Garden DesignFest 2016

This year E-GA has three gardens open as part of the Garden DesignFest. Over forty professionally designed will be open across Melbourne over two weekends on 12th and 13th November and on 19th and 20th November.


Mornington Peninsula Garden – Musk Cottage (open 12th and 13th November)

Musk Cottage has been a pet project of Rick Eckersley and the E-GA design team for the past six years. The ten-acre property was purchased in 2008 with the intent of creating a different approach to garden making in Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.


The aim with Musk Cottage was to challenge people’s preconceptions about garden making, one that went beyond a square of lawn and the latest fashionable plantings. The garden was to be recognisably Australian in flavour but seamlessly knitted with plants from around the world. A melting pot if you like.



As with any experimental garden, there have been successes and failures. And every true gardener is never fully satisfied with the entire garden. Thankfully the successes have far out-weighed the failures and Musk Cottage stands as a testament to low maintenance, sustainable gardening.




At Musk Cottage we’ve created a garden that is perfectly comfortable with furrowed black trunked Iron Bark Gums lining up in a geometric grid over wave pruned Tuscany Privet; a garden that picks up the lime green bracts of the Linden Tree with a bold sweep of lime-green Lomandra underneath. Our thoughts were to create something that was uniquely Australian; we hope you enjoy the experience and appreciate the spirit of the design.


Canterbury Garden (open 12th and 13th November)

A garden for the whole family.

The garden of this Federation home blends period style and botanical plantings with an organic, contemporary twist. It is a garden designed to meet the growing needs of a young family, providing seasonality, productivity, entertainment, repose and play.


Prior to our involvement, this sloping site had the remnant bones of a leafy garden. Some lovely old trees around the perimeter gave the garden an immediate sense of establishment. Not much of the garden was useable though, with little in the way of terracing or functional outdoor surfacing.

Our approach to the front garden was to extend the gentle parkland feel with some broad sweeping gardens and the addition of advanced specimen trees. Planting choices were simple and reminiscent of the era of the house giving a botanical garden feel. Look out for the epiphytic orchids nestled into the tree branches.


The rear garden takes on a more structured, contemporary look but still has a relaxed, easy feel to it.  A generous entertainment space paved with ‘Endicott’ crazy paving begins to break away into stepping-stones with ground covers of Kidney weed to soften the space. Retaining walls terrace the rear garden into a series of useable spaces. The terraces which are closer to the house are more about entertainment and functionality whist the upper areas provide recreation for the kids and pathways through generous garden plantings that lend themselves to journey and discovery. At the request of the client, the traditionally facilitated garden features a turmeric coloured retaining wall – a tribute to the client’s Sri Lankan heritage.

The creation of this garden was as much about our response to the client’s brief as our design response. The result of which is a beautiful yet fully functional garden that the client can enjoy for years to come.




Euroa Garden – Fowles Farm (open 19th and 20th November)

Established in 1838, just three years after the settlement of Melbourne, Killeen Homestead is one of Victoria’s first farming properties. The 4500 acres of prime Strathbogie land have seen 176 years of wool and lamb farming and also more than 150 years of gardening.

When David and Joan Fowles of purchased Killeen Homestead in 2003, the property was in disrepair but showed the strong bones of its early settler history. A major architectural and landscape renovation was undertaken to bring the property back to its former glory and beyond.



There are many spectacular aspects to this property. The oldest and largest recorded Wisteria in Victoria drapes across the façade of the Homestead. Three of the largest known Irish Strawberry Trees (Arbutus unedo) arch across the eastern terraces with a stately grandeur. There is even an exposed part of the original wattle & daub building carefully preserved behind some glass in the homestead interior.



By combining the new with old, the garden has a sense of place and belonging that honours tradition but also sets a new path. Killeen Homestead has an easiness about it that belies it scale and history. Whether the views are distant or close, the plantings Australian or Exotic, everything knits together with a relaxed, understated feel.



Garden DesignFest is a great opportunity to explore and enjoy a wide variety of gardens. Make sure to come along and experience the gardens for yourself! We look forward to seeing you all there.