31 March 2014


GARDENS OF GLENLYON allows you to see seven gardens evolve over time and through the seasons- Summer 2012, Autumn 2014, Winter 2015 and Spring 2016.

Located in one of the most picturesque parts of Victoria, the gardens fit comfortably into the beautiful landscape.

The gardeners have some major obstacles to tackle: Back breaking clay soils, gale force winds, heavy frosts, floods, prolonged droughts and varmints such as bush rats, deer, rabbits, hares, wallabies and cockatoos.

Find out how these gardeners take a sustainable approach to gardening in this relatively unspoilt part of the country.

DOLL'S PADDOCK     38 Morton St     Dee & Tony Briscomb

Nestling into the side of a hill is this elegant, beautifully designed 1 acre garden with haybale house. Key features are curving gravel paths, stone walls, established deciduous trees, perennial borders and a cascading rill.  Volcanic soil.  Check out the well designed veggie patch.

JENNY'S GARDEN    21 Moyston St     Jenny Corr & Peter Stripes

Converted 1860's stone hotel with beautiful meandering one acre garden in the heart of Glenlyon.  Brimming with Autumn perennials, rare mature deciduous trees and delightful sculptures along meandering paths.  Look for the sculpted gate.  Volcanic soil.                

VIZSLA LAK    1310 Malmsbury Rd      Margret Lockwood

Delightful 16 hectare bushland property with a fire responsive house and 3 acre garden.  Magnificent central lake reflects the riotous colour of the surrounding garden.  Chooks in quaint chook house, fruit trees, productive veggie patch and a propagation shed.  Heavy clay soils.  Watch for the 'ducks crossing' sign.

ELLENDER ESTATE    260 Green Gully Rd    Jenny and Graham Ellender

This 40 acre vineyard features a garden of mature deciduous trees, eucalypts, mediterranean plants and masses of roses surrounding the winery.

A landscaped gully cascades down to the lake.  Excellent views of the surrounding countryside.  Clay soils.

Wine tasting and delicious lunches available.

GREENLION    75 Butlers Lane    Jill Teschendorff & John Cable

A 48 acre bushland property with stunning views of the Loddon River.  Created from hard rock and heavy clay soils, the enchanting 3 acre garden features rose arbours and raised stone walled garden beds.  Meandering paths weave through the garden of cool climate deciduous trees and perennial plants.  Native plants, brimming with tiny birds, surround the periphery of the garden.  Stroll through the fruit orchard and Johnno's large productive veggie patch.  Heavy clay soils.

Join the walk along the Kangaroo Highway on the Loddon River and observe the revegetation work undertaken on the river.


INDULGENCE    Gooch Court Wheatsheaf    Suchada Hongsananda
Innovative 4 acre garden, with a "Room Outside" approach to garden design.  European trees and shrubs meld beautifully with Australian plants in loosely grouped clusters, with wide informal paths linking them together.  The large ornamental lake is a prominent feature, with ducks, geese and guinea fowl strutting on the banks.  Quirky, humorous sculptures dot the garden, bringing a smile to the face of the observer.  Rich red volcanic and black loam soils.


WALLABY CREEK     41 Matts Lane Coomoora    Jenny and Ian Jordan

Tucked in behind a hedge of roses is this delightful 2 acre woodland garden.  Rare and unusual established conifers and deciduous trees form a parkland, with swathes of perennials skirting the periphery.  The property slopes gently to the Wallaby Creek.  Delightful hand crafted gates, elegant pot plants and metal sculptures add a touch of refinement.  Red volcanic soils.

Many of the unusual plants are labelled.

Tickets at the Glenlyon Hall.  $5 per garden or $25 the lot. Free entry to Ellender Estate.  Great food at Ellender Estate and the Glenlyon General Store.

Loos at the Glenlyon Hall.  Please don't ask the gardeners if you can use their loos - they are all on limited water and septic tanks.

30 March 2014



Bron Love, an experienced conservationist, is looking forward to taking you along the Kangaroo Highway at 'Greenlion'.  Meandering beside the Loddon River, this bush track has been carved out by the passing kangaroos and wallabies.

Starting at the front gate at 'Greenlion', Bron will take you along a bush track, past the honey shed and down into the Loddon Valley.  There you will see the beautiful basalt cliffs that plunge into limpid water holes.  Bron will show you the extensive revegetation that has taken place in the valley,  transforming the wall of gorse and blackberrries into the tranquil river zone that it is today.

You will climb up the steep river bank and walk along the Kangaroo Highway way above the river, returning to the homestead through the upper paddocks.

