The unique pain of breaking away from a garden


There is no end to the process of creating a garden. You have invested backbreaking amounts of work and inordinate amounts of money. You plan, feed, cuddle, tinker, then tinker again. For many of us, the life of our garden merges with ours. What does that mean, then, when the time comes to leave him?

It’s a question that preoccupies Sharon Harris, a garden designer who has been refining her Thornbury property for 24 years and is currently pondering whether to sell and move to the countryside.

Sharon Harris in the garden she has been refining for 24 years.Credit:Eddie jim

After seeing her spartan juniper hedges thicken, she Rosa moyesii The “geranium” grows as tall as a small tree and every space gradually fills with perennials, edible plants, stairs, beehives, a chicken coop, succulents, vines, water fountains and more. of wood-fired ovens galore, she says one of the things that is pulling her back from the sale is the thought of what the new owners would do with her garden.

Subdivision is her biggest fear, but in reality she worries about anything that changes the mood too much of a place she’s blogged about, open to the public, and generally devoted a lot of her time to. .

While gardens are ephemeral by nature, we all know there is nothing like new owners to speed things up. Think Melania Trump pulling 10 crab apples out of the White House rose garden, or closer to home, frequent leveling of Melbourne’s backyards to make way for townhouses. Then there are the daily but not insignificant adjustments that inevitably occur when every owner moves on and people with different tastes move in.

Space has become more and more stratified.

Space has become more and more stratified.Credit:Eddie jim

Even the most visited and beloved gardens like large, impactful Australian plants have filled one that Rick Eckersley shaped for a decade in Flinders are not immune.

Two years after the gardener sold his 10-acre Musk Cottage, he lamented the new owners were starting to erode him. “(They) tear down the buildings, which will start to change the garden and the way it wraps around the property. It was all built into everything else, ”he said when publishing a book on the property last year.

But Eckersley was also pragmatic. “You have to aspire and move on. It’s like the end of a relationship. It’s a certain length and when it’s done, it’s done.

About Charles Holmes

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