Organic Gardening, STEPS

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One Gardener, Two Continents…

Jillian Taylor is definitely a lady of numerous talents and when she decides to do something she does it properly, regardless of the size of the task!

Eighteen months ago the garden you see below was just lawn & three small Norfolk Island pines. A clear vision, a few sketches, some inspiration from *Beth Chatto’s gardens and books and no small supply of pure passion for gardening later and she is well on the way to creating a garden oasis in the middle of a residential area in the country town of Margaret River, Western Australia.

Jillian’s north facing garden is perfect for the largely Mediterranean type plants she has planted, including salvias & sages, sedums, euphorbias, lychnis and grasses to name but a few. With the majority of the structural plantings in place, Jillian is soon to carpet the spaces with drift plantings, filling in areas around the larger plants that are well on their way to being established.

There are so many things to draw you into this garden and viewed from the deck above I found my eyes travelling down pathways in the same way my feet did soon after! Fruit trees are espaliered against the deck and are obviously thriving in their sun drenched positions, raised vegetable beds provide an ongoing organic harvest and berries line the fence lines. A fountain receives water from the roof which runs into a stream, travels down to feed a pond and then cycles back to the fountain…the constant sound of gently moving water soothing those who enjoy the garden. Sculpture off sets a variety of grasses and a hand made wall, purposely created to look like it’s been there for a 100 years is naturally brightened by red geranium, reminding me of travels through Spain & Portugal.

Jillian is no stranger to creating beautiful gardens. Her love of gardening began young with her grandmother and father both encouraging and inspiring her. Jillian recalls her father making small concrete structures that she would push small plants into, creating miniature rockery type gardens. Her grandmother, Matilda Peake, together with her husband, Tim, were early entrepreneurs within the Busselton/Margaret River region, founding and operating Peake’s department store in Busselton and establishing general stores in Margaret River and Cowaramup in the early 1900s. Her great love of gardening in any spare moment has definitely rubbed off on her granddaughter as did her entrepreneurial skills.

A trip to London led to many years spent in the UK, initially founding and running an extremely successful needlework business in London, where Jillian’s green thumbs were restricted to tending to her largely potted garden in her mews cottage during the little spare time she had. It was a move to Somerset in the late 90’s that enabled Jillian’s passion for gardening to really take hold with her first opportunity to get her hands into some real dirt. A desire to learn all things horticultural was fostered and continues to this day. The crumbling Old Bakehouse you see in the photographs and largely bare, untended fields were painstakingly transformed with great love and care to a point where the ¾ acre property was included in village open garden events.

The old “dough vat” from the former Somerset bakery was transported to WA and currently resides in Jillian’s continually evolving Mediterranean style garden; a fitting and constant reminder of another beautiful garden literally on the other side of the world – testimony to Jillian’s knack for being able to create beautiful gardens regardless of the conditions and size.

This is certainly a garden I will look forward to revisiting in the months ahead…it will be lovely to see how it continues to grow, given the wonderful structure and foundations Jillian has already laid.

Jillian is a volunteer at the Margaret River Organic gardens where she can be found most Wednesday afternoons. Should you wish to reach her in regard to further information about her garden or the Margaret River Organic Gardens please email jilliantaylor@westnet.com.au

*For information on Beth Chatto please visit http://www.bethchatto.co.uk/