Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Our Gardening Journey
Serious gardening started as rehabilitation after our eldest son became a paraplegic as a result of a motor bike accident in Switzerland, this then changed over the years to become an all encompassing passion.
Judy and Ian's one-acre Birkdale property is themed as a 'giving garden' where tropical fruit trees and vegetables thrive and supply the household with a constant supply of food.
There is not one day in the year where they cannot go out and pick something to eat.
Over seventy fruit and nut trees flourish (over 40 different varieties) and provide shade for an impressive collection of sub tropical plants.
The original soil was scraped and sold by the developer and all that was left was heavy clay, so much work has been done to transform the clay into a rich growing medium, it's been years of hard work bringing in soil, mulching and composting, but the end result has been well worth the effort.
The garden reflects Ian and Judy’s changing 'plant passions' with a range of plants as varied from day lily’s to gingers and bromeliads.
The garden design has never been planned, it has evolved over the years, they believe a good garden is always changing and evolving.
There's always something new to see in the garden as Ian and Judy are always seeking to do better and always on the lookout for new, unusual and rare plants.
This garden is a true 'Gardeners Garden'; built by passionate 'plants people', hard work and always having to work to a small budget.
Ian and Judy share their passion for gardening and do all the work themselves.
The garden remains healthy and productive all year round thanks to Ian and Judy using 'smart sustainable gardening' practices, these include using kelp fertilizers, composting worms, two native beehives, mulching, large composting areas and collected rainwater.
In order to battle the years of drought Ian and Judy have had to purchase seven rainwater tanks storing a total of 107,000 litres of rain water, without this we would not have the garden we have now.
All vegetable scraps go to the compost worms, all green material is shredded then composted in three large areas and the garden is kept mulched with over 160 bales of sugar cane mulch every year.
Ian and Judy have learnt over the years which are the right plants to grow, yes they have made mistakes but like all good gardeners have learnt from them.
They are both very happy to spend all day in the garden, believing the garden is their one acre piece of paradise.
They have made a financial and physical commitment to have a beautiful yet sustainable garden and intend to keep up the challenge.
Our biggest thrill was in 2009 to win ‘Gardening Australia’s’ ‘Golden Trowel’.
Gardening has made a big difference to Ian and Judy’s life; they also try and promote gardening through opening their garden to the public, giving regular power point presentations (three different ones at the moment) to garden clubs, and promoting gardening in schools as well as hosting many bus trips through the garden.
Ian is constantly updating his three internet sites (over 100,000 people from over a 100 countries have seen/read about the garden through Ian’s blogs).
Ian and Judy have raised over $30,000 for charity through the past eleven garden openings and raised a further $3500 through a recent Charity ‘Open Garden’ enabling an eight year old local boy with Cerebral Palsy purchase a special walker.
Gardening and our four Grandchildren have given life a meaning that was not there previously.
Ian and Judy have now got over their son’s accident as he has done really well representing Australia in disabled water ski-ing and wheelchair basketball sports and most importantly has given them two beautiful grand children.
We no longer think of him as disabled as he has so much strength of character and a will to make the best out of life. In fact he put’s many able bodied to shame.
The accident that left Scott in wheelchair was a turning point in their lives, which saw them turn to their garden for solace.
What was a healing and nurturing time for them has now turning into a life time passion and has given them an oasis for all the family and many visitors to enjoy.
Ian and Judy now really enjoy their present life, sure it’s hard work but its enjoyable work and they are at their happiest working in the garden and meeting so many fellow gardeners.