Welcome – Just a short history of our gardens and family life.
Gardens have always been a constant source of enjoyment in my life. Some of my first memories are of my father growing vegetables and Australian native plants, for which he had a passion. Several bridges were built over a creek which flowed through our suburban block where frogs, tadpoles and tortoises were often glimpsed. Living in the beautiful Sutherland Shire, my sisters, brother and I roamed freely in the nearby bushland, exploring creeks and generally enjoying nature.
Later, my parents bought a waterfront property at Yowie Bay (on the Port Hacking river), which is where I met my future husband. The garden was steep with outcrops of sandstone, which may explain my love of Australian bush rocks. Boating trips, swimming and sailing are among many pleasant memories of those years.
Our children were born in Sydney’s western suburbs, where we lived on a double block of land with a menagerie of dogs, chickens, ducks, canaries and budgerigars. We built rock gardens and planted many shrubs, trees and vegetables – the latter of which were quickly devoured by the resident sparrows.
Ten years later we relocated our family, dogs, chickens and ducks to a 40-acre hobby farm with an established stone fruit orchard at Colo Heights. Exciting times were ahead as we camped in a corrugated iron shed while building our kit home. Snakes had free entry as there were many gaps in the walls. On one notable occasion a red bellied black snake slid past the fuel stove as I was stirring a batch of Fig jam. Having visited a local goat dairy and purchased two dairy goats we then decided to attend the local farm auction at Windsor and returned with two bush goats. Later, Dallas – our daughter’s horse – joined our growing assortment of animals. Enjoying the fruits from the orchard we also planted a vegetable garden which was watered by a large dam. Access to virgin bush was a bonus as were the waratahs, boronias, flannel flowers, grass trees, bush orchids and many other native plants growing in proliferation just a short stroll down the fire trail.
After an uncle suggested that we should try “real” farming, we bought a grazing property in the New England area of New South Wales. Traveling up the New England Highway with a strange assortment of animals in our vehicles – chickens, ducks, goats and dogs – we made an unusual convoy. Soon we added 1,500 sheep, 50 assorted cattle, working dogs, horses, dairy goats, and bees. After attending the Sydney Royal Easter Show, I bought my first registered dairy goat and established a dairy goat stud. There was an existing garden on the property with some nice shrubs, however with many so animals to attend to there wasn’t much time to devote to gardening.
Realizing our children would eventually leave home one by one to seek further education and employment, we decided to sell the farm and bought a house on one and a half acres on the Central Coast. It was a lovely spot set high above the valley with exciting potential for a garden. The property backed onto a reserve and once again we had access to wonderfully unspoiled native bushland. Pottery and sculpture was my next passion and many owls and pagodas have since adorned our gardens.
Wanting a sea change, we relocated to Port Stephens and another new garden. Water views, dry stone garden walls and shade trees made this garden very inviting. After completing a course in permaculture, we added a productive food garden. Swimming, boating, canoeing and walking on the many boardwalks and trails in the Tilligerry Peninsular and habitat with a proliferation of native flora and fauna was an amazing lifestyle.
Five years ago, we returned to the Central Coast and now own a smaller garden. Nicely landscaped and again situated on a slope it is a garden of many levels. As I survey the garden – a favourite pastime – I am reminded of all the plants given to me by my sisters, our children, nieces and neighbours which often feature in my blog photos. Satin Bower birds, King Parrots, Blue faced- honey eaters, Eastern Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeets and Kookaburras, all make frequent appearances and enjoy splashing in the birdbath. Our newly planted raised vegetable and herb gardens are coming into production- guarded by a collection of pottery and concrete owls – to deter feasting Bower Birds…
I hope you enjoy my blog and thanks for visiting!