Once a place to grow berries, The Bramble Patch in southern Queensland is now a magnificent garden centred around an artificial lake.

Story By Kim Woods Rabbidge

At Glen Aplin, in Southern Queensland’s Granite Belt, Don and Patsy Stirling have developed a unique and beautiful garden at The Bramble Patch, overlooking a lake that was originally built as an on-farm water supply for berry crops. Now the Stirlings source fruit and vegetables from local growers for their range of delicious products. “So we don’t have to water strawberries or raspberries – the water is totally ours for the garden, plus some drip irrigation for tree stock,” Patsy says.
When they bought the property 20 years ago, berry growing was certainly a change from their previous broad-acre farming in Esperance, WA. “Don loves a challenge; he wanted to try something new, but it was very intensive, especially in the beginning, so each day when we finished work, we’d come back to our garden – it was a sanctuary,” Patsy says.
Starting with just a few trees, “and six-foot reeds along the water’s edge”, the landscape began to transform 15 years ago when Patsy consulted garden designer Carolyn Robinson. Carolyn instilled confidence to broaden the vision, to use sweeps of plants suitable for the local topography. Now the gently sloping garden spans a hectare along the water’s edge, and from almost everywhere you can enjoy the lake’s changing moods.
Terraces were built from on-farm granite, and pathways were formed to lead through the garden. “We’ve selected plants for their foliage colour and texture, and how they change each season,” Patsy says. Abelia, teucrium, escallonia and Ligustrum ‘Lemon, Lime and Clippers’ hedges provide elements of formality and, in some areas, temper exuberant flowering perennials. Magnificent eucalypts help link the garden to the bush.

This Story is from Issue #99

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2015