In the beginning... Autumn in 2011 a short time after moving to Arundel
Arundel will open its gates to visitors in the first week of autumn as part of the inaugural season of Open Gardens Victoria. This is the first chapter in the story of the gardens preparation and will include a few tales of challenge and triumph. Along the road gardening hints will be shared and hopefully you will have a chance to see the garden with its fruits, vegetables and flowers when you visit at the end of summer on Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 March.
This garden opened last year as part of the final season of Open Gardens Australia and over a period of two days 1,200 people came to visit. In this inaugural season we are immensely proud to be invited to open again with Open Gardens Victoria.
Almost 5 years ago we purchased Arundel, this was a spontaneous decision, one that took us by surprise. We were perfectly happy in our previous home. Light, bright, renovated and full of character we lived in a wonderful neighbourhood just a short walk to Corio Bay a stroll to the Geelong Botanic Gardens and an amble into the Geelong city centre. Our pocket sized garden had figs, persimmon, an old orange tree and lemons. Dotted with flowers and foliage, it was magical. Well almost.
I was a frustrated vegetable gardener and had started cultivating the back lane.
Every corner of the old garden had been planted then replanted and there was not a lot more that could be done. Arundel ‘popped’ up right when we were not looking. It was not the house that attracted us, but the garden. If we were to move from our very comfortable happy home it had to be for a good reason.
Moving for a ‘Garden’ seemed like a very good reason.
What drew our attention to Arundel was its ‘good bones’. Blessed with a number of wonderful trees it is a rare example of a secret garden tucked away within a suburban envelope. The large allotment is surrounded by 13 neighbours and is located at the end of a 50 metre private drive. The garden had endured 10 years of drought and through that time had been stripped of its garden character. Geelong had endured a long spell of dry… for four years it was illegal to turn on the garden tap. It required the skill of a very keen horticulturalist to nurture such a large area through a period like this. We have been lucky, apart from the past summer the past few years have offered rain, however the dry will come again and must form part of the long-term plan for the garden.
Since starting the garden here we have divided the lawns, utilizing the slope to create a natural terrace effect, planted a young orchard, established two separate vegetable patches and housed bees and chickens. I confess to having thought I might have achieved more with the gardens development than I have to this moment. At the beginning I was not fully aware of the soil conditions and the challenge this would present. Gardening at Arundel has been a learning curve, especially in soil preparation.
In the meantime if you’re eager to learn more you can follow my daily posts on Instagram @spadeandtrowel or visit my garden blog…….