25 September 2016

SIX SPRING GARDENS OF GLENLYON


You are in for a wonderful treat when you visit the Gardens of Glenlyon in Spring.  Who would have believed it?   Months and months of dry weather and a great deal of finger biting, then record rains.   Everything has gone gangbusters in our gardens - a mass of colour, with the bulbs putting on their best display ever.  And the green!  


Asked about his favourite gardens, Michael McCoy, the well known Australian landscape designer, noted that his top picks were designed by non-professional gardeners.  He points out that money is not the answer to a beautiful garden.  "There is a generic language of the wealthy" he said, "a lack of individuality and a sameness in landscape design".

The Gardens of Glenlyon avoid all the cliches - they are highly individualistic, creative, colourful, sustainable and developed with passion.  Here are the six gardens:

Adsum Farm   

Settled in the village, this 3 acre property is one big veggie patch.  Organically grown, the veggies thrive on the sweetest compost, made on site by Edward.  Surrounded by old trees from the 1800's, the old farmhouse nestles into this bucolic landscape.  At Adsum Farm:


Learn about growing great veggies.


Pop inside one of the huge tunnel houses.


Wander around the grounds and see the old homestead, the stables, the chook house and the Tardis tool shed.


Admire the old oak tree.

See what is blooming in the garden.

Then finish up with a light lunch served in the old stables.




Greenlion   

Be prepared for a mass of colour as this two and a half acre garden.  The dam is brimming full, creating a centrepiece of reflected landscape.  Garden beds are cascading with plants that have soaked up the rain with glee.  The veggie patch is soggy but with the moisture and a few more days of sunshine, the seedlings will grow fast.




Wander along meandering paths under trees bursting with blossom.

Look out for the ceanothus, which is a riot of blue, see the last burst of the tulips, anemones and hellebores.  Find the early irises. Walk under the cascading wisteria.

Keep an eye open for rare plants tucked in amongst the greenery.





Meander through the native garden and note the delicate flowers of indigenous plants.

Circle the dam which is full to overflowing and observe the reflections of the blossoms in the water.

And finally, take a breather and look down across the Loddon valley and listen to the roar of the magnificent Loddon River in flood.






Jenny's Garden  

This large garden is full of surprises.  Tucked behind an 1860's old stone house and hidden from the road, the garden wanders down a gentle slope.  Paths are banked with a mass of spring flowers which cascade onto the paths.  The stately deciduous trees that form a framework for the garden are a picture right now with their delicate new leaves.



Enter through the delightful sculptured gate.

Wander through the hedged pathways that lead you to hidden spaces.

Look out for rare and unusual plants that are blooming right now.

Note the clever way that veggies are tucked into the garden beds.

Watch for the early heritage roses.


Throssell's Mill    

As you drive from Daylesford towards Glenlyon, you will note on your left an imposing old red brick building surrounded by a large rambling garden.  Built in 1859, this is Throssell's Mill.  The current garden has evolved over 25 years, its eclectic rambling design the result of the owner's romantic attachment to plants and her desire to allow the garden to create its own idiosyncratic ambience.

Get lost along paths tangled with plants that are bursting with blossom.

Note the climbers that cling to the beautiful red brick walls of the Mill.

Look out for the rare plants that have been brought back to life.


Look for the sweet briars and roses from yesteryear.

Vizsla Lak  

Surrounded by forest, Vizsla Lak is a great surprise.  As you drive into the property, the forest opens up to reveal a beautiful lake and a lovely garden beyond.  Bursting with colour, the garden surrounds the fire- ready house and spreads down to the lake.



Stroll round the lake

Pass through the red gate to find the veggie patch

Observe the grafted apple tree in the orchard

Learn how to graft your own tree

Admire the mature camellias and magnolias



       

Find the chook house
       Are there any chooks?
        (The fox ate the last lot)

        Stroll over the purple bridge

     




Wallaby Creek  

This is  a very restful garden, with green lawns and spreading trees the dominant feature.    But having said that, beautiful flowers abound.  Sculptures dot the garden, including a delightful fence made from old bedheads.  The Wallaby Creek flows at the back of the property and through the gate in the back fence, you can stroll down to the creek.


 Pass through the hand crafted gate

Admire the beautiful fountain

Stroll across the rolling lawns

Find the new iris bed

Check out the indigenous plants along the creek

For more information about the gardeners, see previous blogs



20 September 2016

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY



Who would ever have guessed that we would be begging for the rain to stop?  

The long range forecast was for below average rainfall in September and after such a very dry summer and autumn, that was a worry.

Now our dams are overflowing (good), the river is running (good) and everything is lush and green (very good).

But the ground is so wet and the rain so constant that gardening is dodgy.

Crossing over the flooding River Loddon



The Loddon in flood



But we gardeners are an optimistic lot.  We know how lucky we are to have the rain after such a long dry spell and the gardens are responding.


                     


The daffodils and tulips are magnificent.




And the magnolia has never looked better (note the full dam).

