Saumarez Homestead Gardens

The Many Gardens of Saumarez Homestead
The 2ha (4.4 acre) gardens at Saumarez Homestead, Armidale, were planned and constructed by the Saumarez Whites at the turn of the 19th century to complement and provide a setting for their significant Late Victorian-Edwardian house. They were planned on the model of an English prototype, but included plantings of trees, shrubs and exotics from the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Scandinavia. Mary’s Garden was inspired by Jocelyn Brown.

The Heritage Rose Garden Saumarez Homestead has been established on the site of the old homestead orchard with the nucleus of the rose collection donated by Miss Catherine MacLean, a long time Armidale resident and dedicated rosarian. The main collection, when completed, will include over 600 roses representing each of the major rose cultivar groups, mostly bred before 1930. Adjacent to the formal garden will be beds recognising the contribution of important rose breeders both nationally and internationally.

 

Saumarez Homestead Garden Guide

The Saumarez garden has always been the setting for the homestead and, in many ways was an extension of the house.  It provided spaces for activities which were part of the lives of the family members – in leisure and entertainment – and it contributed food and flowers to the functioning of the house.  Today the garden is only a remnant of its former self.  When the National Trust took over Saumarez Homestead in 1984 there were fences cutting off the vegetable and Mary’s garden as well as the picking garden from the main garden, all of which had become an overgrown tangle of dead and mature growth, where seedlings and noxious species predominated.  Slowly the senescent and dead growth is being removed but it is not intended to restore the garden to its original condition.  It will be conserved and controlled so that visitors may walk through the different sections and imagine how it may once have looked.

The garden has nine distinct areas:

A    The Front (West)

B    The Front (East)

H   The Front (South)

C    Mary’s Garden

D    Vegetable Garden

E    Picking Garden

F    Service Area

G    The Avenue

R   The Heritage Rose Garden Saumarez Homestead

This guide will take you through these areas of the garden.  After the description of the garden there is a list of species.  You will be able to identify each species by its number which corresponds with the number in this guide.

Your tour begins as you pass through the brick wall dividing the service section from the main garden at the front of the house.  The driveway dominates this part of the garden, entering from the avenue through the double picket gate, circling the sun dial and passing through the brick wall to the service section.  Family visitors used the avenue and the garden drive which was raked neatly.  The garden fence is hidden by an encircling hedge of eleagnus pungens.

A             The Front Garden (West)

This part of the garden was used and looked at daily by family members, sitting on the verandah or under the trees in summer looking back to the house.  The trees are large, shady and protective.  In the aviary were Australian finches and budgerigars and their chirping would have been pleasant.  The glass house, built to hold frost-tender plants such as palms, geraniums, gloxinias and other species unable to cope with the high altitude winter climate of New England, was heated by a wood fired furnace during the coldest months of the year.  Nearby is a wire arbour supporting a climbing rose and an ornamental birdbath and garden seat.  The flower bed softening the line of the verandah was planted with roses and hardy annuals.  Geraniums were grown here when there were staff to cover them each night from the winter frosts.

B             Front Garden (East)

On the eastern side of the front lawn there is one flower garden – a remnant of the many different flower beds which were once located here.  They were of different shapes, such as circles, diamond, star or heart-shaped – typical of flower bed designs last century.  Roses were Mrs White’s special interest and lists s of moss, bourbon, noisette, tea, china and hybrid roses ordered from Ferguson’s nursery in 1888 still exist.  Near the verandah are two tubs of dwarf pomegranates (punica granatum nana).  Along the edge of the lawn is a shrubbery with a mixture of large trees, shrubs and perennial plants.  The flat open lawn was once a tennis court.  In spring naturalised bulbs flower along the bank and under the deciduous trees.  Along the wisteria arbour are metal chairs, made from old tractor seats, used by those watching the tennis.

H             The Front Garden (South)

During the Second World War, the tennis court to the East of the main house was decommissioned and an area of lawn created with two Golden deodars from the Himalayas and a Norway spruce from Europe planted where the southern end of the tennis court used to be. These new plantings complemented the Ginkgo biloba (Maidenhair tree) from China, the purple and evergreen magnolias, the Acer negundo, holly trees small leaf linden, Weeping spring cherry and other species in this garden.

C             Mary’s Garden

This section was developed by Mary White as a cottage-type garden.  She used winding stone path paths, beds of perennials and annuals and made an artificial stream with small bridges, pergolas supporting an ornamental grapevine (vitis amurensis) and climbing roses.  Mary’s garden stretched the length of the vegetable garden but was divided from it.  Her garden shed was used to store tools, seed catalogues and various useful materials which she used in her garden.  This garden is being rescued from blackberries and undergrowth.

