Visit Roogulli Garden and be inspired this autumn
(24th March 2016)
I recently visited ‘Roogulli’ garden in Bywong NSW, a picturesque property owned by Jennie, a well-known and respected landscape architect of the Canberra region; and Chris, an exceptional cook and permaculture advocate who is currently studying a degree in horticulture.
The property is set on 25 acres where the couple utilise eco-passive design features such as:
A strong sense of place is evident, with the majority of landscape features comprising of re-used and locally sourced materials. Garden art throughout has been created by local artists and the couple themselves - also using up-cycled media.
The Xeriscape-style garden surrounding the house, which receives no additional watering, boasts multiple stunning and enviable Xanthorrhoea glauca specimens, locally grown and of exceptional size for their modest 2006 vintage.
There is a highly productive veggie patch, including the couple’s stellar tomato crop, been busily fruiting since early November! Ripe seed is harvested from the garden for future use, as well as being purchased externally from reputable suppliers, Green Harvest and Diggers Club.
Self-watering ‘wicking’ beds are used extensively throughout. Pots used include old bathtubs, plastic fire tanks cut in half, and those purpose-manufactured. Chris has found using a potting mix comprising of 50 percent mushroom compost and 50 percent garden soil has been fundamental to his success growing plants using this method.
A relatively new Food forest has also been established, a concept geared towards housing a variety of food and fodder crops that are mutually beneficial to one another over time, as well as significantly reducing the input required from its owners. It includes the early fruiting, white fleshed peach species known as ‘Anzac’; a solid performer, highly resistant to the ever-present fungal disease, leaf curl.
And with a belief that problems become solutions, there isn’t a single challenge this dynamic couple haven’t overcome without a little creative thinking. Two standouts for me on the day was the aptly named ‘Bathhouse’ - a micro-climate sensory haven for citrus and cold-sensitive herbs; and the crop of Clucker Tucker thriving in the chook run – largely due to the open weave crates ingeniously erected over the top; which enabled the chooks to forage while also protecting the crop from their industrial strength feet (seed available from Green Harvest).
The animal kingdom is well represented and highly valued at ‘Roogulli’, and includes Alpacas, Llamas, chooks, ducks, and miniature sheep. And don’t get me started on the wildlife component, the sheer volume of creatures to be seen is quite frankly, astounding.
Autumn tasks currently being carried out in the garden include, but are far from limited to, clearing out summer productive crops; sowing green manure crops and cool season veggies such as lettuce, beetroot, spinach, silver beat, spinach, garlic and broad beans; maintenance pruning; and building up compost supplies for future plantings.
The property will be open to the public this month as part of the Open Gardens Canberra Incorporated initiative.
For More: www.opengardenscanberra.org.au.