Secret Flower Garden

February 2001....If the garden at Lawson Avenue has one fault it is that, being a fairly shady garden, there are very few places where annuals will thrive. Having had an idea of recent times that some sort of cottage style garden would be a nice change, we set to work transforming the only patch of ground suitable for such a project, the old Vegetable Garden. This area is hidden at the back of the garden and would become a sort of secret flower garden. A pleasant, secluded place to sit and contemplate the beauty of nature and hopefully a nice surprise for visitors as they wondered around.

My idea was to fill the area with masses of lovely annuals grown from both seedlings, for structure and colour theme, and also packets of 'cottage garden' seed mixes for an element of surprise and serendipity. We also wanted to have a sheltered area where we could sit with a cuppa or a nice glass of wine and admire the view. As the Australian summer sun can be intensely hot, it would need to have some shade in the form of a small pergola, which we hoped, eventually, would be covered in fragrant pink climbing roses.

Take a look below to see how the Secret Flower Garden started and has developed over its first summer.

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How The Project Took Shape

This was the site in very early spring with only the paved seating area in place. The garden had been well dug over and fertilized but, apart from a few white primulas, the hoped for glorious carpet of colour is still merely a dream.
Mid Spring and the seating area is finished with its pergola and bench. The rest of the secret flower garden is beginning to take shape but is still rather bare and chilly at this very early stage. The white tulips are called 'Maureen' and were a present from our lovely neighbour, Diane.
Ah! Summer at last. This picture was taken in early summer, just before Christmas. I have used a planting colour scheme of mainly pink, blue, mauve and purple with white alysium around the white pebble stepping stones that lead up to the paved seating area and then back again past the small lemon tree in the corner.
The view looking toward the house. The flower garden is hidden behind a trellis fence and a hebe hedge. The bird bath in the center is made out of an old piece of terracotta water pipe with a large terracotta pot saucer for the bath. The birds don't seem to mind this makeshift construction at all and visit regularly, especially during the intense summer heat.
The garden, although by no means perfect of course, did turn out to have the right degree of wildness and serendipity that I had hoped for. The germinating 'cottage garden' seed mixes created surprise after surprise as the summer months progressed and we await eagerly what pleasures autumn will bring.