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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Kerry and Kerry’s cottage-style garden

Kerry and Kerry live in a Federation-style home on an 800m southside block. K2, along with help from K1, has transformed the once rundown garden over the past eight and a half years. K2 says gardening is an escape and an opportunity to create a peaceful living environment. Her background in the production nursery industry, including specialising in Camellia, Azalea, Fuchsia and grafted conifer propagation, has influenced her passion for cottage-style gardens.

Aquilegia ‘Black Barlow’ is a self-seeding cottage plant endearingly known as Granny’s Bonnet.
The shade and dry-tolerant Solomon’s seal is ideal as a ground-covering plant or pot specimen.

There are some remnant plantings from the original garden including a Buxus hedge, a Photinia, a Choisya and two rose bushes. K2 had a vision for how she wanted the garden to look but says it evolves as it grows over time.

K2 has been thoughtful of the Federation-style home while still expressing her own gardening style. She has done this by including some semi-formal and hard landscaping features and plants to maintain symmetry. She has then creatively filled the gaps with mostly cottage-style plants, many of which have been left to self-seed and pop up wherever they fancy.

The garden has continued to evolve and now includes many treasured plants and garden furnishings from her late mother and best friend. Her mother gardened in a more forgiving climate, so K2 has had to let go of the plants unsuited to Canberra but has established a lovely area with the ones which are.

One of K2’s favourite plants is Solomon’s seal, having moved individual specimens with her to different locations over the years.

Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum) is a hardy low-growing plant with bright green foliage and dainty white flowers. There are also green, pink and scented forms available. Its clumping and spreading habit make it a useful ground-covering or pot specimen. In China, some species of Solomon’s seal have also been used as food, tea and for medicinal purposes. The foliage turns a golden-yellow colour during autumn before the plant becomes herbaceous in the autumn months. Solomon’s seal grows in semi-shaded positions and tolerates periods of dry. It can become invasive in warmer climates.

K2 has designed the garden to include much-loved cottage plants while also being thoughtful of their Federation-style home.

The garden is watered with drip irrigation and town water supply. K2 is particularly conscious of conserving water, saying drip irrigation and generous layers of mulch significantly reduce watering times and frequency.

Kerry and Kerry carry out invaluable seasonal maintenance in the garden including replenishing the soil with onsite compost, manure, fish emulsion and mulch. K2 stresses that a garden is not a garden without healthy soil, encouraging others to prioritise building up the soil before doing anything else.

Wherever possible, K2 avoids non-organic pest control, having learnt over the years to accept all nature’s creatures, both those desired and not so. She mostly removes weeds by hand, as well as using a vinegar and salt solution for controlling weeds on path areas.

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