The winter rains are here and the cold is firmly setting in. Autumn was a brief affair this year, but I managed to tick a magnificent garden off my list that is superb for visiting throughout Autumn and located very close to us here in Gippsland. Happily, our visit also coincided with the opening of the garden's new rare plant nursery called “Muskers” located at the garden gates.
Garden owner and designer David Musker welcomed us at the entrance to the nursery and chatted happily, as us gardeners do, about the Autumn garden, telling us we could meander down at our leisure and have a lovely cup of tea in the tea house building under the pergola at the bottom of the garden. Well that sounded like heaven anyway, before we had even started!
Once merely a green field, the garden has taken many years to create, design and build. Upon leaving the nursery we head down a wide path with a forest of trees planted either side, David shouts out to us that there’s about 600 trees planted here now, as he waves us off down the path and tells us to enjoy!
It’s contrasting to the rest of the garden that is found beyond the house, the forest is planted with Silver Birches, (Betula Pendula and Betula Nigra) provides lovely seating area and relaxing atmosphere as the light trickles down between the green and yellow leaves.
Past the gates and the very stately home is where the formal gardens begin. Overlooking the spectacular Tarago Reservoir there is 4 acres of terraced gardens, reminiscent of an Italian vista overlooking a lake.
The dramatic European style pergola that is part of the home displays wisteria, climbers and citrus plants, giving a hint of what’s to come.
A central pathway connects the terraces, which are planted with over 1000 roses and other structural plants that add interest and form, including Globe Artichokes, and Sonchus, Acers, Camelias, Salvias, Hydrangeas, Euphorbia and Echium to Fuschias, Asters, Poppies and various ground covers.
The array of planting throughout the terraces really bring home the fact that Broughton Hall is a garden for the plant hunter, as David is himself. So many different plants all of varying heights, colours, and structures are working together, flowering at different times of the year, so there is always something interesting to see.
Ornate pillars and urns feature throughout the terraces, complimenting the borders and sculptures that create interest for exploring the pathways.
Halfway down the slope there is a succulent bed sitting right in front of the Reservoir, low to the ground with dramatic structural effect, it sits so nicely in front of the water, enhancing the view from the ground up.
The path leads us down to the tea house, which is a comfortable building with couches and open fire place. Tea, coffee and biscuits were available to munch on and this is where David shares his magnificent garden book library with his visitors. Our sons enjoyed flicking through the books as much as we did, there is every subject from trees to European gardens and I really enjoyed thumbing through the "Landscapes of the Cotswolds" book while taking in the view, basking in the Autumn sunshine and relishing in the cup of tea in my hand.
Relax we did. After walking the path on the way back up the slope, the forest is again a welcome respite, taking a few minutes to breath in the fresh air and sit on the benches, it’s an enjoyable space for the whole family and I think my sons enjoyed the forest more than the garden, as a whimsical space where the autumn light bounces around off the silver trunks and through the trees.
A visit to the Muskers Rare Plant Nursery was a must before home time, containing many of the plants we had seen in the garden. I wandered back out to the car with a new Euphorbia, Dusty Miller and Sonchus in hand. David had me all inspired to get planting and to come and see the garden again in Spring.