Garden History

A little bit about our weather.

We moved from Melbourne to the beautiful Kiewa valley in North East Victoria at the start of 2008.  One things for sure, make that two-You know when its Summer and you know when its Winter.

We’ve had two very dry years to start and then two very wet years and one highish rainfall year. First two years we averaged about 645mm and the two wet years the average was 1015mm.

The average rainfall for this area is 737.8mm. Quite a difference.

  We also have averaged 40 frosts per year. Highest recorded temp I have taken I think was about 45.6 oC and the lowest so far was about -3.4 0C.

So one can see plants that are drought hardy and frost hardy are desirable.  Some things I really like just have to be left behind in Melbourne.  Just like the Luculia gratissima I brought with us which never made it out of its pot.  Frizzled by heat or frost, take your pick.

That’s the good thing about gardening though you get to discover new plants that will survive in your area.  Whether you like it or not your climate dictates change, or you can spend countless hours trying to keep something alive that would like to move somewhere else.

Sometimes you will be surprised about the hardiness of plants as well, whether its frost or drought tolerance!


A little bit about our Garden.

The heading Garden History is a bit misleading I suppose in this instance since it only began its life in 2008.

This garden is a garden of plants, not so much a landscaped garden or one with views or vista’s or room’s.  Nothing wrong with these things of course, it’s just that I’m more interested in plants, and certain plant families at that.  Not half obvious what one’s they are!

We brought somewhere between 500-600 plants from Melbourne with us.  This included about 150 roses that had been dug up and potted out of our old garden.  When one has worked in a nursery it’s not hard to amass a small collection (or large) of strays.

Their wasn’t much of a garden here when we arrived, although there were two garden beds, one along the front of the house and the other along one end of the house.  I have kept these but totally replanted them.  The long bed along the front has two main flowering periods.  Spring and Autumn.  In spring the bed is underpinned by blossoms from Spiraea ‘Snowmound’, Spiraea cantoniensis, prunus subhirtella alba and a big swathe of Aquilegia alpina.  Helleborus are starting to multiply for a winter showing as well.


The main flowering plants in Autumn are Salvia involucrata sp. bethellii, S.‘Anthony Parker’, S. guaranitica, S.‘Magenta Magic and Pelargonium reniforme.

The garden bed at the end of the house has a main Spring flowering as well.  It includes Prunus……., Malus Ballerinas(upright-growing apples), Spiraea….., Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoille’ and Rosa ‘Constance Spry’.  This rose is interesting for the fact it was David Austins first rose success and that it looks like a heritage rose and flowers like one.  One profuse flowering in Spring.  Again this bed has Helleborus multiplying along with several different Campanulas as well.

The Rose garden is an area bordered by our tear drop shaped driveway, this was just grass, Agapanthus and a couple of Gum Tree’s.  So I divided it up into six beds with paths in between and started planting roses, still am sometimes!  The beds were divided into colour groups, dark pink, pink, white, yellow, white/blush pink and red.  This is not a strict arrangement though.  Underplanted with Salvias, Penstemons, Hollyhocks, Clematis and lots of other plants to numerous to mention, this makes a lovely show in spring.  Because  the majority of my roses are heritage varieties, they mainly flower in spring.


The Driveway Garden bed runs along one side of the driveway opposite the Rose Garden and both sides are lined by Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’.  The left hand side is a single row of Rosa ‘Evelyn’, a rose with a beautiful perfume used by Crabtree & Evelyn.  Two weeping Prunus mume frame the end of this part of the driveway.  daffodils make a nice show in late winter/early spring.

The Herb Garden is a garden set aside for herbs, or is it?  Maybe I should call it the overflow rose garden-get the picture!  I will say though, its edged with Thyme, Marjoram, Oregano and Coriander pops up here and there.  This garden is also home to some interesting Penstemons.  Penstemon pinifolius is a small Penstemon with fine leaves like a pine tree and small red flowers.  There is also P. centranthifolius, P. isophyllus, P. barbatus and P. ‘Purpleiciuos which is a hybrid of P. barbatus.

The Vegetable Garden is a  fenced off area with four rectangle beds in it.  Of note here is the fact that I’m not a great vegetable gardener, I’m more of an ornamental gardener.  I will have to work on this shortfall.  Some years though we’ve had great tomato crops despite the risk of fruit fly in this area which is a new thing for me.

The Orchard is  another loose term for what is the backyard.  Two double rows set out in an L formation give us about twenty fruit tree’s, with more to come no doubt.  Tree’s consist of Apricot, Almond, Cherry, Dutch Medlar, Plums, Prunes, Peaches, Pears, Nashi’s, Nectarines and Quince.

The Long Border is a long bed against the fence line, which again has its main flowering in Spring and Autumn.  The Spring flush includes Rose species and some Salvias, Kerria japonica and Philadelphus coronarius.  Then in Autumn more Salvias take up the slack.

The Pipe line

As with any gardener there are always dreams and plans of new beds, changing beds and extending beds.  Why? Well in my case new plants just seem to turn up at our place, board and lodgings have to be found for them!  The Herb Garden will be extended to accommodate more Penstemons, Viburnums, Salvias and other plants no doubt.  The Long Border will become even longer with more Roses, Penstemons, Salvias and a swag of Iris’s and plenty of other plants.  There will be two new beds outside our front fence, framing the driveway entrance.  These will include some tough drought tolerant plants,  Salvias I’m thinking.

As the garden evolves, I’m sure there will be more changes, more additions and deletions.  That’s just the nature of gardening.



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