A HIDDEN sanctuary filled with bright flowers and blossoming trees has become the prized project of Mount Gambier’s Sue and David McPherson over the past decade.
The couple’s country-style garden, blanketed by colourful plants, roses, succulents and hedges, will be opened to the public this weekend as part of Open Gardens SA.
Nestled a stone’s throw away from the Blue Lake, the garden oasis has been completely revamped since Mr and Ms McPherson moved into the limestone home around 16 years ago.
Ms McPherson said landscaping was a great challenge for the couple.
“While David was undergoing heavy manual handling and renovating inside, I guess I just busied myself outside in the garden,” she said.
“Even before moving here though, I have been interested in gardening and have always loved it.
“I just like being outside and think it is the best form of exercise, it is cheaper than a gym membership.”
While the Harbison Street home’s front yard was neat, Ms McPherson believes it would surprise people to learn about the property’s “hidden treasure”.
“I think people might get here and think it does not look very interesting from the front,” she said.
“We have moved things from out the front to the back and I have really been working on it since the day we moved.
“It is just a passion and I love the fresh air, exercise, serenity and the fact nothing knows I am out here.”
Never planning to open their garden to the public, Ms McPherson said when asked, she thought it would be a great challenge and would use the event to raise money for the Mount Gambier Breast Cancer Awareness Group.
“I cannot keep out of the garden really, because we have had to work with somebody else’s garden, I have had to appreciate what they have put into it too,” she said.
“We have had to learn to live with the shade, we can still grow stuff, but I have made lots of mistakes.
“I have planted things which I thought would be fine, but I have lost them or have had to move them.”
Over the years, Ms McPherson said her favourite aspect of gardening was the surprises and seasonal weather change.
“Gardening is not for everybody and some people do not actually understand the passion we have,” she said.
“A lot of people do not really have time for gardening, not interested in it generally, but I just love it.
“It is wonderful when you walk outside and see something which was not there a couple of days ago, or when a tree changes colour during seasonal change.”
With involvement in the Country Garden Club and Mount Gambier Community Garden, Ms McPherson has drawn inspiration from many displays she was visited.
“I saw a Black Sambucca tree in a garden at Glencoe and just thought I needed to place that somewhere in our backyard,” she said.
“David has also built two raised wicking vegetable garden beds which are lined and are effectively self-watered.
“The garden is just something we are able to do together and I think we both love spending time out here.”
The McPherson’s garden, located a 1 Harbison Street, will be open on March 14 and March 15 from 10am until 4.30pm both days.
Tickets are available from Gambier Real Estate or on the day.
General entry cost is $8 or $6 for Open Gardens SA members and government concession card holders.
Children under 18 are free.
A solid timber cubby house will be raffled off over the two days and a plant stall will be open to the public.
Tea and coffee will be served, along with morning and afternoon tea available.