I’m astounded when people tell me they don’t want deciduous trees – or anything it seems that has a `down’ time. It’s precisely this downtime that I eagerly anticipate in the garden – and the variations, opportunities and complications that seasonality presents.
The pale sunlight catches the softness of the Miscanthus now that the flowers have dulled off and the seed heads are starting to arch and curl.
Jamie Sargeant’s sculpture in wood and polished stainless steel mirrors the sky and provides a contrast.
With a mouthful of a name it’s just as well the plant doesn’t require any attention. Tied up in a forked branch of the Port Jackson fig tree outside the studio it’s epiphytic and I have only watered it maybe three times.
This week it’s in flower and looking quite special, as it was two years ago when it was given to me as a Christmas present. Check out the zig zag structure of the inflorescence stem and the amazing colours.
Below the verandah facing South where from this time of year until summer the sun never shines, I have a pair of Fatsia in flower. These have bold glossy foliage and have a suggestion of the orient to them, and it’s fitting, ’cause they are from Japan.
The flowers are alive with insects sipping nectar and the form of the flowers makes me want to do a wood cut or lino print. If only there was more time…
When I smell wood smoke and camellias I know that it’s Autumn. It’s been cold here for a few days now, and preparations for a friend’s wedding here in the garden this Saturday are well advanced. Box are neatly trimmed and Verity the bride, like me, enjoys the fallen leaves on the lawn, so we have mown early this week to allow more leaves to decorate the place.
Yesterday I was down near the dam when I caught a whiff of something elusive that struck a chord there in my memory – almost. Then I caught it again and it was undeniably the jonquils that are flowering beneath the corkscrew willows. Similarly the Camellia sasanqua on the drive caught me unawares. I do love the light, sweet and earthy of sasanquas.
And we’ve split a mountain of firewood out in the paddock – a legacy of dead Eucalypts that will keep us warm inside all winter and into next winter most likely. In the vege garden the pumpkins have taken over and it’s hard to deny or not be impressed by their exuberance, so the rest of the beds are being smothered and I’ll have to eat pumpkin soup all winter.
Right between the flags at beautiful Macmasters Beach we’re refining a project, and Daniel Shannon from Divine Landscape Creations is making it happen as I write.
Ian Martin from Patonga Design , the architect who designed the home is an old school mate and it’s good to get reacquainted after all this time – he was always best in the class at tech drawing.
Whilst the front of the house faces the blue, blue sea, the family will enjoy the wind protected back garden and a level lawn with sensational vignettes through the living room windows.
Planting will be relatively simple, a mix of local natives and the sort of easy care plants you would expect to see at a beach house somewhere on the Australian East coast.
In March last year I showed a neglected waterfront property we were starting. Now well underway, here it is again but looking fat with potential. I’ll keep you updated with images when the aquarium wall goes in the pool and the planting and travertine goes down.
Just to remind you of what it used to look like here’s the March image
It’s been a hectic Autumn here. The pencils have been sharpened so often they’re too short to use and Mark’s fingers are cramping from all that mouse clicking as he transcribes the drawings to legible designs on the computer.
I’ve added a few pics of the gardens as they now appear/ the current designs we’re working on. This broad variety of homes and styles is what keeps us keen and interested. I will start at Balmain in Sydney where a second cottage and small parcel of land was purchased to add to an existing home. On this project we have kept in mind the suburbs working class roots and ensured that we don’t trick it up to much. Where possible we’ve used old style plants and fruit trees such as loquats and lemon trees to give a relaxed easy vibe to the garden, then onto Killara in the northern suburbs where we designed a very cool swimming pool with an aquarium window that can be seen from a lower tennis court. This house built in the 1940′s is in red brick Georgian revival style. There is a formality to this home that cant be denied but it’s a family home too and once again vegetables, herbs and fruit trees have a place as does a traditional bronze fountain on axis with the long drive.
At Epping another pool renovation design is almost finished, with a sensational stone facade on one side of the house that sets the tone for the remainder of this design where new decks and entertaining spaces have been created along with re-surfacing the old drive, creating an entry path and security gates and then off down the hill from the studio to Wollombi where two projects are on the boil.
One a new home with expansive views in the bush on top of a hill and another in a valley that will have a simple petanque pitch below a stone cottage and some screening plants to hide the water tanks.
I show these because sometimes people aren’t sure what we do. From this you can see….it takes all kinds. And that’s how we like it.
Here we are at the end of April already. The garden here at home has entered its Autumn mode – I love this time of year.
Between completing other people’s designs we have been working hard to get the garden here at home in shape for a friend’s wedding next month. Knowing how much to trim and tidy is a fine line. As you know I like my gardens not to look too `up tight’
I also hate them to look shabby – a bit neglected is OK but never unloved. This afternoon there was a sensational light illuminating the seasonal tints.
The last of summers blooms are braving it and evergreens are still growing. The lawn thankfully, is slowing down.
Horses rugged, fed and stabled. Time to close down the computer and open a bottle.
Last week we completed the Natures Vision Landscaping project by delivering the final plants. It was a great time to take a few more pictures out on the waterside where the garden is now establishing itself nicely, despite the severity of the salt winds that blast this part of the coastline. The fence on the cliff-top has been a real success – so much so that the neighbours have now adopted a similar style fence to keep their kids safe and enjoy the view. Made from woven brass mesh it will withstand the salt as well as look very cool.
The corten retaining wall that takes up the change of level where it abuts the gabion wall is another feature we’re proud of. Simple and functional.
The house and garden both have that easy, relaxed feel you hope to find in a beach house.
This is the third garden I have helped the owners of this garden with and I make a detour whenever I am in the area just to look at the roadside garden.
I asked Brigid to take some pictures of this a while ago and here it is. Only about three or four years old and near the beach it contains many of my favourite ingredients – interesting plants, silver, silver-blue and deep green foliage and the Cornerstone gardeners continue to train the Indian hawthorn into cool mounding shapes.
Aloe arborescens, Kalanchoe beharensis, Euphorbia tirucalli, dwarf native coastal rosemary and silver santolina add the texture.