Sue Davison’s garden

Faced with huge trees, including an enormous radiata pine, as well as heavy clay soil, it was a challenge to create a garden on this 1230 sqm block. Due to the poor quality of the soil and heavy shade, many of the original Australian natives were in poor condition or dying. New garden beds were dug, some created using the no-dig method. By trial and error and with the help of Curly’s compost and added soil, a garden was established.

Camellias and azaleas were among the first exotics planted. After losing many other species it was decided to just plant those which thrived, mainly hebe, westringia, dietes, pittosporum and a few other hardy varieties, agapanthas being the predominant and hardiest of them all.

Gradually over the years, other plants have been added and nurtured but it has been difficult coping with the moisture-hungry pine that sucks the life from the soil.

Several trees were removed and others trimmed this year to allow more sun into the front area. As a result, a new flower bed has been added and many new Australian natives planted. As with most gardens, it is still a work in progress.

The back garden is predominantly shady, (a Summer blessing) so hellebores and ajuga thrive. Large trees — tulip, plane, Robinia, crab-apple, Manchurian pear, silver birches and apple trees as well as pittosporums, and a magnolia dominate the small area, however bulbs appear every Spring to add colour. The ornamental grape vine and white and pink wisteria bloom profusely on the pergola. The sloping garden on the western side is planted with olives, lavender, roses, irises, salvias, valerian, geranium and viburnum as well as countless herbs all in a tangled mess.

Ceramic art pieces are to be found scattered throughout and there are favourite seating areas in various locations.

For Sue, gardening is an escape from everyday issues and provides relaxation as well as much-needed exercise.