The back of the Convent is now in pretty good shape – next comes the front, which is the lion’s share of the block.
A tribute to 1970’s bush rock has pride of place in the centre of the front, housing low maintenance/low pleasure shrubs.
In its heyday, the Convent had formal structured hedges and garden beds however with the departure of the nuns in the ’70s and a sole priest in residence, the garden was put in “low maintenance” mode. As a keen gardener, “low maintenance” has never been particularly appealing.
Over the next few weeks, the shrubs will come out and a new plan prepared for the front. So far I’m picturing large flowering (and fruiting) crab apples either side. I already have two purple wisteria’s being cultivated for under the windows. The front centre garden will be restored with possibly a standard weeping cherry and a seasonal (but self seeding/perennial/bulb) garden. Otherwise, I’m open to advice.
The old front wall will be host to a wonderful deep and sweeping garden bed. It shades the bed well so I can probably introduce camellias and azaleas as the conditions should not be too harsh. Two lilacs and a snowball tree are already awaiting in pots. At present there are no plantings at all so I have a blank canvas. I’m also pondering if I can manage a fish pond somewhere as I love the thought of water, fish and indulging in some water plants. It will also serve as a good birdbath/watering hole for the birdlife.
I’m feeling a little guilty as I know the small birds enjoy the old bushes, but am endeavouring to pace what comes out and quickly replant so there will always be protection and trees for them, as well as supplemented food. In the long run, it will be much more bird-friendly. It was pleasing to see tiny little hummingbirds for the first time who have discovered all the new salvias and sages and are having party-time. I’ll try and take some photos of the local birds for another blog. I’ve been told that the area hosts most types of native birds.
Anyway, the Convent is now receiving serious attention both inside and outside, which she so richly deserves.