Don visited a beautiful country garden belonging to Fiona and Andrew McIntosh. The 8 ha (20 acre) cattle property has about 1 ha (2.5 acres) of gardens surrounding the homestead. The house itself was built in 1870. Known as ‘Brandon’, it was once owned by the first magistrate in Glen Innes.
Creating the garden
Fiona and Andrew have lived at Brandon for about 17 years, and they established the gardens. They did the majority of the work themselves, only having occasional, limited advice from any sort of designer when one was available. One of their first challenges was selecting plants suitable for the cold climate. A glasshouse protects the more sensitive plants during the colder months. Andrew and Fiona planted most of the trees, although the weeping willow and a few others near the dam date from the 1870s.
Today, the garden has an ‘English manor’ feel. Clipped and shaped hedging is used to great effect, creating walkways, passages, garden rooms and amphitheatres. A dilapidated pergola has been rebuilt with a pitched roof, to match the gable on the glasshouse. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) climbs over the structure to provide shade in summer and sunshine in winter. Wisteria walk Andrew built the magnificent wisteria walk using timbers from the property. Don was amazed at how solid the structure is, and also impressed with its generous height. Many wisteria walks are too low, making it almost impossible to walk under them when the vine is in flower. Andrew has built many of the structures on the property, and is now building a dry-stone wall. Like all good gardens, Brandon continues to be a ‘work in progress’. Note: Brandon is not open to the public.