Home is always an important part of family life. Jill & Bruce were married in 1972 and have lived in the same house in Lower Templestowe after moving in on return from their honeymoon.
Our home has been enlarged twice – with added rooms at the rear and then upstairs. We have renovated our back patio so that we have a more effective outdoor living area.
David & Cathy were born in 1974 & 1976 respectively and before we seemed to know, they were off pursuing professional careers. Now that they are living elsewhere, our house sometimes seems very large, but we do enjoy the room and the space to spread out as we pursue our hobbies and personal interests.
Home is where the heart is – and that is especially true for us. We enjoy living in our home, we like our neighbours (some of whom have lived near to us for our entire married life) and we also like our community with the parks along the river, nearby restaurants and the general facilities in the City of Manningham.
Jill takes all the credit for the outfitting of our place and for the imagination which makes our house and garden so attractive and well maintained.
Jill & The Garden
The garden, except for our vegetable patch, is really Jill’s domain. She is proud of her work in converting our original vacant block of land into the nice garden that we have today.
Just over thirty years ago our suburb was a new area and lemon orchards were bulldozed to make way for houses. Homes rapidly took the place of these orchards, and new families moved in to establish gardens. They soon discovered this to be an area of rock and clay with a bare minimum of topsoil.
At that stage we had very little knowledge of gardening. Friday night late shopping usually involved a visit to Doncaster Shoppingtown where we would invariably find something for the garden in the plant section of the Coles store. Azaleas were always good value in their tiny tubes at 20c each. So too were the eucalypts and Australian natives. Over the years the azaleas have survived and flourished. The gums all grew enormously large and had to be removed. The Grevilleas, Wattles, Hakeas etc became very woody and ragged and also were taken out and replaced with different plants. So from a haphazard start, many things have been refined over the years.
Our front garden
Facing south, the front garden has been the ideal aspect for camellias and azaleas and the Weeping Apricot in the centre, is designated as a feature tree. In more recent times a white and pale pink Magnolia Stellata have been planted, along with a dogwood.
Twelve months ago, mainly because of the drought and the real struggle to grow the lawn successfully, we planted a number of carpet roses. It is early days yet, but hopefully these will cover the area with a glossy green leaf and a profusion of blooms over a long flowering season. The area is edged with Mondo Grass and Liriope.
Also hopefully working as a cool area ground cover a lot of the new colour range of Helleborus are being planted. The spread is from the palest lime through to an almost black.
Our back garden
Time again, has seen many changes. Terracing had to be rethought when the house was extended. A large Ovens Wattle on the side fence blew over in a storm and we lost a lovely shady amenity. This has been replace with another wattle that shades this corner of the garden. Water tanks gave been installed to provide us with water over the hot summer months.
Much of the garden area is becoming established as the older shrubs needed replacing. Now we are using more mass plantings of colour and consistent types of plants in different areas. The size of the lawn has gradually decreased with areas being replaced with drought tolerant plants in mulched garden beds. The rose garden provides a brighter colour mix. We enjoy many different roses, although Just Joey and Julia’s Rose are hard to beat.
The vegetable garden with its raised beds in the bottom corner of our block provides food for the table for most of the year. The rose on the archway leading to it was taken from a cutting at Flemington Race course on their rose pruning day. It flowered for the first ime in 2004.
So over the years our garden has evolved and is still constantly changing Whilst it has not had the skills of a professional landscaper, Jill enjoys being able to wander around and recall the story behind many a plant purchase or a cutting struck from someone else’s garden.