WITH a vast blue timber pergola drenched in purple wisteria, Els Wynen’s garden welcomes visitors straight away with an inviting place to relax.
The slate deck surrounds the house and steps down to the mainly native garden and pond area.
“I like natives but I’ll include non-natives if I can’t find one that offers the solution I want,” Els says.
“For example, we wanted something over the pergola that gave us shade in summer but sun in winter and the best solution to me was wisteria. I couldn’t find a native that would withstand the frost and was deciduous.
“The most important thing to me is that a plant is useful and I like it.”
Els’ inviting garden in Flynn will be open for the first time on the weekend of October 31-November 1 as part of Open Gardens Canberra.
Els’ philosophy of utilising plants to solve her garden’s issues have included a fast-growing Chinese jasmine to screen the neighbour’s shed, and a feijoa tree that barely fruits but offers cooling shade in summer to a favourite seating area.
“One of the things I love is that we have created so many places to sit,” Els says. “We use them all at different times of the year.”
As an agronomist, Els says her main interest had always been organic vegetables and her orchard includes nectarines, persimmons, grapes, figs and lemons.
With a mix of native and exotic plants, the garden features flowering grevilleas, banksias, callistemons and hakeas.
“There’s so much flowering at this time of year and we use all our different seating areas, including the new deck off the guest room in the front,” Els says.
“We sit much more outside than in.”
3 Ramage Place, Flynn, open 10am-4pm, over the weekend of October 31 and November 1. Admission $8; free to under-18s and Open Gardens Canberra members. It costs $25 to join for free entry to all open gardens until August 31. More information at opengardenscanberra.org.au/join
Photos by ANDREW FINCH