Over the fence

Like most keen gardeners I’m always keen to see what is growing over my neighbours’ fence. Come spring and the upswing in gardens open to the public through the Open Garden Scheme I can indulge myself without fear of legal action.

This past weekend we went and visited a garden full of Australian native plants in Aranda. This garden is 10 years old and has been created on a steeply sloping site.


The current owners decided early that they would only grow native plants. While they were orginally interested in having a specimen garden, showcasing one off plants such as this Emu Bush…


and this Scarlet wattle


they subsequently developed a broader focus on the plants of the Southern Tablelands.

What I always find interesting is how people choose to display their plants. In this case two different coloured Hardenbergias have been displayed as ‘weeping’ forms, rather than the usual way of letting them sprawl over the ground.


By coincidence, on Gardening Australia this past weekend Sophie Thompson was showing how to train a Hardenbergia as a climbing plant over a fence.

One thing I did admire was the owners’ small bowl of native Greenhood orchids – not an easy plant to grow. I believe I even heard myself saying to the owner “I do envy you your Pterostylis”. (Just the sort of dead posh thing one wants to be able to say to a fellow enthusiast!). Small but perfectly formed as they say.


The steepness of the front of the block would be a challenge to anyone. After heavy rain the garden kept moving downslope so the owners put in swale drains to slow the water down and provide a slow release of water into the garden.


It certainly has done this Grevillea sericea (the Pink Spider Flower) the world of good.


If you are inspired there are plenty of local gardens to suit all tastes and interests on display in Canberra and surrounding districts. You can get an idea from the Open Gardens website (link above) and check out the Visit your state and Special events buttons. Just be warned these are not complete listings, you’ll need the book for that (available from your local newsagent) .

One Open Garden coming up at the end of this month and recommended by TB and myself, is the Allsun Organic Fair, at Gundaroo on 30 and 31 October, which displays not only organic gardening techniques, demonstrations and talks, but has a great range of stalls, including yummy food – allow yourself a good half day.

If you are interested in buying some native plants the Australian Native Plant Society, Canberra Region, is holding one of its plant sales on
Saturday 16 October, 8.30 to 2.00pm or until sold out (our advice – go very early) in the Southern Carpark of the Australian National Botanic Gardens.


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