Constant Gardener wasn’t feeling so wonderful from the previous night out — an old-fashioned bring a plate dinner — but was very keen to see the last opening of the season for Open Gardens. (The next one in this fantastic local treasure hunt is in August at Cruden Farm, ie Dame Elisabeth Murdoch’s hangout. She’s been cultivating it for, like, 80 years.)

The site was Wattle Glen, home to the landscape designer Sam Cox, out at Hurstbrige, only 30 minutes away on a weekend. If you’ve ever had delusions of tree change this place would have cracked your heart right open.

You come down the path to a carport cum office — rustically woody and corrugated, which has a great window looking over a perfect little pond that falls into a large, splendid pool below. (I think I overheard him say it was reticulated twice a day.) The property runs around in beautifully underkempt paths rambling down and up the hillside. Past the shovel graveyard and the chicken run and netted fruit tree enclosure. Past the vegie patch and the rockpile waterfall and goldfish pool outside the living room’s sliding glass doors.

It’s all very lush — it’s been a 13 year project so far for Cox and his partner, Lisa Hatfield — but the native plantings would hold up well in the dry, too.

You can see better pictures on his slick website (under “Wattle Glen“) and check out some of his grandly scaled work for architects.

Fittingly the entrance fee ($6) was donated to the local fireys. Tree change comes with a certain smoky lining.

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