I was really pleased that I made the effort to check and could now open the whole ballpark as far as peony choice was concerned. I loved the white ones and coral ones, but the deep reds were also very attractive! The first photo below is the Japanese Mekoho, while the second photo is Pink Hawaiian Coral.blogchinois20reszdimg_1456blogchinois20reszdimg_1459Peonies are the National flower of China and part of Dominic’s heritage, as his mother was Chinese. Apparently, during the early Chinese Dynasties, only the Emperor could grow peonies, so during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Tse Tung ordered the destruction of all peonies, because of their association with the royal family. Fortunately, they were also grown in monastery gardens and monks were able to preserve them, because their roots were used as medicine to purify the blood and treat female problems. The first photo below is Kronos from America. I’m not sure of the identity of the second peony.blogchinois20reszdimg_1463blogchinois20reszdimg_1461Dominic honed his horticultural skills on a 500 square metre block (plus the adjoining nature strip!) in Sydney, growing drought-tolerant plants around his Californian bungalow, but was keen for a larger garden and in 1999, bought a vacant block with Chris on sloping land with a creek at the bottom. They built a classic storybook cottage, which they run as a Bed-and-Breakfast with two guestrooms and a choice of an English or Chinese Yum-Cha breakfast. They designed the garden to be seen from the dining room windows, as the Winters are so cold. Here is their map of the overall design:blogsth-highlds30reszdimage-194I loved the long formal herbaceous perennial borders, which provide a constant colour from Spring to late Autumn and display great variation in colour, texture and leaf shape.blogchinois20reszdimg_0354blogchinois20reszdimg_0357blogchinois20reszdimg_0329 Perennials include: Penstemons, Salvias, Centauras, Euphorbias, Alstroemerias, Phlomis, Oriental Iris, Verbascums, Cannas, Verbenas, Stachys, Scented Geraniums, Abutilon and Tree Lupins.blogchinois20reszdimg_0351blogchinois20reszdimg_0356blogchinois20reszdimg_0327blogchinois20reszdimg_0334 There are also larger perennials like Melianthus, Romneya, Tree Dahlias, Stipa gigantea and Foxtail Lilies.blogchinois20reszdimg_0347blogchinois20reszdimg_0332 There is also a potager, hedged with Hidcote lavenders, and full of vegetables and herbs; a chook boudoir; formal lawns, a parterre garden, a Chinese garden; a circular rose garden;blogchinois20reszdimg_0362blogchinois20reszdimg_0358blogchinois20reszdimg_0363blogchinois20reszdimg_0359 an angel garden; an alpine garden with Lewisias, Pasque flowers and small alpine plants; a pond and stream garden, which is actually two ponds with a stream in between, growing Astilbes and Hostas, with a Chinese Peony pavilion beside the pond;blogchinois20reszdimg_0340blogchinois20reszdimg_0337blogchinois20reszdimg_0339 and a developing woodland with trees like Tulip Tree, a Weeping Willow, a Trident Maple, Gingko, Pear, Birch, Beech, Sopora, Cherry, Judas Tree and Chinese Elm, all under-planted with rhododendrons, azaleas and bluebells.blogchinois20reszdimg_0323 I love the little extra garden furnishings:blogchinois20reszdimg_0335blogchinois20reszdimg_0326There are also a number of lovely roses: Mme Grégoire Staechlin over the arbour; Crépuscule with an orange Abutilon neighbour; Lorraine Lea and Duchesse de Brabant on an arch over the path; as well as Abraham Darby , Complicata; Sparrieshoop and Rugspin. Dominic and Chris sell a number of perennials, as well as their main focus: herbaceous and tree peonies.blogchinois20reszdimg_0342blogchinois20reszdimg_0322

Other Places to Visit in the Southern Highlands:

