Open garden / Cool and shady among the natives

Janine Hunstone... “Natives are not in your face, and I feel they encourage quiet time.” Photo by Andrew Finch

Janine Hunstone… “Natives are not in your face, and I feel they encourage quiet time.” Photo by Andrew Finch

GARDEN designer Janine Hunstone works outside a lot, so a cool, shady garden at her home was high on her list of priorities.

“When we moved in about 15 years ago, the back was all lawn, with one large tree stump and a couple of ornamental plums,” she says.

“It all had to come out and I tried to create a little shady oasis because I didn’t want to be in the sun.

“I planted eucalypts for dappled shade, then worked down from there. I love lots of little plants but there’s not a lot in the middle.”

Janine’s predominantly native garden in Duffy will be open for the first time on the weekend of October 3-4 as part of Open Gardens Canberra.

With pebbled pathways leading past hundreds of varieties of natives and a series of wooden decks that frame the house, Janine says she loves the small exotics bed, which features hellebores, daphne, osmanthus, Japanese maple and wild strawberry.

“The garden is pretty low maintenance now, but I spend a lot of time planting because I’m obsessed,” she says.

“I created all these lovely sitting areas, but I never sit outside. I’m always seeing something to do and I start pottering instead.”

Janine says she loves the relaxed feel of the garden; and that she can go out barefoot without sunscreen thanks to the canopy of eucalypts.

“I have a good selection of dwarf gums which are so important for habitat,” she says.

“I love the bark and the open canopy they provide, with light still coming through.”

The garden is 95 per cent natives, as Janine says she finds them interesting and unusual, particularly the epacris and ferns in the front.

“Natives are not in your face, and I feel they encourage quiet time,” she says.

“I like that they’re not show ponies and that you really have to stop and look at them to see their beauty.”
7 Tinaroo Place, Duffy, open 10am-4pm, on Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4. 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


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