DURATION: Approximately 3/4 hour.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Moderately difficult.

Wear walking shoes, hat, sunscreen and carry drinking water.

TIMES: 11.00am and 3.00pm Saturday.  11.00am and 3.00pm Sunday.

MEET: At the 'Greenlion' front gate.

WHERE: 75, Butlers Lane Glenlyon.

COST: included in the $5.00 entry ticket to the 'Greenlion' garden.

25 March 2014

Guest speakers on Saturday 12 April

Saturday 12 April we have two guest speakers scheduled to speak. They will appearing at the Glenlyon Hall.

Our first speaker is on at 3pm on Saturday. John Brereton is a a well known former lecturer and entertaining speaker from Burnley College, Melbourne.

John has worked in the advanced tree growing industry and has particular expertise related to landscape management, soils, pests and diseases of plants.

His talk will cover soil testing and sustainable methods to improve soil to suit a wide range of plants.  If you are not familiar with some basic troubleshooting soil tests or materials available to improve the condition of the soil then this talk is for you.

John Brereton  can be contacted on 0417 500 103 or by email.

Second speaker at 3.30pm on Saturday is Roni Nettleton; she will be discussing compost - the good, the bad and the ugly and why we should all have a luscious compost heap brewing in our backyard.

Roni is a qualified horticulturist with 30 years experience in creating and enhancing living environments in challenging soils and climates.  She is an award winning landscape designer, including Gold and Silver medals at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

The main body of Roni's work has been in Melbourne.  Currently she lives in Yandoit where she has successfully established edible gardens and indigenous regeneration in some of the region's most depleted landscape conditions.

Roni can be contacted on 0425 752 507 or email.

24 March 2014



A Summer and Autumn with well below average rain.  Searing temperatures through January and February.  Gale force winds.

The Gardeners of Glenlyon have had the lot thrown at them by Nature this year.

This isn't your Common and Garden Open Garden!  Open in Summer 2012, Autumn 2014, Winter 2015 and Spring 2016.

And this is why you must come and visit!  See us evolve through the seasons.  Watch us change according to the prevailing conditions.

The Gardeners of Glenlyon show you how they have survived the heat, winds and lack of rain to come out blooming!  A deep knowledge of water conservation, wind protection and improvement of soils has preserved these beautiful gardens through challenging times.


19 March 2014



Jenny Ellender can turn her hand to most things, the latest being the management of their vineyard 'Ellender Estate'.  She and Graham, previously a senior academic and dentist, have created a green oasis out of the poor soils along Green Gully Rd in Glenlyon.  Starting with a small dam and dry paddocks, they carved out the vineyard, large lake and stream, the winery and an elegant house overlooking the rolling hills.

With a background in hospitality and event management, including running a pub in England, Jenny is a natural at organising.  On top of that, she is an excellent needle craft woman and has a good eye for colour and style.

Jenny grew up in Adelaide, with parents who both valued beautiful things.  Her father was the gardener, mostly because he wouldn't allow anyone else to do the gardening.  "He didn't trust anyone to help.  Even poor Mum, who loved flowers and gardens, was only allowed to weed".  Opposite their home was a nursery and the garden quickly filled up with pretty plants.  Her parents moved to a property in the Dandenongs in Victoria.  Years later when she and Graham moved to Daylesford, Jenny planted a pretty perennial garden around  the dental surgery from plants collected in her father's garden.

The winery in Glenlyon holds many memories of her parents.  Her mother's love of roses is reflected in the masses of roses around the house and the winery.  Jenny's mother was a wise woman and like Jenny, was a dab hand at needlecraft.  One of her sayings is captivated in an embroidered piece on the wall:

'The kiss of the sun for pardon, the sound of the birds for mirth, one is nearer God's heart in the garden, than anywhere else on earth'.

Her parents' favourite trees were silver birches.  Their home in Melbourne was called 'The Birches' and the house sign now hangs on Jenny's potting shed.

Jenny collected seedlings from her parents' trees and there are now mature silver birches dotted around the rolling gardens of Ellender Estate, a gift from the old trees of home.

Jenny's mother died when she was quite young.  Down on the lake is a little memorial garden filled with roses and perennials where weddings are held.  Jenny feels that her mother's memory is captivated here.

Near the wedding garden and overlooking the lake is the Boathouse, which provides a cosy nook for couples to propose.  With a bottle of champagne and the beautiful view, this may lead to a wedding.

Around the homestead grow masses of roses, clipped box hedges and avenues of crab apple trees.  The design of the garden "just grew', with contributions from Andy Sutherland, Jai, Ron Rae and Nick Sara.  However, Jenny has coordinated things, deciding what will go where.  But the garden in front of the house is entirely her design.

