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Stone Wall with Softening Foliage
Bickleigh Vale, Mooroolbark, Victoria

The first impression of a typical Walling garden is of tall trees, their leaves rustling in the breeze. Next, the dense green shrubs guide the eye to a comfortable and welcoming informality. Walling would lay the structural foundations, perhaps geometric, then soften it with natural growth and a spread of many plants nestled together.

I couldn't bear the boredom of a perfectly 'landscaped' garden for instance.

Walling's gardens are romantic. Overflowing garden beds, softened lines and nooks and crannies to be discovered.

Border Softening Stone Wall
Kiloren, Crookwell, New South Wales

There is such a thing as ordered disorder...

...in gardens I love all the things most gardeners abhor: ... more greenery than 'colour' (as if green isn't a colour!)

Walling favoured dense plantings. The mix of trees, shrubs and prostrate plants sheltered the house from the fierce Australian sun and provided privacy.

Edna Walling chose plants for their shape, height and tonal quality. She liked to work with existing plants, rather than see them removed. She would redirect a driveway or path rather than cut down an established tree and always worked with the existing topography.

Exotics and Natives

Luxury of luxuries. I've been lying on my own thyme lawn... You haven't lived if you have not lain flat on your middle on a thyme lawn.

Edna Walling's taste in plants changed over the years. She began her landscape career almost exclusively planting exotics. By 1926 native plants were appearing into her designs and later she produced entirely native gardens at properties such as Ardenholme and the Freiberg garden.

It is strange how gardeners adore plants that are difficult to cultivate and how they abhor those [that] grow lustily...

She loved plants, exotic or native, and would blend the two with harmony.

Native plants attracted birds and insects and often existed on a new site. It was common sense that they should remain.

I wish I had known more about Australian plants when I started out on my career of garden designing. This would have enlarged my choice of plant material and also [I would have] been less inclined to give my gardens rather an English flavour.

Edna Walling's most frequently used plants can be found in our plant database.

Plant Detail
Kiloren, Crookwell, New South Wales
Pinnate Boronia (Boronia Pinnata)
Pinnate Boronia
(Boronia Pinnata)
[15 K]

...face to face with thousands of Baeckias and the shell pink Boronia. I just sat down and gazed and gazed. To have seen anything so exquisitely beautiful before one dies seemed to be all that mattered!


[A new job begins.] The first thing I was told was that they had ordered one hundred Liquidambars. I counted ten and then said "Well, could you cancel the order?" The chief features of the property were billowing masses and smaller groups of Melaleucas and it was so completely satisfying that the Liquidambars would have been an embarassment rather than a help...

Silver Birches
Kiloren, Crookwell, New South Wales

Walling's use of trees is an important feature of her gardens. She explained to clients that a tree took up less space than a shrub. Shrubs were used as well but trees were her love and passion. A mature Walling garden is one with towering trees. They create the backdrop to her designs and the sound of rustling leaves contribute to the tranquillity of her gardens.

The more I see of gardens the more I like gum trees... why do we want little pocket handkerchief lawns and a few seedlings instead of the gums that make houses look so individual and attractive?

Pots on Wall
Bickleigh Vale, Mooroolbark, Victoria

Privacy was always respected by Walling and her gardens reflect this. Her gardens are peaceful sanctuaries. Emerging from a visit to the Walling designed Bickleigh Vale village it is surprising to find the outside world at its doorstep. The tranquillity of tall trees and dense shrubs subdues the surrounding suburb, blocking out the noise and sight of busy streets.


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