Lydie du Bray Antiques

117 Old Hume Highway Braemar, near Mittagong.  Ph: (02) 4872 2844

http://lydiedubrayantiques.com.au/

A wonderful selection of imported French antiques and decorative items, housed in the house, outbuildings and garden of Kamilaroi, a turn-of-the-century homestead.blogchinois20reszdimg_1287 We particularly loved all the garden furniture and accoutrements including: garden gates, arbours and gazebos; tables, chairs and benches; statues and fountains; bird baths and bird cages; jardinières, urns and a variety of pots of different types and sizes.blogglenmore20reszdimg_1292Dirty Jane’s

13 – 15 Banquette St Bowral   Phone : (02) 4861 3231

http://dirtyjanes.com/

A wonderful vintage mecca with over 75 individual dealers in three warehouse spaces. We finally found our four beautiful full-length lounge room curtains in the far corner of one of the sheds and after slight modification from a triple to a double pleat, they fit the windows perfectly and already being fully lined, saved us a mountain of work and expense! The fabric alone (at least 5 metres per curtain), a vintage Sanderson fabric called Salad Days, would cost a mint and is a perfect backdrop for our old cream and silver American Embassy lounge suites, which we found in our local antique shop. The curtains, which ironically were imported from America three weeks beforehand, look so sumptuous in the room and it feels like they have been there forever, even though we still pinch ourselves that we have been so lucky!blogchinois20reszd2016-12-05-18-40-06Country Accents

http://www.countryaccentfloralboutique.com/pages/about-us

Home of incredibly life-like artificial flowers, as well as products by Crabtree and Evelyn and Occitaine; candles and soaps; earthenware jugs and glassware.blogchinois20reszdimg_1604blogchinois20reszdimg_1606Victoria House Needlecraft

Corner Old Hume Highway and Helena St Mittagong Ph  (02) 4871 1682

Open 7 days a week 9am to 5pm and online

http://www.victoriahouseneedlecraft.com.au/

A veritable treasure trove for anyone interested in textile crafts with separate rooms devoted to cross-stitch and tapestry; embroidery threads (photo below); knitting wool and needles; beads; and books and patterns.

Loom Fabrics

370 Bong Bong St Bowral Ph 0439 025853

Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm; Saturday 10 am to 4 pm

http://www.loomfabrics.com.au/

Beautiful selection of fabrics for dressmaking. I am looking forward to sewing a dress from this beautiful blue and white fabric! The book titled ‘Art and the Gardener‘ is for Christmas, while the book about Glenmore was a birthday present for Ross.blogchinois20reszdimg_1681

Mt Murray Nursery

Lot 1 Old Dairy Close (off Berrima Road) Moss Vale  NSW  2577    Ph ( 02) 48694111

Open 7 days a week 9 am to 5 pm.

http://www.mtmurraynursery.com/

Stocks a wonderful range of cool climate plants including maples, conifers  and native trees; shrubs like rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias; roses and clematis; hedging plants; fruiting plants; vegetables and herbs; annuals and perennials and pots and ornaments. These are the garden spoils, collected on our trip from the various gardens and nurseries.blogchinois20reszdimg_1682Manning Lookout

We drove home via Fitzroy Falls and Kangaroo Valley. It is well worth taking a short detour up a rough gravel road (Manning Lookout Rd) to a spectacular cliff line and views over Kangaroo Valley.blogchinois20reszdimg_1634blogchinois20reszdimg_1631blogchinois20reszdimg_1629We had a wonderful weekend away in the Southern Highlands and could easily repeat the experience every Spring, revisiting these and other gardens including Retford Park, Milton Park and Camden House! For more on the wonderful open gardens in this area in Spring, as well as opening dates, please see:

http://www.southern-highlands.com.au/

http://www.southern-highlands.com.au/events/whats-on/2016-spring-open-gardens

and

http://www.southern-highlands.com.au/uploads/624/open-garden-booklet-2016-spring.pdf.

For more information about the history of these gardens, it is also worth reading:

Gardens of the Southern Highlands New South Wales 1828 – 1988: A Fine Extensive Pleasure Ground by Jane Cavanough, Anthea Prell and Tim North.

