Formerly a wheat and sheep farmer from Western Australia, Jeremy Francis acquired Cloudehill in 1992 upon the death of Jim Woolrich, the son of the pioneered owner, George Woolrich. A chance meeting with British gardener, the late Christopher Lloyd sparked Jeremy's interest in gardening, which led to him establishing a business importing ornamental plants.
The Water Garden with crystalline glazed porcelain fountains set in a framework of stainless steel by Ted Secombe and Pillow Form by Robert Barron
Originally a utilitarian nursery, Jeremy set about transforming the 2 hectare garden, inspired by the golden days of Edwardian Arts and Crafts Design, dividing into 20 compartments, each with its own season of interest with integrating elements such as brick and stonework and the hornbeam hedges that make each compartment feel like part of a whole.
The gardens are designed to be self-contained, with little structures at the ends of the main terrace facing each other; defining the axis while masking the lack of any deep view of the immediate valley that one might hope for in a mountain garden. The plants are arranged and planted more intensely to extend the seasons.
The dry stone retaining walls are volcanic rocks collected from farmland west of Melbourne, largely around district of Stony Rises. The volcanic plain was formed by a lava flow dating back to 10,000 years. The dove-grey honeycomb stone were often enriched by the silver and green of colonising lichens and mosses, provide a good backdrop for flowers.
Cloudehill has joint venture with The Diggers Club to promote the advancement of high quality horticulture to another level. Jeremy retained ownership and control of Cloudehill while the nursery will be managed by The Diggers Club.