Sunday, 26 February 2012

Gaining Garden Inspiration

Between the scattered showers and the heavy downpours we did very little in the garden this weekend.   We did, however, visit one of the best tropical gardens in Australia. Dennis Hunscheidt opens his garden to the public once a year. I hadn't seen it for a few years and even though it was raining I didn't want to miss it.

So what is it I love so much about this garden.
I'll show you.

Throughout the garden there are numerous water features - each perfectly placed to complement their surrounds.

Around every corner you discover something new.

As you walk through the garden you are never far from the sound of water - bubbling urns, cascading fountains and waterfalls and streams and ponds.

Some of the ponds were a little muddy due to all the rain we've had but still looked fantastic. I love how the grass grows right to the edge with this one.

Their pool is a giant water feature as well, I think.

Dennis describes his garden as tropical Asian style with a strong Balinese and Thai influence.

The garden is a series of garden rooms connected by paths and gateways.

A glimpse of the next room tempts you to move on.

This is a garden to explore and discover.

As a gardener, the paths themselves inspire me.

Pavilions and garden seating tempt you to stay a while and enjoy the garden.

This is a garden to sit and relax and just take in the beauty that surrounds you.

Whenever I visit Dennis' garden I am in awe. The design elements of this garden seem to me to be perfect. The overall layout, the transition from one area to the next, the use of garden features, the use of space, symmetry and perspective, the use of plants as design elements - and that each element complements the others and the overall theme. ....and yet I know that he is constantly changing it and trying new things.

Stone artifacts throughout the garden  add to the tropical Asian theme. Their careful placement means that they complement never overwhelm the real stars of this garden.
Over a hundred different species of palms help form the canopy for a range of plants that would be the envy of many botanic gardens. The garden is packed with plants. Many are rare or unusual and all appear in perfect health. The garden is set on two thousand square meters (That's half the size of Missy's)  but would have at least a hundred (maybe a thousand) times as many plants as ours. There doesn't seem to be space for one more plant, but as all gardeners know, for the right plant I bet there would be.
I have to show you a couple of my favourites.
I 've never seen such a variety of beehive gingers and all perfect specimens. I didn't photograph all of them.... and....I must admit one came home with us from Dennis' plant sale.

Bromeliads feature throughout the garden - often as a border plant or as a "filler".

Giant bromeliads (Alcantarea imperialis) are also used as feature plants.

They are even covering palm trunks.
Many were in flower. Look at the size of the flower spike on the one on the right.

In case I get a bit despondent that our garden will never look as good, or envious of his collection of amazing plants, I remind myself that to Dennis, this garden is his livelihood. He is a professional gardener with many years of experience and a professional garden designer. He earns his living creating beautiful gardens for clients, conducting gardening classes and consulting.

I am happy just to see his garden, to learn from it and to be inspired.


  1. Absolutely stunning. How I wish I could walk the paths and experience this amazing garden for myself. Thank you so much for sharing your visit...just wonderful.

  2. I have little pockets in my garden inspired by gardens I have visited, a plant combination, a feature, a tree. They all combine to make MY garden, and I remember each of them fondly. Thanks for the tour and lovely pics of a beautiful garden.

  3. gosh what beauty and as you say every single plant looks so healthy. I was just thinking this weekend that I need to cut back some of the older bromeliad leaves. I love all the places to sit, the paths, and the water features....sigh.

  4. I am in AWE! Thank you for sharing your visit to us, every photo is inspirational! Stunning!!

  5. A wonderfully fantastic garden with this touch of magical know how.
    I think I could never achieve something so perfect.

  6. YOu are made of sterner stuff than me. I didn't get along to Denis's open garden this year - it was too wet, but I have visited several times in the past and like you I am absolutely blown away. So many brilliant ideas, great use of colour, texture and garden ornaments. Absolutely inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Oh, I've seen this garden on tv, I would LOVE to visit it! I absolutely love your photographs!

  8.'s one of the finest examples of Tropical Gardening I've ever seen...right up there with Made Wijaya(Bali & Australia) and Raymond Jungles(Florida)
    I'm wondering how he can keep all that looking so perfectly.

    It's nice to dream....
    Thanks for the dramatic tour.


I would love to know what you think and appreciate your comments.


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