LYN­WOOD BASKS IN DI­VER­SITY

Graeme Green­halgh gains in­spi­ra­tion from Aus­tralia as well as cities and gar­dens around the world

The Weekend Australian - Life - - GARDENING -

‘Ihave en­thu­si­asms as I dis­cover or re­dis­cover in­di­vid­ual plants: whole gen­era,” says land­sca­per Graeme Green­halgh, of Tropic of Syd­ney. One of his favourite plant groups is the

Be­go­nia, in­spired by the be­go­nia beds in Syd­ney’s Royal Botanic Gar­dens.

Be­go­nias fea­ture at Lyn­wood, the gar­den he de­signed to com­ple­ment a fed­er­a­tion house on Syd­ney’s up­per north shore.

Green­halgh also loves the flora of Syd­ney’s sand­stone soils; An­gophora, Xan­th­or­rhoea and the coastal heath com­mu­nity. Na­tive rose­mary ( Westringia fruti

cosa) and Cor­rea alba, which can be clipped into loose clouds in coastal gar­dens, also are favourites, along with the Gymea lily. With its huge head of deep crim­son, vel­vety petals, held aloft on spears up to 4m long that erupt from the soil each spring, this strik­ing “lily” was one of the few na­tive species that early colo­nial set­tler Louisa Ann Mered­ith loved.

“That mag­nif­i­cent in­dige­nous flower the gi­gan­tic lily ( Do­ryan­thes ex­celsa) is of­ten and easily cul­ti­vated in gar­dens, and well de­serves a place in the stateliest,” she wrote in her Notes and Sketches of New South Wales, Dur­ing a Res­i­dence in That Colony, pub­lished in Lon­don in 1844.

In the front gar­den at Lyn­wood swathes of grasses — Mis­cant­hus x gi­gan­teus, M. sinen­sis ‘Gra­cil­imus’ and

M s. ‘Ze­bri­nus’ — bloom in sum­mer be­fore turn­ing to caramel and sil­ver in au­tumn and win­ter.

The fed­er­a­tion colours of dark green and cream con­trast dra­mat­i­cally with the lime green and orange theme through­out the gar­den. Also a fea­ture in the front gar­den, the yel­low-flow­er­ing pop­corn senna ( Senna didy­mobotrya) flow­ers yel­low with showy black buds. It would look strik­ing with an­other favourite, the bat plant ( Tacca in­te­gri­fo­lia), which I pho­tographed in the Sri Lankan gar­den of ac­claimed ar­chi­tect Ge­of­frey Bawa. Taros ( Colo­ca­sia es­cu­lenta ‘Black Magic’) con­tinue the black-and-gold theme.

Deep beds in the front gar­den con­tain the white flow­er­ing Salvia leu­can­tha ‘Velour’ as well as the pur­ple S. l. ‘An­thony Parker’. The Aus­tralian flax, Linum mar

gi­nale, and Chi­nese for­get-me-not also flower blue in coun­ter­point to the choco­late and plum colours of cos-

mos, and the suc­cu­lent Aeo­nium ‘Sch­warzkopf’. Palms were pop­u­lar when Lyn­wood was built in 1904, when travel to the Ori­ent was pop­u­lar. To­wards the rear of the front gar­den a ma­ture Ca­nary Is­land date palm ( Phoenix ca­narien­sis) is en­cased in a low hedge of box,

Buxus mi­cro­phylla var. japonica. Lady palms ( Rhapis ex­celsa) ac­com­pany firespike ( Odon­tonema stric­tum), nee­dle flower ( Poso­que­ria long

iflora) and tree daisy ( Mon­tanoa bip­in­nat­i­fida) to cre­ate a pri­vacy screen in a nar­row bed be­side the swim­ming pool.

In the rear gar­den the Chi­nese cro­ton, with its crim­son fo­liage, teams with Be­go­nia ‘Crim­son Vel­vet’ and ‘So­phie Ce­cile’ with its dark-pat­terned leaves and jos­tles with Be­go­nia ‘Sil­ver Sheen’.

Green­halgh en­joys work­ing on gar­dens of all di­men­sions. “The at­ten­tion to de­tail, to pro­por­tions and to the story the gar­den tells: these things ap­ply when work­ing at any scale,” he says.

He gains in­spi­ra­tion from the Aus­tralian land­scape as well as his trav­els to cities and gar­dens through­out the world, and, of course, from his clients.

Lyn­wood’s own­ers were in­flu­enced by child­hood mem­o­ries of rich, tan­gled gar­dens in the coun­try and around Syd­ney

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