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Every year the not-for-profit Open Gardens Australia arranges for interested gardeners to open gardens in Adelaide to the public for the enjoyment of all, and this month Chris Wake is opening her garden adjacent to the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. The garden is listed as "Lampert House & Art Gallery" in the Open Garden book.
Chris Wake is a successful contemporary Adelaide artist living in the Adelaide Hills. Her works have been exhibited around Australia, and internationally in diverse locations ranging from Monaco to Hong Kong and London.
Her colourful and whimsical art has a broad appeal, and also a social message. Chris's works display her concern about global warming by frequently including an animal somewhere on the canvas - reflecting her belief that we are damaging the environment that also belongs to species other than ourselves.
Before becoming a professional artist, Chris operated a landscape business with her husband. Clearly the skills acquired in this stage of her life have been of use in developing her attractive and functional 1.5 acre garden from its original use as a market garden in only 6 years. This must have been quite a challenge given the soil's heavy clay structure and high local rainfall.
The garden is divided into several zones, the first being a very productive vegetable garden with a strong emphasis on leaf vegetables such as kale. From personal experience Chris has found that she has been able to revolutionise her health by restricting her diet to being a mainly vegan. She gets her full range of nutritional needs from a very diverse range of organically grown vegetables.
So strongly does Chris believe in the importance of this diet that she held healthy living cooking classes for some time, but has been unable to continue them recently due to competing demands on time.
In her tomato patch a heavy duty truss will support four branches from each plant, while basil is planted close by as a companion to help reduce pest problems.
The garden also has a prolific orchard with many different fruit trees including persimmons, citrus and figs. When the birds started taking more than their share, it was time to erect a large bird net to protect the crop.
One of Chris's favourite parts of the garden is the covered courtyard where she can sit with a friend in the afternoon enjoying a glass of wine and the beautiful view. It is very tranquil with few sounds other than the birds.
Come visit, view Chris Wake's garden and ponder her art, talk about growing vegies and nutrition, and get her tips on garden design and how to use surplus zucchinis.
Drought tolerant plants from the Tupelo Grove Nursery, vegan wraps, tea and coffee will all be on sale to aid national animal protection organisation Animals Australia and help protect animals from cruelty.