Saturday, 9 May 2009

Gardening Southern Highlands style

Less words and more pictures today. A relief for us all!

I spent the morning at a beautiful private garden near Mittagong, in the Southern Highlands, south of Sydney. The garden is not open to the public so it's best I don't give its name and it's owner's name. Yet I know many people have visited it, and had the same reaction as me - best summed up as simply, but abundantly, 'pleasurable'.

What makes it work are the connections between the different parts of the garden and the surrounding farmland and tall forest, and the repeated patterns. It isn't a collection of boutique garden rooms, but rather a house that makes sense from the entrance to the back door.

Many of the design ideas are borrowed from well-loved gardens overseas, but they are adapted and combined beautifully here. And isn't gardening all about borrowing (from nature +/- people)?

The plants themselves are fascinating, with rarely grown trees from Australia and elsewhere. There are two plants the owner loves - the Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii) and Rose-leaf Marara or Soft Corkwood (Caldcluvia paniculosa) - and if he has his way they'll both feature more prominently in gardens and parks across Australia.

But enough talk. Here's what some of it looked like, a garden created in 20 years, starting with a cleared paddock fringed by small fragments of then weedy rainforest.





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