Waratah Australis flower farm at Batlow, New South Wales, Australia.

If I could sum up the last month in two words, they would be ‘rain’ and ‘gardening’. October has proven to be a very soggy month in Wagga Wagga – the river’s been in flood twice in the last few weeks, and it feels like every other day rain, showers or thunderstorms are forecast. The timing of the exceptionally wet weather has come at a time when Adam and myself are working hard to try and landscape our new garden. So in between the rain, we’ve been spending virtually all of our spare time outside digging, mulching and planting…

It’s been muddy, hard work but ever so slowly, the sprawling mass of dirt that’s surrounded our new house since we moved in is evolving into a garden. There are several distinct areas in our new garden – a southern facing terrace that gets full sun, a northern facing backyard that has beds that are quite shaded, an eastern facing section that only captures the morning sun and finally a second southern facing area that’s partly shaded. Adam and I are trying to be quite thoughtful in our design and plant choices, with the aim of making sure we’re planting the right species in the right location.

Looking down on some feet in wellington boots standing beside boxes of plants.

Adam’s taken on, with gusto, most of the hard labour – he’s wheelbarrowed tonnes of much and built garden bed after garden bed. I’ve become the chief plant researcher and planter and between the two of us we think we’ve come up with a design that’ll provide us with a beautiful space to be in (once it finally stops raining!) Paul’s also proven his mettle during some long days outside, and has some impressive raking and sweeping techniques for a three year old. His love of digging in the dirt has also meant our washing machine’s had a great workout in recent weeks!

We’ve still got a way to go, but it definitely feels like October has been the month we’re we’ve truly made progress on the garden. And hopefully in the coming months as our little plants start to grow I can share with you the species that have worked well in our location.

As part of our constant desire to research species and layouts Adam, Paul and I have also become keen visitors of open gardens around the district. Our latest jaunt was to Waratah Australis. At his Batlow based property, Brian Fitzpatrick expertly grows waratahs, peonies and a number of other species for the wholesale market. This weekend gone we had a lovely visit to Brian’s farm, wandering around his garden and coming home with a new hybrid variety of waratah that we hope will inject some colour into a semi-shaded bed.

A statue stands in a garden bed, in front of bushland in Batlow, New South Wales, Australia.
Looking down on a waratah flower.

I’d never paid much attention to waratahs, but seeing them planted en masse and covered in those eye-catching vibrant red flowers convinced me that perhaps one might be the right sort of feature plant we needed for that particular bed. Next month, I’m hoping to take Adam to the open day at Ladysmith Park Perennials (which Paul and I visited back in May). The nursery’s garden proven to be a great source of inspiration to me so far and I’d love Adam to see it too, in all its spring glory.

Have a wonderful few weeks, I’ll catch you next month.

M. x

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