The Court Garden in early autumn

Forming the archway with Podocarpus parlatorei which leads into the Court Garden

Today, fingers crossed, all going well, negative RAT tests and no flight cancellations, we are winging our way across the Tasman to reunite with our three children and only grandchild, all of whom live in Australia. It feels momentous because it will be the first time we have seen them all for between two and three years. The small grandson is literally twice the age he was we last saw him. We are all meeting up in Bateman’s Bay, a few hours’ drive south of Sydney. I mention this because there won’t be a post next Sunday and I was chastised by a loyal reader for skipping a couple of weeks recently.

And a close-up of that view through the podocarpus archway – mostly Chionochloa rubra and helianthus

Just occasionally, I look at part of the garden and utter a sigh of utter joy and contentment. It is that glorious feeling that everything is just right, a vision realised at that moment in time on that particular day. When it is a garden that has been my vision, my plant selection, my plant combinations and largely my efforts, the feeling of deep satisfaction is even more rewarding.

Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’ at the front with self-sown Verbena bonariensis, Elegia capendis with Dahlia ‘Conundrum” in the mid ground and Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ at the back

I experienced that feeling this week in the Court Garden. While it is part of the new area we call the Summer Gardens, it really stars in autumn. I wanted this area to be a wrap-around, enveloping experience –  where we are IN the garden, not looking AT the garden. And this week, I felt that it had all come together.

I like the combination of Elegia capensis and Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’

Of course there are areas that I will tweak further. Zach has been reducing the size of the Elegia capensis and one of the patches of black phormium (flax) this week. I need to give the Chionochloa rubra more space if they are to be left to gain their full potential glory. I am still learning about which plants we will need to manage and control and how often this will need to be done. But this week I sighed with pleasure.

The concept works. It is an immersive experience. It is generally low(ish) maintenance – certainly lower than other areas of the Summer Gardens. It is very different to all other areas in our garden. The fact that it looks okay in winter, good in spring and summer but it really stars alone in autumn is a bonus.

Gaura with Stipa gigantea and Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’

These photos were all taken in late afternoon on a grey day with lower light levels. It looks spectacular on blue sky days as the autumn sun is lower in the sky and highlights the plumage of the grasses in flower. On a windy day, it is full of movement but even on calm days, the slightest breeze will catch the tall plants and they will gently wave.

In fact, it works just as I hoped it would.

16 thoughts on “The Court Garden in early autumn

  1. Susan Oliver

    Well done you! I guess we will just have to cope without our weekly sunday morning read while you and Mark enjoy your family catchup in Oz. Bon voyage

  2. Wendy Bogue

    Thank you for your lovely columns of information and feelings about plants in your garden . I am happy for you to be having a well earned break with your family. Yesterday l was researching about aphids galore on my swan plants and up came an older blog of yours with good advice. One day l will get to come and see your garden and walk through to soak up the experience of so many years of love on your part.

  3. Pat Webster

    How satisfying it is when a plan turns out the way you hoped it would. And how happy-making to see children and grandchild after such a long gap. I’ll be seeing my three Australian grandchildren this summer, their first visit since January 2020. I can’t wait!

  4. robynkiltygardensnz

    Yes – you have your garden looking just right! You have realised your dream – so what’s next??
    I love the yellow touches everywhere amongst the lush looking grasses.
    But no resting on those laurels Abbie – you have to keep the ball rolling. I have discovered that in a much smaller garden. And really – you don’t want to make big changes, when you are at last happy with what’s there!!

  5. Nancy Strybosch

    Hi Abby,
    I hope you have a wonderful trip to see your precious family.
    Imagine A reader complaining about not getting a column as expected!!
    What a cheek …anybody think they were paying you a subscription for your fantastic articles.
    Just looking forward to your safe return.

  6. Paddy Tobin

    It’s a joy to have such moments of contentment with plans coming together and the garden looking just as you had hoped! Best wishes for the travels and reunion.

  7. Sue

    Love the garden as you now have it!, Enjoy your time across the Tasman— I wii be doing the same later this year

  8. Alexandra O’Brien

    Abby, I am so delighted you and Mark have hopefully made it across the Tasman. I’ve mentioned before that we are in the same position family wise with our 3 children and 2 grandchildren all in Australia. Our Sydney son popped over for 4 days with our granddaughter as soon as the borders opened and it was so incredible to see the little one who had changed so much in 2 years. Sadly we will never get those precious early years back. We are hoping to get to Australia as well this year to see the rest of the family. Have a wonderful time together. I know Bateman’s Bay because I was grew up in Canberra.
    On a completely different note, our precious Vulcan which was ringbarked by rabbits not long after we planted it and I sought your advice about what to do, has thrived and currently has 1 large flower! Surely this is a bit premature? We’re in Kerikeri and it last flowered in August.
    Enjoy your family time and we will all look forward to having our Sunday fix when you return. Best wishes,
    Alexandra O’Brien

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      May your family reunion go well! Glad to hear your Vulcan survived. A bloom in April is a bit out of kilter but not a problem. They look better, though, when the leaves have dropped first.

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