Open garden / Buzzing with life, high on the reserve

BACKING on to the stunning Pinnacle nature reserve and hidden away on the hillside, artist Felicity Green’s large, 2800sqm, sloping block is alive with insects, birds and butterflies.

A blend of natives and exotics, Felicity says her Hawker garden aims to be biodiverse for animals, providing shelter, food and habitat, while working alongside what is naturally there.

“The soil is tough and rocky, and we get kangaroos coming in for the native grasses, the acacias and poa at the back,” she says.

This unique garden will be open to the public for the first time through Open Gardens Canberra on the weekend of March 4-5.

The garden has different sections, with courtyards around the Pettit and Sevitt house, a saltwater billabong pool and a cottage garden with a combination of natives and perennials, including sage, salvias, David Austen roses, wisteria and crepe myrtle.

“I love my flowers, and the cottage garden is my favourite place to sit with a cup of tea,” Felicity says.

“It’s buzzing with life; it’s not a dead garden.

“Watching the natural wildlife is something I really enjoy – we have 60 species of birds, mopoke owls that roost here, wasps, native bees, 15 species of butterfly and more species of ants in this garden than the whole of the UK!”

Having moved into the home 10 years ago, Felicity says she has replaced most of the garden over the years, taking the time to figure out what works.

“Much of the garden is in the front, with natives in the large space along the driveway,” she says.

“The garden gets drier and harder as you go further up the back, but I love that it has a sense of place here, that you feel you are in the bush capital and the best thing you can do is work with it.”

Fruit trees and a large veggie garden with raised beds in the back provide beans, tomatoes, strawberries, basil, zucchini, NZ spinach, lettuces, apricots, nectarines, plums and Nashi pears. The garden is watered by a 28,000-litre tank.

“I feel I’m a custodian here and I’m providing a habitat through diversity for so much life,” Felicity says.

“I like being connected to nature, there’s a spirituality to it that gives life meaning.”

28 Marrakai Street, Hawker, open 10am-4pm, on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5. Admission $8; free to under-18s and Open Gardens Canberra members. It costs $25 to join Open Gardens Canberra and gain free entry to all open gardens until August 31. More information at opengardenscanberra.org.au/join

Also open March 3-4:

  • 18 Dutton Street, Dickson, and
  • Charnwood Community Garden, off Lhotsky Street.

Photos by ANDREW FINCH

 

 

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