Australian Garden History Society
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ACT Branch: A day in Gundaroo

17 November 2017

In November 2008 members of our Branch visited some fascinating gardens in Gundaroo; this year we are going again and expect this visit to be as interesting and enjoyable as our earlier one. This is a self-catered event for lunch (bring a picnic). We encourage car sharing.

Bowylie. Our first stop (10.30 am) will be Bowylie, an historic and important property 2 km the Canberra side of Gundaroo. Bowylie was first settled in the early 19th century and historically its longest custodians have been the Osborne family who purchased it in 1890. At that time it was given its present name although the origin of the name Bowylie is yet to be discovered.

In 1995 Pip and Dick Smith purchased Bowylie. They commissioned James Hoskins, landscape designer, to design an English-style garden that retained as many of the existing features as possible. House renovations including additions to the garage, flat and northern wing occurred at that time. Much garden construction and development has taken place since 1995. Garden planting has changed, with drought tolerance and water conservation now the main drivers in plant selection and garden maintenance. We are most grateful to the Smiths who have agreed to our request to visit, and to Tom Morrison, manager of the Bowylie gardens who will speak to us on arrival.

After our visit to this historic station garden, we will drive into the village of Gundaroo to visit two fascinating ‘town’ gardens, just a couple of minutes apart.

In Gundaroo village. We recommend that people stop at the Gundaroo Park for a comfort stop, before a very short drive to twoandthree, the garden of Bronwyn and Harold Blake, where we have been invited to eat our picnic lunches and walk round the impressive garden. Harold and Bronwyn purchased the ½ acre bare block in 2007 and moved into the newly built house when their youngest daughter was one week old, in 2008. Like so many gardeners, Harold and Bronwyn began with a plan that has changed dramatically from that which we will visit. Whilst the vegie patch has remained largely as planned, the entire orchard has moved location twice and is now predominately espaliered to economise on space and fruiting efficiency. As the wind break has grown and the trees have become established, plantings have changed from donated and propagated sun-loving varieties to more shade-tolerant natives and exotics. The garden is a source of food, a palate of planting joy (and disasters!) and a place for family and friends to gather. Bronwyn is happy to provide more information on the plantings.

After this we will visit Vogelweide – Birds’ Meadow – that over the last ten years Antje Beuermann and Wolfgang Spielmeyer have established from a two acre block of pasture. The house and garden  were designed to fit in with the historical setting of Gundaroo village. A closer look reveals that the irrigated garden is designed to withstand the extremely dry, cold and windy conditions of the area and not to demand fussy maintenance. Guided by the principles of ‘beauty, simplicity and usefulness’, as well as a liking for asymmetry and a longing for shade and privacy, hedges and trees have been established and flowerbeds have slowly grown. Today, there are signature trees of pine (Pinus pinea), London plane, swamp casuarina, cypress and juniper as well as a small plantation of truffle infected oaks. There are maples for autumn and winter colour, a wild area of Mediterranean herbs and lavender and some historic roses as shrubs or draped over arbours, and native shrubs spread in between. This is a young garden well on its way to becoming beautiful.

Numbers are restricted to 50, and we are requesting pre-payment because of the limited numbers. We will provide more details for those who have booked (driving, parking instructions etc) closer to the event.

Venue: Gundaroo and Sutton
Cost: $20 members, $25 non-members. Prepayment required
Bookings: Please use the form on page 11 of the August 2017 newsletter.


17 November 2017
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