Extraordinary Gardeners

Recently ‘Gardening Australia’ screened a segment filmed at Denise and Henk Horchner’s water-wise subtropical cottage garden.

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You can see that we get on well…they have a great sense of humour and I LOVE old-fashioned gardens and I LOVE discovering plants that I’ve never seen before. The Viola dissecta mentioned is only the second specimen I’ve seen in my life. The first was growing at the Woodland Garden, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, when I was a student in 1979.

Here’s an email from Denise, published with her permission…

“Dear Jerry

A little note to thank you so much for the work you would have put in for our HUGE EVENT on Gardening Australia! It is amazing to me that they made the garden look so good, the editing was brilliant, but I was sorry your little bit about the white Viola dissecta wasn’t on, also my huge bedraggled Amaranthus! I do admire the way my potting bench was skimmed over – VERY discreet…..

We have had numerous phone calls and emails from people in Melbourne and Sydney and Henk and I have been invited to talk at the huge Cottage Garden Club of Sydney (Sue Perkins – Blue Mountains).

Without exception they all said they loved the humour which they said was so ‘natural’ – yes, we just cannot help it! and what would I do without exclamation marks? Also had several requests for the poem I recited on tv….

Last night Henk and I went to the Organic Growers Club at Windsor where I gave a cottage garden talk – I was a bit scared – thought they might boo me – but it went very well indeed and ‘your’ yellow sweet potato plant was very popular on our sales table especially when I told everybody that it is the one YOU have in YOUR garden – oh yes indeed!

That 1″ rain last week filled our tank and with hundreds of bags of horse manure (free) everything is jumping out of its skin. Lovely foxgloves, clarkias (so very pretty) Flanders poppies. Have had beautiful fat hyacinths – do you know when a large pink bloom finished I cut it off and there was another big bud emerging from the same bulb. I have never had that before. Also we have always been told that hyacinths, etc. will never bloom the following year so toss them out which I always do – onto the compost heap – and what bloomed very nicely in the compost heap this year – a beautiful hyacinth. Wonderful!

If you have time to read this I have lovely bowls of grape hyacinths (very small though compared with English ones), Ipheon, with ‘Erlicheer’ just finishing as well as paper whites – such divine scent…. Also I am so sorry to see the divine Iboza (now Tetradenia I believe) gone for another year, when in bud it looked like pink wattle..

I could go on and on of course, but shall spare you. Henk and I do hope you are keeping up with your huge work load and are keeping WELL. It is a good article in the CM today and we are looking forward to seeing your garden on Saturday night.

Sending best wishes

Denise and Henk

P.S. I have to WARN you – I have a young woman friend (Linda) who is DELIGHTED to discover she has purchased a house very close to your place. She is so excited because she will be able to ask you this and that and you will be able to give her advice about her chook house. I TRIED to tell her NO NO NO, how very busy you are, etc. etc. to no avail.

So…….. if you see a large, tall, dark haired young woman approaching (complete with baby in pram) – RUN….”