This is the last of my general garden posts for the year. Next year, I will be focusing more on rose gardens. It is also the second last post for 2016! I will be posting the December Garden on Boxing Day. I hope you all have a wonderful relaxing Christmas and a well-earned break for the year! Much Love and Best Wishes to you all,  Jane and Ross xxx

A Garden Weekend in the Southern Highlands: Part 1

Last Spring, while impatiently waiting for our garden to wake up, we had a wonderful long weekend away from the 14th to 16th October. It was timed to coincide with the Spring Fair at Glenmore House, Camden, so we based ourselves at Mittagong, so that we could explore some of the other Spring gardens in the Southern Highlands. We had the most wonderful time, starting with Red Cow Farm, Sutton Forest, on Friday afternoon, then Glenmore House and Moidart on Saturday and Chinoiserie and Perennial Hill, both in Mittagong, on the Sunday before driving home. All totally different, yet equally special : an artistic romantic garden; an organic vegetable garden; a grand old formal garden; a specialist peony garden and a new collector’s garden. Throw in some browsing in the beautiful shops of Bowral, as well as an amazing needlecraft shop in Mittagong and some antique foraging, and you have the recipe for a perfect weekend away! I have broken this post into three parts, which I will post on three consecutive days, to reduce its word count. In Part 1, I will be describing Red Cow Farm and Moidart. In Part 2, Glenmore House and in Part 3, the newer collectors’ gardens of Perennial Hill and Chinoiserie.

Red Cow Farm

7480 Illawarra Highway Sutton Forest, 5 km south of Mossvale    2.5 hectares (6 acres)

1.5 hours drive from Canberra and Sydney

Phone: (02) 4868 1842; 0448 677647

http://www.redcowfarm.com.au/home.html

Open 8 months of the year from late September to the end of May, 10am – 4 pm. Closed Christmas Day.

