Bowfield: a secluded picturesque place.

Mr MG and I have recently visited the garden of friends who live on a property near Mudgee. Their house is perfectly situated in an idyllic location in the centre of an amphitheatre of low hills, overlooking a large, tranquilly full, picturesque dam. Surrounding the house is a wonderful garden.

Honey-coloured walls using rocks excavated during the levelling of the site greet the visitor upon arrival. Prostrate rosemary softens the walls and helps create a welcoming entry to a garden full of surprises and unusual plants, the result of meticulous planning to allow for relief from the western sun and to provide cooling for the house.

This is an old property, and some of the buildings date back to the late nineteenth century. Careful and considerate design has ensured that new additions complement the stone and lime mortar walls of the old parts of the house.

From the front of the house, there’s a view over the lake.

The front garden is comprised of gravelled areas and plantings, amongst them drought hardy grasses, lavender and rosemary, all combining to provide an invitation to sit and enjoy the serene backdrop.

At the back of the house is an imposing bank covered with Mediterranean-style plants: lavender and rosemary, spiky artichoke to add textural interest and an intriguing collection of grey-leafed plants well-known for their ability to withstand drought. Tonnes of compost topped with mulch have been added here with spectacular results. As with many Mudgee gardens, attention must be paid to plants that can withstand extremes of heat and cold: phlomis, swaying grasses, miscanthus, irises and bulbs. There are roses too, carefully placed amongst the shrubs, creating soft pools of colour and added interest.

A wonderful collection of cacti and succulents abides near the walls of the house, providing maximum sunlight while ensuring the frost, which can be severe in these parts, doesn’t damage the plants.

There are delights all around the garden: a velvety rose, a crabapple with golden fruit, an agave creating ‘agave-envy’, softly blushing dahlias, a perfumed magnolia. All wait to captivate and charm a visitor strolling along paths and through garden rooms.

There are oddities as well: Loofah and New Guinea Bean.

As with so many old properties there are items to be found some of which have probably lain idle for generations and which can be used as decoration or sculpture.

Our visit was an uplifting one: a wonderful garden and inspirational use and restoration of the old buildings with their time-worn stone walls and history concealed in their corners. So many old buildings in Australia have been pulled down or left to fall down and it’s always such a pleasure to see some that have been saved and enhanced by a delightful and abundant garden.

37 Comments Add yours

  1. Ms. Liz says:

    Fantastic property Jane, thanks for your lovely photos!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Liz, I’m glad you enjoyed them.

  2. How beautiful! Is the garden open to visitors at any time? That last salvia is stunning.

    1. Jane says:

      It’s a private garden but it will be open for the Mudgee garden show to be held in October. That last salvia must just love that spot!

  3. Anonymous says:

    You’ve done it again Jane…..Superb , especially your descriptions…… Glen

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you Glen. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing Bowfield…it’s quite a place.

  4. Glen says:

    Superb Jane, especially your descriptions

  5. How wonderful! It looks absolutely amazing, thank you for sharing.

    1. Jane says:

      My pleasure, Gill, as it was to visit the garden!

  6. lisinmayenne says:

    What a beautiful garden, Jane, and so inspirational. Thank you for sharing your lovely guided tour. It’s such a challenge finding plants that can cope with extremes, I’m going to have a similar problem this year after that benign climate in Asturias – not as extreme as Mudgee, obviously, but there are a lot of planting ideas in your friends’ garden I can borrow. 😊

    1. Jane says:

      Having just read your most recent post, I think you had some extremes this week in France! Bowfield is a gorgeous property, and I loved visiting it. I’m glad my readers have enjoyed it as well.

  7. They certainly did a wonderful job of finding many plants for the environment.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, that’s always the answer, isn’t it. Keeping to the plants that suit one’s environment. It’s easy to forget that maxim when in the nursery, though!

  8. bonnie groves poppe says:

    Many of the same plants we grow here in Provence! Beautiful and inspiring garden, thanks.
    bonnie near carpentras

    1. Jane says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Bonnie. Some plants seem to be so undemanding they’re happy almost anywhere.

  9. Kris P says:

    It’s a spectacular setting for a house and garden, Jane. What I wouldn’t give to have a lake (or even a pond) onsite! I can identify with the plant selection too, although you and your friends face greater extremes of winter cold than I do.

    1. Jane says:

      That lake is just beautiful and adds so much to the lovely setting. We had our first frost this morning and I was a bit unprepared, but there doesn’t seem to be any damage. I meant to move my succulents to a more sheltered spot.

  10. A wonderful garden and so interesting to see many plants I have in my garden. And many others I don’t! We have just planted Roselles and I have shared the jam recipe you shared with me along with seeds around South Florida..

    1. Jane says:

      It’s interesting how some plants are happy growing anywhere….thank goodness! I wonder if you’ve tried the Rosella flowers in your champagne yet? 😊

      1. Not yet. It’s time to plant seeds
        Harvest in November. Champagne later, hopefully with Rosella.

  11. Heyjude says:

    I would love to have friends with a garden like this. The care and attention they have used to develop the grounds and the property show a lot of dedication and hard work. I would love to visit this garden. Is it open to the public? Or just to friends like you?

    1. Jane says:

      It’s a private garden, but it is going to be open for the Mudgee Garden show in October, just over one weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing it in the Spring.

      1. Heyjude says:

        Oh, yes, definitely do and write another post.

  12. paolsoren says:

    How wonderful. There is so much to say but I am quite blown away by all the watering cans on the old slab wall.

    1. Jane says:

      I agree. And the old slab barn is a wonderful building too.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Jane, am looking forward to visiting this garden in October.

    1. Jane says:

      Me too! I haven’t seen it in the Spring.

  14. What a gem, Jane. I love the hills around Mudgee. I would be too afraid to live there though.

    1. Jane says:

      Wow! Your comment raises some questions about your fears of Mudgee. I can think of some reasons some people might be afraid of living in Mudgee, but you have all those things in Canberra too: heat, cold, snakes, too much wine, tourists, ( I don’t really mind tourists, they’re good for the town) not enough rain. I can’t think of anything else. 🤔 I like the hills too.

      1. No probs with Mudgee. Living among bush is what I’m afraid of.

        1. Jane says:

          Ah, yes. That makes sense.

      2. PS. It is the hills and the dry bush that make me gulp while being awed by them at the same time.

        1. Jane says:

          I admit to some worrying about the dry bush during the Black Summer.

  15. Chloris says:

    What a lovely spot, beautiful plants and lovely surroundings.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Chloris. Yes, Bowfield is splendid. And there’s more. I’m afraid I have to admit that my camera ran out of charge, so I didn’t get all the photos I could have done.

  16. Like the loofas. Have tried to grow them without success after seeing them grow
    wild in Africa

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