Hartvale: a country garden in the Blue Mountains

stunning views of Mt Clarence.

This is a trip down memory lane for Paul and I, we often drove through the Blue Mountains on our way to Bathurst, the town where we met while at university (now known Charles Sturt University)

That was a long time ago, but the views of the mountains are just as beautiful and the people as friendly and hospitable as ever.

Hartvale is a country house and garden, nestled on five gently undulating acres at the base of Mount York, with wonderful valley and escarpment views to Mount Clarence.

The beautiful Hartley Valley is sometimes shrouded in mist in the mornings, has winter frosts, occasional snow, and warm to hot summers. In other words a bit of everything!

The owners of the property are Pete Kube, a builder, and his partner, Jennifer Edwards, an artist. They were inspired by the views to build this lovely house and garden, and their energy and artistic talents are obvious in a garden that is only three and a half years old!

The wide driveway leading up through the garden is edged with colourful cottage garden flowers. All the building materials used are recycled, giving the garden a sense of history.

The soil is clay based and needs plenty of compost, organic matter and regular bales of straw to protect against the heat and frosts.

The greenhouse has a big crop of tomatoes, and the surrounds are full of vegetables, and salvias, marigolds, Californian poppies..

Nasturtiums, salvias, marigolds, roses, daisies, dahlias….colour and greenery for our heart’s delight. The lush greens and colours are especially pleasant to see, this has been a year of abundant rain and a mild summer, and plants are not worn out from the heat!

Pete Kube said during the 2020 COVID year, he built a poly-tunnel, and installed a water tank…a very impressive and productive way to spend a COVID year!

The poly-tunnel will be used for all the winter vegetables..

I think, both the poly-tunnel and the tank are amongst the biggest I have seen in a country garden. They are well prepared for severe cold and most importantly, drought.

It is a universal truth that with gardens come opportunists! I did hear a conversation amongst locals about the problems of keeping the cockatoos away from the apple and pear crops….(can’t you just imagine?) Not to mention kangaroos eating the lush sweet grass and rabbits eating vegetables, possums competing with the bird life for fruit!

Along the winding driveway is another small shed in the potager garden.

Here is a place to sit and look at the garden, watch the birds…. or just to rest from the heat of the day during summer…

Looking down from the house, the upper and lower parts of the garden are divided by Eucalyptus trees, shrubs and Royal Gala apple trees espaliered along the fence.

We admired the apples on the fence, but neither of us took a photo of it, perhaps too busy with our coffee, which was offered on the front veranda of the house.

Another inspiring part of the garden is Jennifer’s artist’s studio. She takes inspiration from her surroundings….

Her studio is full of oil paintings of birds, flowers and landscapes.

While we were in the artist’s studio Paul took a photo of the view through a large window… no wonder Jennifer is inspired to paint…

It reminds me of a lovely quote by Monet ;

my wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature”

It was a pleasure to wander through this country garden, with so much colour, space, and the gentle feeling to time slowing down, far away from the worried Covid world.

Thank you for reading my blog today, and where ever you are in the world, may you enjoy your autumn or spring weather, and be inspired by gardens such as this.

Copyright: Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved

30 Replies to “Hartvale: a country garden in the Blue Mountains”

  1. What a most beautiful place. Thanks for showing us round. I enjoyed the Monet quote too, I hadn’t read it before.

    1. Thanks Susan, yes a lovely quote from Monet, and what a lovely garden he had to spend time in….we visited on a rainy day, but still nice to see it and his house.

  2. You are right, Geraldine. I would love a spin round this beautiful garden. I would also love to sit and ponder in that gorgeous shed …. every gardener needs one!

  3. Love, love, love the gardens, sheds, greenhouses, and garden art. This is a truly lovely place. I had to smile at the birds and the roos causing conflict. We have plain old squirrels, chipmunks and crows. 🙂 I think someone has a new blog layout – looking nice.

    1. I thought you could fill the shed with lots of quilting projects! Yes the birds and possums and roos can be a challenge…but we wouldn’t know what to do with squirrels and chipmunks!

  4. My oh my! What a delight to take a tour of this garden with you. In fact, I had to go around more than once. Not only was I struck by the beauty, but I was also taken with the care and thought that went into living on this particular piece of land. Wonderful!

    1. Thanks Laurie, I agree, they had taken a great deal of care with their garden and house, and it fits the landscape very well, a bit like your house, in a very different landscape!

    1. The Blue Mountains here are covered with Eucalyptus trees, and as I understand it, they exude a fine mist of oil, giving a blue look….now I’m going to look up the Blue Ridge in Virginia!

  5. What a perfect piece of paradise, Gerry. The owners are obviously very hard-working and so talented. The Monet quote is so apt too. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos.

    1. Thanks Sylvia. Yes I agree, the gardeners must be a very hard working couple, and a good way to get yourself through a pandemic! I love Monet’s quote too.

  6. Thank you for taking me on a tour of this most wonderful garden, Gerry. It really is surprising that it is only three years old. I love the way that they have used only recycled materials to construct all the buildings, fences etc. I hope you and your family are keeping well.

    1. Thanks Clare, it was a wonderful garden to visit, and I too, was very impressed by the owner using recycled materials. Our family are all keeping well, and this year, the vaccine rollout has started, so we are all feeling a bit more relaxed.

  7. Oh my, what a beautiful corner of nature (I think you struck a chord in all of us with your Monet quote). I am gobsmacked to think they did that in three years, though. They must not sleep.

    1. The couple who own this lovely house and garden are very industrious I agree! Yes, Monet’s quote definitely strikes a chord with most gardeners…I love it!

  8. What a beautiful garden, and close to us, as we drive through Hartley frequently on our way to Sydney. I am putting it on my list of gardens to visit! I’d love to be able to spend some time relaxing in that potager garden shed. Mr MG is impressed with the studio.
    If you should travel that way again, ‘Hillandale’ at Yetholme is another gorgeous garden with a fabulous 200m perennial border which is definitely worth seeing.

    1. Yes, I did think of you when we visited Little Hartley, I’m sure you would enjoy the garden and get plenty of ideas, both from the garden, and of course, especially the studio and garden shed. I’d love a writing studio like that! We did visit another, quite different garden also in Hartley, called Highfield…very different and very interesting, but I wasn’t happy with the photos I took, and I thought it would be a good spring garden to visit.
      Yes, we went to Hillandale about three years ago, it was lovely then, and it looks even better now, from photos I have seen. When we planned the trip to the Blue Mountains, we considered going on to Hillandale, but just didn’t have the time…but it is one my list to go again.

  9. Just saw this beautiful article about our garden and wanted to thank you very much for writing it. Much appreciated, Jennifer Edwards

    1. Thanks Jennifer, Paul and I had a lovely afternoon looking around your garden, and we were amazed at all the work you had both done in such a short time. The cottage garden was particularly pretty with the studio nearby, the envy of many gardeners.
      Best wishes and happy gardening!

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