$10 Adults; $8 Seniors and $4 children (4 to 14 years old)blog-rcf20reszdimg_0317We first discovered Red Cow Farm last Autumn and resolved to revisit it in Spring to see the 800 old roses in bloom, but unfortunately, it was a little early, due to the cooler temperatures we have been experiencing, so it’s a definite on our holiday agenda next year in early November! Here is a Spring rose and an Autumn rose from each visit.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0908blog-rcf20reszdimg_0110 Despite the lack of old rose blooms, it was still well worth visiting the gardens again for all the beautiful Spring flowers. In fact, I would visit in any season, except obviously Winter, when the garden is closed! It is one of my favourite gardens! I love its size and scale; the different garden areas; the unusual and rare plantings; the variety of texture, form and colour in all the plantings; and the wonderful use of colour, as well as light and shade.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0081This beautiful romantic English style cool climate garden was created by Ali Mentesh and Wayne Morrisey, who bought the property back in 1990. They designed a series of 20 garden rooms and spaces around the 1820s stone cottage, which was originally built by ex-convict, George Sewell, as a gentleman’s residence and named Red Cow Farm after the red Hereford cattle in the paddocks next door. Here is a photo of the garden plan, given to us on our first visit:blogsth-highlds50reszdimage-193Starting from the cottage garden in front of the house,blog-rcf20reszdimg_0305blog-rcf20reszdimg_0083 the camellia walk leads via the Apollo Walkblog-rcf20reszdimg_0085blog-rcf20reszdimg_0842blog-rcf20reszdimg_0843 to the Abbess’s Garden, complete with its own chapel and angel statue;blog-rcf20reszdimg_0852blog-rcf20reszdimg_0864blog-rcf20reszdimg_0865 topiared cones; and beds full of exuberant plantings of old roses, dahlias, tulips and perennials and wonderful colour combinations.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0096blog-rcf20reszdimg_0121blog-rcf20reszdimg_0123 The riot of colour and form contrasts dramatically with the Beech Walk next to it.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0129 Two portals are cut into the high hedges, which were being trimmed on our first visit.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0093 The top of the walk leads back to a circular pergola, clothed in climbing roses and the house courtyard,blog-rcf20reszdimg_0131blog-rcf20reszdimg_0132blog-rcf20reszdimg_0090blog-rcf20reszdimg_0225blog-rcf20reszdimg_0310 while the lower doorway leads down to a beautiful Hazelnut Walk, under-planted with hostas, primroses, hellebores, euphorbias, tulips and other bulbs.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0873blog-rcf20reszdimg_0886blog-rcf20reszdimg_0877blog-rcf20reszdimg_0894blog-rcf20reszdimg_0880 and the pond, with its own island and antique sailing boat and the bog garden, lined with yellow and blue iris.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0898blog-rcf20reszdimg_0139blog-rcf20reszdimg_1010blog-rcf20reszdimg_1023blog-rcf20reszdimg_0905 I loved the golden light in the woodland and the play of dappled light and shade.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0167blog-rcf20reszdimg_0194blog-rcf20reszdimg_0201 Resisting the temptation to explore the island on the lake, we meandered down the long herbaceous border, which ended with an obelisk and a wonderful borrowed landscape view of cattle quietly grazing the hillside beyond.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0150blog-rcf20reszdimg_0153 We had to retrace our steps to the next border, as the ground was a bit boggy and the bees in their beehives very active!blog-rcf20reszdimg_0917blog-rcf20reszdimg_0970 I love the variety in textures, colour and form in this garden, which was equally lovely last Autumn with all the deciduous foliage starting to colour.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0148blog-rcf20reszdimg_0183blog-rcf20reszdimg_0979 Red maples contrast with blue conifers and trees with golden and variegated foliage and stems like this wonderful stand of bamboo.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0935blog-rcf20reszdimg_1039blog-rcf20reszdimg_1011 I love the use of grasses in this garden!blog-rcf20reszdimg_0149 The woodland contains many rare trees and maples and is under-planted with massive rhododendrons and birches with paths leading to seats and restful shady corners, as well as back to the lake.