“BUT wait, there’s more” might well be the theme for Sue and Martin Wright’s Kambah garden, with well-established plantings creating maximum privacy around a series of outdoor rooms and secret spaces.
While Martin and Sue had a professional design drawn up for the fan-shaped block in 1983, the 980sqm garden is strongly influenced by a hobby gardening course the couple did at CIT in 1975 with garden expert Tony Featherston.
“As per Tony’s guidance, we’ve avoided straight lines where we can and created garden ‘rooms’ and privacy with green walls, pittosporums, trees and brush fencing,” Martin says.
The front garden features an Asian-inspired top terrace with a bamboo forest, bonsai, torii gate, spill bowl and more than 15 different varieties of cut-leaf maples, which Martin hopes will be in full autumn colour on the open weekend of May 8-9.
Photos: Holly Treadaway
A sheltered fernery frames the right side of the house, featuring Monty Python fan Martin’s “Norwegian Blue, nailed to its perch and pining for the fjords”, he says, as well as hanging baskets, pots and wall containers.
A wooden sleeper path leads to a dry stone creek around an artificial lawn area with a Japanese elm as its centrepiece, which leads to the back deck off the house, packed with overflowing pots and a spa (Sue’s favourite spot).
Martin’s also created a hidden “service area” in what used to be the old veggie plot, with a series of Narnia-like sheds leading ever further back into the garden, combining a propagation area built from recycled materials, the washing line, worm farm, compost heaps and “plant hospital”.
Behind another “Secret Garden”-style wooden door at the back is a sunny Mediterranean-style courtyard, with an olive tree that “occasionally bears fruit”, espaliered fruit trees, ornamental grape and a cumquat tree, used for marmalade.
Martin says the garden includes “more than 200 containers of plants, 58 trees and six water features, supported by a dripper watering system of 20 stations utilising five tanks with a capacity of 13,500 litres” – and it’s all his own work, with some physical help from family, friends and contractors over the years.
“The garden is enjoyable, and we’ve made use of what we can,” he says.
“While I’m still working on some elements, the idea is for it to become more low maintenance from here.”
The Wright Place, 58 Faithfull Circuit, Kambah, will be open on Saturday, May 8 and Sunday, May 9, 10am-4pm. Entry is $10, children under 18 are free. Bookings essential on Eventbrite. There will be no ticket sales or memberships available at the gate. Join Open Gardens Canberra for $30 and all gardens are free for a year.