Along a quiet tree-lined road in Beecroft, on Sydney’s upper north shore, the restoration/extension project at Lynwood, an historic 1907 William Nixon Federation residence is exemplary.
The atelier (above) and the pavilion are both recent additions that are so settled into the landscape, they appear to have been in situ for decades.
Steven and Glenys Rowe, who acquired Lynwood in 2003 were just the right couple to take over the somewhat tired property. They’ve lavished attention and sympathetically transformed both home and garden.
Collections of perennials and less-common plants, such as Montanoa bipinnatifida - Mexican tree daisy, by the side entrance, enliven the grounds.
Graeme Greenhalgh from Tropic of Sydney, a landscape design and construction service based in Woollahra, was the obvious professional to engage for help with the garden. As well as being Glenys’ brother, Graeme’s a great plantsman with a sensibility for Sydney’s heritage.
Lynwood’s architectural renovation and extensions were undertaken primarily by Hector Abrahams Architects, with some input from Clive Lucas Stapleton Architects.
The central, original driveway which was realigned to curve gently beside the home, leads to the back area where cars can be parked without intruding on the ambience of the garden.
Graeme added a wall some way along the boundary in keeping with the home’s style. It serves to both define the area and shelter the side entrance.
Either side of the driveway mass plantings are balanced with swards of lawn channeled between beds.
Various forms of of swaying miscanthus back sweeps of Arthropodium cirratum, Rengarenga lilies.
The bright spires of Senna didymobotrya emerge from long sprays formed by pairs of elongated oval leaflets. It’s sometimes called the popcorn bush due to the scent of burnt corn.
Eucalyptus saligna, Sydney blue gums are a striking, albeit a little messy, sculptural presence, and the established Canary Island date palm provides shade for a new area of ferns and ground covers.
A carpet of native violets, partly sheltered beneath the canopy, creeps between pavers, and sprays of yellow daisy-like Ligularia tussilaginea flowers reach above their effulgent leaves.
A gathering of birds nest ferns in the new sheltered area by the pool pavilion.
In 2013 this pavilion attracted a heritage award from the Hornsby Shire Council which recognised it as a ‘sensitively designed extension’.
In 2010 the Rowes ‘branched out’ and bought the Victorian residence *’Mindaribba’ next door, then reconfigured the boundary to improve curtilage for both houses.
Lynwood’s extra eight metres to the east was the perfect space to position a *swimming pool and a pavilion plus, at the rear, a vegetable and herb garden, a potting shed, compost and mulch bays, and a water tank.
*Lynwood’s original pool was filled in and is now beneath lawn.
*We’ll take you next door to ‘Mindaribba’ in another post because Graeme’s also restored the garden there and it’s wonderful.
The pavilion is totally charming - just the place to relax surrounded by greenery, and overlooking the pool.
A timber and fine wire mesh fence is an unobtrusive delineation between the two houses. New subtropical plantings by the pool will create a lush enclosure.
Below the swimming pool is the very productive veggie and herb garden - and a brick and timber-slatted potting shed in keeping with the character.
Abutilon megapotamicum is one of several with lanterns ‘lighting’ the garden.
In contrast to areas of lawn and informal beds, a circular gravel area is a place for repose between the front veranda, the pavilion and a grove of palms leading to the back garden.
Plumes of oakleaf hydrangeas feature in summer and are followed by rich autumnal leaves.
Graeme says he’s constantly surprised by what the garden presents, and what’s possible.
"Part of the ongoing interest in these gardens comes from the mixture of old and new. Sometimes that’s a challenge but it also adds so much depth."
All in the family: Garden designer Graeme Greenhalgh with his sister, and homeowner Glenys Rowe.
Graeme’s had the perfect opportunity to indulge his horticultural passion in the Rowe’s garden. He’s used a treasure trove of plants - so refreshing in a professionally designed landscape.
A funky idea Graeme borrowed: with handles on one end and a wheel on the other it’s easy to move this seat when mowing.
Perspective: the atelier overlooks a peaceful expanse of lawn and a breakfast terrace by the house.
It’s Glenys’ retreat - and a productive place for an artist and passionate patchworker!
A raised brick-edged pond envelopes a classic bluestone fountain. The soothing sound of water often accompanies the hum of a sewing machine…
Throughout the garden there’s evidence of thoughtful inclusions: grey pavers match timber shingles, weathered seating and fence posts; and a garden palette including yellow, orange, lime and cream compliments the pea, apple green and cream on the home’s timber trim.
From the street: passers-by amble though beds of agapanthus growing beneath a row of Lothostemon confertus, Brush Box and can enjoy glimpses of an historical Sydney residence and its garden.
If only more city dwellers were so generous!
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