Michael and I recently visited the garden at Pattemore House at Maleny. It was late in the afternoon and there was a lovely breeze blowing from the east as we entered through the back garden past the privet hedge. It is the sort of place where the house nestles into its surroundings and the remnant plants such as mature camellias , persimmons, mulberry trees instantly set a scene . These are the survivors - the plants that have grown through droughts and flooding rain and they give the gardner a clue as to what grows well .The cobble stones in the laundry area and the open verandah invites a closer look. The historical group had provided us with a detailed map so we were able to identify all of the garden and the proposed directions for the garden.
It was lovely to see the old plants retained as so often gardens are swept aside , heritage or no heritage. As if a garden is just something that can be filled in later after the "important" hard landscaping is done. It is soft landscaping that is the ingredient for old gardens. I like the human touch where pavers are not pristine or rocks are piled as garden edges. Lets face it people in the past had a mend and make do philosophy perhaps more by economic necessity than desire.
The wind in the trees always takes me back to childhood and this home has a lot of the ingredients to become a really worthwhile garden to visit . I like the rough lawn and those deep shady places under the mulberry boughs and . There is possibly a lot you could do in the garden but perhaps paring back and keeping the garden as original as possible might be best. Adding on to garden beds and filling in hedges and basically treading lightly will be the key.
From the front there is a long drive lined with mature trees. This landscape allows visitors to wander away from the house garden and view the property from a different angle. I always imagine what it would have been like to live in particular houses. What a day would have been like and who would have been playing or working in the garden. I imagine on hot afternoons families and friends may have sat on the verandah and looked out for a sign of rain as we did today.
I imagine the children picking mulberries and being covered in juice-their mouths, hands and probably their clothes. Someone might suddenly feel a spot of rain and there would be a mad dash to get the clothes off the line. Someone might start getting attacked by mozzies and as the dusk settles it will be time to head indoors.
As we drove away we looked out across Maleny's new estates with smaller blocks and landscaped outdoor areas . It makes it even more important to preserve and value the gardens surrounding the older buildings on the Blackall Range. I guess we took for granted the Queensland gardens we grew up with when everyone had a mango tree , a chook house and a patch of maiden hair fern under the steps. It was normal as children
Garden preservation is for the future generations and I hope that it doesn't become a rarefied treat to actually get all those wonderful feelings from gardens.