The Rowleys' Garden
The former Rose and Fuchsia farm between Tarafalgar and Yarragon is the home of Carol and Bernie Rowley- both keen gardeners. They have an extensive orchard and productive vegetable garden that is getting more attention since their retirement and closure of the nursery business. With their combined gardening experience over many years you're sure to learn a lot!
A fairly large rural garden in a private setting, with an outlook over two dams. It is a haven for birds and wildlife, most welcome, some not! The garden includes a range of fruit trees, multiple vegetable beds and multiple opinions on how best to manage them, a hothouse for seedling raising, a chook run, a wandering flock of geese and goslings, and some themed areas including a Japanese garden and clipped ‘hills’. It has an avenue of productive olive trees, a failed truffle orchard, and far too much grass to mow. Graham is a sculptor in ceramic, steel and wood, and the garden has sculptures for sale scattered about and the studio will be open. We will also have Cathy Almond from Warragul with us, who makes a range of preserves, jams and who dries foods, and on Sunday the redoubtable Cathy Smith, artist and sculptor, possibly making mushrooms.
Neerim South garden.
This garden and sheep farm set high in the hills overlooking Yarragon has been developed over 35 years. The vegetable garden has raised beds bordered by old
sleepers where seasonal vegies are grown as well as many self-seeding edibles such as silver beet, lettuces, leeks and parsley. Old laundry troughs provide warmer growing conditions which is useful in winter. Fertiliser and mulch are provided from composting kitchen scraps, weeds and mulched garden prunings as well as sheep crutchings and old hay. A new orchard is planted with citrus, a range of fruit trees and berries. A large ornamental garden surrounds the house with deciduous trees for winter sun and summer shading, and native trees and shrubs for shelter and habitat for birds. A well established chestnut tree in the paddock is a prolific bearer.
The food gardens are relatively recent additions to a garden cut out of a steep hill. The gardens are zoned according to what they grow. We also have chooks, sheep, and beef cows, and now I have house cows as well, and am dabbling in cheese-making. Our site has particular challenges- strong winds and it’s usually 2 degrees cooler up here. As well as feeding humans that live on our farm, we also feed rabbits, deer, wallabies, wombats, curl grubs and grasshoppers. My food gardens are all fenced, and many of the beds are netted. We have no town water, and the time my garden needs water the most is when the dam level is low. I use milk bottles and offcuts of downpipes to direct the water straight into the root zones.
A toilet is available. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Our garden has large play areas. The gardens near the house are on flat ground and easy enough to navigate. Elsewhere the land is steep, and the steps are a little uneven.
Three Springs- sorry, not open.
This is a young food garden, mostly being planted over the previous five years. The intention is to provide as much of the family of four’s food requirements as possible. The berries are the most advanced, followed by numerous fruit trees and vegetables planted with the seasons. Fertilised with manure from the house cow and chickens, the garden is based on organic principles with dolomite lime being the most used additive. Wooden edged vegetable plots, many with fixed trellis to support climbing crops are separated by sawdust covered paths and where the garden extends down the slope terracing is used. Areas are separated with espalier fruit trees and vines. The produce is preserved by various methods including bottling and canning in order to spread the harvest over the whole year. Although south facing, the garden has been successful in making the most of the challenging aspect. This garden exemplifies the possibilities of growing your own food for the beginner or the most experienced gardener.
Ours is a garden on our rented property, a quarter acre surrounded by farmland, based on permaculture principles with annual plants. Starting in 2018, and new to the area, we are continually adding new ideas. Last summer we ran out of water, so over winter we added in
passive water harvesting swales. The current garden design is a work in progress as we experiment with new techniques. Currently we are using a long garden bed row to grow winter produce. Summer produce is grown in the swale's ditches. We keep bees naturally in Kenyan Top Bar bee hives, that we make and sell. This year we added a bee flower meadow to part of the sheep paddock. Our chickens live in a geodesic dome and also free range. We use open pollinated plants so that we can save the seeds. We preserve our excess harvest
through drying, bottling and freezing, and when the sun comes out cook using our solar oven.
A brand new garden on the shores of Blue Rock Dam is an inspiration for new home owners. Hannah downsized from a large garden to this newly built house and has created a flourishing garden in just over two years. Stone, wood, gravel and mulch form the built structures and ground covers and a mix of natives, succulents and perennials are growing quickly. A large raised garden bed grows more than enough vegetables for one, and plenty to give away and a bed of raspberries is fruiting well. All kitchen waste is processed in a bokashi composting system which fertilizes the food plants. In this garden you not only find a watery view but owls, mirror pond, framed statue, Kongwak art, beehive, insect hotel, home made stools, no pruning no watering shrubs, etc. It's all fun and gets your imagination stimulated.
Gado Gado, a country property of 27 acres has a rambling mixed orchard of over 20 trees and an organic vegetable garden with a hothouse. Chooks free range about the garden but are excluded from the vegetable patch, which supplies most of the food needs throughout the year. Excess fruit is bottled and there is always
plenty of it. Fertiliser is applied in liquid form (chicken manure), as compost and as a mulch (horse manure). A recent addition to the garden is two bee hives. A 5 acre patch of bush has been restored with indigenous plants
over the last 20 years - unfortunately this is starting to encroach on the vegetable garden! The house garden is a mixture of native and non-native plants, and includes a large rose garden. Many of the native plants were grown from seed. The property is watered from a farm dam.
John and Jan Tulloch
The 3Ha property has been established for 35 years and is undergoing a renewal after the removal of pest species. A vegetable garden incorporating poultry, totally chicken wire mesh enclosed to exclude foxes, birds and possums. Compost and liquid manure are used, artificial fertilisers and insecticides are not. The garden produces ample vegetables and eggs. Raised beds have been created using recycled sheet iron. Tank water only is available so summer crops are limited. A blueberry garden is similarly totally enclosed to exclude birds and possums, and doubles as a cat run connected to the house. The blueberry beds consist mostly of mulch, and crop well. Separate reed beds were added to previously chlorinated 12.5m concrete pool. No other filtering is used but it is necessary to remove debris from the floor using a robot cleaner. Don't use google maps- use Coalville Rd from Lloyd St roundabout to avoid a dead end.