My kids are convinced that a fairytale witch lives at number 48. Not in a scary way, mind you – I’ve raised them to not make assumptions about witches – and it’s true that the garden does look like it’s popped up from the pages of a fantasy story. Still, I happen to know that the place is inhabited by an older couple who identify as garden variety humans, and are just very much into cottage-style gardening.
I wonder if I should puncture the kids’ whimsical interpretation, and tell them that growing a garden like that requires no magic powers beyond a bit of elbow grease, plus a willingness to learn your Delphinium Bluebird from your Dichondra Silver Falls. Buy online specimens, says the guy at number 48 (I think his name is Ted), and you never have to leave the garden. I’ve actually seen him tapping away at his laptop on the porch, ordering bulbs while still wearing one gardening glove. These two are downright committed to their gardening, and they’d probably be a bit offended to know that magic powers are suspected of being in play.
Something I think is particularly cool about this garden is the way they’ve incorporated a lot of Australian native plants. Nursery frequenting types will sometimes tell you that these can’t technically be part of a cottage-style garden, and that they don’t work alongside English plants, but I beg to differ. The garden at number 48 is a great example of how to create a mixed planting that provides colour and texture all year round.
It probably is important for the kids to know that beautifully arranged sprays of purple fountain grass interspersed with majestic, towering gymea lilies don’t simply appear out of thin air at the click of a wand. If anything, that knowledge could kind of add to the magic to know that garden-variety time and effort can produce those results.