Natives and exotics beautifully balanced

The Moffatt garden in south Mudgee brilliantly showcases Australian native plants, and exotic shrubs provide an unexpected and effective counterpoint. This was one of the open gardens I visited at the recent Mudgee Garden Spectacular.


The garden began with the inspiration provided by a huge White Gum (Eucalyptus alba). Over many years the owners have researched, experimented, gathered seeds, and utilised a variety of propagation techniques to create one of the best native gardens I’ve seen. Soil improvement through mulching has been an on-going focus.


Native plant varieties include various eremophilas, hakea, kangaroo paw, grevilleas and eucalypts including Red-flowering Gum (E. ficifolia), banksias, birds nest ferns, staghorn ferns and rock lily orchids (Dendrobium).


The exotics, including flourishing azaleas looking luscious in large terra cotta pots, and a wisteria trellis, are mainly located close to the house. Salvias are dotted throughout the garden, complementing the natives.


In this garden there’s no trace of the woody, dried-out look often seen in gardens devoted to Australian native plants.


I’m impressed with how light and shade are balanced, with full advantage taken of light filled spaces beneath gaps in the tree canopy. I’m enchanted by chiaroscuro-like effect of sunlight, reflected by the fine foliage of some of the natives, beneath the dappled shade of the eucalypts.


There’s a great diversity of colours and forms among the native plants.


The unusual colours of some of the natives’ flowers are striking against their silvery foliage.


Dotted throughout are interesting ceramic sculptures created by the owner.


This exceptional garden has been thoughtfully created, to provide an optimal environment for growing Australian native plants, whilst using exotics to soften the overall effect.

If you’re interested in Australian native plants, you may like to read my blog post featuring the extraordinary Muogamarra Nature Reserve on the Hawkesbury River near Sydney. Have a look at Good soil- who needs it?

If you’d like to read more about the perennial debate in Australian gardening circles, “Natives Versus Exotics”, have a look at my post at Hot debate in the garden

Let me know what you think, by scrolling down, down, down to the Comments section at the bottom of this page. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy gardening!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. What is the very silver plant with mauve bell flowers?

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      Hi there, I think it’s an eremophila. It was really stunning.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Several specie of eucalypti were imported here, and there are a few that are known as white gum (including Eucalyptus viminalis), but I really do not know if Eucalyptus alba has been imported. There are supposedly a few here, but to me, they look like other familiar specie.

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      There’s a lot of controversy in Australia about whether eucalyptus should be planted in domestic gardens. Fiery passions on both sides. Gets ugly sometimes!

      1. tonytomeo says:

        We get the same. The blue gum really got a bad reputation for the entire genus. It really is combustible, and contributed to the combustibility of the Oakland Hills Fire. Yet, the smaller ones are not nearly as threatening in most urban situations. They would be ideal on freeway interchanges. Fires are not a problem there anyway.

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