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".

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