Matthew Henry Gardens is a boutique garden design and maintenance company based in the Strzelecki Ranges.
My team and I design and care for gardens in South and West Gippsland as well as in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs with a focus on residential gardens, where we can build a relationship with our clients and their gardens over time.
As a designer and a gardener, I am guided by simple values that are enacted by:
- meeting the practical needs of the client
- finding the opportunities within the site and augmenting the sense of place
- creating a functional space that also gives pleasure to those who use it.
Garden care has been a constant of my life having worked professionally as a gardener since my late teens (with a large slab of time working as an English teacher in there somewhere). My garden, which I see as a home laboratory for my garden work, sits in the watershed of the Tarwin River on Brataualung country. Here I am fortunate to be able to put into practice, and develop, my ideas around home food production, revegetation of indigenous landscapes, and ornamental garden design. Completing a Graduate Certificate of Garden Design at the University of Melbourne, Burnley Campus, learning from some of our local legends of horticulture and design (namely John Raynor, Greg Moore, Peter May, Andrew Laidlaw, Andrea Proctor), I was able to fill in the gaps of my knowledge about how soils and plants work. Also, this study opened my eyes further to what is possible in the world of designing with plants. As secretary of a small community garden in Brunswick, I have been able to see first hand the amazing renaissance of urban horticulture with a focus on sustainable food production. The intrepid women and men of this movement see community as central to their ethos and this has inspired me in my relationships with my clients.
My love of history, nature, the landscape and gardens (and the people who value them) motivates me to think deeply about the work that I do (scrabbling around in the leaf mould, mostly) and I try to capture that sometimes in my writing about nature and the seasons in my blog.