The gar­den


Gardening Australia - - GARDENER OF THE YEAR 2018 -

Who uses this gar­den?

We’ve had fam­ily wed­dings, and the kids love tear­ing around. We en­cour­age them to smell the flow­ers and eat fruit and ve­g­ies straight from the plant.

How old is it?

Ten years old. We spent seven years on the gar­den be­fore we built the house.

What was here to be­gin with?

It’s an old dairy farm with a shed and plenty of weeds!

What at­tracted you to the site?

The un­du­lat­ing block and 300m-long drive­way. We bought it on the spot.

Was the gar­den planned from the out­set?

It’s taken shape along the jour­ney. We in­cor­po­rate things as we’re in­spired.

Where do you draw in­spi­ra­tion from?

Gar­den­ing TV shows and mag­a­zines.

Have you ever stud­ied gar­den de­sign or hor­ti­cul­ture?

No, we’ve learnt along the way.

What is your favourite part of the gar­den?

Athol: I love the court­yard full of river stones, pots and weep­ing maples.

Denise: That’s a hard ques­tion!

What is your favourite time of day in the gar­den?

First thing in the morn­ing or late af­ter­noon, when shad­ows are cast.

De­scribe your main­te­nance sched­ule

It’s al­most non-ex­is­tent nowa­days.

Denise mows, we weed on the spot, and we prune and mulch oc­ca­sion­ally.

Is it ir­ri­gated or hand-wa­tered?

It’s piped from our dam. Shal­low-rooted plants are wa­tered by hand when re­quired.

What has been the tough­est chal­lenge?

We had prob­lems with boggy soil, as neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties drain onto ours. It was dif­fi­cult re­mov­ing the cane grass, cape­weed, pas­palum and blackberries.

Does your gar­den pro­vide habi­tat for wildlife?

There are blue tongues, skinks, frogs, black snakes and about 30 species of birds. There’s plenty of shel­ter for them.

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

So much of our gar­den has a his­tory.

It’s come from old houses or de­mol­ished build­ings. We’ve got old cop­per troughs and rusty things that we love.

Where do you source ma­te­ri­als such as com­post or mulch?

We buy truck­loads of mulch from a friend. It was hun­gry soil but now it’s beau­ti­ful.

Have you al­ways loved the plants that make up the ma­jor­ity of your gar­den?

We love maples and birches and have also dis­cov­ered new plants. We planted pe­ony roses be­cause Denise’s mother loved them and glad­dies and dahlias be­cause my dad was mad about them!

What has gar­den­ing taught you?

It teaches you to share each other’s dreams and how to re­alise them.

What would you say to new gar­den­ers?

It’s such a plea­sur­able pas­time, so just jump in! Be in­spired by TV shows, open gar­dens and mag­a­zines.


CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT Re­claimed tim­ber has been used for this long deck; a bridge adds char­ac­ter; this love seat was made from rusty old trac­tor wheels; a cen­tury-old wind­mill; blos­som trees and a red arch show Ja­panese in­flu­ence; sweep­ing lawns and ex­ten­sive skele­tal win­ter gar­dens.

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