An Australian country garden

millthorpemullchingMy last post from Australia before I return to real life.

I wanted to show you the amazing work being done on a small farm by my cousin Gordie and his partner Melissa out near Orange in central New South Wales. melissatucker

Near Milthorpe in fact. The most achingly cute village around.

I was too busy gawping when we drove through the place to take pictures; so please accept this website of the town to situate you.


It’s three and a half hours drive west from Sydney and looks like a great country village full of chic shops, great restaurants (one of which is the equivalent of a Michelin starred venue), and not even a supermarket – they have a providore. Ooh, get you. Festivals, events. Hot and cold running cool.

And just a few kilometres out of town (village) is a beautiful little five acre farm my cousin Gordie bought a while back.  How long? I forget, but he did the best thing imaginable as soon as he settled in.

He planted trees.

Lots and lots of trees.  And mulched like mad. I do love a well mulched garden.


And the two of them worked on the garden around the dramatic forest glades.

I especially love the way Melissa has created paths through this mixed gordienative woodland.  And just the volume of delights all around the house.

My cousin is one of those incredibly talented men who can hold down a full-time job, but rebuild a whole house in his spare time.

This year they will move in to begin their proper rural life. And I’m so pleased that the years of work is paying off.

If you see on the picture of the overhead shot, there are sheds. Gordie has sheds. He has toys.

He even let me climb onto his bulldozer.

But he wisely declined my keen mad look obulldozerf a woman who wants to take it out for a spin.

We spent two days out at the farm and it was just a walk and amble in awe.

There are chooks – ruled over by Pierre the cockerel; dogs, and a busy project everywhere you look.

But I’m never one just to gaze. There was a fun project to do as well.

Melissa has a perfect space for a vegetable garden.


Across the house and behind the picket fence. Right now it is laid to lawn. But we had an afternoon with chairs and measuring tapes, notepaper and rulers. And the form of a proper French potager is taking place.

potagermillthorpeI’ll need to draw up the garden to scale when I get back.

There is plenty of room here to make lots of structural paths and a big fruit cage.  The compost bins are already in place.


And we can do something fun with these huge tin planters.  They are everywhere in gardens around here. Raised beds of a sort.  More long-lasting than timber and cheaper.  Most people plant them up with vegetables. But here it could be a great idea to plant them up with roses.

The circular shape means that it will be tricky to reach in to get any decent weeding done in the middle.  And the top of the structure is sharp.

So if everything is repositioned to be symmetrical with the path from the lovely gate, then it will be pleasing to the eye.

potageredgeLuckily there is plenty already around the edges of the garden to attract bees, but the roses and more flowers in larger volumes around the future raised vegetable beds should help.  Look at that lush citrus bush (major citrus envy).

millthorpecrabapplesAnd I wanted to show a clever design element in the lower lawn.  The whole arc of the garden is planted with poplars and then crab apple trees.  And the under story is a long line of Agapanthus.

In the shade, out-of-the-way but doing a great job of being a well-behaved ground cover plant.mulchwork

One can have a surfeit of Agapanthus in this country. Boy, is it everywhere.  But this is the first garden where it looks like the gardener is in charge, not the plant.

And I’ll finish with a shot of Trumper, the puppy on the farm.  He is going to grow up faster than the next plantations of trees.