Edna Walling was one of Australia’s best known landscape gardeners. Both a gardener, writing for the1920’s publication Australian Home Beautiful and an accomplished photographer, she was commissioned by many distinctive owners, including the Murdoch’s of Cruden Farm.
Last night we stayed in a cottage in the Dandenongs, one hundred kilometers from our own home on the Mount, surrounded by her signature garden features – walled gardens and sweeping stone stairways. It was a delightful stay. The cottage was charming and our hosts friendly and accommodating. The property, known as Mawarra is referred to in many publications as one of her greatest achievements.
Edna’s memoir recalls the eureka moment when she suddenly understood something fundamental about how to develop her design style. At this time stone walls as a design feature, had rarely been used in public or private.. She was to describe Mawarra as a “symphony in steps and beautiful trees” and predicted that it would “weather into greater beauty as the years went on – she was right.
(Harding, Sue. The Unusual Life of Edna Walling, 2005, Allen & Unwin, 72-3.)
She also incorporated sundials, rock gardens, garden seats, sculptures and garden rooms, to name but a few.
The beauty of the surroundings is enhanced by her garden features.
a delicate, pink clematis
It was the stone walks which captured my interest as well as the stone steps which meandered throughout the property.
We both enjoyed this quiet and distinctive retreat. It made us appreciate what we also have in our garden – own own stone walls, garden rooms and flowering specimens.
A wonderful experience and what a historic garden to wake up to each morning – a sheer pleasure.
As any one with a large (or even not so large) garden knows, there are always jobs to do: extensive seasonal tasks like pruning and planting as well as weekend jobs such as raking and weeding. With so many tasks we are often left with little time and energy to simply sit and contemplate our efforts let alone the stillness and solace a garden can bring. So today, after we finished the mowing (well, Colin actually did that), the raking and the wheelbarrowing I have decided to spend some time at the back of the block, simply sitting and contemplating.
Though quite rugged and unruly, the back of our block extends to the next street via a series of steps. Flanked by rhododendrons, emerging, acanthus it winds its way down and up the hillside.
It can be a wild old place, this bush land but the newly mowed pathways help.
These little moments of quiet in our frantic world seem few and far between. The habits of keeping busy, keeping time and keeping track suffuse those little moments when we allow ourselves to stop, sit and listen to the rustling of the leaves in the breeze, chirping of the birds and the buzz of the insects. That’s what I’m doing now sitting on these old chairs. Join me for the outlook.
Here on the Mount it can be up to seven degrees cooler than in the city. The cool weather and the altitude can also impede our time outside. In my first few years here I used to garden in mid July wearing two pairs of gloves and two pairs of socks – on my feet, that is! By the time Spring came along I could sit back and enjoy my hard work. Some of those rewards are still evident in this cold climate garden.
The first iris of the season
The clematis searching for sun
Sitting here in the sun, I am reminded that the garden offers us such peace if we allow it to show us how to slow down and discover what it wants to tell us. How does the garden speak to you?
Share your gardening comments with me, I’d like to read your thoughts and suggestions for utilising both tasks and down time in the garden.
Father’s Day at a heritage listed mansion, Rippon Lea, built in1867 yielded its many treasures both inside and out. If you’re looking to upgrade your garden feature any time soon, here are my top ten suggestions
A Romanesque pool
With extra fountain!
A lady in waiting…
A thatched gazebo
A wind powered water source…
Some wagon wheels – strategically placed, of course
A pot or two …
A little lake.
With a foot bridge…
And a lake house…
Some rock feature..
To top it all off, a tower from which to view your vast garden empire!
I think I overshot my photos to twelve top garden must have’s.
We had a lovely day sitting in the sun – our first warm day and just in time for spring. Happy Father’s Day Dennis!