Plant / Life

The Sederof Family

by Georgina Reid
Monday 13th June 2016

Judy and Andreas Sederof love to garden. The couple owns Sunpower Design, a sustainable home building company, and their passion for sustainable design principles extends to their garden. While their sixty-square-metre garden is relatively small, it grows big things. For instance, 150 eggplants in one season!

Our gardens columnist Georgina Reid recently caught up with the couple to chat about their bountiful garden in East Brunswick.

Sixty-square-metres isn’t big. Think a small studio apartment, an inner city courtyard garden, or your kitchen and living room combined. Now, think about this: 25 fruit trees, 150 eggplants, zucchinis till the cows come home, and a year round supply of greens and herbs. Welcome to Judy Sederof’s overachieving sixty-square-metre East Brunswick garden!

Judy and her husband Andreas own Sunpower Design, a sustainable home building company. They built their own home a few years ago (check it out on TDF here), and the garden quickly followed. Like their house, the focus of the garden was very much on sustainability. ‘We’re hoping to eventually produce most of our own food,’ says Judy. ‘I think we have around 25 dwarf fruit trees. They’re espaliered on the boundary and in pots, there’s pomegranates, olives and a fig growing in the nature strip out the front!’

With a background in interior design and a lifelong love of gardens, Judy designed the garden herself, with assistance from a permaculturalist from her local nursery. The property itself is on a subdivided block – Judy and Andreas’s house sits on the southern boundary behind another house, ensuring as much room for the north facing garden as possible. The garden’s aspect is perfect for food growing, and ensuring solar access to the house.

Large slate stepping stones interplanted with Corsican mint lead to a laser cut cor-ten steel entrance gate at the property boundary. Not given to wasting space, Judy has espaliered fruit trees growing along the entry pathway, as well as the odd sunflower!

Upon entering the property, a curved white cypress timber pathway leads through the garden to a large timber deck – where most meals are eaten during the warmer months. Concealed under the deck are two large rainwater tanks, used to water the garden and flush the house toilets. Flanking the timber pathway are some of the few ornamental plants found within the garden – a collection of tough drought tolerant plants like lambs ear (Stachys byzantina), rosemary, and tall stonecrop (Sedum spp.).

And then there are the edibles, many of which are planted in raised timber wicking beds, as much of the site sits on basalt rock, meaning areas of very shallow/non existent soil. Wicking beds are raised planters with a water reservoir at the bottom from, which plants can draw up water through their roots as they need it, through capillary action.

Judy loves the garden. ‘When the weather is good I’m in the garden every morning for a few hours,’ she says. However, even she is blown away by the food she’s managed to produce from it. ‘I’m amazed at the produce we’ve gotten from the garden. The eggplant is still producing fruit and its June! I think I’ve had over 150 eggplants from it over the season.’ One plant, 150 eggplants. Clearly Judy is doing something right.

‘People can be sustainable in a small space,’ says Judy, when I ask her what she’d like to share about her experience of creating and nurturing her garden. ‘You can downsize and still grow a lot of your own food.’ Judy’s garden is testament to this very fact. I just wish I lived next door so I could have access to a few excess eggplants.

 

The Sederof house is north facing, ensuring good solar access. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.


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