The house is filled with books in elegant book cases that were made by her father.  One book case is dedicated entirely to gardens.  This is where Jenny gains inspiration and guidance.

The gardening library

The next step in the garden is to rationalise some of the earlier plantings.  Large tree roots and overarching canopies are starving the plants nearby and to allow the garden to breathe, some of the plants must go.  But Jenny is content.  She knows that the garden is constantly evolving and each decision made to remove a plant or to buy a new one, offers the opportunity for another creative venture.

17 March 2014



When Jill's friend Annie took her on holiday to the family farm in Finley NSW, she didn't imagine what would happen next.  At age 14 and 16 respectively, Jill and Annie's brother John fell in love.  They wandered around the beautiful garden that John's mother created in the middle of the flat, dry paddocks of the Riverina, dreaming of a future.  It was not to be, for John absconded with a blonde to Canada.

Life works in mysterious ways and 32 years later, Jill and John met again.  John's brother Dave said "Johnno, see it as Destiny".

It was love at second sight!  They dreamed over the phone between Melbourne and Canberra- a house on the top of a hill, surrounded by bushland and overlooking the sea.  John moved to Melbourne and the search was on.  He wanted to buy a place to keep bee hives and found just the spot - at Glenlyon, with a house on the top of a hill, surrounded by bushland and overlooking the Loddon River.

Bee keeper Johnno

The property was called 'Fairweather Farm'.

The first year was cold and wet, before the drought set in.  Don, visiting from Tasmania and shivering in the cold snap in early January, said "Well Johnno, you've got to replace that sign. It's got to be 'Foul Weather Farm' or 'The Sodden Loddon'!"

Grand daughter Michaela, then three, solved the problem.  Unable to pronounce Glenlyon, she named the place 'Greenlion'.

The house was surrounded by a lake of mud which lay over a seam of rock and heavy clay.  With the use of the crow bar, drain pipes were laid and the first garden beds started.  Bags of gypsum were poured onto the clay and lashings of mulch were added.  Johnno, watching Jill pour barrow loads of mulch around the house finally said "Well Jilly, we're not going to live long enough to do it this way. I'm getting a couple of truck loads of soil".

Creating the garden with barrow loads of mulch
Now, 14 years later, the house is surrounded by a beautiful garden which protects the house from the heavy winds and brings masses of native birds and animals, as well as creating a sense of tranquility and containment.  The established plants, heavily mulched, are coping with droughts and the occasional flood.

Sheltered from the winds

The dam in Spring

A resident kangaroo
The river valley is a highlight of Greenlion, but initially the river could not be seen for the walls of blackberries and gorse.  Now, after years of clearing the weeds and regenerating the indigenous plants, the valley has returned to its natural beauty.  There is a spiritual quality to parts of the river, where huge basalt outcrops plunge into the shimmering rockpools.  Years of hard work have paid off and the river banks now provide habitat for the local animals and a playground for the children.

Searching for frogs

Basalt ridges plunge to the water

Jill and John intend to live happily ever after in this beautiful part of the world. Destiny?  Or good planning?  Whatever, it's magic.

16 March 2014

Sustenance during Gardens of Glenlyon

Glenlyon has two great eating venues: Ellender Estate Winery and Glenlyon General Store.

Ellenders is on the plant trail, so you can check out the garden there then stop for a delicious pizza straight from the wood-fired oven, accompanied by a glass or two of Dr Ellender's wine(s).

Alternatively, you can go online and book yourself a hamper ("normal" and vegetarian options available) to be collected from the Glenlyon Hall.  Don't forget to specify which day you will be picking up your hamper.

10 March 2014



Suchada Hongsananda is a woman of determination and adventure.  Born in Thailand, Suchada came to Australia 45 years ago to study, majoring in music.  She was an excellent student, but found the rigidity and routine of the hours and hours of practice absolutely stultifying.  She gravitated to art and there she found her place.

Her appetite for gardens and the central highlands was first wetted as a student when she stayed with friends in Daylesford.   She was mesmerised by the soft Autumn colours around the lake, so different to the glossy reds and greens of the tropics.  A trip to Daylesford a few years later sealed her fate.  A four acre property in Wheatsheaf was for sale, and immediately Suchada recognised its potential.  "I could see, like a dream, that I could do that, that and that!"  It was love at first sight.

Suchada knew nothing about gardens and gardening.  In her homeland, apart from the differences in the climate, soil and plants,  there was no role model to follow.  Her family employed gardeners.

