Pandemic Autumn – one year on

Summer never really happened so it was no surprise that the leaves on the apple tree which is our indicator that Autumn is here in 2021 – suddenly turn red overnight (or so it seemed.)

Everything was lush and had great summer growth. The woodland flourished and salvias grew over a metre tall in a few short months. But most splendid of all was the Louis van Houtte Elm – it’s lime foliage and beautiful leaves dominate the drive in – with the ghost gum in front – spectacular.
We were just getting used to being back in the garden when another lockdown came and the weather seemed to get cold very quickly.

Pandemic Winter

There has been lots of rain, some snow and the camellias have never been better! A strange time at Uccello Lane but the garden has been such an escape from real life of COVID and lockdown – the birches with the hellebore (another star this winter) underneath.
The lawns are lush and there is growth everywhere – even now blossoms are starting.
The artichokes have been moved down to the roses and provide that great arching foliage. Kangaroos and kookaburras visiting while Bonnie Dog tries to control the rabbit population!

Pandemic Summer

2021 Summer bought with it rain followed by warm days – followed by rain. Growth has been amazing – it was only in early January that we could feel the heat and the grass is drying off. The roses have been magnificent. We planted Lambs Ears with an artichoke border around the Rosa di Pergolato -plus geraniums and carnations just for more color. The result was so much better than we expected even if the Lamb’s Ears got away from us and had to be severely cut back.

We added another Secret Garden. We put a gate at the top of the bank which leads to a path that gives you a view of the whole back garden – and best thing is you are totally hidden. You just walk past the white seat and follow the stairs. Then you are at the viewing seat to look at the chooks!. A perfect lockdown sitting spot.

Pandemic Spring

2020 Spring has arrived – the wisteria and cherry blossoms have never looked better – they don’t care about pandemics!
The Silver Birches really are the tree that keeps on giving no matter what the season or if we are in lockdown. During winter and emerging into spring with no leaves just that creamy bark with black branches. It is time for the bulbs to have their turn in the sun – the hellebores are first, then the bluebells and daffodils – the iris and tulips are almost ready – and the freshia’s came out today!
The birds are everywhere building nests and fighting for a bath.

The “Welcome Beds” – via Protea Avenue

The “Welcome Beds” – as you drive up the Lane you will pass through two garden beds which includes Protea Avenue. There are mainly natives with protea, leucadendrons, banksias, waratah and Stuart desert pea ground cover going over the rocks. There are bird baths & houses – and some wooden mushrooms.

Winter at the Lane

Winter at the Lane is a special time – autumn has meant leaves have fallen and the great structure of the trees and plants are revealed. It is really striking to see as the days get longer and colder. The Wisteria Colonnade is bare and the Elm over looking the Secret Garden turns to yellow and then drops its leaves over just two days. The white bark of the birch trees look like parchment and we wait for the under plantings of hellebores and daffodils to emerge.

We have just come out of winter in the Pandemic – and really nothing changed except we got to enjoy the garden looking out of the windows!

Seats, Statues and a giant Apple

In the garden there are bird houses, baths, a giant apple, emu, concrete koala and angel – and mushrooms… Seating is always close by – and helps to make sure everyone is well rested while walking around.

Kitchen Garden with a Willow Fence

I first saw a kitchen garden with a willow fence at Stonefields with cane cloche’s over the plants………and thought at one point I could in fact make one myself.

However Tim who sometimes gardens at Uccello Lane (and many other things as well) not only could make one BUT knew where to get the willow – so the willow fence with a small gate was built.


Outside the kitchen is fairly dark due to some magnolias and trees from next door so we had to be careful about what we planted – and eventually went to pots that could be moved into the sun. In some small raised wooden beds we put in spring onions and basil. Fennel went wild along with ornamental kale and rocket! The citronella, chamomile and parsley went well. The rhubarb struggled a bit so we replanted it up the back where the kangaroos ate it!

Gang Gang Cockatoo

The Gang Gang cockatoo are not often seen and keep to themselves. They are not hard to miss as the male has a distinctive scarlet red head and crest, with the rest of the body slate-grey. The female has a dark grey head and crest, with the feathers of the underparts edged pink and yellow.
We don’t have many photos of them at Uccello Lane – and that is not for want of trying!

“Red Garden” – with the Westringa Balls

At the back once you get past the native garden and the Wisteria Colonnade – you will find the “Red Garden” – this marks the boundary of Uccello Lane – with a row of Claret Ash, some grasses, Red Hot pokers and the red Fire Bush plant! The Westringa balls with their grey foliage provide a great contrast – with the tall gums signalling that we are at the fence line.

Secret Garden – outside the wall

One side of the Secret Garden wall looked up to the Birch Forest and the Wisteria Colonnade where we had done a lot of work and was shaded by the wonderful elm tree. The other side was really just a dumping ground for garden rubbish and had a very steep slope. Initially it was also dark as a row of Cyprus trees from next door blocked out the sun. These trees got the “Cyprus canker”  that caused them to have die-back – they were removed by our neighbour and so much light was let in we knew it was time to continue the path around the wall to join onto “Edna Walling Walk” via “Crabapple Walk”…..


Building the path and the retaining wall was a big job – there was drainage to consider and we wanted to keep some of the banksia trees as the birds loved them (mainly the nuts to crunch on).

Adam from Three Colors Green worked out a plan on the fly with levels – it was a busy day!

Firstly we planted the lavender hedge and some salvias. The color was purple and it looked perfect against the sand colored walls. Then as often happened in making this garden things changed – Adam came across a large tree fern which needed “re-housing” from another job – and soon we had 3 and a fernery emerged. We bought other ferns and the environment (dappled shade) was ideal. We had never been a “fernery” type of gardener since probably the 80″s but it seems just like it was always there. You turn the corner of the Secret garden and there is is – through an “arch” created by the banksia trees.

On the ground we planted Heucheras of many colors, succulents and tiny ferns that grew quickly and spread. Even an orchid!

Natives Garden – beside the back gate…

Past the edibles and through the gate is the native garden – wattle to the right and then Correa and native plants mixed in with some sedum “Summer Joy”. The soil here was terrible – tee trees had made planting difficult and the only plants that survived were natives.
Firstly we cleared the scrubby trees and weeds, put down some soil and compost then mulched and just let everything settle for a year or so. There were rocks and established trees – but very shady and for ages we would stand and look at this and wonder what to do.
So we decided to plant anything that we just liked – providing is was shade loving, tough and if possible a native. This included a box hedge (normally you see these with White Iceberg Roses) which we have never trimmed.
Also a Bird House and a large “formal” urn, some westringa “balls” and a Ginko! I know it sounds a bit hotch potch – but we figured when you don’t know what to plant – then go for things you like!
Once it  established we made a path to the tea trees where we put a seat to view the chooks – then put a gate at the entrance and created our new favourite “Secret Garden”
There were other native areas like the Welcome Beds and in the Woodland but it is here that the natives really shine because they keep on going despite poor soil, little water and shady light!

Edibles – and the chooks are back!

Next to “The Bank” is the Edibles area.
When we first came there were only roses and lots of random plants including Agapantha’s and a huge hedge of Seaside daisies
We built raised garden beds, and a large chook pen area called Casa di Paola with a Rosemary herb wall. We are constantly changing the plants seeing what works – sage ended up taking a whole bed here but when we moved it to the kitchen garden it looked very sad – too shady. The artichokes where amazing but HUGE – so we have now put them with the roses and lambs ears – and everyone is happy.