Recently Kieron, Diane, and Jo visited a long-term customer and one of our favourite gardens.
Leonie Leonard lives on a rural property close to Canberra. Leonie and Andrew moved onto their land in 1994, just one year before we opened Greengold Nursery. Leonie has been a regular customer in our nursery for over 20 years, and we have enjoyed watching her garden grow over that time.
It is an excellent garden which has been featured in the Open Gardens Scheme, and her garden also features in the book The Canberra Gardener.
We asked Leonie a number of questions during our visit to her property.
“A rose garden greets you at the entrance to the property, and they have positioned numerous rooms from which to view their spectacular natural backdrop of rock walls, valleys and their creek.”
Was the garden established or did you start from scratch?
Leonie moved into her home with no established garden. The area was sloping and needed to be tiered. Leonie initially consulted a garden designer to get the ball rolling, but the majority of the garden evolved through her own ideas over many years. With an acre of garden, Leonie and Andrew have created many different garden rooms, one leading into the other and all with various points of interest. A rose garden greets you at the entrance to the property, and they have positioned numerous rooms from which to view their spectacular natural backdrop of rock walls, valleys and their creek.
Paths lead you from an open lawn, which is surrounded by a sloping garden, to various feature points that Leonie has created. These include a lovely water fountain, a beautiful Wisteria walk, tiered sitting areas surrounded by gardens and many beautiful feature trees. There is a combination of exotic and native plants used in the garden to create a nice balance of colour, form, texture and interest. Leonie has also used many feature pots around the house for colour interest and special plant species. There is also an orchard as well as a large vegetable garden.
What is your favourite shrub, tree, or groundcover?
Leonie’s favourite plants are Salvias, of which she has many varieties (we even have one of her Salvias growing proudly in our garden from a cutting she gave us a few years ago). Her Wisteria walk is a real feature in her garden, with pink, white and purple racemes hanging gracefully from an extensive arbour. There are many Viburnum varieties throughout the garden, including a mixed Viburnum border along the boundary of the garden.
What are some tips that you would offer to anyone about starting or maintaining a rural garden?
Leonie’s tips for starting a large rural garden are:
- Careful plant selection; utilising and planting what works well in your area.
- Consideration of potential weed species (some species of Euphorbia and Poppy self-seeded and were/are difficult to eradicate).
- Soil preparation and mulching is very important.
- A garden is always evolving. It’s a matter of trial and error and figuring out what works where.
Some challenges in the garden were rocky ground and poor soil. This was, and still is, very hard work when planting.
The Greengold team thank Leonie and Andrew for the warm hospitality and the delicious scones. It was truly a delight to be welcomed into such a creative county garden. Thank you!