I'm time-pressed and always counting the pennies as a single-mum writer, so going out has to be worth the lipstick. It's the year of discovering tantalizing Melbourne and, sometimes, a tease of Adelaide's treasures. Join me.
"All gardening is landscape-painting" Alexander Pope
Linden in Alphington will open its garden publicly for the first time on the weekend of April 18-19 2015. Photograph courtesy of Mark Farrelly Photography.
Historic gardens fill us with awe for their patient vision, but inspired gardens bring us home. When Linda Angel acquired the potentially pretty gardens of Linden, she recognised the fine bones of old trees and a privileged setting close to the Yarra River beyond La Trobe Golf Course.
For Linda, gardens are for celebrating life, and her first decision was to build a pool to enjoy with family and friends. Twelve years later, she has fleshed out those garden bones with a unique feminine flow, joining late Victorian grace to our new, sustainable respect for productive lifestyle plantings. In April, she will open the Linden garden for all to enjoy.
Relaxed, yet structured, Linden has many surprises. Photograph courtesy of Mark Farrelly Photography.
Persimmon, quince, and fig conjure pictures of bygone days and, alongside the c.1890 homestead, these quaint fruits punctuate the colourful plantings of flowers and foliage. Autumn changes have started to hint at their splendour ahead. Leading the old guard of trees is the property's pride, a Weeping Linden tree with a first shy show of deciduous yellow leaves. The boughs of this European beauty curve to touch the ground, making a wonderful cavern beneath (I'm sure I saw faeries). Also spectacularly present is a significant Bay Tree so huge, it may hearken to the property's era as a former dairy farm and orchard.
The Weeping Linden tree stands strong beside its farmhouse namesake. Photograph courtesy of Mark Farrelly Photography.
The style is ubiquitous as it streams cottage charm, colourful succulents and kitchen garden favourites together around zones for patio entertaining, a sloping lawn and secluded pathways. From the elevated veranda there is a favourite aspect across the lawn which, taken in with a cup of tea and solitude, would restore balance to anyone.
Linda hesitates to consider her work a permaculture garden, although her instinct for sympathetic plantings does appear effortless. The surprise combinations found in beds side by side create a relaxed aesthetic form. I was delighted when Linda pulled a ripe fig for me to taste on the spot. So joy does grow on trees.
Summer's blooms will give way to an Autumn palette. Photograph courtesy of Mark Farrelly Photography
My favourite contrast was the tall-headed, white wind flower garden waving across the front of the house, against French-grey timber. There are many exquisite miniatures painted across this dirt canvas. Up to 20 hours a week of loving attention from Linda, plus the secret ingredients of elephant poo and shared tips from fellow gardeners, have boosted Linden towards its first public opening.
Refreshments and entertainment will accompany your time here, and entry proceeds will go to the Inner North Community Foundation – a deliberate choice by Linda, to keep benefits near home, and which neatly aligns her steady realisation of Linden's potential, with maximising the outcomes for positive social change in neighbouring surrounds.
Together for life, the former farmhouse reflects the branches of the seldomly seen Weeping Linden tree.