In mid-March, Braddon resident Michele England generously opened her beautiful garden to the public as part of the Open Gardens Canberra (OGC) autumn program (sadly, all other openings have been cancelled), to share her experience, plants, art and friendship. Your visits to her garden enabled her to donate the amazing sum of $1500 to the Conservation Council to support our work for the environment. Thank you, Michele, and everyone who enjoyed a delightful tour of the garden!
Located in Braddon, Michele’s garden is based around a philosophy of rescue, reuse and working with nature.
In practical terms this means all organic matter is returned to the garden through mulching, composting and vermiculture. An organic approach is adopted to feed the soil and thus plants. Unwanted insects are reduced through companion plants, organic sprays and mechanical means. Emphasis is placed on drought tolerant plants while rainwater is also saved for the drier times or more water intensive plants, such as fruit trees.
The garden is designed around several paths (made from reclaimed materials) and ‘rooms’ using a harmonious palette of pinks to purple with a splash of yellow for good measure. There are many fruit trees on site, raised vegetable beds, a chook run and beehives.
Propagated plants were on sale and an artist studio was open for viewing and sales. Michele’s sister and mum also offered delicious cakes and slices as refreshments for her guests.
Visitors of all ages took delight in discovering the nooks and crannies, flowers, insects, chooks and more in the garden, and in sharing their own stories. Michele met a wonderful longtime Canberra resident who had been keeping chickens since he was six years old. He is now 85 and has been living in Yarralumla since 1953. “He calls his chickens Mrs Brown and Mrs Black and they are reliable layers. Just shows you that as you age, if you are healthy and fit, there is no reason to give up on life’s joys.”
Michele received great support from Open Gardens Canberra Inc. leading up to and on the weekend of the event. Michele says “It was a lot of work for Andrew and I to host the event. But it helped us along with several outstanding hard and soft garden jobs.” OGC liaise with the garden owner, provide publicity, put out signs before the opening, manage the budget, and organise all the volunteers who sit at the front and take the entry fee, give out garden notes and other information. Thanks to the OGC committee and volunteers for making the open garden possible.
To host your own fundraising event (perhaps once we’re allowed to gather again in Spring!), contact Sylvia.
Michele England’s delightful garden on open day. Photos: Jenny Thompson.
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