The creation of Riverdale Farm has been 20 years within the making by the homeowners, Helen and Jim Leighton.
Collectively, the couple have established the expansive backyard that surrounds their home and separate two-bedroom cottage, Riverdale 1898 — out there to guide as lodging.
When Helen and Jim bought the 100 acre property in 2004, the location contained 60 acres of pasture and 40 acres of uncleared Marri/Jarrah woodland adjoining to the Kalgan River — however zero backyard.
Helen had beforehand accomplished just a few panorama design items at college and studied backyard design at London’s Inchbald Faculty of Design, however she was disenchanted with the computer-heavy occupation. ‘It took me away from the backyard the place I longed to be,’ she explains.
The acquisition of their new property in Kalgan (about 20 minutes from Albany, on the south coast of Western Australia) offered a possibility to return to what she actually liked — being out within the backyard — paired along with her latest curiosity in floral design.
Helen and Jim designed their backyard to cater to its local weather inclusive of scorching summers, moist winters, occasional frosts, and summer season easterlies within the bushfire danger space.
At its core, they wished a backyard their entire household may get pleasure from, that includes crops they like to ‘develop, prepare dinner, eat and prepare with.’
The ensuing backyard is in depth, protecting no less than two acres with 350 roses, a vegetable backyard, orchard, reducing backyard for flowers, native plantings, deciduous bushes for blossom and autumn color, and a small pinot winery.
The design balances attracting native wildlife (birds, bees, frogs and bugs), whereas permitting crops to thrive, which has largely been achieved via trial and error. ‘It’s in giving issues a go that a lot information of gardening is gained. Books are by no means fairly going to have the precise data on your particular space — they’re a helpful information,’ says Helen.
‘Working and dwelling seasonally in tune with nature is the candy spot.’
Jim has constructed a number of buildings throughout the property each for wind safety and leisure use. Granite terraces tie in with the naturally occurring granite outcrops on the property, whereas weathered timber and corten metal windbreaks reference the Marri and Jarrah woodlands.
The muse of Riverdale Farm has been an enormous enterprise. Helen tends to the backyard virtually day by day, along with working her floral studio, and Jim joins her on the weekends.
‘It has been a beautiful collaboration between Jim and me. Happily, we make an excellent staff, and don’t thoughts arduous work … He’s extraordinarily resourceful and an excellent asset for managing the water provide/reticulation issues which crop up not occasionally,’ says Helen.
‘I like the flowers and Jim loves the edible productive crops. He notably enjoys making preserves and bottling with the surplus fruits from the orchard.’
It’s an enormous job, however Riverdale Farm is Helen and Jim’s ardour that retains them mentally stimulated and bodily energetic.
‘Curiosity and arduous work are important instruments for a inventive life,’ Helen says. ‘There may be all the time one thing to be taught and the backyard isn’t completed. It’s regularly evolving.’