Coomber Homestead and Guest House – two classic Australian country gardens

Coomber 1

487 Cudgegong Road, Rylstone – 5 minutes south-west of Rylstone on the Cudgegong Road, between Rylstone and the Castlereagh Highway

Coomber2It’s no surprise the Homestead garden won The Sydney Morning Herald Garden Prize in 1967. Sweeping lawns dotted with well-established trees, such as golden elm and desert ash, are bordered with lush garden beds (planted five years ago) to provide a gentle, shady retreat. An edge of Elina roses – a subtle cream – frames the house.

This garden is being renewed in a grand style. One can imagine a table set with white linen and Royal Albert ‘country roses’. Across the paddock and past the shearers’ quarters, the Guest House garden sits beautifully in the farming landscape, providing 360° views of hills and fertile paddocks. Many of trees here were planted by Tim and Helen Evans in the 1960s: pin oaks, lindens, English elms, liquidambars and plane trees. 

Refreshments: Morning and afternoon teas by Rylstone Public School

Market stalls: Joan Schultz garden art; Grew Some Plants by Charlie and Lisa Page


Redbank – a meandering rural garden


1004 Tara Loop Road, Ilford

Set high on a hill above the Ilford countryside, ‘Redbank’ is protected by an avenue of pine trees and has spectacular views to Coomber Mountain and beyond.

redbank1Kaye and her husband Barrie (recently deceased) settled here in 1964, built their house and established a pastoral property that currently runs 1800 sheep and 30 cattle. The garden surrounding the house is an ornate cottage garden with whimsical elements, and will reward careful scrutiny.

Follow paths, wander, pause, smell and touch. Note the rich, fertile vegetable garden, the patio protecting rare plants, the various clematis climbing over structures. You will eventually come across Kaye’s 50 or so chooks, mainly Isa Browns and White Leghorns, and if you walk out into the paddock you will see the breeding pen.

Can you identify the amazing number of fruit trees including passionfruit, kiwi fruit, pomegranate, persimmon, Cox’s pippin apple, lime and blood orange as well as numerous citrus, stone and seed fruit?