On a perfect autumn day our group visited three local gardens. After a convivial morning tea Bob Pulford introduced the story of his and Ruth’s garden journey before members began meandering through the broad landscape of 2 acres of delightfully undulating gardens. Broad grassy swales connected the variety of garden beds.
“With no experience, we bought plants haphazardly and then had to work out where to put them,” said Bob. A feature of the garden is the extent of borrowed landscape which imparts a natural ‘bush’ feel whilst allowing the garden full sunlight for much of the day.
Above: Bob and Ruth explaining their philosophy and design of the garden
Above: regenerating plants below the gully in the Pulford garden
To the north of the block is a gully which contains rainforest plants such as Claoxylon australe, commonly known as Brittlewood. Also along the rainforest margins Polyscias murrayi, Pencil Cedars, are re-appearing amongst regenerating Eucalypts. A broad swathe of Microlaena stipoides, Weeping grass dominates the shadier section of lawn. Here also is a large colony of Greenhood orchids, possibly Pterostylis curta.
There were spectacular plants of Grevillea “Sylvia” providing background for less hardy species including Petrophile and Isopogon. Adjacent to the house are smaller, more delicate plants such as Hibbertia, Boronia, Tetratheca, Platysace, Epacris, Conostylis and a range of tufty plants including Lomandra. A pleasant lunch was enjoyed on the verandah overlooking the gardens before it was time to thank our hosts and head off to the next discovery.
The garden of Sue and John Knight is a steep east facing block of 1300 sq m which has been developed with small raised beds at the front and tightly packed linear gardens along the side and rear of the house. The front gardens are planted with a mallee Eucalypt, a dwarf Banksia spinulosa and a Grevillea 'Sylvia' protects less hardy forms of other Proteaceae species. The priority for the garden was to have something in flower at all times with particular emphasis on providing food for smaller birds such as Silvereyes, Wrens and Finches.
Above: John discussing the planting pallette in the front garden
Above: Norm and John demonstrating the smoke tent
The shaded garden along the southern boundary supports understory plants of Pittosporum multiflorum, Orange Thorn, Graptophyllum excelsum, Scarlet Fuschia and G. ilicifolium, Holly Fuschia. On the northern boundary, denser shrubbery supports Callistemons, Leptospermum petersonii, Lemon scented Teatree, Persoonia linearis and P. pinifolia, Phebalium squamulosum, Leionema ‘Green Scene’ and a rare Eucalyptus deuaensis. Underplanting along this dry garden includes Lomandra, Poa labillardiera, Epacris and Thomasia with a spreading Phebalium Woombye and Hibbertia grossulariifolia.
Norm Hulands and John have experimented with a simple smoking tent to assist propagation from seed. The smoker was given its first run at the garden visit and the seeds are now sitting in John’s propagation house waiting for some positive results.
We then wandered down the road to a garden in transition belonging to Annie Hood and Geoff Gosling who purchased their property 18 months ago and they have begun replacing many exotics with Australian plants, many purchased from Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens. Geoff has made a conscious effort to re-introduce some local plants to compliment the natural environment of their block.
“Annie is the driver of works, I am merely the wheelbarrow”, said Geoff. The garden comprises over 5000 square metres, which offers great scope for future development. One of the great things about sloping blocks is the varied aspects available for planting and the micro-climates which can be developed to accommodate a broader palette of planting choices. Geoff and Annie took many notes from the experts in the group to help them in their plans. So ended a very successful day of garden visits.
Above: Annie and Geoff explaining plans for the future development of their garden
Above: Annie and Geoff's lower garden adjacent to the bush reserve