Earlier this year my mum and dad moved themselves across Bass Strait to come and live near me in Tasmania. They settled in the sleepy historical town of Longford, joined a local church, and proceeded to make dozens of friends, all of whom appear to be extraordinary gardeners. Last weekend Mum took me around the Longford open garden day. First stop, and my favourite of all the gardens was Margaret and John's place. Margaret and John are some of Mum and Dad's new friends, who run Aggie's Bed and Breakfast, with the rooms built and fitted out by John, and the garden lovingly planted by Margaret. It is one of the nicest, friendliest and most attractive gardens I have ever visited. All made out of bits and bobs and cast-offs that John picks up in his travels. It is not large, but is divided into private courtyards for privacy for the guests, which makes the garden seem much bigger. It makes me want to throw up some walls in my own garden and make a series of secret gardens, just like Margaret's..
Above is one of the courtyards, built around a big old eucalypt tree, hung about with fishing floats and bird houses, with a stone bench to perch on in the sun, planted about with ivy, and white false valerian.
This is a tiny corner of another small courtyard. Margaret has a particularly green thumb with the echevaria..
Of course, I was drawn straight to the vegie gardens. This one is raised behind a wee stone wall, built by John.
And this one, across the driveway, is backed by a hawthorn hedge, with a window cut into it to reveal the view of paddocks beyond.
Here is another hawthorn window, carefully placed in yet another tiny courtyard, so that the view can be appreciated while eating breakfast outdoors..
And after the vegie gardens, the chickens, are of course, the most important feature. John built their charming home, which they share with some elegant white doves.
I love this charming lady. I think brown chickens are absolutely perfect examples chicken-ness.
They are rather chuffed to find a cabbage in their string-bag snack buffet.
This is the other end of the chicken shed, and another part of the vegie garden. The faux paling fence is wonderfully ingenious - wire netting with slender palings woven through it. Even I could build a fence like that.. This is what I like about this garden - it is so simple, attractive and accessible.
Here is the outside wall of the next courtyard. Again, so simple, so beautiful. Paling-type fences, this time covered in roses.
Underneath the roses are hollyhock plants which will tower up in the summer, all around this gate which is straight out of The Secret Garden..
Climbing roses and foxglove spires. I love the little pots that pop up everywhere in the flower beds.
Here is Mum under the rose archway, entering the courtyard you can see in the first photo of the post.
Chickens, doves and bees. This is one happy garden.
There are treasures everywhere. Here, a wheelbarrow-full of spare pots - but one of them has a plant growing in it. Perfect:)
I asked Margaret about how she keeps all the echeveria looking splendid. She waters them every day. I know, even thought they are succulents. That is clearly why I keep killing mine. These are near the kitchen, so Margaret runs out with a tea-pot full of water for each of these beauties every morning.
Again with the succulents. On a step-ladder! Can you see how much I am loving this garden??
More! More! I hear you say. Oh, but sadly I ran out of space on the camera. I hope you had just as much fun in Margaret's garden as I did. One day I will pop back and take photos of all the spaces I missed this time. I am so impressed at how much Margaret and John have managed to fit into what is really not a very large garden. By dividing it up into small, intimate spaces though, they have made their garden into a journey that reveals something new around every corner.. and shows how much can be done very simply, with imagination.