Deryn ThorpeOpen Gardens West Coast – my garden launches WA’s new scheme

My Perth garden is the inaugural garden opening with Open Gardens West Coast and I’ve been spending all my spare time making sure it lives up to the honour. The new, not-for-profit scheme will open three Perth gardens this year and a statewide program in 2017. Garden lovers are rejoicing as openings have been scarce in WA since Open Gardens Australia folded 16 months ago.

deryn-thorpe-in-her-gardenI work in the garden media but have only opened my garden to the public once before – about 11 years ago. I enjoy nothing more than spending my free time in the garden and often show it off to my garden friends and colleagues. However, it’s still nerve-racking putting ones reputation as a garden ‘expert’ out on show.

Herb bed showing the spring onions in flower

Herb bed showing the spring onions in flower

 

The decision to open evolved on a lazy Sunday afternoon, while my husband Bill and I were enjoying a glass of wine on the back veranda. In our mellow state we decided that an open was a perfect event to celebrate our house’s 100th birthday, the impetus to finish a myriad of ‘small’ outdoor jobs and the opportunity to get a new open garden scheme up and running again in Perth.

Petrea volubilis on the pergola

Petrea volubilis on the pergola

 

We procrastinated for a while but as the date approached we sprung into action – repaving the ‘undulating’ side path and added decking, fretwork and posts to the front veranda. Bill installed a new sculpture in the front garden and I boosted the cottage garden beds with new plants and shovel pruned a few struggling specimens.

My cottage garden with delphinium, penstemon and salvia.

My cottage garden with delphinium, penstemon and salvia.

 

My love affair with annual flowers culminated in the purchase of a myriad of seed which were scattered through the garden, starting in autumn with successive sowings every couple of weeks. The aim was to create a vibrant, informal display beneath the roses in October. Of course things never go quite to plan as Perth has had the coldest winter in 28 years and an exceptionally cold and wet spring so everything is flowering later than normal.

Souvenir Madam Leonie Viennot and Crepuscule heritage roses

Souvenir Madam Leonie Viennot and Crepuscule heritage roses

 

To hasten their progress they are being indulged with a fortnightly feed of seaweed and liquid fertiliser (and a prayer or two) to coax them into growth.

We’ve had a few disasters – mostly associated with cleaning the equipment that sprays the herbicide used in Bill’s revegetation business (Plantation and Landcare Services). If you visit the garden I’ll tell you the tale of dead ‘footprints’ in the lawn and show you the tree that was leafless for a whole year before finally deciding it had the strength to outgrow the poison. It’s all good now but it did cause some family discord!

Pierre de Ronsard rose

Pierre de Ronsard rose

Big Pink Pelagonium flowers year round

Big Pink Pelagonium flowers year round

 

I’m a passionate gardener and am hoping that my garden will inspire others to create beautiful spaces around their own homes. Gardening in Perth’s sands and heat is a challenge but my garden is proof that you can have a wonderful and productive space, as long as you spend the time improving the soil.

My wonderful wisteria heralds spring

My wonderful wisteria heralds spring

 

Visitors will see beds filled with roses, including many heritage forms and extravagant displays of perennials and annuals which are mixed in with edibles. There will be lots of flowers!

I’ll share the story of my garden each day at 11am and 2pm when I lead a tour around my front and back yard. I’ll tell you about soil preparation, choosing the right plants for each space and interesting tales about the people some of the roses are named for.

Succulents adorn pots in the formal courtyard

Succulents adorn pots in the formal courtyard

The garden at 13 First Avenue, Mt Lawley, is open from 10am to 4.30pm on October 8 and 9 for $10 entry.

Enjoy home-made refreshments in the garden setting, and help raise funds to keep Open Gardens West Coast as an active part of our State’s gardening scene.

Cercis 'Forest Pansy' flowers are on the stems of the tree

Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’ flowers are on the stems of the tree

 

The verandas will host plant stalls and on the lower level of the garden will feature displays of restored classic cars.

[Deryn Thorpe is a fanatical gardener, who is passionate about communicating her love of gardening. She is an award winning print and radio garden journalist and also works as a tour guide and Perth garden consultant, visiting home gardens to provide advice on design and planting. Visit www.derynthorpe.com.au]

More information about Western Australia’s Open Gardens West Coast

 

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Deryn Thorpe

About Deryn Thorpe

Deryn Thorpe is a fanatical gardener, who is passionate about communicating her love of gardening. She is an award winning print and radio garden journalist and also works as a tour guide and Perth garden consultant, visiting home gardens to provide advice on design and planting. Go to Deryn Thorpe

7 thoughts on “Open Gardens West Coast – my garden launches WA’s new scheme

  1. Fabulous Deryn!

    A great initiative and good news for WA garden lovers. Visitors will love both your beautiful garden and the affection you and Bill have for it.

  2. Lisa Passmore on said:

    Looks amazing Deryn and Bill and what a fabulous choice for launching Open Gardens West Coast! Im putting the dates in the diary 🙂

  3. Barbara on said:

    WONDERFUL, I will not have to go to Victoria for this one. Ever sooooo grateful from Craigie.

  4. I’m delighted to learn that WA will have an Open Garden scheme in operation in 2017. I live in Quebec and opened my own garden for the first time this year as a fundraiser for our local land conservation trust, so I truly sympathize with the fears and jitters you may be experiencing. Our Open Day was a huge success and I plan to repeat it annually. It was rewarding for me to get positive feedback from visitors and to meet so many other passionate gardeners — not to mention the money raised for a good cause.

    I have a son who lives in Perth and my husband and I visit every year or two. I certainly hope our visit in 2017 coincides with the Open Day.

  5. Victoria on said:

    Visited Derryn and Bills garden this week and it was delightful! Thank you for taking the time to open it for us!!

    • So pleased you enjoyed it. We had wet and windy weather but as you know people still came. So many said they had missed the local open gardens program and are so pleased it has started again.

  6. I’m an architect , but I like to garden design , thank you for the idea , very unique , I like them …

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