Garden Design Study Group: Woodbury Garden
Googong, New South Wales
Peter and Lyn Woodbury bought their 40 acre block in 1981, not having a clear vision of what they wanted except that it must be close enough to commute, as they both worked, and it had to have a bit of bush. We were very fortunate, as the property has a closed crown road along one boundary which has never been cleared and so has its original vegetation largely intact and weeds have never been a huge problem, though we do spend about a week each year controlling them.
Choosing to build ourselves was helped greatly by completing the Owner Building Course run by Jean-Pierre Favre at the then Canberra College of Advanced Education. We toyed with the idea of building in stone, decided it would take forever, so settled for brick and ended up with a partially buried solar passive design which, in true owner builder style, still needs finishing.
The house was built into a slope causing a large amount of excavated clay and rock to be pushed out to the north and east. On to the northern part of this material our first garden was built. Contained by a semicircular driveway entering from the northeast and exiting to the northwest it was three raised beds of mulch with mossy rock edged paths. Into this we planted Camellias, Azaleas, Magnolias, Rhododendrons, a Crepe Myrtle and Wisteria with an understory of Violets, Aquilegia, Hellebores and bulbs. This garden survived the 1985 bushfire which consumed all other vegetation – we had toasted pears and cooked tomatoes straight from the vine.
Two years ago we participated in a project to plant Casuarina verticilliata (a food tree for Glossy Black Cockatoos) in higher areas between Queanbeyan and Cooma. 10,000 trees were planted, 500 are on our place.
For more information on this garden see Garden Design Study Group Newsletter 90, May 2015, p. 23.