Every gardener has their fantasy garden. Mine is Heronswood headquarters of the Diggers
gardening empire in Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula.
The homestead was completed in 1871 by Edward Latrobe Bateman and is now National Trust listed.
The architectural style of the house is quite striking and is often described as Gothic Revival. It’s constructed from granite blocks and has many medieval-inspired features such as the spires and bell-cast roofs.
Heronswood contains five separate vegetable gardens (oh the indulgence to have soooo much room to grow!), and it was the first garden in Australia to be certified organic. It supplies seeds, seedlings and plants to gardens across the country. I even have some Diggers plants growing on my little balcony.
This beautiful sculpted hedge of rosemary borders the side lawn.
A striking feature of the garden is the integration of vegetables and flowers with fruits and herbs. This inter-planting prevents the build up of pest problems.
Priscilla takes us on a tour of the estate which will end with an Edible Balcony book talk from moi, and lunch at the Heronswood resturant.
Priscilla explains how one of these rectangular beds can feed a family of two.
She explains how productivity can be improved when you plant in squares rather than in rows.
If you’re tight for space, fruit trees can be espaliered as these apples have been.
It’s chilly and drizzly. Great gardening weather.
A magnificent Moreton Bay Fig tree
an infinity pool
An edible salad table..
And an assortment of heirloom pumpkins and squashes
Then it’s off to the kitchen garden which supplies produce year-round for the cafe and restaurant.
Everything is grown in terraced beds
A colourful crop of rainbow silverbeet.
End of season basil and tuscan cabbage or kale
The thick rubbery leaves of kale can be added to soups and stews and pasta dishes.I even blitz it into a pesto.
last of the season cherry tomatoes
And a crimson purple cauliflower almost ready for harvesting.
Then it’s time to head out of the cold for our warming lunch of roasted kitchen garden vegetables and double-baked cheese souffles – cooked from my recipe from The Edible Balcony. The chefs do a marvellous job. Of course it tastes better than whenever I’ve cooked them! I want to live here.