The gar­den


Gardening Australia - - GARDENER OF THE YEAR 2018 -

Who uses this gar­den?

We share it with thou­sands of vis­i­tors.

How old is it?

Six years old.

What was here to be­gin with?

A cou­ple of small beds – a blank slate.

Was the gar­den planned from the out­set? It was shaped as our knowl­edge of plants and gar­den­ing tech­niques grew.

Where do you draw in­spi­ra­tion from? Toowoomba’s Chron­i­cle Gar­den Com­pe­ti­tion and ex­pe­ri­enced lo­cal gar­den­ers.

Have you ever stud­ied gar­den de­sign or hor­ti­cul­ture?

No. From not know­ing what a pansy is, we’ve learnt a lot!

What is your favourite part of the gar­den?

Amanda: The rus­tic area is charm­ing and peace­ful, and when the jas­mine’s flow­er­ing it smells so nice.

Keven: In the af­ter­noon, the sun casts beau­ti­ful shad­ows in the front gar­den, and I love the aroma of scented flow­ers. What is your favourite time of day in the gar­den?

Amanda: Early morn­ing or late af­ter­noon when the birds are most ac­tive.

Keven: I en­joy sit­ting on the pa­tio with a cof­fee in the early morn­ing crisp­ness. De­scribe your main­te­nance sched­ule. Lead­ing up to the Toowoomba Car­ni­val of Flow­ers, we’re like her­mits, gar­den­ing ev­ery week­end. Time is spent main­tain­ing the hedges and top­i­ary. Tight plant­ing re­duces weeds, and ev­ery­thing is mulched with sug­ar­cane. Sheep or chicken ma­nure is added at plant­ing.

Is it ir­ri­gated or hand-wa­tered?

We hand-wa­ter the gar­den with tank wa­ter once or twice weekly. Our four tanks have a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 11,500L.

What has been the tough­est chal­lenge? Both agree­ing on the same thing! Once you get past that, any­thing’s pos­si­ble!

Also, the chang­ing mi­cro­cli­mates in the front and back gar­den when trees were re­moved and a pal­ing fence in­stalled.

Does your gar­den pro­vide habi­tat for wildlife?

Yes, the birds love the gar­den, in­clud­ing su­perb fairy-wrens, and a fam­ily of about 20 dou­ble-barred finches that live in a thorny Chero­kee rose.

Where do you source ma­te­ri­als such as com­post or mulch?

We use clip­pings from the hedges, as well as an­nu­als that are past their use-by date, which are mulched and added back onto the gar­den.

Do you do any re­cy­cling or up­cy­cling of ma­te­ri­als in your gar­den?

Yes, we in­cor­po­rate a lot of re­cy­cling and up­cy­cling in the gar­den.

What has gar­den­ing taught you?

We’ve learnt to take peo­ple’s ad­vice and to try any­thing!

What would you say to new gar­den­ers? Give it a go and don’t be dis­cour­aged when things die! Start with a small area and watch where the sun moves, to get to know your gar­den. Get your hands dirty!


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