The garden at Greendale #8


The house from the area around the dam

Around the Dam

If you drove up our street past the drive you couldn’t actually see the house. It was below the level of the land. You can imagine what could happen in the event of heavy rain. So Peter had put in a small dam, and drainage channels to conduct excess water away from the house. This quite large area above the house was never developed and never used. One reason was that really open areas are never used, by anybody. We didn’t have any fences except between us and our immediate neighbour to the West, who had horses. We didn’t need a fence, since we had no domestic pets, so we planted a hedge (photinia robusta), fast-growing to about three metres. It has a gorgeous flush of red foliage in Spring.

Planting photinias. Rather a lot of them. That’s the neighbours’ fence behind him

The hedge a few years later

Then one day as we were on our way to Ballarat for a leisurely breakfast, we noticed a new servo was being built on the Western Highway. The site was solid rock and the builders had blasted out tonnes of rocks and placed them in a pile. An opportunity! Over several weekends Pete and I went to the site and filled the trailer with rocks to cover the dam wall. That way, it no longer needed mowing.

Early morning ready for a day of labouring. We still have a pile of rocks to shift

Hosing the rocks down to clean them up

Edged and finished

The end result was beautiful, as well as practical

I planted tough sedum, grasses, allysum and the like between the rocks

Low-growing, tough plants like grasses and sedum and allysum nestle between the rocks

In his previous tenure at Greendale Pete had planted three gum trees up in that top paddock that were now well-established. Now we’d provided privacy with the hedge, we built a little arbor incorporating the trees, and overlooking the dam. By then the dam was empty because of the drought – but weather changes.

Gum trees. That’s the shadow of the archway over the steps leading down to the terrace

Pete created an octagon around the trees, then we selected natives for the edge. When they’re grown, that should be a hidden spot to sit on a bench

The hedge is looking splendid and the natives between the trees are starting to grow

Sitting on the bench you can see the dam

Next time I’ll tell you about the shade house.