Kaydale Lodge Gardens is where Lesley Crowden grew up and discovered her love for gardening. It has been her family’s obsession for over 30 years. Over this time, a magnificent garden has been created and nurtured. We were fortunate enough to receive a gorgeous book from Lesley that documents the history of Kaydale Lodge Gardens. Thanks Lesley for sharing your garden story with us.
First of all, how would you describe your garden? (What do you grow? What is your climate like? )
I garden in a moist (1600mm) cool temperate (an almost sub alpine climate). We get about six falls of snow a year, which means we have a short growing season. Snow does not hurt the garden; it’s the frost that sometimes follows a late snow that can do the damage. Because of this I grow a lot of hardy perennials and bulbs. I specialise in peonies, hellebores, erythroniums, fritillaria’s and trilliums.
How did you get started in gardening?
My mother is a keen gardener and she encouraged me from a very young age to love gardening and growing things from seed. It is great to have a garden that has mature trees, especially the maples that have been my mother’s passion. My sister and I took over the garden about 15 years ago and expanded it to almost double the size.
What motivates you to get up and garden?
I love working to a list and feel a great sense of accomplishment when I get things finished. Also creating something beautiful gives you a great sense of satisfaction. I’m currently motivated with new projects, such as the 50m stonewall that I am working on at the moment – it is like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
What were some of the unexpected hurdles in your garden? How did you deal with them?
I dig and sell peony plants, which have a huge root system. A few years ago I broke three of my fathers potato forks in a week!!! He was not impressed. My mother got me a Bulldog fork, which was the end of problem. The Bulldog fork has been a lifesaver. The rest are self inflicted hurdles, like trying to work to a deadline.
What were some of the unexpected benefits from gardening?
Meeting the visitors from all over the world that come to see our garden. It is amazing how much fun it is to meet and talk to like minded people. You can also learn a lot as gardeners are very sharing and knowledgeable.
Is there a gardening moment that stands out for you?
Seeing the flower bud opening (after 8 years of not so patient waiting) on fritillaries that I have grown from seed.
What has your garden taught you?
Gardening teaches you a lot about life. It takes you through the lessons of new discoveries, disappointments, unexpected surprises, loss, new beginnings, hope and luck.
If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
A potato – down to earth and reliable.
What tips would you offer first time gardeners?
Grow only what suits your climate.
Visit local gardens to see what is growing well and to find what you really like.
Mulch with barley / wheat, straw or mushroom compost
By Lesley Crowden
Kaydale Lodge Gardens
250 Loongana Road Nietta Tasmania
I would love to visit these gardens if I’m ever in Tasmania. If you are in the area, why not check them out?