Four seasons in one garden

FRAGRANCE and colour are a year-round treat in Bob and Priscilla Chapman’s peaceful garden.

Abundant roses scent the air in spring and summer, but every season has its heroes; with daphnes and jonquils providing fragrance in winter, lavender, star jasmine and bulbs in spring, lemon verbena in summer and wintersweet in autumn.

“We’re so lucky living here, we’re close to the city and yet we feel like we’re out in the bush,” says Bob.

“We have the reserve on our doorstep without the responsibility of looking after acreage, and we get out there with the dog at least twice a day.”

The beautiful, colourful garden at 53 Hawkesbury Crescent, Farrer, will be open as part of Open Gardens Australia on November 17-18.

When the couple bought the home in 1989 it was a “blank canvas”, with a row of gum trees creating a protective screen at the back. The trees were taken down as a bushfire precaution, and from then they’ve worked on creating height and shade.

Now it’s beautifully designed, with an outdoor dining area kept shady and cool in summer by a large pistachio tree, large curved stone-walled garden beds with rich, dense plantings of natives, perennials and bulbs, a clever pond that runs under the path and a pretty gazebo devoted to relaxing and enjoying the outlook.

“We love sitting in the gazebo with a coffee, just enjoying the garden,” says Priscilla. “It’s so peaceful, and aromatic too with the rosemary nearby.”

Saving water is high on the agenda, says Priscilla, which is why she and Bob added 20,000 litres of rainwater tanks, reduced the lawn and created several areas she calls the “dry” garden.

“The majority of the garden has to cope on very little water, and it seems to do very well,” she says. “Really, it’s only the peonies that need more nursing along, so in general we don’t water much at all.”

53 Hawkesbury Crescent, Farrer, will be open 10am-4.30pm, Saturday, November 17, and Sunday, November 18. Adults $7, children under 18, free. Funds raised will go to the RSPCA and Open Gardens Australia. More information at

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