When Di and Doug Johnson purchased their Mornington Peninsula property it consisted of sparse farmland and 1 acre of Pinot Noir grapevines. The topsoil was acidic and very thin. After 7 years of work and the application of tonnes of horse and chicken manure, the neglected paddock has been transformed into a garden with many different elements skillfully linked together. They include a walled garden, Italianate courtyard, native garden and vegetable garden. The vineyard has been extended to 3 acres plus 1 acre of Pinot Gris vines.
The spectacular walled garden, with its beautiful English bond brickwork, was one of Di and Doug’s first major projects. Previously a boggy area, it was dug out of the clay by an enormous excavator.
To the west of the walled garden is a small courtyard surrounded by a hedge of drought tolerant escallonias (Escallonia Iveyi).
The long garden borders are filled with perennials, shrubs and roses. The plantings include beautifully grown heliotropes (Heliotropium arborescens), salvias (Salvia x sylvestris ‘Lubecca’ and Salvia x superba ‘Superba’), achilleas (Achillea millefolium ‘Fanal’), echiums (Echium candicans) and cardoons (Cynara cardunculus).
The long grass walk and more formal areas are connected by an avenue of lemon scented gums underplanted with lavender, helichrysum, echiums, westringia and artemisia.
The new native garden was the work of Di and Doug’s daughter, Jenny.
‘Pierre de Ronsard’ roses climb up the verandah posts on the house, their creamy pink blooms complemented by an underplanting of lavender (Lavandula stoechas ‘Ploughman’s Purple’).
The Garden Vineyard
174 Graydens Road
Moorooduc Vic 3933
The garden and cellar door is open every weekend from November 2004 until April 2005. At other times the garden will open by appointment. Phone (03) 5978 8336.
Wines are available at the cellar door or can be delivered. Outside of Melbourne there is a minimum order of one dozen. Prices of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris available on request. Phone (03) 978 8336.
The garden will be open on March 5 and 6, 2005 with Australia’s Open Garden Scheme. Phone 1902 261 026 closer to the date or visit www.opengarden.org.au. On this weekend, the Open Garden Scheme will be holding a plant sale with plants from some of the country’s best nurseries.