John and Jocelyn Chandler have spent three decades turning a two-tree property into a shady, fragrant oasis full of melaleucas, bougainvillea, roses and hibiscus.

Story By Kim Woods Rabbidge

One of the most appealing elements at “Kyneton”, John and Jocelyn Chandler’s garden south of Barcaldine in Queensland, is its harmonious relationship to the countryside. On approach, glimpses of the garden draw visitors to eagerly anticipate treasures within. There are no impenetrable hedges here.

In the early 1900s, Kyneton, one of the blocks balloted off Barcaldine Downs and settled by the pioneering Sealy family, boasted a fine vegetable garden and orchard, however, when John and Joss and their growing young family took over the property three decades ago, only one old mango tree and a kurrajong survived.

When the children were little, Joss’s mum would visit with a boot full of daisies, geraniums, Ifafa lilies and hippeastrums from her Southport garden. “It was just exciting to see anything grow above the fence,” Joss says. “We had no plan – no grand vision.” But it’s evident now that the couple has given much thought to the garden’s development, especially in the past 15 years.

Shade was an early priority: a broad-leafed melaleuca triumphed at the back and was repeated, en masse, in the front garden. A 20-year-old scotia, an endemic tuckeroo and the beautifully shaped emu apple trees are today appealing features; grand poincianas, tipuanas and cassia fistula provide welcome shade and anchor the landscape.

The filtered, ethereal light and white trunks of majestic melaleucas imbue the front garden with an enchanting ambience. Joss credits Toowoomba designer Mark Everingham with pointing out their unique character: he suggested removing shrubbery beneath and allowing the trees to stand alone, displaying their full beauty; shafts of light criss-cross through the garden.

From the wide front verandah where family and friends gather, the garden extends to the east, the tennis court, to layered borders of Limberlost Beauty and White Cascade bougainvillea, iceberg and seduction roses, and white impatiens: mass plantings create maximum impact.

This story excerpt is from Issue #77

Outback Magazine: June/July 2011