Initially she hired a horticulturalist, who started her journey.  A small garden was developed beside the house.  An existing dam was sculpted into a beautiful lake and gradually the garden grew.

As Suchada's confidence grew, increasingly she noticed that the ideas of those who worked for her did not fit with her vision.  She took control of the design and the work within the garden.  Absorbing ideas from 'Gardening Australia', observing other gardens and using her artistic talents,  Suchada has created a beautiful four acre garden.  She notes that "I never draw anything on paper.  My eyes tell me what is to be done".  She acknowledges that her training in art has heightened her powers of observation, sense of design and understanding of colour.

But the journey has not been without its pitfalls.  Some plants failed.  Suchada's friends would sometimes say "My God, why did you plant that?"  However, using common sense and the lessons learned from trial and error, Suchada has developed a keen gardener's sensitivity.  She believes that a keen observation of the plants, the soil and their environment provides the answers.  "The trees seem to know- [and say] 'we will grow less because we are too crowded'".  She also believes that each part of the garden has a different personality, which guides her in the choice of plants to put in that spot.  This has resulted in an intriguing and very successful blending of Australian and exotic plants.

The garden has a personality all of its own; it follows its own rules.

 "It's not a conservative sort of garden- no straight lines.  It's rambling, disorganised, natural".

Suchada points out that when there are straight lines in a garden "you walk by, just like that, but if it bends you slow down to look".

She believes that "When you do a garden from the heart, you can feel it.  There's harmony.  I love it!"

8 March 2014

Adopt a crafts(wo)man #2

Dr Kate Ellis - the heart of Thornology - is our third craftsman to be profiled.  Kate is the only female hedgelayer in Australia.  It's an intriguing and imaginative use of her qualifications - Kate has an Honours Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Melbourne and a PhD in Ecology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

The real story is here with photos of gorgeous hedges, willow work chairs, hurdles, willow work tree guards - written by Danielle White (this author is being lazy).
(from Kate's website)
 Kate can be contacted on 0466 643 065, website or email.

6 March 2014



Musicians Jenny and Ian Jordan both grew up surrounded by their favourite passions: music and gardens.  Jenny is a flautist and currently the conductor of the Daylesford Community Brass Band, while Ian plays the tenor horn.  Their property 'Wallaby Creek' in Coomoora, was purchased in 1999 and now has an established woodland garden.  The style of the garden reflects their love of woodland plants, and their early experience of gardens in the Dandenong Ranges.

Jenny's grandparents bought a one acre block near William Rickett's Sanctuary which they developed into the well known 'Churinga' garden restaurant in the Dandenongs.  Her grandparents were marvellous gardeners and totally self-taught.  They propagated plants and designed the gardens along European lines.  A tree was planted in honour of each of the grandchildren and the 60 year old beech tree in Churinga's grounds today is Jenny's tree.  Grandpa was Jenny's favourite gardener.  One of her special pastimes was to stand alongside and 'help' him as he watered the garden.

Ian grew up in the Dandenongs and the area evokes very fond memories.  "When we go through Ferntree Gully, there's an old oak tree outside Grandpa's blacksmith's shop that I planted when I was eight".  Ian's expertise with metal and wood attests to his grandfather's tutelage and his works are placed through the garden.

Ian has a passion for metal objects - inherited from Grandpa
Ian's gate

Their first 'real' garden as a couple was in the Warby Ranges, where they "tried to do the Dandenongs garden".  The hundreds of pots under the house attested to their failure, as the plants succumbed to the hot, dry conditions and the barren soil.  

They adapted their approach to gardening, embracing the aridness of the region and putting centre stage the massive granite boulders, surrounded by drought-hardy plants.

Jenny's plants for the dry

The purchase of 'Wallaby Creek' in Coomoora allowed the Dandenongs dreaming to be revived.  From the time of the purchase and well before they moved in, Ian and Jenny planted trees.  At 600m, the high elevation, cool climate and substantial rainfall ensured the survival of the woodland garden.
Many of the plants are a reminder of family and friends.  One camellia, for instance, was propagated from the camellia over Jenny's grandmother's grave.  Grandma used to pronounce proudly to her family that she had "left a little bit of myself in all of my gardens".  After her death and in keeping with her practice, Jenny's Uncle scattered her ashes over several gardens!

Pockets of memories

Tranquility: the use of water

For Jenny and Ian, gardening is a fundamental part of their life.  They find that, as with their music, it provides an outlet for creativity, the opportunity for renewal and a deep sense of calm.  Ian notes that "I'll still be gardening long after I've stopped banding".