The first task - provide shade
"We busily set about planting lots of fast growing native trees
such as callistemons, grevilleas, native frangipani, buckinghamia,
swamp bloodwood (red flowering gum), paperbarks, wattles and golden
penda, to name just a few.
Welcome birds and wildlife
Those trees now provide us with most of what we need for our
garden - shade and mulch - as well as bringing beautiful birds
daily to visit and feed.
We enjoy the company of rainbow lorikeets, rosellas, many
varieties of honeyeaters and, of course, butcher birds (who
serenade us with their wonderful songs), as well as crested pigeons
and many others.
Our beautiful blue tongued lizard keeps our plants free of
snails - even though he nearly scared a tradesman (who could only
see his head) half to death last week! He imagined something much
more frightening at the other end of the head!
Colour our world!
When the trees were large enough to provide some shelter, we
planted coloured foliage plants of many kinds such as cordylines,
dracaenas, crotons, caladiums, calatheas and others.
We have had a love affair with bromeliads for over thirty years
- long before they became 'fashionable' in Australian gardens. Our
bromeliads flourished in their new environment - we added to our
collection and now have a comprehensive collection of many
I have experimented with growing them in different conditions
and varying intensity of light and the resulting brilliant colours
A few years ago, our garden was all but destroyed by a huge
hailstorm and it took a long time to recover - that was the
catalyst for the building of some greenhouses to provide
We couldn't bear the thought of going through that experience
again so the greenhouses are now an integral part of our
Our orchids provide exquisite blooms and wonderful perfume.
Over the years, other flowering shrubs and small flowering trees
such as our calliandra (much loved by the birds), petrea, star
jasmine and others grow happily in the garden.
We also have some of the old favourites such as daylilies,
hippeastrums, geraniums, azaleas, camellias, nasturtiums and
agapanthus growing and every now and then, we plant a large saucer
or two of petunias for a riot of colour.
We have added water-wise plants such as agave, succulents and
cacti and ornamental grasses.
We've built two small ponds joined by a little stream and
waterfalls. I can't imagine a garden without the restful, calming
sound of gently running water - and the frogs think it's pretty
good as well!
We have installed alternative watering systems to service our
garden - so we don't have to use the city water supply. We use
mainly mulch and nutrients from the trees to fertilise - but have
always used good old Osmocote - so reliable and beneficial for
plants of all varieties.
Our garden - a joy and haven for us, our grandchildren and
To begin with, our garden was reasonably orderly - but it soon
became apparent that the kind of garden we wanted was a wild garden
- one which evolved rather than was planned! It's not the kind of
garden that will ever win a garden competition - but for us, it is
a joy and a haven.
For our grandchildren, it's a place to allow their imaginations
to run riot - especially as we're in the early stages of adding a
small garden railway and eventually planting miniature plants to
scale - a future project.
For some of our beautiful birds and wild creatures who have been
robbed of so much of their habitat, we hope it will remain a
refuge. They give us so much in return."
Jan & Ken Stockwell