The Not At All Secret Garden

With our new house, we’ve gone from a postage stamp sized back yard (and even smaller front yard) to what seems like a football field sized back yard!! Of course, I’m exaggerating, it’s nowhere near that big, but our front yard now is almost twice as big as our former back yard.
It’s got some nice plants but needs a bit of love – the chinese star jasmine over the verandah is wonderful, and the huge hydrangea is fabulous (but needs to be cut back now that flowering is done). There is a great circle of roses in the middle, but they need a good trim too. I’m not entirely confident of my rose pruning skills but hopefully I won’t kill them! And I’m pretty sure that the entire rose circle is full of freesia bulbs (fingers crossed!)

Along the side of the house is a small bed separated by a picket fence (front yard to back yard). In front of the picket fence are 4 large gardenias, which look to me to be a bit leggy, but I’m not sure whether I should cut them back or not – I’m not sure they’ll grow back… . In the back yard side is a raised garden bed – we discovered a little surprise a couple of weeks ago – strawberries! Hopefully they’ll grow big enough for us to eat before the birds get them. And another plant which looks sort of like an onion with small purple flowers on very long stems – does anyone know what these are?
We are thinking that the long raised bed will be a small veggie patch – husby even bought me a book about growing herbs and veggies for Christmas – yes, a definite message that!

And now the backyard – our house is built on a slope (sloping down to the front) so there is a small retaining wall (about 1m high) and steps up the backyard. Yes, it’s not quite a football field, but pretty sure it’s a cricket pitch long. And with swing set included! If only it was adult sized (the swings, I mean!!)

Closest to the retaining wall is a bed containing mostly native plants, including a really big banksia and some smaller plants, as well as a tomato plant (!) and a bunch of mint – will have to pull it out and plant into a pot.
And the back yard itself is a bit disorganised but has some good stuff – a jacaranda tree (I’ve always loved these – can’t wait for it to flower in Spring!), a huge palm, and a really big plot of cannas, which my neighbour Beverly tells me has been there for about 50 years!! Husby wants to pull them out but I’m not going to let him!! Every so often a bird will come and perch precariously on the flower stem to feed on the flowers – I love it! They are so green, and so tall (taller than me!) and I think they are great.
So that’s my garden. Needs a fair bit of work (and general maintenance). Now, don’t you think the backyard would be perfect if it had a swimming pool? Who’s with me? I just need to convince husby. Oh, and win the lottery so we can afford it! And also make it rain more in Sydney. Sigh. I think a pool will only ever be a dream for a kid from the country who never had a pool growing up!!



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22 responses to “The Not At All Secret Garden

  1. Wow. I have been to your house twice now and have not clearly explored your garden close enough. I haven’t seen all of these flowers. Lovely, lovely photos. You captured that bright, Sydney sunlight so well! You so need a swimming pool. DO NOT LET HUSBY NEAR THE CANNA LILLIES!!!

  2. Keep the cannas, keep the cannas! So much space and some lovely plants. I don’t like ‘organised’ gardens, so I find some disorder pleasing. I think it’s probably best that I don’t give you my views on swimming pools… would not help your campaign!

  3. Lovely garden – and that lovely sunshine is a most welcome sight

  4. Your new house and yard are wonderful! And thank you so much for sharing a some summer with those of us in the Northern Hemisphere! It gives me hope!Deborah

  5. Here’s a secret about roses: they’re tougher than you think! My neighbors prune theirs dead straight at about knee height every year, and they come back looking beautiful. I always try to prune at a 45 degree angle, but I can’t remember why I started doing that. And just LOOK at all that space round the back!

  6. I’ve been enjoying the wonderful pics of your lovely new house and garden, Rose Red. What a beautiful place!As for roses, you can hardly kill them no matter where you cut them, but if you want lots of flowers, cut to an out-facing leaf connection…the new growth buds are hiding right in there and will grow in the direction of that connection. Just be sure not to cut to a 3-leaf cluster. A 5 or 7-leaf cluster will result in a flower.But, I remember a few years the Royal National Rose Society did a research project where they did “proper” pruning in one section and just chain-sawed another section to a convenient height, and guess what? Both sections did fine! The only bad thing is that chain-sawing resulted in a lot of undisciplined, thicket-like growth that wasn’t wanted…so don’t stress too much!

