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A Garden To Inspire

“Tenshira” – Heaven on Earth

When I went in search of my first Garden to Inspire I didn’t need to look very far at all…Shirley and Ray Fisher’s garden in Byford, WA is certainly a wonderful inspiration and fortunately for me is a garden my family and I are able to enjoy often as Shirley & Ray are my parents!

Today the garden is not just a tranquil place of great beauty; a place to relax & breathe in the many scents & visual treats that embrace and surround you….it is also a welcome home for a vast number of birds and lizards, butterflies and ladybirds, a family of bandicoots and at least one resident possum. This is all the more remarkable in that the expansive garden was once a blank canvas save one strand of red gums, set on a hilly slope that would leave most would be gardeners gasping for breathe and perhaps running in the opposite direction!

You could be forgiven for thinking there was a team of landscape gardeners regularly employed to not just design the garden as it is seen today but to tend and replant as necessary. It constantly amazes me that this is not the case and that all hands on work in every aspect of their garden, save some of the brick pathways and the above ground planters for their extensive vegetable garden has been done by just the two of them. I have visions of my father repeatedly pushing wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow up the steep hill that is their driveway to ensure every inch of their vast garden is covered with water saving, nutrient providing mulch and further visions of mum with her incredible green thumbs somehow coaxing every type of plant imaginable to grow to their best potential.


The initial planting was a tree fern grove under the existing redgums (pictured above). Large quantities of horse manure, sheep manure and mulch were introduced to enhance the soil, which is self composting from the natural leaf litter. A large variety of ferns, over 120 cycads and other lush green tropical foliage plants make for a cooling oasis. (Personally, my favourite area of my parents garden; which is a big call as the whole garden is stunning!)

Over the years other areas and zones of garden evolved – palms,  succulents, vegetables, fruit trees and annuals, interspersed with cottage plants, ornamental trees and grasses. Pathways of pavers, crushed brick, lawn and mulch meander around the whole property ensuring you are able to get right in amongst it all!

As part of the Open Garden Scheme,  Shirley and Ray opened their beautiful garden to the public in 2004, raising valuable money for a local wildlife shelter. They coined a name for their garden; “Tenshira” (a combination of their house number and the first letters of their names). To their surprise a web search discovered it is a word meaning mysteries of angels or nature. Ten being Japanese for “heaven”, they call it “heaven on earth”…their very own Garden of Eden.

With ongoing hard work, determination and no small amount of love and care their garden has not just grown it has thrived…living proof that everyday people can create and nurture great natural beauty and enjoy the fruits of their creation; enriching their own lives, along with their very fortunate family and friends.

I hope you feel as inspired as I do…… my garden doesn’t quite look like my parents……yet……I’m working on it!!

Happy gardening!


Post Script…if you enjoy the creativity and beauty that is shown within the Fisher’s garden you may also be interested in viewing Shirley Fisher’s artwork, currently displayed on our Philosophy & Arts pages.