Feast for the senses

WITH fragrant lavender lining the driveway, foliage aromas from scented-leaf geraniums and herbs including mint, rosemary, thyme, basil, coriander, marjoram, oregano and sage, Barbara Preston’s shady O’Connor garden is a feast for the senses.

“I love perfume,” she says. “I have about a dozen osmanthus roses, among other species, which are rather ordinary-looking, but which have a penetrating and evocative perfume in autumn and early winter; especially welcome at this time of year.”

Barbara’s garden, which stretches out on to the nature strip of her corner block, will be open to the public on the weekend of April 30 and May 1 as part of the Australian Open Garden Scheme.

The garden has been open in previous years at different times, and Barbara says that even at this “melancholy” time of year there’s still much to be enjoyed.

“In autumn, wisteria, dogwoods, maples, berberis colour richly, and I love the variety and interest,” she says. “There’s a sense of beauty and calmness.

“It’s an eclectic garden, and it’s still trying to give a lot to the birds with the low, dense plantings and deep leaf and bark litter which supports insects that in turn feed small scrubwrens and fairy-wrens and larger magpies and kookaburras.”

Perfume, says Barbara, also comes from the boronias, perfumed and hybrid camellias, various michelias and perfumed magnolias, daphnes, lilac, rhododendron pittosporum, lily-of-the-valley, violets, potted citruses, gardenias, and some eucalypts.

Barbara says that much of the garden is designed to be appreciated from inside the house. “I made the pond so I can look out when it’s cold and I’m inside drinking a cuppa!

“And from mid-winter, the ruby red allocasuarina littoralis flowers glow with the low winter sun behind them, and it’s like a scatter of rubies out there.”

Barbara’s garden at 21 Boobialla Street, O’Connor, is open Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, 10am-4.30pm. Adults $8, children under 18 are free. Funds raised will go to the Australian Open Garden Scheme and Amnesty International Australia. More information at www.opengarden.org.au.

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