So roll on Gardens of Glenlyon- despite the soggy ground (bring your gumboots) there's lots to see.


2 September 2016

MEET THE GARDENERS: SPRING GARDENS OF GLENLYON

There are four properties that 'Gardens of Glenlyon' followers will have visited before.
Here are the gardener's stories.

JENNY'S GARDEN:  JENNY CORR

When I was a child, I could never understand the time that my mother spent in her garden and the raptures over each delphinium that withstood the western district gales.  That is until I started gardening myself!




We arrived in Glenlyon in the mid 70's with three very small children.  The house, Circa 1860's, was a complete ruin, the garden consisting of two very large radiata pines (which shaded everything), two viburnum tinus, a lovely wisteria and lots of old double daffodils and narcissus.  The rest was a paddock, a wide expanse of philaris grass surrounded by an old, sprawling hawthorn hedge.  The grass in summer would grow over the children's heads.  The giant pine near the house was eventually removed and finally we had light.

The first plants that I planted were vegetables, including lots of zuchinis.  We finally had water with the installation of a bore, but it constantly ran dry.  We moved the veggie patch to around the old chook house and installed a new bore.  I find that the flowers in the garden bring the good insects to the veggie garden- hover flies, native bees and many others.




I became very interested in roses.  My mother had grown beautiful roses and my sister had opened a rose nursery.  I went overseas in the 1980's mostly to view gardens, especially roses and on my return, I was more familiar with the many varieties.  In my garden I have planted 0ver 100 roses including albas, gallicas, centifolias, bourbons and mosses. 


As the seasons change and vary, the weather has challenged us with droughts and flooding.  Water is a constant concern.  So the garden remains a work in progress.

Jenny Corr



MARGRET LOCKWOOD AT VIZSLA LAK

Margret Lockwood is one of those people who can do anything.  Tall and strong, she manages a range of community commitments as well as tending a large and very pretty garden.  Her strong work ethic is grounded in her mother's saying that "The best way to keep cool is to keep working".

Margret's involvement in gardening started as a small child, when one of her jobs was to water the garden.  She graduated to looking after a patch of her own, where she planted snapdragons.  And there was always fresh fruit and vegetables from the veggie patch tended by Grandpa Davey.

Margret's property is named after her favourite dogs- the vizslas, Hungarian hunting dogs.  And lak means 'home' in Hungarian.  In 1996 she and her husband Darryl started building the house, with a focus on sustainable living and in particular, a property that was fire-ready.



  
They planted a substantial orchard and over the years, it became severely overgrown.  So Margret, in typical fashion, took to it with a chainsaw, culling old diseased trees and leaving only those that were healthy.  She now has a healthy small orchard and an apple tree that was grafted with a range of apple varieties, during a Horticultural Society workshop.




The garden bursts with energy-meandering paths, colourful salvias, healthy lemons and a little bridge that Margret built herself.  

The garden provides an ideal outlet for someone who never stops.  "There's peace in dirt", says Margret.  "I find it very therapeutic".



IAN & JENNY JORDAN AT WALLABY CREEK

Musicians Jenny and Ian Jordan are surrounded by their favourite passions- music and gardens.  Purchased in 1999, the property is now an established woodland garden.




Planting of the many established trees at Wallaby Creek started when they lived in the Warby Ranges, well before they built and moved to Coomoora.  The cool climate, unlike the Warby Ranges, allowed Jenny and Ian to plant the garden of their dreams, a reflection of their childhood experience of growing up in the Dandenong Ranges, with its wonderful woodland gardens.

Jenny's grandparents were marvellous gardeners and Grandpa in particular, was Jenny's favourite gardener.  They had a huge rambling garden with masses of cool climate plants.  Now Jenny has established a large rambling woodland of her own.

Ian's passion for planting trees goes back to his childhood.   The tree that still stands in front of his parents house was planted as an acorn by Ian, aged eight,  from the old oak tree that stood outside his grandfather's blacksmith shop.

The garden at Wallaby Creek is a creative outlet for Jenny and Ian, as is their music.  Ian's skills in wood and metal work are also utilised, with sculptures and a lovely old gate embellishing the garden.






This is a special place to share and to relax.

Jenny reflects that   "The garden is an opportunity for renewal and creates a deep sense of calm".



GREENLION:      JOHN CABLE AND JILL TESCHENDORFF

"Call it destiny Johnno" said John's brother when he met his first girlfriend again after 32 years.  Now John and Jill share an idyllic life at the top of a hill, overlooking the Loddon River in Glenlyon.  John's passion is bees so he established 100 hives to keep out of mischief.  His other passion is growing veggies, so a large veggie patch was planted, providing food all year round, except during the depths of winter.




Jill's passion is gardening and she set to work to transform over two acres of mudstone and clay into a thriving garden.   It was a massive task.  Observing the unyielding clay, she realised that it would need loads and loads of compost.  "We're not going to live long enough to do it like that, Jilly" said Johnno.  "I'm going to get you two loads of soil".  So the bulldozer man brought the salvaged soil from local dams and the task began.




