Jenny Jones has spent many years creating her garden sanctuary. Tucked away on a quiet suburban street, her garden is a haven for wildlife and a great relaxing spot where family get together.
Here she shares her garden story with us.
First of all how would you describe your garden?
My garden is old fashioned, private and shady, with big deciduous trees in the front and back. The Liquid Ambers create shade in the summer and plenty of light in the winter after the autumn leaves fall. In the temperate climate of Melbourne, Agapanthus, Hydrangeas, Hellebores (Christmas Roses), Daphne, Gardenias, Camellias and Azaleas thrive. On the deck, where I can catch more sun, I love to grow spring bulbs, summer lilies, orchids, cyclamens and herbs.
How did you get started in gardening?
I started gardening as a child with my Mother who was a passionate gardener. She grew up in the country so was used to growing all the vegetables and numerous fruit trees, which fed the family. Much of the produce, especially the fruit, was shared with neighbours and friends. Each of the four children in our family had our own little garden with flowers and vegetables. The garden beds were constructed of many terraces stretching down to the Boulevard, in Heidelberg, near the Yarra River.
What motivates you to get up and garden?
When the sun is shining, I feel like heading out to my garden to water, weed, pot up new bulbs, trim back the spent hydrangeas, chop back the ivy and jasmine, plus pick flowers for the house, such as the Daphne in spring.
What were some of the unexpected hurdles in your garden? How did you deal with them?
During some wild weather from time to time there have been large branches falling from the trees. With the help of some strong men they were dragged from the pool and removed. When an old house next door was demolished and a new one built, the fence was removed, destroying my 20 feet of ivy and jasmine and the nesting area for the wild teal ducks that had returned each year in spring for 25 years. I have since replanted a fast growing green creeper which is starting to cover new fence to regain privacy. Just last week a pair of ducks returned for a swim and searching for a nesting spot.
What were some of the unexpected benefits from gardening?
Each season brings new surprises that pop up and flower. Wandering in the garden and sitting with friends and family on the deck and relaxing together. There is also enough space for children to kick a football and swing on the trees. As I live close to a large park I have lots of native birds visiting my trees. This winter a tawny frog mouth owl stayed in the Liquid Amber for a couple of weeks.
Is there a gardening moment that stands out for you?
For years I tried to grow peonies on my deck without success. After a stint in hospital I returned to the most beautiful deep pink peonies blooming, to welcome me home. It was such a joyful surprise.
What has your garden taught you?
Patience! If something doesn’t work, try something else.
If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
A Peace rose.
What tips would you offer first time gardeners?
Try to grow a little something that will bloom in each season and with fragrance, so there is always some colour and perfume to bring happiness.