Searching for rare plants, and finding an expert

In the depths of winter, no-one wants me to photograph their garden, and my mind is on preparing for spring. I need amazing plants- so it’s time for a road trip to Perennialle Plants Nursery in Canowindra. They specialise in rare, frost- and drought- resistant perennials and shrubs. Just what I need!

A sweet scent greets me on arrival at Perennialle- a hedge of winter honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima. A little further on, another surprise, a “Belgian fence” espalier in the form a diamond-shaped lattice.

Chris Cuddy, a horticultural scientist and owner of the nursery, tells me “I created the Belgian fence with 14 varieties of heritage apple trees. Each plant was pruned in the first year to about 30cm above the ground. Then two of the leaders were kept and trained on a 45 degree angle. The varieties I’ve chosen fruit from January through to July, and each variety can pollinate the others nearby.”



Belgian fence of heritage apple varieties- how lovely this will be in the spring!

The effects of the cold, dry winter are evident, but the plants are surviving. This gives me confidence-if Chris says plants are frost and drought tolerant, they will undoubtedly be just that! The greys, silvers and burnished browns of the wintering plants create a sense of expectation, of what’s to come in the spring, enlivened here and there by bright green shoots of precocious plants getting a head start.

The main garden is entered through a rose arbour, with varieties Lamarque and Pierre De Ronsard (in the foreground) and Climbing Pinkie and Crepuscule (behind), pictured below. In amongst the roses are Clematis tangutica and Clematis viticella.


The garden is laid out in generous beds about a decomposed granite pathway, which meanders downhill past the nursery and shop.

Several oxidised metal sculptures blend well with the wintery colours of the garden and add points of interest in the stripped-back winter landscape.

A metallic emu, and I, enjoying the garden at Perennialle Nursery.

Grey-green leaved plant varieties feature strongly in the garden, their forms ranging from low mounds to taller, substantial shrubs adorned with dried flower heads.

Clockwise from top left: Ballota pseudodictamnus nana, Phlomis “Lemon Blush”, Stachys thirkei– a dwarf lamb’s ear from Turkey, and Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’

Grasses are another feature of this garden. Their wispy, pale gold stems and leaves, and ethereal masses of tiny flowers, capture the winter sunlight.


Grasses from left to right- Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’, Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Sarabande’, with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Sedum ‘Matrona’ providing deep bronze contrast in front.


Miscanthus sinensis variegata, which has variegated green and white leaves, when actively growing.

There are plenty of other striking foliage plants- some are pictured below, with nurseryman Chris.

Clockwise from left- Chris, Melianthus major and Yucca filamentosa

I had to tear myself away from the garden, to visit the nursery. How exciting to have such an interesting, well selected and unusual array of plants to choose from. Everything here can be confidently purchased for gardens in the central west. Then there’s the nursery shop, with a range of high quality, specialist horticultural tools, gardening accessories, and stylish homewares, many imported from Europe. Just have a look at the website you will be delighted.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris Cuddy says:

    Thanks Jane,
    It was lovely to meet you and have you visit the nursery and garden. Thanks for your thoughtful words. You managed to capture some really nice images of the garden.

    1. Jane says:

      I’m looking forward to a return visit in a few months’ time!

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