By James Wall
My sister and her family have just sold their house, and I have always liked what they have done with their front garden.
Of course they had a little bit of help with landscape design from Carolyn and Joby Blackman of Vivid Design, the people that also did the gold winning Gardener’s Library at this years Melbourne Flower Show.
What I like about this garden is that it takes the principle that many front gardens are not really a living space, but an expression of the people and the house that reside on that block of land. It is also a practical garden, in that there did need to be a function, and that was to get to the side gate. The expression of the stepping stones is similar to the plants – not rigid and formal in its straightness, but almost indiscriminate yet with some sort of order the way it is grouped.
Since the design, the plant palette has of course evolved, as most good gardens do. The hero kangaroo paws were once something else. The clipped english box create the balls of green, and the silver of the wormwood creates structure and colour contrast. The dianaella is the grassy and hardy tufts of green, and the other grassy plant but with soft pink flowers are the also extremely hardy Tulbaghia. The hero for me though, is that creeping thyme. Its wonderful ground hugging effect draws the whole garden together, including the interesting textures of gravel, rock and stepping stone.
Starting from a design basis from which to build upon has rewarded this garden. It shows the value of good design.