We purchased the six acre property in 1980 and discovered that lack of water and no soil was not a good combination for a garden.
I contented myself with growing orchids in bush houses and small gardens until in 1998 we went on a memorable trip and visited the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. I came back with re-newed enthusiasm and inspirations, determined to try harder to create my own patch of paradise.
Some left over rocks from a retaining wall we had built in Helidon Sandstone was the starting point which would help retain the desperately needed soil and mulch to create an oasis in these dry hills.
Although I have incorporated different garden areas flowing from one section to another, the basic construction is repeated. Sandstone Rocks retains soil, topped with layers of newspapers and finished with mulch and a sprinkler system, fed by rain water tanks.
Jim, has been invaluable in working out ways of cutting the sandstone blocks to make them go ‘further’, setting up the 16 water tanks, water retention systems and erecting seating areas to view and enjoy the garden.
Researching and trialling plants has been equally absorbing. My childhood memories of English gardens swayed me to incorporate roses, temperate plants in mixed borders and hedges, adding a little formality in this Australian bush. The bush is still a major part of the garden as the many Eucalyptus and Kurrajongs trees have grown up within the garden and have become the corner ‘stones’.
The olive grove slope/dry area has been an exciting change of gardening as my plans and search for dry plants took a new turn. I endeavour to look for new plants and landscaping ideas as Jim looks for ideas in building seats and sitting areas. Our grand-children love the walks around the garden discovering newly opened flowers and the passing wildlife.
Jan Flanigan Return to Home Page