Green thumbs and garden lovers will have the chance to explore a fascinating coastal garden at Balnarring Beach this month as part of Open Gardens Victoria.
Over the past 19 years, Illyarrie owners Louise King and Brian Henderson have transformed an uninspiring quarter-acre block into a garden full of richness and year-round interest, and on Saturday, September 16, and Sunday, September 17, they will invite members of the public into their labour of love, which by then should be ablaze with colour.
The sandy soil of this garden provides the perfect environment for difficult to grow West Australian species, including rare banksias and unusual grevilleas. The rear garden, overlooked by decks, is a true carpet of colour under a canopy in the natural, open woodland style admired by the owners. Many plants – from eucalypts to native orchids in beautiful pots - add a very different dimension, especially to the intimate front garden.
The garden extends beyond the fences and boundary to a beautifully planted nature strip enjoyed by the Balnarring community. Through a gate in the back fence, visitors can wander through an extension to the garden, where three and a half years ago neighbours encouraged Louise and Brian to begin developing a garden on their land. This new garden is different to the low-profile style of Illyarrie and includes some remnant indigenous trees and larger eucalypts. Many banksias as well as thomasias, lasiopetalums and prostrate coastal banksias provide a seamless connection to the older garden. The spectacular Acacia leprosa ‘Scarlet Blaze’ is a lovely feature of the new garden and may well be in flower at the opening.
Illyarrie was featured on the ABC's Gardening Australia in November 2013, although the garden has of course been expanded since then. See abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3881958.htm