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0174blog-rcf20reszdimg_0950blog-rcf20reszdimg_0187blog-rcf20reszdimg_1041blog-rcf20reszdimg_0976blog-rcf20reszdimg_0915 I loved the bluebells, buttercups, cyclamen, fothergilla, rhododendrons and trilliums.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0969blog-rcf20reszdimg_0971blog-rcf20reszdimg_0948blog-rcf20reszdimg_0204blog-rcf20reszdimg_0986blog-rcf20reszdimg_0967There are numerous statues of cherubs, nude males, mythological gods and gargoyles throughout the garden.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0940blog-rcf20reszdimg_0888The island is accessed via a bridge covered with old roses, Lamarque (see bottom photo) and Albertine, falling into the water.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0210blog-rcf20reszdimg_1035blog-rcf20reszdimg_1021blog-rcf20reszdimg_1016blog-rcf20reszdimg_1020blog-rcf20reszdimg_0222blog-rcf20reszdimg_1026 We saw two very monstrous carp feeding in the pond.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1008We then wandered back through the shrub and flower walk to the old gardener’s cottageblog-rcf20reszdimg_0991blog-rcf20reszdimg_0993 and chook pen, where crimson rosellas, galahs, mickeys and crested pigeons were also feeding with the hens!blog-rcf20reszdimg_0247blog-rcf20reszdimg_0990blog-rcf20reszdimg_1050 It is such a delightful old cottage with so much charm!blog-rcf20reszdimg_0228blog-rcf20reszdimg_0229blog-rcf20reszdimg_1077 I love the circular flowerbed in the courtyard, which was filled to the brim with bright colourful zinnias last Autumn.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0223blog-rcf20reszdimg_0235blog-rcf20reszdimg_0226 This Spring, two large tubs of tree peonies Paeonia suffruticosa were in full bloom at the end of the pergola.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1053blog-rcf20reszdimg_1068blog-rcf20reszdimg_1064blog-rcf20reszdimg_1070 Against the house is a long pond with much prettier smaller goldfish. The flower/shrub borders are separated from the orchard of apples, pears and stone fruits by the Crab Apple Walk.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1073blog-rcf20reszdimg_1102Just above the orchard is the Monastery Garden, a walled garden, measuring 25m by 8m, built in 1996 in the design of a Celtic cross.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0240 The formal beds are separated by paths, made of a mix of bluestone, sand and cement, and defined by English box hedging Buxus sempervirens.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0250 Plantings include:  Maltese Cross Lychnis chalcedonica; Cascade Penstemon Penstemon serrulatus; Delphinium ‘Black Knight’; Geranium x riversleaianum ‘Russell Prichard’; tulips; and old roses: Reine des Violettes, Pax and Felicia.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1090blog-rcf20reszdimg_1093blog-rcf20reszdimg_1096 Statues of saints on plinths abound in the monastery beds including : St. Jude, St. Joseph and St. Anthony, all imported from Canada; St. Francis from Mexico and the patron saint of gardens, St Fiacre, a commissioned artwork by an Australian artist.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1103 There is also a large stone wishing well with intricately carved sides in the centre of the cross, a huge carved bell and a large Gothic baptismal font just outside the stone arch entrance to this part of the garden.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0261blog-rcf20reszdimg_1100blog-rcf20reszdimg_0265blog-rcf20reszdimg_0259 A wisteria walk separates the vegetable garden and Montfort’s Nursery from the Monastery Garden. The kitchen garden is sheltered from the wind by huge old pine trees and is full of fresh vegetables and herbs.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0284blog-rcf20reszdimg_0272 The nursery contains many rare self-propagated plants for sale.  Ali is very knowledgeable about all the plants, having had over 20 years of experience designing private gardens in Sydney and  Canberra, as well as on the South Coast and the Southern Highlands.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0237blog-rcf20reszdimg_0268blog-rcf20reszdimg_0246 The final section of the garden is a walled garden next to the house, full of colour and scent and a birdbath in the corner.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0298blog-rcf20reszdimg_1125blog-rcf20reszdimg_1131blog-rcf20reszdimg_0300blog-rcf20reszdimg_1114 A small shop in the front room of the house contains gifts and garden souvenirs: home-made jams, scented candles and framed prints of the garden. The garden is also used for weddings and photo shoots.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0316

