A walled garden is divided into a series of rooms coming off a central axis. These provide sanctuary from the coastal wind and create a wonderful sense of intrigue. Some rooms feature roses organised by colour, with obelisks adding height and espaliered Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ adding structure. In other rooms visitors will find reflection ponds, manicured hedges and wisteria-clad fountains.
It is fun speculating what will come next! There is even an elegant pool set in lush grass with walls lined by fruiting figs. This rarely opened property is magnificent.
Nearby Drik Drik, at 63 Bass St, has long been a favourite of local residents, much admired for its interesting and quirky architecture, its garden and general charm. The original front garden has a simple planting scheme of low hedges, coastal tea-tree and rosemary, which allow the design of the original stone cottage and the stone front fence to shine. A highlight is a large manna gum, estimated to be up to 200 years old.
The modern extension is framed by an ornamental pear transplanted from the site of the extension and a cork oak, while a new garden bed along the driveway draws from a palette of plants that can cope with harsh coastal conditions. Echiums, clipped westringia balls and groundcovers make for an attractive tapestry of form and texture.
The rear of the property backs on to Flinders Golf Course and has a different, softer mood. Deep, curvaceous beds of trees and shrubs surround a graceful lawn and an ivy-covered walkway lends mystery. Make sure to explore the walled garden behind the modern extension.
Both gardens are open from 10am-4.30pm on Saturday, January 27. Entry for adults is $10 for Villa Lettisier, $8 for Drik Drik, $5 for students and free for children under 18. Details: opengardensvictoria.org.au