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Connoisseur's Delight

It’s a dreamy walk through this beautifully designed and planted garden; a connoisseur’s delight, every plant carefully chosen for its spot. We were invited to its opening in 1995 and we have visited regularly ever since, taking many happy Ross travellers with us.Windyridge is the dream come true of our friends Rodger Davidson and his late wife, Wai. These two nursery owners together planned and planted this complex garden with the help of the late renowned garden designer and brilliant horticulturist, Gordon Sykes.


 

Many plants here were propagated by Wai from plants at Nooroo, where she had worked for eight years with George Valder. Twenty-seven years on, you can see how well these plants have grown; maples, rhododendrons, camellias, hydrangeas, azaleas and lilacs have prospered here. The driveway is lined with an azalea carpet!

With its emphasis on good planting practice and a well-chosen plant palette, this garden only gets better as it matures. Huge trees, some planted by the Hubers, the previous owners, give the garden a real sense of maturity. It’s the reason Rodger and Wai chose this garden. Bark falls in long strips from giant Ribbon Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis).



But it’s water that leads the visitor through the garden, designed in a series of terraces. “You need water for sound and reflection,” says Rodger. The chain of ponds – a trio of round ponds linked by narrow channels – in the ancient Persian Mughal style, set a harmonious tone. Delicate cut-leaf maples weep into the water and mondo grass softens the edges.

Steps lead down to the ‘Blue Garden’ with shade loving ground covers such as trillium, hellebore, pachysandra, dwarf cyclamen and lily of the valley. An exquisite blue ‘crystal glazed’ jar gives the garden its name along with blue hydrangeas, maples, and camellias. Water falls to the formal parterre garden on the next terrace, enclosed with a pu—y hedge of Thuya occidentalis ‘Smaragd’. Tight clipped buxus contain the flower beds and variegated liriope line the brick paved terrace. Decorative timber seats invite you to stay a while. White tulips will soon be planted in this garden ready for spring flowering.



We walk past the barbecue terrace with its gazebo and seating and on down to the ‘White’ garden at the bottom of the garden. Here, Wollemi Pine, masses of white rhododendrons and white waratahs fill the landscape, alongside ponds and a waterfall. Planting here is superb with reflected maples and water tumbling into the lake; a grand sight any time of year but especially in spring and autumn. Across the sloping lawn we come to the Peony Terrace, Wai’s favourite flower. She brought valuable varieties from New Zealand and new ‘Itoh’ varieties have just been planted; 40 of them! Masses of spring bulbs: snow drops (galanthus), da—odils, tulips, lily of the valley, muscari (grape hyacinth) are pushing through ready for their annual spring flowering. Pink and {feature} white nerines will be coming into flower now, in this autumn season.



We’ve arrived at the Wisteria Pavilion, with its pergola supporting a huge pink flowering wisteria that almost touches the ground. Table and chairs make this a shady summer lunch stop, and a glorious sight in November.

After your journey through the garden, you have come back up to the forecourt to the Tea House. Like us, you will be ready for a refreshment. Don’t miss the plant display here, with lots of tempting plants wanting to jump into your car.


 

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Author: WORDS: SANDRA ROSS | IMAGES: WINDYRIDGE GARDENS