Botanical garden nirvana in suburbia


Terry and Mia’s beautifully landscaped garden has everything you could ever dream of – one could easily be mistaken for thinking you are entering a lush getaway resort and not a suburban Canberra block.

The front garden includes hardy hedges of Acca sellowiana, Teucrium fruticans and Nandina domestica.

The garden was established in 2002; unlike the gardens that their business, Foxy’s Landscapes creates, it evolved spontaneously and without a formal design. Both Terry, a horticulturist and landscaper, and Mia, a landscape architect, love plants and are especially inspired by texture – subsequently this element features strongly.

There are an astonishing range of plant types throughout, many of which are used to create overtly different garden styles. And it works, splendidly! Repetition of some species and thoughtful matching of leaf shapes, plant colours and shapes, have made it possible to grow subtropical, formal, informal, native and exotic plants in the one space.

Further adding to this harmony are the complementary soft and hard landscaping features. Terry said he loves the fact that the exclusivity of the garden cocoons its inhabitants from the outside world.

The unobtrusive boundary fences are open chain link, giving the feeling that you are visiting a 2-hectare property and not a 1,500sqm one. Adjacent properties include species of the same structural trees, further adding to this illusion.

Light has been cleverly used to bring the garden to life at night. One of the pieces, a conch shell, is made from upcycled motorbike spokes. The inside of the shell has a light which illuminates the beautiful hardwood slatted timber fence behind it.

The front garden includes hardy hedges of Acca sellowiana, Teucrium fruticans and Nandina domestica.

The front yard has Teucrium fruticans (Germander) and Acca sellowiana (Pineapple guava) hedges, both attractive and dry hardy plants. Nandina domestica cultivars are planted as foreground plantings to good effect. There are also several large and very beautiful Eucalypts, which give the area structure and add to the illusion that the house is part of the surrounding landscape.

The modest front lawn has both in-ground dripper and traditional pop-up spray systems. The dripper system is used when conditions are dry, especially when there are water restrictions in place and there isn’t much water around. The lines, which are designed to keep plant roots out, are buried 15cm below ground to prevent damage during routine lawn maintenance. The soil topdressing has a relatively high proportion of sand so that grass roots can penetrate more easily and access the water.

The back yard canopy includes 19 established gum trees, including Eucalyptus mannifera and E. rossii; six 20-year-old Brachychiton rupestris (Queensland Bottle Tree); multiple specimens of the local Brachychiton populneus (Kurrajong Tree); several species of palms including Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese Windmill Palm), Gingko biloba (Maidenhair Tree), and more.

The Brachychiton rupestris were planted 20 years ago as 140mm specimens. These stunners have it all – what surely must be the most architecturally inspired trunks of the plant world, shapely leaves, timely flame red flowers during the festive season, and year-round interest. Terry said they can be frost sensitive when young or when grown in an exposed position, but they are more than happy in a protected garden once established.

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