Garden Photo of the Day

A Terraced Garden in Victoria, Australia

Frank Greenhalgh takes us on an amazing tour of his terraced garden. Can you imagine living where you can enjoy views of the rainforest?

"Frank has just completed landscaping a 1 acre property sloping into a coastal rainforest (temperate) and billabong in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia.  It has been a 10 year project involving the use of over 500 treated pine sleepers and 200t of granite rock for retaining walls; 100t of gravel for the tracks; and 25t of crushed granite rock for curved pathways.

The terraced garden has a number of ‘rooms’ on different levels, which are joined by steps and ramps.  It features a rotunda, dry stone walls, fire pit and BBQ area, and many native and exotic plants.  The garden provides habitat for a wide range of fauna, including kookaburras and echidnas.

The environment created is relaxing and affects all the senses.  This appeal includes the 180 degree vista of the rainforest from the decking of the house; the noises of birds, frogs and the wind blowing the Eucalyptus trees; the smell of the wide range of flowers; the taste of the produce from the kitchen garden and fruit trees; and the feel of the ornamental grasses as you brush against them."

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  1. user-7007498 02/22/2016

    Frank: I always dreamed of having property on a hillside (mine is nearly flat), but wow, then amount of work this took is crazy. Love the 1st picture looking down on the gazebo. Everything is so integrated with the surrounding landscape. The stonework is so amazing. Absolutely love it, as do your friends who came over to hang out on the "barbie". Thanks for sharing.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Thanks Kevin - we have a lot of fun in the BBQ area. I use a camp oven to cook roasts using coals in the fire pit.

  2. grannieannie1 02/22/2016

    Thank you for posting your unique garden, Frank. What a striking view at each turn! The colorful gazebo view is outstanding.The high rock wall is my favorite, a respite from the full banquet of plant textures which you've done so beautifully. But I'd also like to have your dry gravel paths where no weeds grow edged by what looks like an unending supply of rocks. A truly wonderful garden!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Thanks GrannieAnnie (what a fantastic name!) - the granite rocks come from a nearby quarry. All the small to medium sized rocks were moved by hand, and a machine was used for the larger ones. Unfortunately, weeds do make their way through the pathways adding to the maintenance work.

  3. wGardens 02/22/2016

    A huge project with a huge pay-off. It is Glorious! Love all the hard-scaping as well as such interesting plantings. That is a great "fishing boy" sculpture!! Thank you for sharing!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Glad you liked the fishing boy Margaret. First time I have seen the word 'hard-scaping' (as opposed to landscaping) - it certainly was hard, but rewarding!

  4. Quiltingmamma 02/22/2016

    Oh, what a lovely property! Do you ever leave? I wouldn't. Flowers, birds, wildlife, beauty and comfort all rolled into one satisfying project.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Nice summary quiltingmamma - I'll use it in the future!

  5. user-4691082 02/22/2016

    Wow-do I feel lazy! You have done a magnificent job Frank! I am in love with your agapanthus, I only have a few... What is that little animal? And, is that lizard real? Gorgeous!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Hi Rhonda - little animals an echidna or spiny anteater. The lizard is garden art, but we have goannas coming into the garden.

  6. diane_lasauce 02/22/2016

    All I can say is WOW!!!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      That's plenty Diane - thanks!

  7. NCYarden 02/22/2016

    This is quite the garden endeavor. What an awesome outcome. It looks spectacular and the setting is amazing. You have used all the space wonderfully.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Thanks NC Yarden - I didn't have a grand design plan at the start, but rather a general vision - the design just evolved. If I had the full plan at the start it probably would have put me off the job.

      1. NCYarden 02/22/2016

        That's my kind of gardening! Thanks for sharing.

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/22/2016

    The adjectives "amazing" "beautiful", "spectacular" are going to get a lot of exercise today. Your garden, Frank, is all of the above and so much more. Dealing successfully with such a sloping situation takes vision, discipline, and persistence. Often times, the realities of the forces of nature impact the vision part so flexibility and adaptability are also important. The impressively successful outcome of your efforts show that you conquered all challenges.

