Marjie and Ian Livingstone-Blevins’ beautiful, romantic garden with its gorgeous display of iris, stole the hearts of hundreds of visitors at the 2018 Mudgee Garden Spectacular.
The house is partially screened in front by a canopy of trees, creating shady atmospheric places. There are verdant underplantings of tender begonias and impatiens, hydrangeas in large pots, agapanthus and violets.
When I visited in late winter I was captivated by masses of sweet, demure hellebores.
The deep beds full of flourishing iris promised great things for the spring, while flowering snowdrops and violets provided the traditional charms of the season.
I was amazed by the tender favourites, including the begonias, which Marjie manages to grow in our frosty climate. She achieves this by cutting them right back and covering them with hay all through the winter. Here are the begonias, pictured in September as they were just beginning to emerge, surrounded by the vivid blue and crimson contrasts of the new growth of Ajuga.
Visiting again for the Mudgee Garden Spectacular in mid-October, the scene had changed dramatically. The bearded irises were delightful in full flower, in a range of soft colours, planted en masse in deep beds at the front of the house…
and also as small groups of single colour…
as underplantings to trees.
In the front garden, the hellebores were still flowering, and the Ajuga, having raced ahead, was displaying its bright blue flower spikes in full flourish.
Some parts of the garden focus on contrasts of foliage.
There are lots of pretty trees, too. This crab apple has the most gorgeous buds and flowers.
An impressive row of flourishing oleanders features along the northwestern boundary, bordering a lush green lawn which frames the views over Mudgee and the hills to the south.
This year, our ferocious winter seemed to have held the rose flowerings back a little, and as a result all the hopeful romantics at the garden festival were too early to be able to enjoy swooning at the dozens of rose varieties which normally flower from September through to May.
We were given a very nice consolation prize though- a fragrant display of pretty Sweet Peas.
Marjie makes no secret of the fact that she loves the roses most of all. But she’s not romantic about how to grow them- tough love is what they get. “Don’t pamper the roses, they don’t need it. The Icebergs are the easiest in the world to look after”, Marjie says.