39 Village Road, Newbridge
Aberfeldy (Perthshire) is a small village in Scotland known for its single malt Scotch Whiskey. This name was already on the land when we purchased it in 1993. It was previously a paddock that ran goats, had two large gum trees, a dam, and a bore. We built our home in 1994, with the first year being drought. The garden was started in essence in 1995.
The plan was to have a lawn that you could run bare foot on all year ‘round, and a garden that children would find fun playing hide and seek in, and exploring.
We tiered the front garden carting many a load of bush rock from our parent’s properties by hand. We edged the majority of the garden beds with concrete bricks which is much easier than pouring mower strips. The beds were all started with the “no dig” principle....a layer of newspaper 1-2cm thick, lucerne hay, manure and mulch, lots of mulch, then it’s a case of wetting it down – and topping it up with more mulch when needed. “No dig” doesn’t mean “no work” but it is quick and easy, suppresses the weeds, reduces water loss and lets the worms do the gardening for you. My husband is a bricklayer by trade, hence the amount of masonry around the place.
To an extent plants needed to be self-sufficient and any garden structures needed to be inexpensive to create. The ruins, as we like to call it, was constructed as a screen to hide the view of my clothes line from the road. Someone once told me that it takes 10yrs before your trees will start to really grow, they were right; now you can’t see the ruins or my clothes line from the road.
Our garden inside the fence was established by hand, many years before my husband established our earthmoving business. The garden beds outside the yard evolved out of necessity. The agapanthus garden came about as the area was very difficult to mow and was full of iron stone. We cleaned out a neighbours cattle yards (being paid in manure) and we put the whole lot down, hilling it into rows like you would for sowing potatoes. They are self-sufficient and create a fabulous sea of blue around December.
The gardens beside the driveway were established due to the amount of limbs and leaves that fall from the large gum. It seemed natural to create a garden to catch it, again a self-sufficient patch.
All the other gardens outside the fence resulted from a house extension that we did in 2006 pulling down our old pergola to build an extra room on the back of the house. My garden beds had to be moved.
We love upcycling, re-purposing, using sentimental items, creating stories and my husband enjoys producing the odd sculpture when trees or plants have needed to be replaced in some spaces. The dry stone walls have been created from recycled concrete pieces that have no mesh in them, a by-product of our business. The garden shed was created from an old skylight that was retired from the Orange City Centre, with my husband bricking up the walls and lifting the skylight on as the roof.
As a nod to our village, and its railway history, we salvaged (saved) the railway bridge timbers that were removed in 2019. They were scheduled for destruction (to be burned). This opportunity enabled us to “do justice” to the timbers and extend our entertaining area.
As our family has grown, the garden has evolved into a relaxing space with room for entertaining. It is an informal garden that is achievable and delivers many hours of pleasure.
We hope you enjoy our garden as much as we do.
Nigel, Louise, Ellie & Chelsea Hamer