Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gunyah edible garden, open over this weekend in Coburg

Australia’s Open Garden Scheme
Sat 18th & Sun 19th February 2012 -10:00am to 4:30pm
Gunyah – 22 Lochinvar St., Pascoe Vale

(thanks to SGA for this text)

Gunyah, the aboriginal word for ‘resting place’, is both an affirmation and a contradiction when applied to this wonderful garden hidden away in a secluded street in Pascoe Vale. Passerbys looking over the front fence, see a beautiful cottage garden typical of this quiet and picturesque street. And as its name suggests, Gunyah does provide plenty of cool restful spots to escape this summer’s heat. But as you enter the garden and meet Karen Sutherland, the vibrant and passionate owner of the garden, you quickly realise that you are in a very special place with surprises around every turn of its meandering paths.

Gunyah is a garden that lives out Karen’s vision for a sustainable and productive home garden and reflects her extraordinary creativity as a garden designer, her passion for plants and her ambition to produce as much of her own food as she possibly can. And so over the past 20 years she has created this garden sanctuary, focused on sustainability. Almost every plant in the garden has earned its spot not just because of its beauty but also because it can contribute either food or flavourings to Karen’s kitchen. Many of the plants are also steeped in traditional and medicinal lore. There are tangled vines hanging with kiwi fruit and strawberry grapes; bushes tumbling with pepinos, feijoas, strawberry guavas and late raspberries; weeping standards laden with apples and trees of ripening avocados, figs, lemons, babaco, olives, and figs; scented herbaceous borders and seasonal vegetable patches ripening in the summer sun. And whilst Karen loves to experiment by growing rare and unusual foods, she has also included many traditional ‘bush tucker’ plants into her garden that thrive amongst the more abundant Mediterranean and tropical plants. At any time of the year you’ll find something to pick and eat straight from the bush or tree, full of freshness and bursting with seasonal flavour.

As a skilled gardener Karen is not content to simply sit back and enjoy her ‘resting place’ but has continued to devise ways she can become even more self sufficient. She has installed an aquaponics system to raise her own fish, a chook yard where eggs are collected fresh daily and has reinforced the garage roof to support the recently installed bee hives that are already providing honey for the kitchen table.
Karen’s garden is one of the twelve gardens chosen by Melbourne garden designer and writer Kate Herd to be included in her recently released book “Kitchen Gardens of Australia” (Penguin Books Australia).
Gunyah is open for the first time as part of the Australian Open Gardens Scheme on the weekend of 18th and 19th of February 2012.

Ø Karen will give talks in her garden at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday
Ø Rare and unusual plants propagated from Karen’s garden will be available for sale over the weekend including the rare strawberry grape vine
Ø Refreshments and cool drinks, as well as food prepared from garden produce, will be available for those who, having wandered through this wonderful oasis, simply want to sit and rest awhile in Gunyah.
Ø Also open same time in the scheme is ‘Peppertree Place’, a community garden space, just north of corner of Sydney Road and Bell Streets, Coburg.
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