Large trees and conifers are a feature of the impressive plantings.
Large trees and conifers are a feature of the impressive plantings. Helen Hawkes

Gardening: Plantings create nature haven

ONCE it was a cow paddock. Today it is a meandering collection of conifers, native woodland, variegated plants, palms, succulents and other horticultural delights in a relaxed setting where the outdoors always seems to beckon.

Welcome to the Rosebank garden of Judith and Morton Kaveney, where every planting you see has been done from scratch since 1973 when they took over the property.

The land, around three acres, features 50/50 native and exotic plantings, most established in the garden without water, explained Mrs Kaveney because "rain was so frequent”. These days, it's different and she blames climate change. Subsequently, maintenance, rather than planting, is the name of the game - which sees Mr Kaveney regularly out in the garden with the hose.

OUTDOORS BECKON: The lush Rosebank garden of Judith and Morton Kaveney, once a cow paddock, is now a three acres nature haven.
OUTDOORS BECKON: The lush Rosebank garden of Judith and Morton Kaveney, once a cow paddock, is now a three acres nature haven. Helen Hawkes

That said, they are still experimenting with new plantings, such as native Australian orchids, or giant palm lilies.

"We are both passionate gardeners,” said Mrs Kaveney, who has a special interest in conifers - Acacia fimbriata, Juniperus, Leighton green and Cupressus cashmeriana - all part of her collection. For her husband though, it's the trees that attract birds that he favours.

Both retired school teachers, the Kaveneys now enjoy life at a more gentle pace.

A rockery garden that greets you a step from the kitchen.
A rockery garden that greets you a step from the kitchen. Helen Hawkes

Wander along the pathways and you will find gums, bromeliads, clivias, begonias, crocodilius plants, tree orchids, Mt Warning lilies, cordylines, hydrangeas, variegated palms and much, much more, with plenty of places to sit and relax as well as bird watch in between.

Mr Kaveney said bowerbirds come in flocks in winter and wood ducks nest in the trees and swim in the pool.

"There are Pacific baza on the hill, where they rear their young and come down to feed on lizards.”

Rosebank garden of Judith and Morton Kaveney.
Rosebank garden of Judith and Morton Kaveney. Helen Hawkes

Keen ornithologists will also spot rainbow bee- eaters, willy wagtails, silver eye, grey butcher bird, pied currawong and black faced cuckoos. "There are 73 different species of birds in the yard and another 120 on the farm,” said Mr Kaveney.

And there are koalas in the tallowwood at the front of the property: "They (often) walk across the grass.”

The only problem with the garden is that it is such a natural refuge that, when served up alongside a pot of tea and homemade fruitcake, even the casual visitor is reluctant to leave.

Bromeliads that have grown across an old brick barbecue.
Bromeliads that have grown across an old brick barbecue. Helen Hawkes


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