Armidale District

APS Armidale Fact Sheet - Fangorn Garden

by Maria Hitchcock, Armidale, May 2013

Over the past 40 years I have been a passionate and enthusiastic gardener of Australian plants. With my husband we turned a sheep paddock west of Armidale NSW, into a wonderful native garden which now houses the National Correa Collection.

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Growing Australian plants in a heavily frosted area can be difficult and I have successfully introduced many techniques, including using milk cartons as frost protectors, mulching heavily and developing microclimates. I have been keen to share information with others in the local area and beyond through various speaking engagements. I have held several positions in our local Australian Plants Society including President, written newsletters, numerous articles for magazines and wrote a weekly column in the Armidale Independent.

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My books include 'Correas', 'A Celebration of Wattle’ and 'Australian Plants for the Northern Tablelands of NSW'. I led the ASGAP Correa Study Group for 16 years and realized that they are the ideal species for inland gardens, being waterwise, frost hardy and they provide winter nectar for small birds. I now lead the Waratah and Flannel Flower Study Group and have planted a Waratah collection.

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I am currently planting a small forest of larger species in a section of the property as a wildlife habitat. My garden design is based on two very large bush gardens which have an overhead protective canopy of eucalypts and other small trees. These provide a sustainable mulch and also nutrients all through the year and require minimal weeding. The gardens are watered sparingly using a deep water method only when required using rainwater or borewater. Nothing is wasted. I compost weeds, prunings are chipped and returned to the garden as mulch. Large branches become firewood. The birds eat the insect pests. I grow vegetables organically. Apart from Correas, my garden contains many local frost hardy species so I have few losses in winter. I manage the garden by myself and occasionally open to the public. I am a Life Member and Director of the Australian Plants Society — NSW Inc.

To see a flower gallery of this garden click here .