Garden No 2 - Rob Roy, 9A Blackheath Street
Courtesy of Sue Harris and Ron Powell
Sue Harris and Ron Powell bought Rob Roy in 2004 after many months searching for a typical mountains cottage with an established garden.
Though badly neglected and overgrown, they were thrilled to find some unusual trees and shrubs and mature trees, particularly the Deodar cedar, maples, plum and crabapples.
They learned that Rob Roy had been the home of noted mountains gardener, Colin Slade, through the 1970s and ‘80s. Colin’s stories added the human side to the garden’s story, particularly how he coaxed the Chinese Fringe tree to flower by heeding “old man Sorenson’s” advice to ring-bark or severely root-prune it. Colin chose the latter and it has flowered wonderfully ever since. Colin told how his vegetables flourished on the paddock at the rear where the postman used to stable his horse.
Colin sold to local identity Caroline Eburn whose brother, eminent Australian artist and architectural tutor, Peter Kingston, designed the ‘studio’ extension to Rob Roy.
Sue and Ron purchased the rear block in 2007, empty except for a few fruit trees and two eucalypts. The rough paddock became the “blank canvas” for their new garden, an eclectic mix of themes brought home from visiting European gardens.
The paddock was terraced with the top bank receiving 2,000 daffodil bulbs and the middle bank, massed azaleas fringed by clipped box hedges.
The excavations produced masses of ironstone, used to create the Sorensen-inspired water feature which defines the Boule Court.
Scattered throughout the garden are decaying replaced sandstone pieces from Sydney’s Supreme Court, Central Station and Bondi Beach Public School.