This beautiful perennial garden in Trentham, Victoria is designed to put on a show in all seasons.
In spring, evergreen forms of clipped buxus, clouds of deciduous shrubs and established trees grace the stage in emerging hues of mauve, purple, grey and yellow. Summer sees the grasses and late flowering perennials fill the garden as the trees and shrubs come into full, verdant leaf.
The crescendo hits in Autumn, as a scene of golden hued seed heads, bare stems, oats, and straws take centre stage.
But, the show isn’t over! Thanks to gardener and designer Tim Pilgrim’s careful selection of plants, come winter those varieties that put on such a performance in autumn manage to keep their structure and form in the colder months to capture the light and harness the wind for a symphony of texture.
In August, the garden is cut back and clipped to the ground, and then the show starts again. ‘I love the ever-changing seasonal nature of this garden,’ says Tim. ‘It’s diverse and differs from day to day, it’s never static and always evolving.’
When first presented with the site – an empty block on a subdivision – it was a relatively flat space with no noteworthy vegetation; ‘A blank canvas’, he says.
His client, Rhonda, wanted a garden that would settle her new contemporary house into its surroundings with some instant height and volume. Tim chose to take inspiration from the Wombat state forest to create his own version with a canopy, middle and lower story of vegetation to mimic the diversity and excitement of the Wombat.
‘The style of planting itself is a naturalistic, prairie style look,’ he explains. ‘It’s all about imitating a wild planting you might find in nature.’
One of the most challenging aspects of the design was how long and narrow the space was – more specifically, how to fill it in and give the planting volume whilst keeping it in scale with the home.
To overcome this, Tim created a winding path to allow more depth in the planting. Then, in the deeper pockets, he piled-up the soil to create small hills, which gave the planting more height. He also chose a varied and layered planting scheme comprising of trees, shrubs, topiary, grasses and perennials with repetition to help draw the eye down the path to the end of the garden.
Since its conception the garden has flourished. Self sowers have made their way through the planting, giving the garden an even more natural look, and birds, insects and reptiles have also made themselves at home.
But, Tim says the garden’s success is largely due to the person looking after it. ‘The design and installation are only the first step in growing a garden like this one,’ he explains. ‘Rhonda does an amazing job at making sure the garden is always looking its best throughout the year.’
You can visit Rhonda’s garden at Open Gardens Victoria this Saturday 15 April – Sunday 16 April, find tickets here.