Moidart

19 – 21 Eridge Park Rd Burradoo, near Bowral   5 acres

Ph (02) 4861 2600

Open mid-September to late October each year; 10am to 4pm.  $7 per adult

http://www.highlandsnsw.com.au/gardens/moidart/

One of the grand old gardens of the Southern Highlands, Moidart was built in 1932 by James Burn, a member of the Burns Philp company, after it was split off from the Eridge Park Estate, and was named after a district on the west coast of Scotland. This iconic garden was constructed concurrently with the house, so was relatively well-established by the time the building was completed in 1935. The garden was designed by landscaper gardener Mr Buckingham, with much consultation with the architect of the house, Laidley Dowling, so it all fits seamlessly together as an integrated whole , the basic design remaining unchanged for over almost 90 years, although plant growth has altered the emphasis in some parts of the garden. For example, the conifers at the front of the house have now blocked all the views out of the garden and the huge mature trees are casting much greater shade over the garden, altering plant habitats and the growth of plants underneath. The same family still owns the property and lives in the grand old house.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1428blog-rcf20reszdimg_1392Much of the work was done by Bowral local, the late Clarie Worner, who apparently prepared the ground for planting by using dynamite to disrupt the solid layer of shale on the surface! A family friend and amateur botanist, DWC Shiress, chose many of the exotic tree and shrub species, which include specimens of  Giant Sequoia (photos above); Cypress conifers; Monterey Cypress; Chestnut; Red Oak; Copper Beech; London Plane; Golden Ash; Golden Elm; Weeping Elm; Weeping Cherry; Tulip Tree; Crab Apple; Dogwoods; Cornus contraversa variegata; Davidia involucrata; Edgeworthia; Camellias and Echiums. Their relative positions can be seen on this mudmap of the garden design:blogsth-highlds30reszdimage-195The main driveway winds through a mature woodland to a turning circle, where the main house finally comes into view, before ending in a garage at the side of the house.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1293blog-rcf20reszdimg_1307blog-rcf20reszdimg_1310blog-rcf20reszdimg_1309blog-rcf20reszdimg_1311 However, we entered the garden through a woodland past the hosta walk; hellebores, bluebells and pulmonaria; rhododendrons, azaleas and viburnums; and the Bamboo Garden;blog-rcf20reszdimg_1295blog-rcf20reszdimg_1296blog-rcf20reszdimg_1300blog-rcf20reszdimg_1301blog-rcf20reszdimg_1439blog-rcf20reszdimg_1440blog-rcf20reszdimg_1430emerging at a huge old camellia, very similar to the one at our front door.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1305blog-rcf20reszdimg_1299 Below the camellia is an expansive lawn, studded with mature deciduous trees in fresh new leaf : elm, beech and plane trees.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1397blog-rcf20reszdimg_1306blog-rcf20reszdimg_1395blog-rcf20reszdimg_1426blog-rcf20reszdimg_1353 To the right is a serene round goldfish pond.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1303blog-rcf20reszdimg_1308 We wandered down to the courtyard in front of the house, full of Iceberg standard roses and a silver garden.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1316blog-rcf20reszdimg_1317blog-rcf20reszdimg_1319 The central stone circular steps lead down to the first terrace,blog-rcf20reszdimg_1390blog-rcf20reszdimg_1386blog-rcf20reszdimg_1389blog-rcf20reszdimg_1318 blog-rcf20reszdimg_1384but the further two terraces must be walked the whole length to access them.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1415blog-rcf20reszdimg_1413blog-rcf20reszdimg_1400 It is such a lovely stroll past mature trees and shrubs like azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and viburnums and herbaceous perennial borders.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1402blog-rcf20reszdimg_1385blog-rcf20reszdimg_1414 We looked down over the hellebore and bluebell walk to a paddock and large dam with geese and Highland cattle.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1412blog-rcf20reszdimg_1411blog-rcf20reszdimg_1403blog-rcf20reszdimg_1421blog-rcf20reszdimg_1401To the south of the house is a delightful sunken rose garden, which is viewed from the house over a box hedge.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1345blog-rcf20reszdimg_1342 It is formally laid out with box-edged garden beds, gravel paths, a central flowering crab apple and two sandstone semi-circular seats at either end.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1324blog-rcf20reszdimg_1341blog-rcf20reszdimg_1327blog-rcf20reszdimg_1322blog-rcf20reszdimg_1344 While it was too early for the roses, the peonies were a real show!blog-rcf20reszdimg_1348blog-rcf20reszdimg_1328blog-rcf20reszdimg_1332blog-rcf20reszdimg_1356 Behind the sunken garden is the daffodil walk in amongst beautiful lilacs and dogwoods in full bloom, including an unusual double form of Cornus.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1371blog-rcf20reszdimg_1362blog-rcf20reszdimg_1380blog-rcf20reszdimg_1379blog-rcf20reszdimg_1374blog-rcf20reszdimg_1381blog-rcf20reszdimg_1377There is a lovely pink dogwood at the back of the house.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1368blog-rcf20reszdimg_1434blog-rcf20reszdimg_1433Moidart is famous for its collection of rare plants, bulbs, shrubs and trees and fortunately, it is possible to purchase many of them at a plant stall at the entrance, as well as online from Moidart Rare Plants:  http://www.moidart.com.au/. More tomorrow…!!!blog-rcf20reszdimg_1294

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.