Garden visit - Goulburn
Gardens on the Move with Barbara
(25th June 2015)
I recently visited childhood family friend Barbara, who moved to her 19th Century terrace-style home three years ago. The lovely front garden, complete with a white picket fence and verandah, gave no indication as to the extent of the expansive back yard beyond.
Barbara, an experienced and passionate gardener with an exemplary ‘can do’ attitude (wielding an electric chainsaw and wars on couch, kikuyu and monstrous privet trees being part of her impressive repertoire) moved to the Goulburn property with the intention of establishing a border of predominately exotic shrubs, small trees and cottage-style gems, one bed at a time. She has transplanted countless cuttings, seeds, plants and bulbs to her new home, consequently stamping her distinct signature on this rapidly evolving garden.
All garden beds are accessible via a cold hardy lawn, designed with ease of use and aesthetics in mind. Plants throughout are a selection of the everyday, yesteryear, and rare and endangered, which compliment remnant trees on the property. There are plants to indulge every sense, particularly the eyes, nose, and most importantly, one’s stomach.
Two such plants which were of particular interest are Barbara’s Queensland arrowroot crop and her exceptional passionfruit vine. The arrowroot lily, Canna edulis Syn. Canna indica, is a useful plant on every front, being widely utilised in permaculture systems. Barbara uses the large aromatic foliage as a substitute for banana leaves in Asian cooking, along with the flowers.
The passionfruit vine, a non-grafted variety of Passiflora ‘Nellie Kelly’, was absolutely laden with fruit, the contents of which I sampled in the tastiest muffins ever (see recipe included). It is situated on a sunny wall adjacent to the water heater. Unbeknownst to Barbara, the heater had been leaking its warm, sustaining contents onto the soil at a rate perfect for the vine’s needs.
What I took away from this inspirational visit aside from great company and a spoilt palette? Have a plan, work strategically, and plant cold sensitive plants near balmy water heaters!