THE FOLD LOVES A STICKYBEAK // Pepper Tree Creek Estate
Pepper Tree Creek is a stunning property in the Southern Highlands. Set on over 75 acres, it has one of the most exquisite gardens you've ever laid eyes on.
There is a beautiful main residence, and an old dairy building that has been converted into separate accommodation, and a gorgeous potting shed nestled into the gardens. Oh, and a kickarse chook shed!
And wow – the gardens on this property just take your breath away. We couldn’t decide what we loved more. The English cottage garden? Or the terraced potager garden? The gully walk, the orchard or the beautiful island accessed by a quaint bridge that runs over a spring fed lake! See? How do you choose?
Michael from Turf 2 Trees Horticulture has the enviable task of maintaining the gardens – and yes, we mean enviable rather than unenviable – because while it’s certainly a massive task and time consuming, imagine this place being your ‘office’.
Talking about taking time to smell the roses! Michael gets to do that as part of his job – he must be VERY chill.
Have a little sticky beak at Pepper Tree Creek Estate with us, and find out how Michael maintains the landscape of this sprawling property.
The Turf 2 Trees team specialise in holistic landscape management.
“That means we pretty much do it all!” says Michael.
“Lawns, gardens, hedges, irrigation, orchards, vegetables. You name it, we do it.”
It’s no different at Pepper Tree Creek Estate.
“We think of ourselves as custodians of the estate, looking after everything from the tree lined driveway to the pockets of endemic rainforest.”
“People often ask me how do we keep everything looking so good all the time,” Michael says.
“It all comes down to a specific formula: Plan, Budget, Schedule, Automate and Update. Not very sexy I know, but it works!” he laughs.
“Because of this, large gardens and the complexities that go with this are not frightening to me, just exciting.”
“Gardens are a forever evolving, growing and changing entity. On large properties like this one, we are looking at least one year ahead and planning for those changes,” Michael explains.
“Trees don’t stay the same size, soils don’t stay perfectly healthy but half the fun of maintaining a garden is tweaking it and evolving it as the owners needs change and as the garden itself grows and changes.”
“Pepper Tree has a substantial amount of garden 'rooms'. All of them require varying degrees of maintenance throughout the year,” Michael explains.
“As a general rule, the smaller the plant the greater investment of time it requires.”
“The perennial gardens require the highest upkeep with hundreds of individual plants tightly packed to create a tapestry of colour. Every one of those plants need regular deadheading, weeding and its own individual care."
“Gardens in the Highlands are very seasonal thanks to our climate. I’m often asked what do you do in winter? Surely you can’t be busy then,” Michael says.
“Winter is actually our busiest time of year. Most of our prep work is done in the winter, which allows us to focus on the pruning and watering through the summer.”
“We’re always planning ahead for our estates with a yearly maintenance plan. Everything from baiting snails to when dahlias emerge to monitoring climatic conditions and pin pointing pest and disease pressures. It’s all in a plan.”
It must be pretty spectacular to work on a property like this, right?
“Acreage gardens give me a huge amount of enjoyment. I love the variety and scale,” Michael says.
“We’ve been at Pepper Tree Creek Estate for ten years now and watching it grow and evolve has been an absolute joy.”
It would be hard to pick a fave spot in a garden like this – we’ve got about twenty spots!
“The view from the orchard down on the potager would be my favourite spot,” says Michael when asked.
“Around 6.45 in the morning just as the dew is lifting – it’s pretty magical.”
Oh, and for those playing along at home. A potager is the French term for a kitchen garden….
And now we want one too.
Turf 2 Trees Horticulture is a Landscape and Estate Management business, specialising in acreage, formal gardens and show gardens with over ten years of horticulture and turf management experience. A local business who has mastered the art of their craft in the unique Highlands climate, the team at Turf 2 Trees Horticulture focus on efficiency and high-quality property maintenance.
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