On Grand Final day eight members attended our garden visit to landscape designer, Merele’s Croydon North garden. Merele explained how the 4 year old garden took shape. Unfortunately, in order to erect a fence between properties, some original vegetation had to be removed, exposing Merele and daughter’s house to the main road. Merele set about planting to screen and to show off her favoured west Australian plants: mallee Eucalyptus leptophylla and E. dolychorhyncha, several eremophilas, grevilleas, a stunning Chorizema cordatum, Hardenbergia violacea and other species were planted. Merele’s garden is “densely planted in the way that Australian plants grow naturally, to help protect them from the wind, sun and predators”.
Of interest was a sport growing on Eremophila mackinlayi, the juvenile foliage of Eucalyptus lunata ‘Moon Lagoon’, an Eremophila splendens and an unnamed Scholtzia. On an exposed corner, Eremophila nivea had spread to 3m across and at 2m in height was a spectacular sight, other younger Mallee Eucs were starting to develop, Banksia praemorsa (red) in flower, Grevillea alpina ‘Warby Range’, Westringeas and Correas all fitting in.
Along a particularly hot stretch of concrete driveway, Eremophila freelingii, Isopogon, Darwinia and Dampiera were all thriving. On the shadier house side, Persoonia pinifolia, Spyridium, Correas, Chamelaucium and an Acacia gracilifolia combined well. Further along in a usually damp area, Callistemon, Melaleucas, Lambertia, a Correa and surprisingly a pink form of Eremophila drummondii were taking advantage of the extra moisture. Tall shrubs on the house side were protecting a Rhododendron lochiae, Boronia ‘Purple Jared’ and had several Epacris, reeds and grasses scrambling through.
Around in the back yard, her daughters cat breeding enterprise took everyone’s interest. Merele pointed out the large Eremophila alternifolia cross (large purple flower) which was overtaking plants all around – Grevillea juncifolia was flowering below and Eucalypt tetraptera reaching up. Further along was a E. albopurpurea, cream flowered, rather than the expected purple. Pimela nivea was doing well below and amongst the great variety of Merele’s planting, a showy red Grevillea at the end of the track had everyone oohing and aahhing. Indeed a beautiful garden with a host of genera and fascinating stories from Merele with each plant along the way.
Merele inspired us all as she spoke so thoughtfully about the characteristics of the plants and how she decides on placement and combinations.
Report by Peter Smith and Joanne Cairns