D             Vegetable Garden

Remnants of the plantings in this garden can be seen with the metal supports once used for raspberry canes.  Jerusalem artichokes continue to shoot each spring in prolific numbers and small cloump0s of rhubarb and occasional asparagus plants can be found here.  A clipped cypress hedge divided the vegetable garden from the orchard beyond in what is now a paddock, where stock graze.

E              Picking Garden

This section was fenced off for many years.  In that time the hedge of Arizonica cypress which had sheltered this garden and the orchard beyond matured and died, falling into a tangle with self-sown privet and cotoneasters.  Much of this has been removed to enable visitors to walk the length of the garden.  Here there are surprises at each season as bulbs flower, and many different varieties of violets emerge, some of which are remnants of the 1880s plantings.  Flowering trees add interest to the walk.  There was another pergola here and a garden shed at the southern end.

F              Service Area

The clothes line, wood and tool shed, meat room/dairy, garage, outdoor toilet and schoolroom were all built in this service section of the garden.  Along the western fence covered by a creeper (akebia quinata) was Margaret Simpson’s garden, which consisted of a long bench with a variety of pot-plants.  Nearby is a dovecot.  South of the western gate the fence is covered by another creeper (passiflora coerulea, blue passion flower).

G             The Avenue

The avenue which was the main entry to Saumarez Homestead was planted over several months during 1898l.  The trees were carefully mulched fertilised and protected by tree guards.  An outer protective row of pines was planted to shelter the inner row of exotic deciduous trees.  The result was that the pines dwarfed the other trees which have not grown to their full potential.

H             The Front Garden (South)

During the Second World War, the tennis court to the East of the main house was decommissioned and an area of lawn created with two Golden deodars from the Himalayas and a Norway spruce from Europe planted where the southern end of the tennis court used to be. These new plantings complemented the Ginkgo biloba (Maidenhair tree) from China, the purple and evergreen magnolias, the Acer negundo, holly trees small leaf linden, Weeping spring cherry and other species in this garden.

R          The Heritage Rose Garden Saumarez Homestead

The Heritage Rose garden at Saumarez Homestead has been established on the site of the old homestead orchard with the nucleus of the rose collection donated by Miss Catherine MacLean, a long time Armidale resident and dedicated rosarian. The main collection, when completed, will include over 600 roses representing each of the major rose cultivar groups bred before 1930. Adjacent to the formal garden will be beds recognising the contribution of important rose breeders both nationally and internationally.

The rose garden on the ten-hectare homestead site is the result of a collaborative project by the AGHS (Northern NSW sub branch) and the National Trust (NSW).

Dr Ian Telford’s imaginative design, based on a Tudor rose,  has 44 concentric beds in the rose garden and incorporates flowering fruit tree plantings in reference to the fact that the garden is established on the property’s former orchard.

List of Species

The botanical name is given first, then the common name and place of origin.  Cultivars – varieties produced only under cultivation – are shown as ‘cv’.  Numbers as listed below refer to species numbered in the garden.

  1. Camellia japonica. Camellia, Japan
  2. Picea abies. Norway spruce. Europe (Planted in about 1948 by Elsie White)
  3. Prunus ‘Kanzan’.  Flowering cherry. Japanese. cv
  4. Rhus sp.
  5. Mahonia aquifolium.  Oregon-Grape. Western North America
  6. Ligustrum ovalifolium variegatum.  Golden California privet. Japan
  7. Hedera sp.
  8. Cinnamomum camphora.  Camphor laurel. China, Japan
  9. Trachycarpus fortunei.  Chusan palm. Asia
  10. Ulmus parvifolia.  Chinese elm. China
  11. Euonymus japonicus.  Japanese spindle. Japan
  12. Arbutus unedo.  Strawberry. Eire, Britanny
  13. Photinia serrulata.  Photinia. China
  14. Fraxinus excelsior ‘Aurea’.  Golde Ash. European cv
  15. Cercis siliquastrum. Judas tree. Mediterranean
  16. Pistacia chinensis.  Chinese pistachio.  China
  17. Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’.  Blue Atlas cedar.  Atlas Mtns. cv
  18. Crataegus v.lavallei. Hybrid hawthorn. European cv
  19. Quercus palustris. Pinoak. Europe, USA
  20. Betula pendula ‘Fastigiata’. Fastigiate silver birch. Northern Europe cv
  21. Malus cv. Crab apple garden origin
  22. Euonymus japonicas ‘auro-marginatus’. Golden spindle-tree. Japan
  23. Ginkgo biloba. Maidenhair tree. China (female specimen of ancient Chinese conifer)
  24. Crataegus phaenopyrum. Washington thorn. Europe. USA. syn. Crataegus cordata
  25. Acer negundo ‘Aurea variegata’. Variegated golden box elder. Europe, USA
  26. Cotinus corrygria folius purpureis. Purple smoke bush. Europe
  27. Viburnum carlesi. Viburnum. Europe
  28. Berberis Thunbergi atropurea. Purple Japanese barberry. China
  29. Viburnum lantana versicolour. European Wayfairing tree
  30. Cedrus deodara ‘Aurea’. Golden deodar. Himalays cv.

