A collection of trees in miniature, a moon gate and a weeping cherry equal one very Zen garden.
Creating a garden to showcase dozens of exquisite bonsai trees is not your everyday brief, but the instant Luke Bullock saw a member of Bendigo Bonsai Club’s backyard he knew what he should do.
“The client had a few really amazing feature plants including this magnificent weeping cherry right in the middle and some cypresses that were the perfect backbone for an oriental-style garden,” he reveals.
Luke and his team of Bendigo landscapers set about creating an oasis of serenity that would reflect the care and patience the property’s owner applies to her hobby of growing dwarf trees.
He began by taking a sledgehammer to the “horrendous dodgy brickwork” surrounding the beautiful weeping cherry.
“The tree was crying out to be saved from its surroundings,” he laughs. “But I loved it so much as a specimen that we shaped the whole garden around it,”
Now, instead of cracked bricks, the cherry rises from the sawn Pyrenees stone. Nearby water spills over the top of two shards of granite into a calm pool of koi and in the top corner of the garden a moon gate represents the perfect portal to this other-worldly landscape.
The result has exceeded Luke’s wildest imagination. “It is just so cool, I really am absolutely tickled pink with how it has turned out. We have taken a theme and run with it and created this very oriental-style garden with the use of the bold red and black, screens and bamboo.”
Like every job the Melbourne-trained landscape artist tackles, this particular garden posed its own challenges.
“Oriental or Japanese gardens are brilliant for small spaces, but it’s not as simple as tossing about a bit of white gravel in a few lumps of stone. Creating this style of garden requires time and patience.
We are lucky in the sense that, in this case, there was no planting required.
“The trees, all containered, were already there. There were a ridiculous number of them ranging from traditional Japanese bonsai specimens like junipers to native grevillea and callistemons.
“The most important part of the design brief was to create level areas at waist height so the client could display and work on her bonsai back door and we had to do some extensive terracing because there were drainage issues.”
The final step was to create a small bluestone paved area so the owner could sit and admire her garden.
“The whole effect is outstanding. I am absolutely rapt with it. It really shows the possibilities in this job are endless. I really, really love what I do and, like this garden, everything flows from that.”