Lily pads dot a beautiful pond that forms a backdrop to the magnificent garden.
Lily pads dot a beautiful pond that forms a backdrop to the magnificent garden. Helen Hawkes

You won’t soon forget Bangalow gardener’s paradise

THE garden is called Forget Me Not, yet it would be very hard not to remember the absolute beauty of the wide green space populated with a variety of Nature’s best.

With prolific use of easy-care plants such as flaxes, agapanthus, succulents and more, Jo Schneider has created an oasis of calm not too far from the hustle of Bangalow.

It has been 21 years since the home on the edge of the village was built and, since that time, she has planted every shrub, tree and flower herself.

While the farm that surrounds her property is 100 acres, and her family uses it to rear cattle, only a small portion is taken up by the garden. Well, small by her standards but a bounty by others.

There’s the generously-sized pond, dotted with lily pads and filled with ducks, water hens, turtles and even a platypus. An old dinghy that sits by the wharf adds character.

Surrounding the pond are plantings of agaves, bird of paradise and red hot pokers dotted with collectables such as an old wheelbarrow or milk tin, nicely rusted to add that vintage touch.

An old wheelbarrow is an eye-catching way to display succulents
An old wheelbarrow is an eye-catching way to display succulents Helen Hawkes

Out the side of the property there’s even a little waterfall and a rainforest area that attracts more local wildlife. And, of course, nearer the front there’s the must-have Bangalow palms, adding stature to the garden.

Mrs Schneider, a member of the Byron Creek and Catchment Landcare group, is a previous winner of the Champion of Champions in The Northern Star’s garden competition.

These days she’s spending more time at home, among the plants and shrubs, maintaining the paradise she has created and which she now hires out to wedding parties.

“There’s always something to do,” she says. “I could be in the garden every day, dead-heading flowers, weeding or fertilising the plants.”

But, mostly, she likes to take a more relaxed approach and enjoy the peaceful space she has created over more than 20 years.

Gardening, she says, is balm for the soul.

Kniphofias, or red hot pokers, are attractive to nectar-feeding birds.
Kniphofias, or red hot pokers, are attractive to nectar-feeding birds. Helen Hawkes


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