I began with improving the original quarter acre property by bringing in lots of good garden soil to create mounds which would give a good basis for the growth of the plants. Of course the pencil pines went as did most of the grass.
The canopy of the first stage of this garden is provided by over a hundred different species of palms, a lot of which came from earlier collection trips into the jungles of Indonesia and Malaysia. Once the canopy was established, I was able to introduce more of the undergrowth plants which require shade. The original garden is more of a rainforest jungle comprising mostly of foliage plants.
After several years a swimming pool was added and this gave me the opportunity for further landscaping. The garden was soon attracting attention and was starting to appear in several garden magazines.
It was 10 years later that I was able to buy the house next door and extend my garden; which was developed into a series of bush houses for my extensive collection of Cordylines.
I soon began opening the garden to the public as part of a National Garden Scheme. At that time, I was the only Tropical Garden in the Scheme as most gardens were either native or cottage style.
The greatest change to the garden came with the purchase of the third block. (I use to peer over the back fence and salivate at the thought of what I could do with their backyard.) So when the opportunity arose, well what else could I do?
This proved to be my greatest challenge and my greatest triumph. My first step was to demolish the bush houses and to marry the two adjoining backyards into one large vacant block on which to paint my canvas, a total area of about 1000sqm.
I began by bringing in 650 cubic meters of garden soil so as to create different levels which would give interest to the garden. A large water feature which includes a pond and a cascading waterfall were to be the focal point. A Balinese pavilion to over look the garden was the final structure to be added.
I was able to go completely berserk, with the plantings in this new section, which would differ completely from the rainforest plantings of the original garden.
It was here that I was able to introduce my passion for all plants tropical.
Heliconias, Gingers, Frangipani’s, Crotons, Cordylines, Bromeliads, Clumping Bamboos and a few palms formed the major plantings.
The garden is revealed through a series of “Garden Rooms” each with their own water feature. This combined with screening plants along the boundaries give the impression of the garden being much larger than it actually is.
Stone artifacts were sourced from my regular trips to Bali and strategically placed to complete the Tropical Asian Style. Several years ago a small traditional Balinese style house, which came over in two large shipping containers, was added to the garden as a place to reflect and enjoy ones surroundings.
Thanks to good soil preparation and having the benefit of bore water, the garden has matured beyond its years. It has given me, and continues to give me, enormous pleasures. I am always trialing new plants as they become available but hopefully never compromising on my original design. The garden will always be in a constant state of flux and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
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