I hope I do justice here to the finest and most beautifully laid-out plantsman's nursery I've ever been to.
Hidden in a quiet, elegant, olde world stretch of farmland near to Ballarat, at Ascot, Lambley's Nursery speaks of history, longevity and ingenuity.
I can't believe what David Glenn has achieved. With a view to providing plants that cope with dry conditions, he avoids commonly seen succulents. Everything here blooms abundantly. There are bees everywhere.
Here you can see a part of Lambley's Nursery's Dry Climate Garden. It could be anywhere on the Mediterranean. What we noticed made it most effective, what helped it all work, was its confinement within walls of green hedging.
As usual, I kind of liked the edges of the garden, as seen here, this water tank. It was such a beautiful day, the end of summer, the start of autumn.
David Glenn has a superb sense of colour. There are purples, reds and yellows everywhere. His gardens, the spaces he contrives within his gardens, are flamboyant. But they're disciplined. There are vegetables beside perennials, fruit beside groundcovers. I didn't know how much it's all functional and how much it's all decorative - a good sign of an original maker.
This isn't a chain-store. It couldn't be repeated regardless of territory. Everything here belongs and shows how we can belong to the land we have by caring for it appropriately. And making more of it than may be expected.
This is a detailed garden, or a cluster of detailed gardens. Everything has a purpose. You feel that everything is well-chosen.
As it is in Clunes, one of the most beautiful towns in Victoria, where we found our way to, after getting somewhat lost down single-lane roads.
Does 'intact' mean anything any more? I hope so. As Australia's most famous 'book town', Clunes demonstrates how meaningful the past is, and how necessary it is to keep and cultivate the past, not just any fashionable notions of the future.
I can't help taking you back to Lambley's for a moment, where the past and the future commingle with great elegance. 'Is gardening dead?', some people ask. Not here. Not if we don't want it to be dead. Gardening will be alive as long as we have hands. It will continue to define us as human.
I don't always believe in the newest trends. More to the point, I find most of the newest trends unreal. From Lambley's bursting gorgeousness to the streetscape of Clunes, I prefer a certain durability, a certain confidence in what's been and what can be, to what should be according to unreliable notions of marketability. But what is most peculiar, is that the most interesting newness comes out of the past.