Designing and establishing a garden is very much a personal adventure. The rustic garden created on their Alloway property 12 years ago by Michael and Janine Tyler now provides a lush oasis around their home and reflects the effervescent personality of the couple.
Michael and Janine live in a renovated Queenslander which absolutely oozes its own quirky characteristics and blends perfectly with the eclectic collection of odds and ends that highlight the couple’s passion for collecting.
“Building the garden came second,” says Janine. “We installed a swimming pool complete with rustic structures that gave us that laid-back country feel we were striving to achieve.
“The garden kind of meanders into and complements the pool area,” she says.
And what a garden it is.
The overarching statement is “rainforest green” – cool and quiet – with well-established palms and bamboo providing a canopy that nurtures a myriad of under-storey plants including philodendrons, birds nest ferns, crotons and bromeliads.
Given its maturity it’s difficult to believe the garden has only been established for a dozen years. “Plenty of water and good fertiliser,” quipped Michael.
“To accentuate the rainforest feel we created a shallow depression – representative of a water course – that is now filled with moss covered rocks,” he said.
Colour is used sparingly throughout this section of the garden with the odd bougainvillea or potted geranium creating an effective splash amid the green.
Rustic art abounds in the garden
Everywhere throughout the garden are the reminders that you are walking through a patch created by people passionate about collecting the old, the unusual and the conversation starters.
Janine is a noted local artist who specialises in creating rustic art from all manner of recycled materials.
Many of these pieces find a home in their garden.
The mini rainforest is just one section of what is a rather expansive collection of plants.
Leave this green zone and you wander into open grassy areas dotted with shrubs, palms, natives and massive bromeliads and still more bamboo.
“Bamboo is not for everyone but if you have the space it is such a beautiful addition to the garden,” Janine said.
With the breeze gently swaying the elegant stalks of bamboo it’s easy to understand the relaxation the plant can evoke.
“And the leaves the plant drops make such an amazing mulch covering,” she said.
The garden is not orderly and neat in its presentation and that is its underlying charm.
Michael and Janine have not sought the manicured look.
“We have aimed for rustic and I think that is what we have achieved. The garden is a place where, as an artist, I can be with my thoughts,” Janine said.
“Gardens are many things to many people, but I think that everyone who gardens just gathers great delight from the work they put in and what the garden gives back.”
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