When “garden” is in the name of a restaurant, you could guess the garden is important to the owners, and that’s certainly the case for Dion and Teneale Taylor, who run HSG At the Gardens at Branyan.
The garden has been a “labour of love” since they took over what was Penny Lane Garden Restaurant in January 2019.
“When we first came on site the gardens had been quite neglected and there was only really a basic skeleton of some plants and some substantial garden bed areas,” Dion said.
“After spending the first few months on site getting a feel for what was on offer, we decided to kick off with some pretty heavy planting and, over the last two years, have planted many hundreds of plants across a number species.
“We wanted to create an oasis, a place for folks to come and enjoy the serenity and be surrounded by nature.
“The ultimate vision of established gardens are still a work in progress.
The last 12 months of intense dry has seriously slowed up our major progress, but many regulars to the site can see far more progress than we have realised.”
Dion said many patrons have taken an active interest in the growth of the gardens.
“We have been very fortunate to have many budding gardeners who regularly visit and will often bring a cutting with them and share it with us on their arrival,” he said.
“We are looking forward to the day that we can give cuttings to guests as they leave.”
Dion said their major goal is building sustainable gardens that showcase low water usage and diversity of both planting and textures, as well as garden art.
“I love the diversity of the gardens,” he said.
“We have everything from succulents growing in pots on the tables, to palms, hibiscus, natives to numerous hanging pots.
“Our permaculture garden is slowly progressing as we add our kitchen vegetable peelings to the beds to improve the soil and, on occasion, we get a surprise pumpkin runner or capsicum seedling that pops up out of nowhere after a skud of rain.
“Mulching is so important for water improvement techniques and we have been adding different textures to the garden.
“We’ve got our very own vanilla beans growing and are now moving in to Kokedamas to showcase low watering planting solutions to guests.
“Many guests end up with their own favourite spaces and we find that very cool that we have created different places for relaxation and enjoyment of meals.”