Paradise rises from the blisters

“IT has been a real challenge and through blistered hands and aching muscles, we have achieved what we believe to be our little piece of paradise,” say garden owners Mary and Adrian Hesse.

And their beautifully maintained and established garden at 24 Grylls Crescent, Cook, is open on the weekend of March 31-April 1 as part of the Open Gardens Australia program.

“Our garden has seen many changes and improvements over the past 43 years,” they say.

“When we first started the garden we had very limited knowledge of gardening, but this has improved through reading, enquiring at nurseries, asking questions and through trial and error.

“As our garden has grown, we thought that as Canberra has four seasons a year, it would be exciting to try and create an English garden.

“We did not know it would be a big challenge considering our climate. It would be great to have year-round colour and interest throughout the garden.

“Our reward is the enjoyment of seeing our plants grow and mature and the excitement of future plans and changes, which never seem to end!”

A screen of conifers provides a backdrop for mass plantings of perennials, herbs and flowering bushes, which add rich colour and perfume to the garden and attract many varieties of birds and butterflies.

Roses ramble through the garden and over archways, providing a magnificent display for many months, and the nandinas that are scattered throughout the garden turn brilliant shades of red in the autumn and winter.

Hedges, topiary, arches, a pond, mirrors and statues add form and interest to the garden and meandering paths lead to surprises at every turn.

Open garden: 24 Grylls Crescent, Cook, March 31 and April 1, 10am-4.30pm, entry $6 (under 18 free).

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