    And what a fun word "billabong" is...I had to look it up, of course, but I have an Australian friend who I think I will surprise when I casually slip it into conversation. Thanks so much for sharing your pictures.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Glad to help with your education meander1. Aussies have some funny terms/words!

  9. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

    Thanks for all the comments. Meander1 - glad to help with your vocabulary (i.e. billabong); bound to impress your Aussie friend. Rhonda - the little animal is an echidna or spiny anteater (an egg laying mammal). Kevin - slopes are fine, but retaining walls come with the territory. I use a Kubota to get around, including using the rainforest track to travel to a nearby jetty on the Lake to fish.

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/22/2016

    Wow. Such a great garden, great plants and hardscaping. I love all of the Agapanthus. Being in North America, it seems absolutely magical to have Echidnas and Kookaburras in one's garden. With those big bills and their loud calls, I have to wonder if they are both wonderful and destructive!? Super cool.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Hi Tim - Kookaburras are called laughing kookaburras because of their 'laugh' which is used to establish territory amongst family groups. Yes they are wonderful birds - not destructive at all. Will eat out of my hands.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/22/2016

        I've heard their loud call at our zoo: it's quite spectacular. That's wonderful that they're so friendly and good neighbors. I'm quite envious!

  11. katieerb 02/22/2016

    Lovely, I really enjoy seeing gardens from around the world, this one is very inspiring, seems so peaceful.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Thanks Katie. It is a peaceful part of the world, and gardening is a peaceful recreation around the world.

  12. GrannyMay 02/22/2016

    What a wonderful view you have created! I'm in awe of the amount of material that had to be used to make the slope work for you - all on just one acre. I imagine it would be a great workout, and a test of your patience, to get down to the bottom and back up again while tending the garden. How long do the Agapanthus bloom? They look like a river of blue meandering downwards with the paths.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Thanks GrannyMay - Here the agapanthus flower from mid November to mid January. Yes it is good exercise moving up and down the property/block (Aussie term). Sometimes I have some help by using a Kubota (RTV 500). The Kubota is really useful to travel along the rainforest path to my fishing spot on the Lake. I have called the path the 'Kubota trail' - this makes Aussies think of the Kokoda trail which was used by our soldiers/diggers during WW2 in Papua New Guinea.

      1. GrannyMay 02/22/2016

        I had to look up the Kubota to see what it might be. Yes, I can see how handy it would be for moving you and whatever you need to haul, even a big catch of fish, or liquid refreshments.

        1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

          Spot on GrannyMay!

  13. sheila_schultz 02/22/2016

    You have created your own little bit of heaven, haven't you? I read your descriptions and then looked at the photos and I swear I could hear the creatures chatting with their neighbors in the background and smell the sweet scents of your abundant flowers. Like I said, you are now surrounded by your own beautiful piece of heaven!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Thanks Sheila - it must have worked then!

  14. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 02/22/2016

    Frank, your garden took me back to the wonderful sights and sounds of Australia as I mentally wandered through those beautiful Agapanthus. Absolutely love your vision for creating this paradise on a difficult piece of property. The whole place gives a feeling of peace and tranquility, especially with the vision of driving through the rain forest to your fishing hole. That statement that you just "finished" landscaping is pretty funny because we all know that a garden is never finished. Thanks for this morning escape.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Great comments Linda - and yes I did worry about the statement that the landscaping is finished. Come back to Oz to see those wonderful sights and sounds.

  15. krissgandier 02/22/2016

    Love, Love, Love your garden. It looks like paradise. The blue and white agapanthus are fabulous and do so well where you are. Don't you wish they would never stop blooming. It's on my bucket list to visit Australia some day. Are you open to visitors for tours????? My husband and I are from Canada and just in the process of retiring, and hope to travel more in the coming years.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Hi Kriss (love the spelling) - Please make sure you and your husband come to Oz, and get it off your bucket list. I recommend retirement. No problems you can have a private tour etc. of the garden. Plenty of fine gardens to see in this part of the world. Oh the company is not bad either!

      1. krissgandier 02/22/2016

        My email address is [email protected]. We can keep in touch regarding plans to visit Australia. Maybe within the next couple of years. Have to save up for a nice long trip to both Australia and New Zealand.

