for all-year colour, bromeliads top the bi l l
It’s line ball who is the bigger bromeliad fan in this Noosa garden – the garden owner or the bromeliad expert who supplied and planted them. Either way, the result of their mutual obsession is spectacular.
But first came the house. What started as a modest plan by New Zealanders Allen and Barbara Peters to add a swimming pool to their Noosa Heads property evolved into a full knockdown-rebuild. Local architect Tim Ditchfield designed the house, which was completed in 2010. Its crisp, white finish and clean lines are a perfect foil for the multi-coloured array of bromeliads that flows across the front garden.
The Peters were already hooked on bromeliads, having previously developed a sub-tropical garden at their Auckland home. In Noosa, Allen contacted garden designer and bromeliad grower Michael Radley. “If you want a magnificent garden in full colour all year with as little work as possible, bromeliads are the way to go,” the owner of Mooloolaba-based Garden Miracles says. “They’re so adaptable for any position, and in the climate here they proliferate. My philosophy is that a garden should, in 10 years’ time, have grown into a masterpiece.”
Together they went searching for the specimens to fill the garden, using Radley’s knowledge of plant placement and his connections with specialist growers and collectors. “He didn’t want what other people had,” Radley says appreciatively of his client.
The catch-all term bromeliad covers thousands of species in 56 genera, with thousands more cultivars bred by enthusiasts. They grow from sea level to altitudes of 4000m, in sun and shade, from rainforests to deserts. Most grow on trees, rocks or cliff edges, catching