This biennial weekend-long event, run by the Rotary Club of Kew, is chaired by well known Melbourne landscape architect John Patrick (also a presenter on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia), and encompasses over twenty-five private gardens across Melbourne and surrounding countryside, which have all been professionally designed.


The purpose of the event is to raise the profile of the charities that Rotary supports; fundraise for these charities; and by means of opening these gardens, to encourage creative, bold, versatile and responsible gardening. All funds raised go directly to the nominated charities which have included: Camcare (supporting families under stress), Breast Cancer Network (informing women and men), Alola Foundation (running support programs for women in East Timor), Friedreich Ataxia (supporting research) and Rotary medical and humanitarian projects.

With an art filled, beautifully decorated home reflecting its owners’ keen design eye and eclectic tastes, the garden brief was to extend this distinctive style into the garden. Being plant lovers, but wanting a pool, the owners chose a magnesium filtered pool which enables planting to be right up to the pool’s edge. Here is a garden filled with beautiful, contrasting textures and shapes of plants surrounding and embracing the pool, rather than a pool dominating with plants coming in a distant second.


The striking artistic front fence sets the tone for a distinctly individual front garden. Entry is via an exposed aggregate driveway surrounded by plants on either side and in the central strip. These include a significant sculptural Frangipani and fastigiate Lagerstroemia ‘Tuscarora’ (Crepe Myrtles) as well as Arthropodium cirratum ‘Te Puna’, Hedychium (Ginger Liy), Mackaya bella, Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise) and ground cover of Thymus serpyllum, Trachelospermum asiaticum and Erigeron karvinskianus (Seaside Daisy).


The front gate opens up to reveal a stunning white tiled pool (reflecting the blue of the sky) with intense Moroccan blue wall behind. Strategically placed plants in wrought iron pot holders cover the wall. Walk around the pool on Castlemaine slate random pavers positioned to allow sprawling vegetation between, and stop at areas of crazy paving, for sun lounging and entertaining. A traditional covered front patio is paved in a honed version of the exposed aggregate from the driveway (as is the main front door entry).


The owners can sit on the bench seat at the end of the pool, lounge in the sun on the fence-side, entertain on the terrace or in the shade of the patio. Diffused light comes into the garden through clouded glass panels in the fence, and despite its compact size, the garden offers many options in terms of enjoyment at various times of the day and in different seasons.


Plants used were chosen for their hardy nature and distinctive contrasting forms and textures. These include various Euphorbia, Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersii’, Magnolia ‘Kay Parris’, Colocasia esculenta, Juniperus sabina, Cyperus papyrus, various sculptural succulents, Brugmansia x candida, Luculia gratissima, Cotinus coggygria, Beschernoria septentrionalis, Bouteloua gracilis, flaxes, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides , Zamia furfuracea, Liriope muscari, and Elletaria cardamomum. Hedging of Myrtus communis and Murraya paniculata will provide a backdrop in time, but kept to a height that ensures the beautiful front fence can be enjoyed. Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) is being trained to climb along the top of this fence. Various pieces such as a steel obelisk, stone pedestal and other sculptural elements populate the garden, in keeping with the eclectic nature of the home itself.


Garden Construction by Roy Pedretti of Professional Landscaping Solutions 0417 505 464.