  16. Cenepk10 02/22/2016

    WoWEE… That 's an ambitious undertaking & completion… Just amazing to imagine seeing the property and envisioning the outcome. Really a feat of endurance, I'm sure. Amazing. Is that a cardinal vine I see in the pic with the brown bird/ porcupine looking critter ?

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      The creeper near the echidna (spiny anteater - one of our egg laying mammals) is a Lotus. Thanks of your comments.

  17. greengenes 02/22/2016

    Beautiful!! What a treat for us today! Oh i would so enjoy seeing your country, Frank! You have done an excellent job! So full of great surprises! Simply beautiful! Thanks!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Hi greengenes (love it!)/Jeanne - come on down and Aussies will look after you. Plenty of fine gardens to see and enjoy in Oz.

  18. schatzi 02/22/2016

    The rock walls, the trails and paths, the agapanthus, the wildlife - all I can say is WOW!!
    Everyone else said it better than I can - Magnificent!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/22/2016

      Greetings Shirley - Wow says it all - thanks.

  19. janeeliz 02/22/2016

    What a spot you chose ... and what an amazing garden you created! I can't imagine all the work that must have gone into the design and building of it.I, too, love all the agapanthus and your drop-dead gorgeous tree peony. What one is it? But what is most special to me?-the sweet little echidna and the mob(?) of kookaburras right on your deck! I watched one whack an unfortunate snake to death in a zoo once-unforgettable. What other wild-life do you get? The sounds from the rainforest must be awesome.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/23/2016

      Hi Jane - I don't know the name of the peony rose, but it is derived from my grandmother's plants (possibly originally from Germany?). We commonly have wombats and goannas visiting, and occasionally a red bellied black snake. Other birds include cockatiels, cockatoos (yellow tailed black, and sulphur crested), rainbow lorikeets, king parrots, crimson rosellas, pigeons (bronze wing, Wonga, white faced), gallahs, currawongs, satin bowerbirds, and a wide range of wrens, finches, robins and honey eaters. The birdlife varies with different positions in the garden and the time of the season. You may need to google some of those Aussie natives!

  20. krissgandier 02/22/2016

    Thanks Frank. It will make it a real adventure and something to look forward to seeing your garden. Hopefully with this to anticipate we will make the trip sooner than later. I will keep your name and info handy and hopefully this visit will be possible.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/23/2016

      Hi Kriss - Great! Canadians and Aussies have similar cultures and humour (i.e. get our jokes). Best to come in our autumn (March to May); next best is spring (Sept to Nov). Summer can be very hot - 41C today!!!!!!! Bush/Wild fires are a big problem in Australia. They are becoming more of a problem with climate change. Canadian fire fighters have given our fighters a hand previously (and vice versa). Eucalyptus oil and bark are highly flammable, which creates the problem.

      If you are on Facebook I could send you more pics etc.

  21. darylsavage 02/23/2016

    Congrats Frank, outstanding. You remind me of my husband who likes nothing better than a big project he can sink his teeth into. Can you tell us what zone you are in down there? All of us here in the Northeast are truly lusting after that agapanthus. Thanks for sharing.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/23/2016

      Hi there - The garden is in the far east (East Gippsland region) of Victoria, which is a south-eastern State of Australia. It has a mediterranean type climate. I'm really surprised at the interest in the agapanthus. It is a really tough plant. In fact agapanthus planted around the borders of properties have been known to stop bush fires progressing to farm houses in parts of Victoria. It is a very drought resistant plant.

    2. darylsavage 02/23/2016

      Thanks Frank, that is fascinating. Here, we keep them in pots as tropicals, and pray that they bloom, which they often don't. I have had one now for two seasons with no flowers. . I need to research it a little.

  22. user-7007961 02/27/2016

    HI Frank,
    this is amazing, what a wonderful place to live... I can clearly see many, many hours of work .
    I Love the Peany rose - It looks like it is in the perfect location
    hope to see it one day....

    1. frankgreenhalgh 02/27/2016

      Hi Tania - Thanks for your comments. I would be glad to show you the peony rose and the rest of the garden one day.

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