(planted after tennis court was removed)

  1. Laburnum anagyroides. Laburnum. N.Europe
  2. Magnolia grandiflora. Evergreen magnolia. Southern USA
  3. Acer negundo. Box elder. Europe, USA
  4. Spiraea sp.
  5. Kerria japonica plentiflora. Globe-flower kerria. China
  6. Paeonia suffruticosa. Tree peony (planted 1920s)
  7. Nyusa sylvatica. Nyssa. Tulepo. SE USA (planted 1965)
  8. Photinia sp.
  9. Japonica sp.
  10. Nandina domestica. Sacred bamboo. China/Japan
  11. Ilex aquifolium. Holly. N.Europe (planted 1888 and now senescent)
  12. Ilex perryi. Perry’s holly. China
  13. Phormium  tenax. New Zealand flax
  14. Cedrus deodara. Deodar. Himalayas
  15. Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula Rosea’. Weeping spring cherry, Japanese cultivar
  16. Aesculus x carnea. Red horse chestnut. European cv
  17. Magnolia liliiflora. Purple magnolia. China
  18. Prunus cv.   Tilia cordata. Small leaf linden, Europe
  19. Quercus canariensis. Algerian oak. N.Africa
  20. Cupressus torulosa. Himalayan cypress. Himalayas
  21. Melia azedarach australasica. White cedar. Australia
  22. Cupressus arizonica. Arizona cypress. SW USA
  23. Juglans regia. Walnut. Mediterranean
  24. Fraxinus ‘Raywoodii’. Claret ash. Australian cv
  25. Malus floribunda. Japanese crab apple. Japan
  26. Crataegus monogyna. Hawthorn Europe
  27. Malus x purpurea. Purple crab apple. Garden origin
  28. Kolkwitzia amabilis. Beauty bush. China
  29. Viburnum Burkwoodi. Burkwood viburnum. Hybrid
  30. Philadelphus sp. Mock-orange. Asia Minor
  31. Syringa sp.
  32. Jasminum mesnyi. Primrose jasmine. China
  33. Acer pseudoplatanus. Sycamore. Europe
  34. Fagus sylvatica. Beech European
  35. Abies nordmanniana.  Caucasian Fir. Caucasus Mountains
  36. Brachychiton populneum. Kurrajong. Aust
  37. Calisterman salignus. Willow bottlebrush. Australia
  38. Viburnum tinus. Laurestinus. Mediterranean
  39. Cotinus coggygria. Smoke-bush. Europe/Asia
  40. Ulmus procera. English elm. Europe (there are many mature specimens of these trees among the station buildings)
  41. Ulmus carpinifolia. Smooth leaf elm. Europe
  42. Liquidamber sytraciflua. Liquidamber. E USA
  43. Pinus radiata. Radiata pine. California
  44. Eucalyptus viminalis. Manna gum. E Aust
  45. Platanus orientalis. Oriental plane, chenar. W. Asia
  46. Pyrus communis. Pear. Europe
  47. Quercus coccinea. Scarlet oak. E USA
  48. Thuja orientalis. Bookleaf pine. China
  49. Tilia platyphyllos ‘Rubra’. Red-twig Linden, Europe
  50. Crataegus axyacantha ‘Paul’s Scarlet. Double red hawthorn. Europe cv
  51. Ulmus carpinifolia var. Cornubiensis. Cornish elm. SW England, S Eire
  52. Sorbus x thuringiaca. Swedish whitebeam. Scandinavia
  53. Acer platanoides. Norway maple. N Europe
  54. Carpinus betulus. Hornbeam. Europe
  55. Quercus bicolour. Swamp white oak. E USA
  56. Quercus rubra. Red oak. E USA
  57. Picea Smithiana. Himalayan spruce. Himalayas

 

In the Paddocks

In the paddocks around the house exotic species were planted among the station buildings to shade and to beautify.  In addition native species survive in the paddocks. The main native species are:

Eucalyptus viminalis – Manna gum or white gum

Eucalyptus blakelyi – Blakely’s red gum

Eucalyptus milliodora – Yellow box

Eucalyptus caliginosa – Stringybark

Eucalyptus pauciflora – White sallee

Eucalyptus stellulata – Black sallee

Eucalyptus novaenglicae – Peppermint

Eucalyptus angophora – Rough-barked apple

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