History among the shadows

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SURROUNDED by eucalypts, ash and oaks, gnarled old pines, liquidambars, flowering crabapples, Manchurian pears and Canadian maples, historical “Shadowlands” is all about the trees.

The country garden in Braidwood is in the process of being carefully restored by Marshall and Elizabeth Wilson.

“We wanted a place that would be a bit of a retirement project,” says 72-year-old Elizabeth. “We fell in love with the beautiful old trees and we knew the structure was there to make a garden.”

The 2.02-hectare garden will be open to the public for the first time as part of Open Gardens Australia on the weekend of November 23-24.

“We believe this area needs to be preserved and sensitively restored, and we wanted to step up and open the garden so everyone could see it,” says Elizabeth.

In the part of the garden that surrounds the 1880s-built house, there are lawns and colourful beds full of bulbs, snow-in-summer, roses, irises, salvias, penstemon and rhododendrons, says Elizabeth.

“We love the deck with its climbing banksia rose, where we like to entertain or sit and enjoy a cup of tea while overlooking the shady lawn.

“This part of the garden feels sheltered and relaxed.”

There are two other distinct areas, one which makes use of the natural features of the area, with a mixed rockery using the local stone boulders, where a sturdy deep blue rosemary does its own thing in the face of the harsh North West winds, and a third outer zone with eucalypts and natives.

“We wanted to make use of what was already here,” says Elizabeth.

“We’ve created a more open, expansive garden, while maintaining the character of the space.”

Elizabeth says she’s always been a gardener, and that Marshall has become more keen in his retirement.

“You need time to see the results of all your hard work, and it’s so rewarding,” she says.

“It’s a creative outlet for us, and we enjoy the challenge of getting things to grow. There are challenges every day.

“We retired from our careers to a combined mutual project, that we’ve created together.

“It keeps us physically fit, and we genuinely love it.”


The garden at 230 Bombay Road, Braidwood, is open 10am-4.30pm, on Saturday, November 23 and Sunday, November 24. Adults $7, children under 18 are free. Proceeds to the Open Garden Scheme and the Mercy Hospital for Women Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Victoria. More information at opengarden.org.au.


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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist with a particular interest in homes and gardens.

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