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 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



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

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