Al-Ru Farm

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Twenty years ago, sheep grazed within 10 metres of Ruth and Alan Irving’s small cottage. They planted a few trees, but there was little topsoil for a garden along the stony clay ridge. The soil was improved using mulch and cow manure, and serious planting began in 1985. Today a 2.5ha garden surrounds the house, with 600 metres of perennial borders.

High maintenance garden

Two full-time gardeners are employed to help maintain the garden, but the costs are balanced by income from a bed and breakfast and a small perennial nursery. Ruth also runs a business from home. She deals in English and French provincial antiques from a converted shearing shed on the property. For Ruth, the garden has been a labour of love and a source of great peace and comfort, especially during her recent illness.

Spring and summer flowers

When ‘Burke’s Backyard’ visited in early spring, drifts of deep pink silene were in flower, along with lime green euphorbias, prunus, daffodils and jonquils. The garden is structured as a series of ‘rooms’ incorporating features such as a lily pond, massive arches, lots of seats, a rose garden and a woodland area. A variety of plantings provides continuous flowering from September through to November.

Ruth describes it as a happy garden for enjoyment and pleasure, where you can spend lots of time relaxing, rather than working.

Further information

Al-Ru Farm
Junction Black Top Rd & One Tree Hill Rd
One Tree Hill SA 5114
Phone: (08) 8280 7353
Fax: (08) 8280 7544

The garden is open this Sunday and Monday
Date: 21-22 October
When: 10am-4.30pm
Cost: $4.50
For more details phone Australia’s Open Garden Scheme hotline on 1902 261 026.