News/Events/Media

Spring Opening of Sam Cox's Wattle Glen Garden

Open Gardens Victoria

October 15, 2016 - October 16, 2016

SAM COX’S WATTLE GLEN GARDEN OPEN OCTOBER 15th - 16th  / 10am - 4.30pm / Entry $8 (kids free)

Sam will talk about his garden at 11am and 2pm on Sat Oct 15th

Native Plant Sales / Sausage Sizzle / All Proceeds to Wattle Glen CFA


Garden Notes: Welcome to the garden of Sam Cox and Lisa Hatfield. Two decades ago we were surrounded by paddocks and a few remnant Red Box and Yellow Gums. While we will always consider it ‘a work in progress’ it increasingly satisfies us to watch it mature into a garden evocative of the Australian bush landscape. Sam has adhered to the principles of naturalism in his landscape design to create a unified sense of place in this bush garden. The foundations of earth shaping and the basalt boulder outcrops were learned under the tutelage of his mentor landscape designer Gordon Ford. Naturalistic rock placement is a key aspect of the design, a technique pioneered by the likes of Edna Walling, Ellis Stones and Gordon Ford.

The planned use of space creates both balance and contrast between the masses of plantings, mounds and rock outcrops and the voids of pathways, ponds and low planted areas. Themed plantings create interest in different areas of the garden: the Sheoak forest in the north corner or the open eucalypt woodland above the house. From the carport a path follows a watercourse that opens to a deep waterhole. Basalt boulders, river pebbles and aquatic plants provide habitat for insects, frogs, snakes, lizards and birds. The cooling effect of water spilling over rocks in the pond offers sensory relief to humans and non-humans alike. The pond and waterfall on the west wall of the house is central to the design of home and garden. It brings reflection, movement and sound into our lounge room. It is a popular bathing place for a variety of native birds. 

Work on the garden has been sporadic around Sam’s busy landscape practice. In 2013 we undertook a redesign on the south east side of the house. A wood-fired pizza oven and a circular walled herb garden (salvaged stone flooring from inside) were constructed. We crept the garden closer to the house and replaced gravel paths with Castlemaine slate paving, an appealing natural material that provides a seamless transition between internal and external surfaces. Planting throughout the property is structured; a canopy of Angophoras, Eucalypts and Casuarinas shelter the understory of drought tolerant species. Fence lines are heavily planted to remove strong lines and connect to the surrounding bushland. A recent olive grove planted in the lower east area blends well with the muted greens and greys of the native garden.

Again we have experienced a drier than average summer losing many hardy species and minimal new growth. This seems to be ‘the new normal’: higher temperatures and less rainfall. The use of heavy mulching, supplementary watering and appropriate plant selection is more important than ever. Sam will discuss these matters as part of his talk. 

(Please note: The Fairfield garden "Howard's End" scheduled to open the same weekend has cancelled due to unforseen circumstances)

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