Sunday, January 27, 2013


On a wild impulse when shopping with a Readings giftcard after Christmas, The Accountant purchased the Australian Open Garden book. Of course, having purchased it, one needed to thriftily use it. Which we have done, the Accountant being - well, an accountant.

Our garden here in the Hills is the kind of garden it can be on a steep slope, planted out mostly with plants mostly indigenous to the area. We have a lot of tree ferns! I nabbed the smallest patch up the very top of our block for a tiny handkerchief sized veggie garden and we've worked this for the last three or four years with moderate success. We also grow herbs in various containers and have some tubs of bulbs - memories of other gardens I've had.

The gardens we've seen have been quite inspirational. The first was 'The Grove' one of Edna Wallings gardens, situated in Sherbrooke and now known as Mawarra at The Grove. I was delighted to finally see an Edna Walling garden having read about them so often over the years. The highlight was the gorgeous octagonal pool - seen above. I could totally imagine swanning around on the terrace above it on warm summer evenings.

The Accountant was pretty impressed with all the stonework - I think (hope?) he was getting ideas for what he could do around our place.

Then we saw a garden in Olinda - very pretty, very different. This was a reclaimed paddock which had been completely transformed. Gaythorpe in Olinda had gorgeous roses, oriental lilies, hydrangeas, a working veggie garden and even chooks. The guy who owns it does all the work himself.

Yesterday we headed down to Mornington Peninsula to see two gardens which were in complete contrast to each other. The first, Bagnols, is a mediterranean-inspired formal garden designed by Paul Bangay with olive trees, a gorgeous veggie section, each bed built up and bordered with little hedges, and lots of soft greens and plane trees that bordered two petanque courts, a courtyard and a back terrace. The French-style house overlooked Westernport Bay - it was glorious. And I would have no hope in hell of aspiring to such a formal garden! But it certainly gave us much to think about when we go to the Mothership's house and do her veggie garden.

I was at least pleased that I'd staked her tomatoes last Tuesday!
 Finally we went to Musk Cottage, Flinders - a sprawling Australian garden that boasts a man-made lake filled with frogs, waterlilies and little moorhens.  The house has a large, open deck which was filled with people enjoying a glass of wine and a plate of paella or the picnics they'd brought themselves. Three little children swung on a sturdy garden seat, pushed by two other little kids. One of the girls wore a frilly pink frou frou skirt. There was music. It was all quite beautiful.

'Mulch,' The Accountant said meditatively back at the car, 'that's really all you need. Good mulch.' 

Actually, darling, I reckon for the water-lily lake you probably need a little more than just mulch. Never mind, We do have Birdsland down the road and although it's a little short on water-lilies, there is the occasional pelican which more than makes up for that.

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