The garden at Meadowbank is a wild mix of grasses and perennial planting; its layout introduces some formality but plantings are allowed to be wild. Plants that self-seed in the borders help to add to the relaxed atmosphere in the garden.
Tucked away in the Victorian country town of Kyneton is Meadowbank, a tiny brick and stone cottage built by master stonemason Alexander Rodgers for his family in 1858. Alexander and his wife and eleven children lived here very happily for many years; today it is the home of an architect and a photographer, and their two whippets.
“The cottage was built just after gold was discovered in Australia”
Kyneton is on the road to the goldfields, and back then was a wild frontier town like you might see in an old western movie. Kyneton was famous for pubs and brothels, and was a bit of a rough town where miners might lose their money on the way back to Melbourne.
Today Kyneton has been discovered by “sea-changers”: people wanting to escape Melbourne, dissatisfied with city life and have a quieter life in the country, its now a town full of artists, designers, musicians architects, and photographers.
The cottage is small and neat and built in the Georgian style, from locally quarried stone and hand-made bricks. Two bedrooms, a sitting room, dining room, bathroom, and a kitchen. The kind of house that looks like a child's drawing, a door in the middle with a window either side, a hipped roof and a chimney with smoke drifting out of it.
The house is simply furnished with mostly English country furniture, simple honest oak furniture the type that probably would have been in a cottage like this originally.
An eighteenth-century oak grandfather clock marks the hours and looks like it has always been in the house in the hall. A Welsh oak dresser groans under the weight of the owner's collection of blue and white china. Nothing in the house is too precious, is a dog-on-sofa-and-bed's kind of house. Relaxed country living.
“This part of Australia has a difficult climate: temperatures from -6 to 46, harsh frosts in winter and baking dry hot summers”
The owners moved from Melbourne to have a big garden and started planting as soon as they got to Kyneton. Gradually over time they have found what grows in this climate and planted accordingly. This has taken time, to find what grows in the area and what won't, harsh frosts here turn lots of plants here to mush in winter and in summer bakes tender perennials, only the tough survive. A double perennial border leads down to a summerhouse at the bottom of the garden. A perfect place for a gin and tonic on a hot summers day or a quiet place to read on a rainy autumn day.
Roses grow well in the dry central Victorian heat and the garden is filled with poppies, irises, clematis, lilacs, and buddleias. Plants that self sow through the borders are encouraged, teasels, borage, cardoons, bronze fennel, and Queen Anne's lace fill the borders. Sedum Autumn joy attracts masses of bees to the garden and in Summer the garden hums with the sound of busy bees.