Garden Visit October 2023

We visited ”Locura” the beautiful garden belonging to club members David Williamson and Susan Dempster.

They described their garden journey: 

We bought our one hectare, completely vacant block in October 2016. We were members of the garden club where someone recommended Diana Harden to advise on our landscape gardening project.


We’d previously collected many plants that were until then kept in pots at our Goonengerry property. We prepared a stock list and worked with Diana to put together a long list of preferred plants. Stock plants included 3 Dracena Dracos, a tree aloe and 4 Bismark Palms.


The east and west screen trees (Syzigium Cascade and Eleocarpus Eumundii) were planted in December 2016, along with one Cook Pine and some of the Brachychitons, avoiding driveway or building locations until we had fairly firm architect’s plans. Once details of the driveway were known, we planted the 4 Bismark palms, leaving plenty of room for their ultimate 7m maximum spread. We’ve taken the same precautions with other large trees so they can grow into their natural shape without competition from others.


In 2017 Diana prepared a detailed planting plan for the rental studio’s substantial 45 deg bank as well as the front street frontage screening garden. Diana’s connections made it easy to buy many of the required plants through wholesale nurseries, such as Alpine.


Over the ensuing years Diana prepared many sub-plans for each section of the garden, creating different “zones”, such as the dry climate garden at the entrance to the house and a colourful “Asian” plants area, utilising the plants we had in stock, as far as possible. Since then, we’ve bought plants from almost all local wholesale and retail nurseries, even Bunnings. We’ve added other plants to fill gaps, and bought other trees and shrubs (when we just had to have them!) All have found homes here. Cold climate plants were mostly purchased from Birchgrove Nursery at Tambourine.


Fruit trees located near the shade house include Meyer Lemon, Japanese seedless Mandarin, Pomelo (Vietnamese Nam Roi), Arnold’s Blood Orange, Tahitian Lime, 2x Finger Limes, Brazilian Custard Apple (Rollinia Deliciosa), Black Genoa Fig and a Jackfruit.

Veggies are grown on the base of the bank behind the house and water tanks. We are on Rous town water as well as tank water but have used only our well filtered tank water for the house since moving in.


We developed 4 Lens gardens on the east and west boundaries. On the west, there’s a pod of 7 Frangipani with multiple coloured Alternanthera underplantings and another pod with 5 Ivory Curl trees with many different species as underplantings. Weeding in these areas has been minimal. On the east side we now have a lens of a Waterhousia Floribunda, bookmarked by 2 Viburnum Emerald Lustre with recent plantings, mostly of Clivea and various Bromeliads as underplantings. The south eastern lens with 7 Magnolia Exmouths has 5 Bauhinia Corymbosa and several hydrangeas and Japanese maples as well as underplantings that will be augmented by fill-ins of dark coloured alternanthera ( if I can deal with this bloody Bush Turkey!!!).


We have mostly left the rear southern boundary bare, as we enjoy the neighbour’s cattle that regularly visit each afternoon. If the land is developed in the future, we’ll consult again with Diana regarding appropriate trees/shrubs to maintain our privacy.


The only advanced tree in the garden is the Brachychiton Rupestris (Queensland Bottle Tree), purchased from Station Creek Tree Farm west of Brisbane, 18 months ago. In garden bed areas we were happy to have plants and shrubs fill the available space to keep weeding and maintenance to a minimum. It’s still a work in progress, as all gardens are.


Thank you to those who visited in such inclement weather. Next time we’ll choose a late autumn date, with luck to better display our winter deciduous trees and shrubs, of which there are many.

Posted in Gardens 2023.