Open Garden / Boulders and bush, but nicer

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Diana Bennett’s garden in Cawell.
Diana Bennett’s garden in Cawell.
AN excellent Australian native garden in Calwell has been designed as a continuation of Tuggeranong Hill bushland.

Interesting form and foliage is a hallmark of the plantings with white-flowering shrubs, pink kunzeas, banksias, yellow Chrysocephalum apiculatum and lomandras.

Sensitively placed rocks enhance a beautiful naturalistic pond fed by a narrow tumbling creek.

“In my first few months at 72 Fidge Street, I would sit on the back veranda and ponder the future of the garden, which was then a neglected hotchpotch of exotic shrubs and small trees,” says owner Diana Bennett.

She wanted to replace the rotting wooden terracing in the back garden with something more lasting and one day, as she gazed up at the bush on Tuggeranong Hill with its many boulders, she had her “Eureka Moment!” –

boulders and bush, but nicer.

Diana’s garden will be open to the public as part of the Open Gardens Australia program on the weekend of Februry 14-15.

“The garden is now a colourful haven where native birds, frogs and other animals abound, and there is a sense of continuity with the hill,” she says.

“It is a place of peace and tranquillity.

“Work started in February 2002. The whole garden was demolished except for two big Photinia hedges along the eastern and southern back fences.

“Most of the stone retaining walls built after the original excavation of the site have been kept, but are now largely covered by plants.

“The rocks are a major design element throughout the garden. They are used as features in their own right, to define areas such as the creek, and with a particular type of planting such as on the rocky knolls.

“My first preference was for all plants to be indigenous to the region, but these plants are not always available, so I settled for ‘spirit of indigenous’.”

“The garden has matured over the years and is less densely planted, so that the basic structure really has an impact. The Eucalyptus manifera are now a very significant feature.

“My garden has now certainly evolved into my own little bit of bush.”

72 Fidge Street, Calwell, open 10am-4.30pm, Saturday and Sunday, February 14 and 15. Admission, $8 (under 18 free).


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