In the Garden With… Peter Fudge

May 19, 2010

Perhaps you remember one of the very first daily gardens (#7 to be exact) I ever featured– it was a beautiful simple boxwood garden by Peter Fudge.   Peter is a master garden designer in Australia whose gardens are a vision of restraint and cool modernism.  I adore his work and am excited that he agreed to spend some time in the garden with us. To be honest, I am surprised I haven’t featured him more than once…really his work is beautiful…(This garden has long been an inspiration for my own garden).  Excitingly Peter has a new book coming out that is full of pictures of his garden… it is already available in Australia, but will hit US shores … (soon…I hope…I will update a date here when I have one)

Peter, How would you define your style?

An architectural bold style, that relies on eye catching planting combination particularly where strong textural contrasts are used. I strive for a sense of balance in my designs whether I am designing contemporary asymmetrical gardens or modern classic gardens.

Do you have a garden?

Yes, I have a garden that measures 6 by 13 meters. It consists of a dark green Podocarpus hedge that forms a solid green wall and backdrop to the garden. 2 meters x 1 meter blue stone slabs form stepping stones and landings through the garden and lead to a pond at the back of the garden as well as access to 2 utility sheds situated either side of the pond and screened by 2 return blades of the Podocarpus hedge. These 2 Podocarpus blades create a frame to the pond and give the garden perspective and the illusion of a second garden room. Surrounding these stone slabs are balls of Rosemary, Helichrysum and native Westringia, forming a modern, Parterre style garden. I love silver plants and thought this palate of plants would work against the dark green backdrop. Also we live near the sea so the coastal theme couldn’t be ignored. 3 newly planted olive trees continue the silver theme and will eventually provide shade. The entire garden is mulched with decomposed granite which sets the plants and their clipped form off well.

note: (did he mention that there is a trampoline? 😉 )

Do you have any favorite or sentimental plants or flowers? Why are they a favorite?

I have so many favorite plants. Our climate in Australia is fickle these days with either considerable dry periods or deluges of rain. My favorite plants are those that are hardy to any soil type, tolerate the climate and have excellent form. I collect succulents too. I love their form and color and hardiness. I would say grass like plants, dark green plants that hedge well and silver plants are amongst my favorite types of plants. The bulb Freesia reminds me of visiting a holiday house annually, with grassy slopes to meeting the ocean. The sweetly perfumed bulbs had naturalized the grassy slopes and I will always be reminded of these happy days by the smell of Freesia.

freesia hybrida

image by dremiel

What is your earliest or favorite gardening related memory?

Hanging out with my elderly neighbors who grew show orchids and I would help them feed the orchids; a disgusting smelling concoction of duck pooh, chook pooh and water. Even then I knew it was doing the plants good.

(note: I have no idea what chook pooh is….??)

What are three cardinal design rules that you apply to outdoor projects?

1) Restrain
Always practice restraint. Simplicity is better than over-complicating space.

2) Practical
For a design to work really well it needs to be functional. I usually design in sheds, clothes lines and other unsightly elements within the design at the beginning. These form the parameters of the design. The aesthetics then pull the functional areas together.

3) Restrict
Restrict materials used on a job and ensure that each contrasts in some way with the other. E.g. gravel and wide hardwood timber boards work well.

Peter Fudge recommends:

Edna Walling, one of Australia’s most influential landscape designers,
Piet Boon, a Dutch architect and interior designer and
Eco concepts, an Australian supplier of innovative surface treatments.

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  1. I tweeted your mystery garden ingredient … LOL … chook pooh = chicken manure.
    I went to his website, and loved the clean, restrained lines of the garden. (I’m not convinced about the slabs in the trampoline garden.)

  2. Raised garden beds says:

    Wow! I was left speechless. What an enormously beautiful garden.
    Chicken manure is a really good fertilizers.

  3. Kate says:

    I was just about to say – chook pooh = chicken poo (manure). I thought ‘chook’ was a universal colloquialism for chicken but I guess it’s just Australian!
    Is ‘pooh/poo’ just Australian too, or does everyone say that?

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