Two delightful smaller gardens in Donvale

We rounded off this year’s garden visits as we had started, with visits to two smaller-sized gardens, this time in Donvale; those of Helen and Joe, and Nancy and Lee.

Joe, a former nurseryman and Maroondah APS member, outlined in his knowledgeable manner some of the problems of down-sizing.  Joe acknowledged the influence of Peg McAllister on his own ideas of an Australian garden.  Peg’s garden was largely open with not a lot of talls, but masses of daisies, flannel flowers, wahlenbergias and other small plants.  Joe and Helen’s garden echoed this, and he emphasised that he shied away from mulch to allow plants such as the above, and Ptilotus spathulatus and Podolepis jaceoides, to seed and spread “en masse”.  Amongst his taller shrubs/trees were both juvenile and adult foliaged Eucalyptus lunata, a brush cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis), Acacia cognata and a South African Leucospermum.  Joe’s native gardenia (Randia fitzalanii), three different forms of Templetonia retusa and a Verticordia plumosa were also worth noting, as was his planting of the nature strip.

Lee and Nancy’s garden is Lee’s creation as we know Nancy creates through her art and this was evident in pieces placed throughout the garden.  Lee has achieved much in a short time with some Eucalyptus caesia, several Grevilleas and a Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’ taking off.  The daisies here were also thriving (Lee using mulch), Brachyschome (perhaps ‘Happy Face’), forms of Chrysocephalum apiculatum and Bracteantha, and Xerochrysum all showing off.  A lovely Pimelea ferruginea, Philotheca ‘Cascade of Stars’, Epacris reclinata, Verticordia plumosa and a couple of amazing Leptospermums were full of flowers.  We walked past Lee’s trademark Banksia baueri to the newly planted back garden, to admire more of Nancy’s art work while we settled in to afternoon tea.  A most enjoyable day out.

Many thanks to Helen and Joe, Nancy and Lee, and all who shared their gardens with us this year.

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