My garden is a mixed bag – a living anthology of special people and places.
Some parts are more formal than others, planned and mass planted for effect, but the ones that hold the greatest significance to us are those spaces that trigger memories and tell our story. Relaxed pockets where imperfection is embraced and planting guided more by nostalgia than text books.
Our family and friends live in our garden – not literally of course, but in the form of plants and special gifts. Uncle Bob’s apricot tree, Belinda’s rhubarb and Lin’s honeysuckle sit alongside Pete’s sculptures and old sunshine gates from the family farm. My studio is lit by recycled windows from Ann-Marie, and the door to the garden loo came from Eugowra friends, possibly hidden behind many years ago by bushranger Ben Hall!
The places that are special to us are also represented in this garden. Cuttings from our previous homes in Hay and Cooma, plants discovered on a trip to Africa and silver poplar seedlings from the beautiful Edna Walling Garden, Markdale.
My beautiful Mum loves her garden and every garden of my own has begun with gifts from hers. The Siberian Iris is my favourite – long lance shaped leaves and gentian blue flowers herald spring and remind me of her. I have shared Mum’s gorgeous Iris with many friends and clients, so her love of the garden continues to give.
This week I took a bundle of gift perennials and ornamental grasses from my garden to two lovely clients, each with the desire for their own gardens to tell a story. My mixed bag garden has planted the seed for theirs, and I hope theirs will in time do the same for others.
As a designer, I love the opportunity to create gardens that have the freedom to evolve, giving their inhabitants room to add special plants and pieces over time without fear of upsetting the design apple-cart! This doesn’t mean good design principles are forgotten – when the garden is supported by great “bones” it can afford pockets for experimentation and the gardener has room to make the space their own.
I recently pruned roses for a special friend, Belinda. I came home with a bag of cosmos seeds and a recipe for a divine rhubarb cake. So, with a recipe from one Belinda and a rhubarb plant from another, the afternoon with friends is shaping up deliciously!