Cheryl Boyd’s Stringybark Garden a Magical Surprise
New Zealand-born garden designer and horticulturist Cheryl Boyd’s Stringybark Cottage garden is one of eight private Australian gardens featured in Phaidon’s account of worldwide gardens, The Gardener’s Garden.
Sydney Morning Herald garden columnist Robin Powell pays a visit to Boyd’s home in the Noosa hinterland, where she has “carved [a] garden out of towering stringybark and tallow wood forest.”
“In keeping with traditional landscape approaches, the garden is relatively formal around the house,” Powell describes. “What looks like wilderness is revealed as an artfully edited clearing, where bleached wooden chairs, made from wood harvested on the property, have grown lichen and scales. Stories told around the fire pit seem to have seeped into their skin.
“Boyd is an endless experimenter with plants, mixing textures and colours to create arresting and original combinations. At the back of the house, a scramble of white bougainvillea sweeps and twists like bridal finery over the stiff bold forms of red-backed alcantera. In the shade, tassel and electric ferns provide a soft, lacy counterpoint to the bold, almost plastic perfection of anthirium flowers. A favoured ground cover combination is deeply pleated and variegated pilea (sometimes found in Sydney garden centres as an indoor plant, but reliable outside in frost-free areas) with burgundy-tipped bromeliads.
It’s a garden of magic, surprise and beauty, and as a bonus it has one of the best-looking pools I’ve seen in a private garden. Irregularly shaped with a sand-coloured surround it is the antithesis of the glaring aqua rectangle. The pool is backed by the impressive silver fans of Bismarckia palms, a great match for the driftwood-grey Adirondack chairs by the pool edge. I so admired this garden, and Boyd’s plant knowledge and sculptural skills, I nominated her as a speaker at this year’s Collectors’ Plant Fair. We’ll be talking garden artistry and subtropical plants for Sydney on 10 April.”
Original article by Robin Powell, The Sydney Morning Herald, March 19, 2016.