Their shared passion is restoration of the bushland.  In the early days the river was hidden by a wall of blackberries and gorse, which not only hid the view of the beautiful river, but smothered the indigenous plants.  It has now been transformed into the most peaceful riverside, teeming with birds and ringing with the sound of frogs.


"Digging in the earth is such a primal activity" says Jill.  "It's part of our human heritage and it brings a deep sense of peace and satisfaction".




1 September 2016

Meet the Gardeners - Spring Gardens of Glenlyon


We have six wonderful gardens for you to explore, each with its own personality, an expression of the aesthetic vision of the owners. Four of the properties have opened for our previous Gardens of Glenlyon, while two properties are opening for the first time.

Here are thumb nail sketches of the gardeners, to give you some insights into the driving forces behind their gardening choices.





PATRICE O'SHEA AT THROSSELL'S MILL


Patrice O'Shea is a passionate gardener with an excellent knowledge of plants.  Currently the Secretary of the Friends of Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Patrice has been a driving force in returning the botanic gardens to their former glory.

Here she discusses the key factors that have shaped her interest in gardens.



As a child, if I complained to my mother that I was bored, she'd say "Go and pull a few weeds out".  That would keep me quiet for a good length of time, as weeding was not an attractive prospect at all!

My mother didn't enjoy gardening much, and yet I enjoy gardening enormously.  However, my mother did introduce me to the gardeners that have remained a great influence on my understanding of gardens.  Reading Vita Sackville West in the 80's for example, precipitated a frenzy of reading about gardens and gardeners.  Vita remains a favourite of mine, as does Christopher Lloyd.


Patrice at Sissinghurst

I prefer gardeners and writers who have very firm views about what should be planted and what a garden should look like and yet I am afraid that I continue to take a totally undisciplined approach to gardening myself!

Most recently, my association with the Friends of the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens has really inspired me to try harder to do the right thing in terms of garden planning and maintenance, but I still get carried away with what seems to me to be 'must have' plant treasures and I cannot deal effectively with self -sowers which I complacently allow to take over.






So now I have a very big library of gardening books, a very big garden and a very big job that I never quite get on top of!  And I relish any time I am able to "go pull a few weeds out" - god knows, there's plenty of 'em!


Patrice O'Shea




SETTLING IN AT ADSUM FARM     

FIONA AND EDWARD BENEDICT


Imagine an ideal couple and a beautiful environment - this is Adsum Farm.





Edward and Fiona Benedict and their two small girls have launched into a new and exciting future.

Tired of the noise and overcrowding of Melbourne, they dreamed of a place in the country.

With Edward's brother in the area, they often visited Glenlyon and when a rambling old 1880 farmhouse with original stables came up for sale, they jumped at the opportunity.

Edward has the proverbial green thumb.  As a child, he would watch with delight as his grandmother planted her garden.  Sometimes he would buy her a plant.  Edward's family always had a large back yard and his parents "were always growing things".

As an adult, he gravitated to the organic food industry, working in organic food sales for 10 years.
It seemed a natural progression to have the vision to grow his own food.  After a stint working with a large international vegetable seed company, he and Fiona decided to take the plunge.

Adsum Farm is a delightful old farmhouse, built in 1880 for the local surveyor during the Gold Rush.  There are outhouses reflecting a bygone era - stables, barns and a chook house.  Edward observes "There's history here - you can feel the history".




A huge old 150 year old oak tree at the front gate testifies to the timeline of the property.

The next step for this energetic young couple was to turn a rambling old farmhouse into liveable space for a family.  And most importantly, the 3 acres around the house needed to be transformed into a working organic vegetable farm.  What a challenge!




Fiona has a background in catering and marketing and while Edward tills the soil, she turns her creative talents to establishing a place in a highly competitive market.

For the Benedicts, despite the huge task of establishing a vegetable farm and the many hours of hard labour, this life is a dream come true.  Says Edward "It's romantic- living on the land and growing food".

A new adventure:  The Tardis Toolhouse at Adsum Farm










31 August 2016

Spring has sprung

One day till the official opening of Spring and the garden is already full of blooms.








The King Alfred daffies have the most exquisite scent and the Chinese honeysuckle and white daphne fill the air with perfume.


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A favourite early spring bloom is the anemone - magic pinks and blues light up the lush greens of new growth in the garden.  All it takes is to remember to pop those tiny bulbs in the ground in Autumn.




Now, after lashings of rain over winter, the garden looks soggy but refreshed.

And the river is full to nearly overflowing.



This augers well for a fabulous Spring Gardens of Glenlyon on 15th and 16th October.

28 August 2016

Gardens of Glenlyon dinner - guest speaker Richard Cornish

This year's guest speaker is writer, author, eater, grower, raconteur Richard Cornish.


Dinner Saturday 15 October, 6.30pm in Glenlyon Hall.  Bookings essential trybooking.com/MBCE