As an adult, I had only lived in apartments and townhouses that had a courtyard and/or balcony, with the exception of a large garden belonging to a old Queenslander we rented while living in Brisbane for 2 years. But all we did there was have the lawn mowed once in a while. It hardly felt like having a garden.
Talk about the sublime to the ridiculous – we now live on 100 acres with a large house garden and while I’ve always had a passion for gardening and for plants, and flowers, this is the first time in my life I’ve been able to grow my very own garden. And I LOVE it!
We renovated our 2 bedroom cottage in 2011 and we started planting within the house garden in the August of that same year. So the garden is still relatively new and it’s going to take time for it to grow and develop.
(Before and after)
Recently I realised that I respond to any compliments about the garden with, “thank you, it’s getting there.” And of course, a garden never really ‘gets there’, does it? I suppose some very formal gardens, once established are just about maintenance, trimming hedges, cutting edges, removing weeds ,etc. But the kind of garden I have is more rambling and certainly not so neat. I’ve come to accept that it will constantly evolve and change. As with any garden, it morphs into different phases with the change of each season and over time, it will continue to take on a life of its own.
We face on-going battles with rabbits and bandicoots (despite the house fence, somehow they still manage to find a way in), who love eating most things I plant. There are some things they avoid, like the irises, salvia and lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) and as a result I’ve planted lots of these.
Here are some photos of my garden, a garden that will always be a work in progress.
The Front Gate
Our front garden gate is old, but we’ve only had it a few years. It was stacked up in a crumbling shed, covered in cobwebs, on a sheep and cattle farm near Wagga Wagga that belonged to good friends of ours. They were happy for us to take the gate and give it a new home. I often wonder, as I open and close it, whose hands have touched it over the years. It fits in perfectly here.
(Left to right: looking in through the front gate, looking out of the front gate)
The Bird Bath
(From left to right: in May 2012, October 2012, January 2013 and November 2015. I planted lamb’s ears (cuttings taken from Mum’s garden) but they didn’t survive here, white salvia, allium bulbs (‘allium drumstick’, mail order from http://www.diggers.com.au), purple irises and later catmint, Six Hills Giant)
The Front Garden
The ‘North Garden’
(The ‘North Garden’ in transition. Anti-clockwise from top left: the northern side of the house and garden soon after we bought the place; post renovations in December 2012, the garden path was laid and I stuck some zucchini plants in the raised beds as a temporary measure; at the end of the 2014/15 summer the new garden was taking shape).
Plants from the ‘North Garden’:
The Succulent Garden
Pretty in Pink
Clockwise from top left: pink achillea, commonly known as yarrow; echinacea (purple coneflower); frangipani in flower; pink chrysanthemum in bud; pink cosmos; gaura; allium drumstick; verbena bonariensis against the outdoor dunny wall; the pink chrysanthemum in full bloom in May 2013.
The colours of Autumn
We are surrounded by green. And grey. Eucalyptus trees as far as the eye can see. As a result there is very little colour change in the landscape from one season to the next. I love the autumnal palette (who doesn’t?) and wanted to introduce some of it around our house. So we’ve planted a Chinese Tallow, a few ornamental pears (2 x pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’, 2 x Pyrus calleryana Chanticleer, and a Pyrus calleryana xbetulaefolia ‘Edgedell’ – Edgewood, and no I don’t remember any of that except Capital, Chanticleer and Edge-something), a crepe myrtle, 5 tropical birches and we inherited a wisteria vine that grows over the archway leading through the front gate to the garden path. These trees and plants help mark the changing seasons and their reds, burnt oranges and yellows are somehow warm and comforting.
Clockwise from top left: chopped wood piled up ready for the fire; orange brickwork on a curved retaining wall; an orange chrysanthemum (grown from a cutting taken from Bec C’s garden – with her permission); leaves on the Chinese Tallow turning; the same orange chrysanthemum, in bud; the deep red leaves of the crepe myrtle.