And so we started at the back …….

For the first 18 months we just cleared the areas where plants had been left to grow wild – blackberries and weeds of every sort were thriving – and no pruning meant ground covers had turned into bushes!.

Trees at Uccello Lane
We did the back first as there was a lot of undergrowth and snakes were on our mind. Trav the Treeman came to look at the many trees and pruned back as well as removing dead trees and dangerous branches. That made all the difference and we started to see how amazing the “bones” of the garden were – many large trees of all kinds – over 30 years old at least were priceless and remain to this day a feature of the garden.

“The Bank”
Next we looked at the at the gardens that we could through the windows from our house – “The Bank”. It was my view out of my study and as I work from home in 2020 I am so glad that we started the planting then – as it looks wonderful all year round. The Wisteria frames the view especially out of the conservatory.

Edibles
Just past “the Bank” is the edible garden. It is here we grow our vegetables especially tomatoes in raised garden beds. We have some flower beds to plant seasonal color like our poppies & cosmos, herbs like coriander, parsley and the rosemary hedge. Behind that is the chook pen “Casa di Paolo” and some fruit trees like lemon, pear & figs.

Next….
So by now we were ready to tackle the back area – it was vast but I had in mind a Secret Garden, a Birch Forest and a Wisteria Colonnade – I had been reading everything I could about Edna Walling & Ellis Stone. I wanted a natural roomed garden full of surprises but there was a lot of work ahead. Adam from Three Colors Green and I talked for ages – we thought we needed a plan – but as we later discovered everything evolved.

The Secret Garden
Wisteria Colonnade
Birch Forest
Edna Walling – Gardener

Mawarra: Circular Stairs to “The Pool”

In the centre is the sweeping circular stone staircase leading to the octagonal reflecting pond at the bottom, described by Edna as “a symphony of steps and beautiful trees”.

 

Mawarra: Trees most splendid!

Mawarra is an example of Edna Walling when given a blank canvas and a gentle slope at Sherbrooke in the Dandenongs in Victoria. The galleries below show the garden in mid-April in the most wonderful autumn colors- have a look at the wonderful trees and the steps and stones that take you there.

Trees

The standout feature of Mawarra are the tall amazing trees – planted to display the colors of Autumn and with different specimens everywhere.

Beautiful vistas and rare plantings coupled with winding paths traversing the grounds including the croquet lawn and a cottage garden.

Mawarra: Cottages, Plants and Vistas

Mawarra Garden is 3 acres with a large “manor” house built in 1932. Originally known as “The Grove” –  is recognised as Edna Walling’s most famous garden.

Also within the grounds is a cottage built in 1936 and based on Princess Elizabeth and Margaret’s life-sized dolls house at Royal Lodge Scotland,

Bickleigh Vale: the Village

Bickleigh Vale is named after a village in Devon where Edna Walling grew up. The cottages, which are located along a cul-de-sac, have British names too. There is ‘Glencairn’, ‘The Sheilan’, ‘Downderry’, ‘The Barn’ and ‘Badgers Wood’.

  • trees include oak, beech and birches.
  • gateways and paths that link the cottages.
  • birdbaths, stone walls and “Secret Rooms”
  • …..and always a Wisteria Colonnade

Gardening Australia – Fact Sheet: Bickleigh Vale

Wisteria Colonnade – it’s done and it is spectacular!

We had a wisteria that had been neglected on the back fence, but as you know that does not stop wisteria – in fact they thrive on neglect but it did not seem to flower!

It has been a couple of years in the making but yes the Wisteria Colonnade is now complete. It fits into the garden in scale and provides the feature against the back boundary where 5 Scarlet ash grow. Mary-lou’s tiles on the floor are perfect and sitting on the seat looking down over the garden is peaceful and rewarding in the early morning. The Secret Garden can be seen peeping through the Wisteria and is linked by a pathway that rambles down.

BEFORE

So once we had the birch forest we clearly had to have one of Edna Walling’s favorite features – a Colonnade. Edna Walling loved to put in colonnades and the wisteria is an obvious choice as they are so vigorous and when in flower provide a beautiful show. After discussions and pictures, Scott Brown said “yes, he would give it a crack – sort of like a fancy pergola”. So he built it – and then he fine tuned it, added more wire, draped the wisteria over it and guess what – Yes it was a Wisteria Colonnade!

Early days in the Lane – Before the first long hot summer

We arrived at Uccello Lane in  September 2012 and the garden was lush and green – overgrown but ready for work.

As the summer approached we were mindful that the growth had to be cleared back – in case of snakes and the like. Also we were constantly discovering plants hidden under trees or being strangled by natives left to overtake some areas. Six huge skips were filled quickly as we kept going deeper and deeper into the garden.

An amazing irrigation system was found plus there were at least 4 big water tanks which were filled from the runoff from the roof. Both these were a blessing in this first summer.