This enchanting Mudgee garden greets the October visitor with a message: Welcome to Spring! A brilliant display of flowering perennials is powerfully attracting, and there are secrets and surprises to be discovered as well.
The main entrance is dominated by the prodigious, brilliant white cascades of a bank of May bushes. The blossoms catch the sunlight, and the scene is enhanced by a brightly painted white pergola.
A dazzling entrance
After taking my fill of the dazzling May, I’m keen to discover what else Kathy’s garden has in store.
Everywhere there are thriving plants in abundance. The front section, adjoining the grassy verge, has a purple and white theme, with African daisies and deep purple iris, overlooked by a lush and naturally well-shaped prunus tree. Some of the other stars at the front of the property include a banksia rose and a blossoming apple tree.
On the northern side of the house the garden opens up with a broad lawn flanked by generous beds, overlooked by established deciduous trees just beginning to display their bright Spring growth.
Beneath this canopy there’s an air of tranquillity and graciousness. The beds are planted with a great variety of perennials, each specimen carefully tended to display at its best. This creates intense interest, as each of the different plants catches my eye. I could look at this garden for hours.
Nicely placed outdoor furniture hints at idyllic afternoons and long twilights spent soaking in fragrance as fading light softens the vistas of the surrounding garden.
There’s an inviting, stone-paved pathway flanked on both sides by silvery-green groundcovers including Stachys (Lamb’s Ear), white Brachycome, and again the brilliant whites of May bush and African daisies.
Stone pathway with silvery groundcovers
A white-painted gateway, with a substantial hedge on each side, invites further exploration. Beyond, an irresistible sight awaits- a high hedge of Xylosma with a wrought iron archway leading through. This is Kathy’s secret garden.
Secluded entrance to the secret garden
In summer, the yellow-green leaves of the overarching Gleditsia tree will provide dappled shade in the secret garden. A gravel pathway leads to a simple white bench seat, with a backdrop of May bush and behind that, photinia.
Interior of the secret garden
The sense of seclusion in the secret garden is enhanced by the subdued colour palette-bergenia, dusky purple-green hellebores, and a dark purple-leaved Acer.
Adjacent to the house, under a wide north-facing verandah, are various potted annuals and succulents, their colours burnished by the rigours of Mudgee’s dry, cold Winter.
Potted pansies and succulents
From there, another archway leads into the large garden which opens out at the rear of the house, and features a star jasmine trained in a diamond pattern on the west-facing wall. This will soon be a mass of white, intoxicatingly fragrant blossoms.
Diamond- patterned trellis with Star Jasmine
The gardens at the foot of the trellis continue the theme of grey-silver-white plants, with splashes of purple, blue and vibrant green- including various aromatic and culinary herbs, and other edible plants.
The huge variety of shrubs and trees in the rear garden includes bluebells, convolvulus, catmint, irises, brachycome, varieties of lavender flowering in abundance, and rose bushes dotted everywhere, covered in buds.
Blue and silvery grey are beautiful!
Some roses have already begun to flower, including a “rugosa” type.
Rugosa rose, with its crinkled leaves and intertwining sepals
A sublime, dusky pink tea rose
A huge apple tree in full blossom creates a wonderful backdrop. A garden shed supports roses trained onto reinforcing wire.
Intertwined with these climbing roses is a young but flourishing clematis, with lime-green leaves and palest mauve flowers. Kathy has found that the best position for clematis is where it receives half sun and half shade, and has “cool feet”.
On the southern side of the property an unusual combination of plants has been planted, to suit the conditions. Adjacent to the south-facing wall of the house are shade-loving plants, including a silver-and green-leafed lamium, camellias, hydrangeas, and hellebores, which have self-seeded over the years.
On the opposite side, across a gravel pathway, in the full blaze of the sun, is a row of conifers (Thuja), with an underplanting of plump, healthy pigface tumbling over a low retaining wall and soaking up the heat and light in its full magenta glory.
Conifers and succulents- an unexpected combination
Incredibly, Kathy achieves all this without an automated watering system. She maintains thick mulch and compost, and moves sprinklers around the garden by hand, on a daily basis.
Kathy’s garden, full of healthy, well cared-for plants is a testament to the passion, thought, and hard work she has devoted to creating it, over 15 years. In the next couple of weeks, as the myriad of buds on the dozens of established rose bushes burst into flower, a whole new and enchanting world of delight, colour and fragrance will appear.