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A barren passageway comes to life


ockdown threw a spanner in the works for 2020. We had to cancel our wedding and we didn’t see our families for almost a year, but we were fortunate to be able to buy our first home in September.

When we moved in, the small courtyard was barren. I would stare out the kitchen window each day and have visions of filling the space with lush greenery and fruit trees and vegetable plants bursting from pots. We wanted to create a space we could enjoy for entertaini­ng and relaxing, but would also provide herbs and vegetables that we could actually cook with.

The moment Bunnings and nurseries reopened, we spent our weekends improving the soil, repotting establishe­d fruit trees, and sowing seeds. We bought a fence stain in a deep charcoal colour, which gives the space a modern feel and also makes the colourful rockery mix we planted really pop.

The constraint­s of lockdown meant we were able to dedicate our time to nurturing the garden and we really enjoyed the process.

Having a puppy presented its challenges though … We had to use box planters and terracotta pots so everything was out of

Nugget’s reach, especially my strawberri­es. He still occasional­ly samples my thyme plant, but if anything this just shows he has good taste.

My best tip for creating a garden is be patient Keep chipping away. I found it frustratin­g waiting for seeds to emerge and for flowers to grow, but then it seemingly flourished overnight. We still have lots to work on, and we’re now turning our attention to our front yard, but when I look out the kitchen window while making my morning coffee, I’m really proud of the fruitful and vibrant oasis we have created.”

Madeleine Stuchbery, 29, and her partner Lachlan Gillies, 31, plus Nugget the pup, of Mentone, Victoria.

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