A few weeks ago, we drove to a regional city not far from Canberra, called Wagga Wagga. Just outside of the city is Ladysmith Park Perennial garden, a wonderful country garden and nursery … what a day we had!
This garden and nursery have been designed and planted as a family team effort, with Brett Stevenson and his daughter Jacqui at the helm.
Brett and his family were living in Sydney, when Brett had a swimming accident in 2010, and became a paraplegic. Brett had been brought up in the country, and was a keen gardener. His daughter Jacqui was completing a degree in Landscape Architecture at University of NSW…and in time she was awarded honours. They both loved the idea of having a garden and nursery in the country and in 2017 they found the right property for their family at Ladysmith in the Riverina district…..such strength and resilience to make this decision.
On a very warm summer morning we drove through the gate and parked the car near a field full of garden beds. Brett’s wife told us they called the garden beds ”mother beds” full of flowers, grasses and flowering perennials.
The plants in these beds are used for propagation and pollination and are a good indicator of which plants will survive and thrive in this climate.
The climate in this district is similar to Canberra, hot dry summers and cool winters.
The mean temperature is: summer 32 degrees (C) 90 (F) winter is -3 degrees (C) 37(F)
The rainfall is 570 mm (22 inches approx) per year.
We spent a lot of time looking at the beds full of flowering salvias, all of which were suited to our garden…
During the time Brett and Jacqui were doing their research into starting a garden they were inspired by the Perennial Movement and now their homestead garden is full of colourful perennials and grasses…every part of it is an inspiration.
The homestead garden begins with a pond and colourful circular garden beds around it.
This perennial garden is a continual ‘work in progress’ to improve the drought tolerance and resilience of the perennials.
The family collect seed banks each year from their garden and propagate them. The results in the nursery are very strong healthy seedlings and shrubs.
Despite the fact that the garden was gleaming with recent rain, and gorgeous greenery at every turn, the gardeners in this part of the world are always aware of dry periods and drought.
As the day was getting warmer, we sat, for a while, on the veranda of the homestead and spent time looking around and enjoying the cool green grass, the shady trees and the beautiful grasses, waving in a gentle breeze.
From the veranda of the house we could see thickly planted bushes, shrubs and grasses all along the back fence of the garden.
Across from the garden were fields with cattle grazing under the enormous Eucalyptus trees.
At the end of the homestead veranda was another pleasant place to sit…
Amongst the grasses and the rocks is a small waterfall and pond, a haven for frogs!
At the end of the day, we went back to the nursery and bought some plants to take home… big decisions… and some of our favourites were sold out. (Echinacea ‘white swan’ being one.)
Never mind we’ll be back.
A big congratulations to the Stevenson family for such a professional and interesting nursery. We had an inspiring day, in every way.
Ladysmith Perennial Garden has an Open Day on 1st April 2023.
Best wishes to everyone, and may you enjoy a pleasant season where ever you are in the world.
Copyright: Geraldine Mackey