Garden ramble // Lanyon Homestead & Plant Fair

Goodness, my apologies for the long break between posts on The Tree Diaries!! Life lately hasn't allowed the lovely introspection and naval gazing that this blog affords me, and that's okay. I am reminded of the wisdom of a fellow blogger (and podcaster), Brooke McAlary of Slow Your Home: "If you look at balance as something you need to achieve every day - keeping the scales evenly weighted between your partner, your kids, your family, friends, yourself, your spirituality, health, keeping the home, your work - you simply won't be able to do it. Because each day brings different challenges, different tasks and different needs from your life. Instead, you need to learn to tilt. To willingly throw things out of balance. And, importantly, to be OK with that." 

Life really has been all about "tilting" lately... tilting away from this blog and other creative interests and into my family and homelife. And whilst that has been necessary, wonderful and worthwhile, I am so very glad that I am here again, in this happy space! I have lots of bits and pieces to share (including an incredible Slovenian Gardening From Scratch instalment), but first up is a garden we visited today in the far southern part of Canberra - Lanyon Homestead.

Every year we say that we are going to visit Lanyon during the annual plant fair, and every year we are away and miss it... But not this time! Despite being on our gazillionith week of high summer, we braved the heat and the long drive and saw what the fuss is about.

As a plant lover, the fair was wonderful. So many growers that we usually have to mail-order from, all in one place and ready to answer questions and sell their beautiful (and some rare) plants and bulbs. Miraculously though, I didn't buy a single one (yay for self control!)*. Instead we explored the kids' craft tent, caught up with my bee school teacher who was there with a great backyard beekeeping display, and pottered around the beautiful gardens.

Lanyon Homestead sits on a working farm, right at the feet of the beautiful Brindabella Ranges. The homestead itself is a restored 1850s home, and it is surrounded by various garden "rooms" (although not in a deeply formal, Sissinghurst sense), separated by photinia hedges.

The plant fair was centred around the Bunya Lawn, which is under two giant Bunya pines. My hubby could only remember one thing about Lanyon from his childhood school visit and it was these huge trees - I don't blame him, they were pretty impressive.

I was more than a little enamoured with the picking garden - several large, interconnected beds filled with flowers for the house... Dreamy! The towering canna lilies that filled the middle of the beds were unexpected and impressive but not really my thing - partly because I just don't value them as a picking flower, but mostly because of the sheer bulk of their planting (we tuck ours down the back of the garden, where they can proliferate unchecked and tower over a fence, but not overwhelm everything else). But the bountiful anemones (windflowers) and dahlias that surrounded the mass of cannas - yes please!

The picking garden sits above the kitchen garden and rose beds, both of which seem impressively productive. Beyond these beds are beautiful lawns dotted with old fruit and nut trees, including an orchard planted between the 1930s and 1970s. I find it so helpful to know when trees were planted, in order to have slightly more reasonable expectations of our own, very young garden... knowing that many of these trees were planted almost 100 years ago really keeps things in perspective!

* Self-control extended only so far as the plants... we did buy ourselves a metal pear sculpture from an artist couple based in Dalgety, something we've had our eye on for a while. It will sit proudly in the orchard, perched upon a chunk of rock in the ground that we never did manage to remove.

Anyhoo, the Plant Fair was a fun family day out - the kids' craft tent and enormous serves of Devonshire tea kept the littles happy, and hubby and I got a giant pear - smiles all round! Well worth the long drive.