Home Grown Glory

Diana McGregor of Nangare with her landscape plan manifested.

Anyone who has visited French artist Monet’s garden in Giverny will know its beauty and why the great master considered his garden his greatest creative art and painted it so much.

Our new garden is also a living work of art and is beginning to flower to create a soft delicate space. The gerberas, lilium, lavender, daisies, salvia and 400 other varieties spread across the large allotment are a showpiece already after only five weeks! Pinks and purples dominate a colourful palette.

The new garden is designed around the bones of the old garden which somehow survived the building process. The hedge of pittosporum, the 30-year-old weeping Cyprus, husband Olivier’s much-loved pond, tough-as-boots agapanthus  and an old English elm which was savagely cut back to spawn new life.

We gave a simple brief to landscape designer Diana McGregor – a variety of foliage, some bougainvillea, roses and lavender, a kitchen herb garden and several flowering shrubs for indoor floral arrangements. We wanted the garden to be an interesting, ever-changing experience.

A “Windsor Green”  lawn was to be reconstructed around the Cyprus. And there was to be only one new tree – a Gleditsia – because we do not want to cover up our natural environment – a circle of huge gums and pines. And there were some ugly spots to be camouflaged.

Her selection – much of which I have never heard of – is proving to be spectacular, particularly the lush-leafed magnolia, the crepe Myrtle, a wisteria growing up framework and the proliferation of native grasses.  Small flowering shrubs and creeping rosemary create an interesting entrance along the steps and my cottage garden bordering my study is defined by a beautiful border of French lavender – Augusta folia “nana” which Diana had propagated from her own garden stock.   The beginnings of the rear garden has a border of baby bougainvillea, which need to tumble down to cover the huge concrete walling which was required by council.

Ours will be a low-maintenance garden when the plantings have covered the thick mulch and importantly a pleasure in our lives. Such as the young herb garden of parsley, marjoram and thyme as well as borich, tarragon and a curry plant, bordering the winding paved pathway.

Diana has been designing Australian gardens for 35 years and she has played an important role in the development of an Australian garden style, something Holly Kerr Forsyth calls “botanical fashion”. Yet, like its owners, our garden has a touch of Frenchness – a sweet-smelling lavender hedge. Roses, irises and peony will be our own selections over time. Enjoy our photo gallery.




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