Visit Janet & Andy’s Native plant garden on 26-27 October

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Janet and Andy Russell will open their garden to the public on 26-27 October. It is a great opportunity to see a garden with 260 different species of Australian native plants and efficient watering system developed over the past thirteen years.


When Janet and Andy bought their home in late 2000, they were very happy with the overall design of the inner garden and its beds and paths. The outside garden was completely unstructured, mainly consisting of eucalyptus and acacia trees, and native grasses.

Early on, they decided to use only Australian plants. The inside garden was overgrown with exotic and native shrubbery, and so they removed most of this original shrubbery.

“Initially our focus was on the courtyard area where we widened and raised some of the beds”, says Janet. “The courtyard contained a pergola and we put in a vine to grow over it. This provides dappled shade and a pleasant lunch spot as well as protection for the more sensitive pot plants. There were a number of eucalyptus species already established around the garden and we planted a range of shrubs and ground-covers”.

The plants and our philosophy

“Our garden contains plants from all over the country”, says Janet. “Originally we were keen to bring the birds into the garden but this has now extended to all the wildlife, from the diverse and surprisingly beautiful insect life to the resident skinks and blue tongue lizards. The rocks, bushy shrubs and groundcovers provide niches and cover for the wildlife and the daisies bring in the butterflies”.

“In the outside garden we wanted to show off the huge range of Australian plants as well as show them to their best advantage. We have developed this sloping garden creating small terraces and swales. These features serve both design and practical functions. The terracing in the garden presents to the passer-by an overview of the garden and both the terraces and the swales provide structure for planting as well as slowing the passage of water through the landscape”.

Above: Janet and Andy in their front garden near the swale (depression on the contour of the land) that stops water run-off and allows water to gradually infiltrate the soil.

In recent years, Janet and Andy developed an interest in Southern Tablelands plants particularly the grasses, small herbs, lilies and other strappy plants. They have put these plants amongst the eucalypts in the outside garden.

They water their garden using an electronic drip system and reduce their reliance on town water by using tank water. Two of the three water tanks in the garden are also plumbed to overflow into the swales. Not all plants are on the watering system if they are able to survive without regular watering.

Visit Janet and Andy’s garden on 26-27 October 2013 at 6 Gidabal Street, Aranda between 10am and 4.30pm. Entry is $7.


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