4 Michael Heyes & Michelle Fleming

4. Michael Heyes & Michelle Fleming

5 Redgate Place, Alexandra

Our garden started off as an open, sloping paddock in 2010, when we built our house in a new subdivision on Redgate Place.  It was very much a blank slate for us to work on, within the constraints of a sloping block, heavy clay soil, and extremes of temperature.  Despite much of our family being heavily involved in the horticulture industry for many years, we had never had an interest in gardening previously, let alone set up a garden from scratch. 

We started off with a basic master-plan but the garden has evolved from this over time.  We have been lucky enough to be given many plants from parents and grandparents, like our hydrangeas, Japanese maples, nandinas, daphnes and roses, and we have incorporated them into our garden.  It has been very much a process of trial and error and once we developed a better understanding of what worked, we changed the locations of some plants and the design of the backyard and part of the front yard.  Where we identified a plant that was thriving, we planted more. As a result, we have lots of westringias, lavenders, hebes, buddleias and leptospermums.

We have done most of the landscaping ourselves, with only a little help from a bobcat at the start, and we found the manual labour very therapeutic.  We have put in an automatic watering system ourselves, which we think is the key to ensuring the garden survives and thrives.  Our pet dog, cats and chooks love being out in the garden, although the chooks and dogs have meant we’ve had to add more fencing than we originally planned.  To complement our free range eggs, we have a good sized vegie garden to supply us with fresh food. 

The garden is now fairly established and growing well, with little work from us other than mowing and a prune and mulch once a year.  We’ve been lucky to have our family to help with advice, second hand materials, and labour.  We love watching the garden change throughout the seasons, and seeing the birdlife multiply as the garden has grown.

Visitors please park in Redgate Place before you enter the property.