  7. You won’t kill the roses by pruning them; they’re hardy plants.Thanks for the tour – it’s been fun [and takes my mind off “other things”]BTW, swimming pools are a lot of work unless you can afford to get someone in to look after it for you [as WM how I know!]. We’re about to pull ours out!

  8. jp

    Keep the Canna lillies just be careful what you plant next to them. They can be very aggressive.I would keep the mint, It is the thing i miss most about our old garden (and the mango and lemon trees). The mint is prolific but does go to seed and die back each year so is relatively self-governing. The smell of it in summer is amazing.

  9. I’ll add my two cents to the unkillable rose crew. Family legend tells how my grandmother decided she was done asking my grandfather to prune the roses, so she didi it herself.With an axe.At ground level.They came back beautifully, and she never had to remind Grandpa to prune them again.Your yard and garden are lovely. 🙂

  10. Oh, there is nothing like the fun of exploring an established, somewhat overgrown garden!Our very first tiny house had a tiny yard that was absolutely crammed with plants. Every new month there was an adventure. (Well, maybe not winter, but anyway!)

  11. Long stems, small purple flowers… if I’m looking at the thumbnail right, that might be Society Garlic? I’ve got some in my front garden… though, everything was burned by the heatwave! But such lovely surprises and I hope you’ll develop and love the vegetable patch – plant peas in spring! They’re so so pretty and there’s nothing like popping freshly picked peas in your mouth!

  12. Ooh, thanks for the tour of your garden – so lovely to see such wonderful sunny images when it is so grey here! And I’m totally with you on the pool plan…

  13. kms

    i live with someone who took to roses with a chainsaw once, to my horror, but i must confess they came back brilliant. and as much as i love my pool it’s soooo much work. you dont want one, not really. just come hang out in mine some more 🙂

  14. Wow, your garden is just gorgeous! I love it! I’m not a great gardener (having moved frequently and always rented I’ve never really had the chance to develop a garden of my own) so can’t offer advice. I’d go for the pool (although I know they’re a lot of work) … a childhood dream of mine too 🙂

  15. Oh, it’s beautiful, and I keep coming back to visit it! I DID grow up with a pool, but more importantly, a mom and a dad to take care of it. What I remember most? Them saying, “You better get in the pool and USE it, for all the work we put into it!” 😉

  16. What a wonderful garden – and so so big. I can imagine knitting tea parties out in the shady back yard. Teh garden has great'bones'. – & Gardenias love a prune to make them more bushy – but I would avoid the chainsaw!

  17. lilypily

    The little purple flowered plant might be garlic chives. Just crush a few leaves. If it smells garlic-y then you have it. Could also be regular chives I guess. Mine have pink flowers though. And I agree with Lynne. Think carefully about a pool. We had one in our last house. Gorgeous tropical oasis it was too. I swam in it once or twice a year and the rest of the time it was just hard work and expensive. The pool pumps make a HUGE difference to your electricity bill. The pool was one of the reasons we wanted to sell that house.

  18. Em

    So much greenery! What a lovely garden you have, just waiting to be tended and explored. I notice the previous owner of your house didn’t have the one feature I have come to think of as a garden necessity–plastic flowers. Really, they’re so easy to grow, require no water or care, and look really wonderful year-round. ;)And the swimming pool is a lot of work, but back when I lived with my folks and we didn’t have air conditioning, that was how we survived the summers.

  19. It looks like you and husby have enough to keep you busy and gardening for a long time. What a yard! I love how hydrangeas are really popular now. I see them everywhere and I love the big headed flowers.pools are a lot of work but when it’s hot, they are sooo worth it.

  20. oh wow I love your garden! its beautiful! I must say that looks like the perfect spot for a pool. We have a big front yard and the back is all pool and cement with big garden beds on the side so I’m jealous!you are very lucky…and will be very busy!

  21. The oniony plant with purple flowers – society garlic. The strawberries might be wild strawberries. Once they are red they will not get bigger.Great yard! Have fun with it 🙂

  22. Your garden looks like my fantasy garden. All I have here in Granville is a handkerchief of lawn in the front, and a concrete desert in the back. One day….

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