We visited Shirley and Mike Peterson’s garden on the edge of urban Leamington on a cool winter’s morning. Shirley welcomed us incredibly warmly and we were straight into viewing this impressive large garden. The imaginative pottery artwork filling the garden brought so much colour to this garden along with the glowing citrus and the last of the brilliant red maple leaves. I cannot wait to see this garden in the spring.
Shirley and Mike moved here three years ago from a block on the other side of Leamington where they also had an impressive garden. In Amelia Place they have retained the bigger trees and have done a huge amount of planting. When they arrived the garden was covered with large flax bushes and “the flax just had to go”.
Everywhere you look there is stunning artwork produced on the site by Shirley in her “Mud House” then fired in her kiln. There are pottery flowers bringing colour throughout the year to the garden, quirky houses and a multitude of different animals. I must not forget to mention the lady in a bikini sprawling across a table. So imaginative! The animals include many chooks, some geese, rhinos and lots of cute rabbits. Some of this artwork is expected to be available for sale when the garden is opened for the festival.
On a large post at the back of the property there is a row of pumpkins and on the trunk of a melia tree, a row of colourful hats. Until recently the hats were on an adjacent melia that lost a huge branch in a storm. The hats survived the fall with just a small chip. Unfortunately the tree did not survive. Mike said the pair of melias looked a picture from their living area that looks out onto that part of the garden.
The house is lined on several sides by standard camellia sasanquas and standard michelias. They have a set of large, raised vegetable gardens which will be replanted in the spring. The feature at the front of the house for me was the row of cherries flaunting their autumn colours. Apparently, they have stunning double-pink blossoms in October. These match the similar cherries in the street.
By Don Wilson