Sunday, April 24, 2005

Stealing ideas from the experts

We have just arrived home from a 380km round trip today looking at gardens. Four gardens were open for display in the Crookwell area, northwest of Goulburn. First stop was at the Showground where the Gardeners' Market was in full swing. Bought 6 very reasonably priced plants - red Kangaroo Paw, yellow Correa, a Japanese Maple, a Fijoa, a White Magnolia and a red Erimophola - oh dear, scarcely a botanical name in sight there.

Then went on to see a 40-year-old garden on 2 acres. Well laid out with shelter trees, ornamentals, perennials, and even a 'Cape Gooseberry' with stunning orange flowers. Got some really good ideas from that garden, especially for making a
simple(?) hothouse. Second garden was an Edna Walling garden, sometimes seen on Gardening Australia. Whilst its design and tree planting was impressive we were disappointed with the lack of colour and very little underplanting, but I think there are lots of bulbs in flower in the Spring. Third garden was a real disappointment as it was very dry and somewhat neglected. I don't mind paying to see these gardens but I do expect to see that some effort has been made to put on a show. Fourth garden was another Edna Walling garden and quite different to the earlier one. About 3 acres with lots of lawns of the most magnificent green grass (really couldn't work out what it was for a while, it's so long since we've seen any!) Beautiful location on a hill with great views, lovely mature trees enhanced by well-chosen underplanting. Quite a few ideas there, too. We had wondered what it was that took Edna Walling to such a very rural area as Crookwell when most of her work was done in Victoria. A young lady at the last garden said that her grandmother had talked Edna into coming and designing a garden for her (in 1947) as there was another renowned garden a few miles away and her grandmother wanted to at least be on a par with it. Edna took a bit of convincing to go there as it must have been very remote in those days, but she certainly left a great legacy for other gardeners to admire.

All in all, we enjoyed our day despite the terribly brown paddocks, low dams, and dry creekbeds. Now to start planning (or should that be re-planning) and see if we can make a real difference at home.


Calidore said...

Lucky you to see such magnificant gardens. I agree though, if you are going to see a garden, then there should be some, if not lots of effort being put into its presentation - even if it is only for that particular day. Having opened my garden once for a open garden day for the children's school, I know how much work it took to have it ready. I must have set a really high standard as it seemed to take months to get it to where I wanted. Looking back though it was a great experiance and gave me some idea of the work load that those major gardens that are open all the time put in. Not sure that I would do it again though. There would need to be some major changes and massive plantings for the garden to be different enough before I would invite strangers to look at it again. Doesn't worry me if friends look though - they all understand how long it takes for a garden to take on its personality.

Kirby kid said...

Green grass?? You saw green grass??! WOW. It's certainly in short supply at the moment, that is for sure!
Mum & I visited the Rose gardens at Old Parliament House yesterday before she got on the plane back home. Even at this time of the year they were quite impressive! And we found our special 'Kirby Rose' - the Cecil Brunner (I saw it first!!)
Yesterday turned out to be a warmer day then the morning had hinted!