Just imagine it; while only fifteen minutes from Hobart city centre, lush-adulating parklands set within 30 acres of natural bushland. The views are magnificent; the changing blue/grey waters of the River Derwent are over-shadowed by the towering and brooding Mount Wellington. All this from the garden and property of Lorraine and David Doran of Glebe Hill, Howrah.
Manicured Box-leaf honey-suckle hedges guide you through the stately metal gates along their roadway and paths to the Doran house. An atmosphere of grandure and peace is in the air, with over 400 Camillas and Rhododendrons.
One cannot place an influence here, either Australian, English, or European. While everything is ordered, there has been no set plan or design. There is nothing formal about the garden; indeed this is a major part of its attraction.
“There’s been no real influence,” states Lorraine. “The garden has just evolved. It all began, after moving here when it became necessary jus to clean up and get things tidy, especially to avoid a bush-fire.”
The result after fifteen years work is three acres of garden, which has been a major effort of Lorraine.
The garden is full of walks punctuated by children nursery themes and hidden delights such as the concrete coin fountain, the fairy garden and the nautical garden with a sculptured piece of a half hidden nude. Lorraine is the artist, while David does most of the heavy work.
They have lived on the property for 25 years the garden is tackled seven days a week often with long daily hours.
“The garden can be quite steep, especially at the rear. It is very open and at times windy. There is always the need for maintenance and with water being a problem, it’s all quite a challenge,” said Lorraine.
The water pressure and availability is not good. It is one of the biggest problems that the Dorans face. Even though they are on town water, because the garden is located to the top of Glebe Hill, when people are using it from below the pressure can actually cut out. During the dry season the Dorans rely for hosing on their holding tank. To help alleviate the problem, Lorraine often waters late at night, even as late as midnight.
The Box honey suckle hedges are plentiful, but the many trees include native gums, flowing cherries, Craig Myrtles, Clematis climbing over the arches, Grevileas, Jacarandas, Michellas, many which are, the Dorans admit, growing far too big.
“The trees bring an abundant and beautiful wild life,” says David. “Birds include linnets, red-breasted robins, wild galahs, green mountain parrots, lots of blue-wrens, with black-headed shrikes that have nested here for the past four or five years. Unfortunately they are subject to attacks from wildlife such as hawks as their nests are very exposed.”
You could be forgiven to think there was absolutely no reason to leave this self-made paradise. True, there is no tennis court and/or a swimming pool, but there is tranquility and delightful finds where-ever one wanders over the property. Colours are generally mixed, but there are exceptions; for instance the roses are all white, while flowers towards the bottom of the garden are all pink.
The Dorans are always expanding their work-load. Lorraine enjoys mosaicing many of the novelty pieces and recycles most of the material. All the stones at the garden for paving and walls have been obtained from the property, but as the top soil is very thin, extra soil is regularly brought in.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” admits Lorraine. “But it gives a great deal of pleasure to our grandchildren.”
And out of the mouths of babes…came the comment from grandson Noah, “It is the best garden in the world.” At Glebe Hill, Howrah¸ Lorraine has managed to create a superb garden that has just evolved complimenting the bush surroundings while at the same time producing order and amazement to the visitor.
Words: Reg. A. Watson
Images: Richard Eastman