Beyond the city, the bush garden calls….

Peter and Lyn have created a water wise, bush-style garden within 40 minutes of the city centre of Canberra. It has been a work in progress since 1981, and shows incredible dedication and talent.

IMG_7113 (1024x838)As they had chosen to live out of town, Peter and Lyn wanted the garden to blend in with the surrounding bushland.

All the dry stone retaining walls are made of excavated rock from the house site. Peter has constructed and built the walls, steps and structures…in fact….everything!

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The copper sculptures in the garden are designed by Annie Storey, and the corrugated water tanks and sandstone set them off well. Lovely to see the yellow flowering Acacia cognata spreading across the rocks.

There are some camellias, and other exotics tucked away in the front garden, but we are here in early December, when the real heat starts, so we are looking at the predominantly native parts of the garden. Beyond the water features, Peter has used more corrugated iron and sandstone as borders for garden beds.

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There is a dry creek bed….and grass tree

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kangaroo paw, golden correa, forbs, grasses, mountain devil and other local indigenous plants.

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Kangaroo paw

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Along the side walk are Waratahs, a flannel flower and Banksias.

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The kangaroo paws used to be in pots but are now doing well in the garden.

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Peter said he has a particular love for banksias and has many varieties behind the house. ”I like native plants as they flower for a much longer period of time and they attract so many birds.”

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The vegetable garden and orchard have become Lyn’s domain since she retired. The orchard provides them with lemons, nectarines, mandarins, cherries, pears, and the surrounding bushes are raspberries and blueberries and grapes.

(Lyn said some parts of the orchard are to be replaced, as the trees are too close together.)


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Here are the vegetable beds with strawberries, peas, beans, capsicum, eggplants, herbs, cucumber, corn and carrots and asparagus…all on four bed rotation.

Now that is organisation for you!

The potato bed has been designed to allow Lyn to open part of the fencing and harvest potatoes without disturbing the plant.

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There is a bed for rockmelons, pumpkins and zucchinis at the bottom of the dry stone retaining wall.

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As we  walk around the garden and back to the car, we see this glorious Grevillea with flowers like candles shining in the sun….

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and a Bottle Brush bursting with red flowers…………

and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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Thanks to Lyn and Peter for sharing this wonderful bush setting which is their home and garden.

This garden was part of Open Gardens Canberra


14 Replies to “Beyond the city, the bush garden calls….”

    1. Yes, the vegetable garden was amazing, what it is to have space like that!
      The rest will remind you of summer in Canberra…pretty dry now

  1. Fascinating! I wonder if the metal used in those raised beds gets too hot in that climate…LOVE the rock work. Will forward to a CA garden friend.

    1. It is an interesting garden, and all that rock work done by Peter! I don’t think Lyn and Peter’s raised beds would be too hot because they are not too high, but we do have a high raised bed for vegetables, and it is too hot in the middle of summer. However, it works well for winter vegetables.

  2. They’ve done a beautiful job. Such a fascinating assortment of plants – I love the grasses. And I think the vegetable garden is laid out wonderfully.

    1. The layout of the vegetable garden was inspiring…. so organised! It would be great to have that much space for the four year rotation plan. We came home with plenty of ideas!

  3. That is a beautiful garden, huge too. I love the hardscape elements, they fit the site so well. So nice to see gardens and plants so unlike we have in our area.

    1. Thanks for the comment Donna, I agree, this garden has been a life-long effort, doing everything themselves, and out of town! I couldn’t imagine doing that!

  4. A really lovely indigenous garden. I love the bottle brush tree. We had a couple in our garden in Johannesburg. How wonderful to have an orchard providing all that lovely fruit. The garden is truly a work of art.

    1. Yes Sylvia, I agree this is a really lovely indigenous garden, and what a lot of hard work Lyn and Peter have put into it!

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