Ex­plore a beautiful coun­try gar­den

A BE­WITCH­ING GAR­DEN NES­TLED INTO THE NSW SOUTH COAST HIN­TER­LAND HAS SPA­CES TO EN­JOY EV­ERY DAY OF THE YEAR

Home Beautiful - - CONTENTS -

THE GAR­DEN OF JAN AND ROD’S NSW SOUTH COAST HOME looks so en­tirely at one with the lovely 1850s weath­er­board cot­tage that sits within it that you could be for­given for think­ing its struc­ture and form were of a sim­i­lar vin­tage. De­tails such as the horse­shoe-shaped lawns; wide, lux­u­ri­ant gar­den beds; neatly clipped box edg­ing deep herba­ceous bor­ders; and gi­ant Illawarra figs that date from well be­fore the land around them was cleared for farm­ing, all con­spire to lend the ver­dant ex­panses an air of ven­er­a­bil­ity, re­in­forc­ing that first im­pres­sion.

Yet much of the gar­den – save for the figs, a cou­ple of stately Nor­folk pines and a smat­ter­ing of remnant peren­ni­als – is decades younger, planted only when Jan and Rod moved to the area from the Cen­tral Coast, back in 2002. “It was quite a bit dif­fer­ent to this,” re­mem­bers Jan. “There were a lot of roses, and we didn’t re­ally have an or­chard. We’ve changed all the beds around the house, and put a lot of top­i­aries in.”

The cou­ple asked gar­dener Michael Cooke to help re­design their new sur­rounds, bring­ing him on board soon af­ter their move. “We thought we would get the gar­den es­tab­lished be­fore we did any ren­o­va­tions to the house,” says Jan, who has since added an ex­ten­sion to the cot­tage. >

green gauge

Horse­shoe-shaped lawns were a tra­di­tional fea­ture of older home­steads, and so are per­fect for Jan and Rod’s 19th-cen­tury abode (above). Deep beds play host to vibur­num, or­na­men­tal pome­gran­ate and dierama. “There are quite a few salvias, just to fill and add colour,” says Jan.

mak­ing an en­trance

“I like for­mal­ity and or­der, so Michael de­signed these top­i­ary mounds as an en­try to the old house,” ex­plains Jan. Two va­ri­eties of box are teamed with sil­very teu­crium and an old-fash­ioned ron­dele­tia (left). “It has masses of pink flow­ers in spring,” adds Jan. One of two an­cient camel­lias adds to the colour scheme on the right, while be­yond, a grapevine winds its way sin­u­ously over a new per­gola.

coun­try life

A small tim­ber break­fast ta­ble pro­vides one of many places to sit and en­joy the home’s spec­tac­u­lar views of the sur­round­ing farm­land. A linen cush­ion from Incy In­te­ri­ors and a ‘Coarse’ linen cush­ion from Zara Home up the com­fort factor, while a linen throw from Città De­sign is on hand should the day turn chilly.

Rather than a tra­di­tion­ally loose, whim­si­cal style, the ar­eas have a de­fined struc­ture. “I’m not re­ally a lover of cot­tage gar­dens, so we have for­mal­ity with a lit­tle bit of ‘cot­tage-y gar­den’ be­tween,” Jan says. It’s a mix that works per­fectly in this strik­ing space. Neat lines of box and clipped mounds of hardy westringia and teu­crium are jux­ta­posed with free-form peren­ni­als such as rose­mary, sage and dierama – oth­er­wise known, rather ro­man­ti­cally, as ‘fairy fish­ing rods’. Tra­di­tional favourites in­clude roses and pome­gran­ate, which, says Jan, is typical of the era of the house, as is artemisia, which has been trained into del­i­cate, sil­very spheres. “Af­ter it rains you just prune it slightly and it’s just like a cloud,” she adds. Al­though ver­dant hues from mint through to emer­ald dom­i­nate, there are colour splashes pro­vided by sweeps of salvia and laven­der, and a bright show cour­tesy of a pair of an­cient camel­lia trees. “These camel­lias have been here since the house, so they’re well over 100 years old,” Jan says. “One is a white and one is a pink, and they’re lovely when the flow­ers fall down.” Tucked into a fold of rolling hills be­low an es­carp­ment, the house and gar­den are some­what shel­tered from the area’s fa­mous southerly winds and even stronger west­er­lies, but some buf­fer plant­ing was a ne­ces­sity. “We re­ally had to think about it,” Jan says. “A lot of soft plants wouldn’t sur­vive when that west­erly wind comes through.” The challenge was to pro­vide pro­tec­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing the home’s stun­ning coun­try and coastal views. A cherry lau­rel hedge, kept neatly trimmed by Rod who has be­come some­thing of a top­i­ary whizz, proves up to the task to the south, while a long length of elaeag­nus does the job to the west. What­ever the pre­vail­ing wind, how­ever, this gar­den pro­vides nu­mer­ous spots to en­joy its myr­iad shades of green and in­ter­min­gled fra­grance of cit­rus, mock or­ange and rose, whether it’s tak­ing morn­ing tea on the ve­ran­dah or en­joy­ing the peace and quiet of the shady court­yard by the kitchen door. A gar­den to be en­joyed in all sea­sons.

fruit flavours

A swathe of pan­icum and mis­cant­hus grasses snakes through the gar­den (top left), lead­ing to an or­chard stocked with Tahi­tian lime, navel or­ange, Eureka le­mon, ap­ples and per­sim­mon.

per­fect pear

The gable end of the house (left), painted in Porters’ Paints Putty, forms the back­drop to a large sculp­ture. “We went to the Berry gar­den show, and there was a lovely man there who was mak­ing all these sort of things,” Jan says. “We’ve had it for a num­ber of years now.”

in the pink

The ‘Sarah Van Fleet’ ru­gosa rose glows richly pink (above left). “They’re just gor­geous, but boy, they’re prickly!” says Jan. Deep pur­ple salvia (above right) adds colour in the gar­den.

“It’s a gar­den made for mov­ing around, de­pend­ing on the weather or the sun or the wind” ~ Jan

STORY JANE PARBURY STYLING LISA HIL­TON PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BRIGID ARNOTT

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