Wildest Dreams A splen­did coun­try prop­erty seen through the lens of a pas­sion­ate garden pho­tog­ra­pher.

In her new book, Dream­scapes, garden pho­tog­ra­pher Claire Takacs presents her cur­rent crop of favourites. Here’s her take on a stun­ning scheme by Aus­tralian de­signer Michael McCoy.

Australian House & Garden - - News -

Michael McCoy is one of Aus­tralia’s most tal­ented and plant-driven garden de­sign­ers, and he’s teamed with very­hands-onown­er­stocre­atethisstun­ning­peren­nial garden in Vic­to­ria’s Mace­don Ranges.

The garden is al­most com­pletely planted with ex­otic species, the plants se­lected based on their suit­abil­ity to the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions. It’s a great ex­am­ple of the no­tion that plant per­for­mance is per­haps more im­por­tant than geo­graph­i­cal ori­gin. Here, plants are in har­mony with each other and the set­ting.

To me, this garden has an al­most dream­like qual­ity through its beau­ti­ful use of colour. Clump­ing of species – with oc­ca­sional taller emer­gents and the ap­pear­ance of self-seed­ing species such as

Ver­bas­cum and Dig­i­talis – is used to great ef­fect.

Sweeps of key species are re­peated through­out the space, de­lib­er­ately bounc­ing left and right of the net­work of gravel paths, so that when any par­tic­u­lar species is in bloom, it echoes around you and into the dis­tance. This re­sults in a real over­all unity, but man­ages to avoid any monotony as there is a con­stant, sub­tle shift in the mix of plants at all times.

I en­joyed spend­ing time with Michael in the garden in the evening, both with our cam­eras, wait­ing for the clouds to pass in or­der to cap­ture the back­lit golden Stipa gi­gan­tea. I loved the com­bi­na­tion of this with the blue aga­pan­thus.

I pho­tographed this prop­erty in mid-Fe­bru­ary, at the end of a hot sum­mer, so it’s amaz­ing to see a garden thriv­ing and with so much colour in this harsh en­vi­ron­ment. The light was per­fect for pho­tog­ra­phy, both in the evening and then again at sun­rise, with just a hint of mist as the light be­gan ap­pear­ing through the trees bor­der­ing the garden.

Sur­round­ing trees cre­ate a beau­ti­ful sense of en­clo­sure for the garden, and I love the loosely framed but sub­tle views through the peren­ni­als and in­for­mal gravel paths out to the dis­tant land­scape. It’s also a stun­ning garden from above. Stand­ing on a lad­der at sun­rise, I could ap­pre­ci­ate the ab­so­lute beauty of this de­sign.

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP A seating nook sur­rounded by a sea of plants, in­clud­ing Cary­opteris ‘Heav­enly Blue’ and lime-green pok­ers ( Kniphofia ‘Lime Glow’). Seed heads of Mis­cant­hus trans­mor­riso­nen­sis. The gravel path is made from crushed lo­cal rock and...

This is an edited ex­tract from Dream­scapes by Claire Takacs, $70, pub­lished by Hardie Grant Books. Claire is a Mel­bourne-based garden pho­tog­ra­pher and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Aus­tralian House & Garden. Each year, she spends months abroad, cap­tur­ing the...

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