Nat­u­ral equi­lib­rium

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Leisure - HOLLY KERR FORSYTH

THERE is a sense of peace at El­iz­a­beth and Gary Ganguly’s gar­den, Boxwell, which is set near the vil­lage of Stir­ling in the hills be­hind Ade­laide. It’s not only that bird­song per­vades the air, nor that the bal­ance be­tween planted ar­eas and lawn space is just right. As you travel down the long, wind­ing drive, you pass through sev­eral wood­land ar­eas be­fore you ar­rive at a shad­owy glade. There, ju­di­cious tree surgery has turned a dense, ma­ture pine for­est into a spe­cial place in which a 10m-tall stone urn, cre­ated in the book­leaf ar­range­ment so favoured by the land­scaper Paul Sorensen, makes a strik­ing im­pact. You are tempted to sim­ply sit and con­tem­plate.

More than a cen­tury old, Boxwell started its life as ‘‘a work­ing man’s prop­erty’’, says El­iz­a­beth Ganguly, a gar­den de­signer. ‘‘It was only in the 1930s that a more for­mal gar­den was planted. The de­sign still fea­tures many of the ma­ture trees that were planted around the 1930s and we have added the wood­land walks.’’

On ei­ther side of the drive­way, small gar­den ar­eas house col­lec­tions of camel­lias and roses. There is even a gar­den of fairies. Even­tu­ally you ar­rive at the house, where a car­riage cir­cle sur­rounds a large sphere of grass: at its cen­tre a clipped box hedge en­cases cream roses and four fountains.

Among all these ex­cit­ing ‘‘gar­den rooms’’, it is the large edible gar­den, be­yond the back lawn, that is per­haps the most in­struc­tive. Sev­eral large veg­etable patches have been cre­ated in raised beds and a berry cage houses rasp­ber­ries, lo­gan­ber­ries and blue­ber­ries. The or­chard is home to heav­ily fruit­ing figs, med­lars, ap­ples, pears and cit­rus, as well as a va­ri­ety of nut trees. And there are chick­ens, safely en­closed in a large, pro­tec­tive area.

The rear of the prop­erty blends into an area of na­tive re-veg­e­ta­tion. And wan­der­ing back to the front of the gar­den, a new area houses drought-tol­er­ant plants, in­clud­ing a range of suc­cu­lents. There are also proteas, cis­tus, westringia, teu­criums and cor­reas. Beau­ti­ful stone walls, drip­ping with pros­trate rose­mary, pro­vide ad­di­tional spots on which to sit and rest.

‘‘It’s not a pris­tine gar­den,’’ says El­iz­a­beth, ‘‘but it is a gar­dener’s gar­den. There is al­ways some­thing that is be­ing changed or planted.’’ Gar­den­ers will cer­tainly em­pathise.

HOLLY KERR FORSYTH

An ideal space for con­tem­pla­tion at Boxwell

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