Occupying almost five acres, the edible garden at Vale Hill is incredible. Like the house itself, it is reached along an undulating quartz-topped driveway, bordered by 100 pencil pines – interspersed between which, a sudden glory each spring, lie 2000 daffodil bulbs, and, beautiful in autumn, 800 Washington hawthorns.

The garden itself is set around meandering pathways, with fruiting hedges curved into windbreaks. Terraces, elevations, and companion planting schemes create a variety of microclimates, ensuring success for a vast range of fruits and berries. There are multiple plants of every species represented, fulfilling the desire of the current owners to be able supply ample top-quality fresh produce to the kitchen of one of their restaurants.

The lowest slopes of the hill on which the garden stands comprise a spacious marquee lawn, surrounded by large steel raised vegetable or flowerbeds, designed for seasonal and annual cropping.

The rest of garden sprawls majestically up the hill embracing the house on all four sides. To list all its plants would take half the day, but here is a sample: elderberries, bay trees, Washington Thorn hawthorn bushes, Portuguese laurel, cherries, almonds, peaches, several varieties of apples, plums, pomegranates, pears, hazelnuts, chestnuts, quinces, persimmons, feijoas, and blood oranges.

These species are perfectly adapted to the central Victorian climate, but the intricate design of the garden has enabled a few other, very unusual, plants to take root and thrive. There is, for instance, a mature hedge made from carob bushes and, most remarkably of all, almost two dozen established boab trees, which are normally found only in the tropical far north of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Interspersed through the garden are several decorative and architectural elements. There are some imposing sculptures, referencing both modern and classical styles, some startling large piles of white quartz that overtly reference the gold mining past of the region, and the ruined remains of the old milking shed, repurposed by a domed iron roof and laser-cut fences into a delightful grotto, called the champagne room.

Also notable is an original dry-stone wall – once a traditional construction method in the Goldfields – festooned with grapevines and figs, hardy survivors planted many decades ago.

Another garden feature, positioned close to the house itself and visible from the kitchen, is a large brick-covered dome, topped by a sculpted bird. This, however, is not merely pretty – it is the top of large underground storage tank, which collects rainwater from the house roof and redirects it for internal use.

In dry months, the garden itself is watered by a bore that feeds two 32,000 litre storage tanks.

Adjacent to the formal gardens are paddocks comprising another five acres of land. These are ideal for stabling horses, or keeping a small number of sheep – or developing into even greater expressions of garden design.

This chapter in the life of Vale Hill is written. Who knows what story the next one will tell?

Garden Planting Guide


(Driveway area, not shown on image)
Platanus orientalis – Alford Blaze to the main road
Cupressus sempervirens Glauca conifer – Italian Pencil Pine
Crataegus phaenopyrum – Washington Hawthorn hedge
Daffodiles -2000 planted around the pencil pines


Crataegus phaenopyrum – Washington Hawthorn hedge
Heathere colchica – Ivy
Populus tremula – European Aspen & Nigra
Chestnut De Coppi – Marone & Red Spanish
Liriodendron Chinese – Chinese tulip poplar
Tilda cordata – Tilia
Eucalyptus pauciflora – Snow Gum
Rosmarinus officinalis – Creeping Rosemary


Olive hedge
Cydonia oblonga – Quince
Liquidambar styraciflua
Punica granatum – Pomegranate
Wild Meadow Flowers
Crataegus Mexicana – Mexican Hawthorn


Front lawn with a perennials & Miscanthus
sinensis grass border
Buxus – English box
Pyrus calleryana – Cleveland Select
Common Hornbeam to the north
Viburnum tinus hedge to the south and west
Prunus lusitanica – Portugal laurel to the east
Quercus palustris –Pin Oak to centre of lawn


Raised vegetable gardens
Laurus nobilis – Bay tree
Psidium cattleianum  – Strawberry guava
Sambucus nigra – European elder & Cut Leaf Elderberry
Elaeagnus to the north of the path
Prunus lusitanica – Portugal laurel to the east
Carpinus betulus – Fastigiata Hornbeam to south
Crataegus phaenopyrum – Washington Hawthorn
hedge to the west


(Area not shown on image)
Elaeagnus to the permitter of the marquee lawn
Prunus lusitanica – Portugal laurel to the east fence line
Crataegus phaenopyrum – Washington Hawthorn
hedge to the northern fence
Quercus coccinea – Scarlet Oak trees to
the east boundary
Malus floribunda – Crabapple glorious to the north


Fruit trees; Almonds, Cherries, Plums, Nectarines, Pomegranate
Mespilus germanica – DutchMedlar
Bartlett Pear
Carpinus betulus – Fastigiata Hornbeam to south
Crataegus phaenopyrum – Washington Hawthorn
hedge to northern fence


Fruit trees: Pears, Figs, Apricots, Apples, Plums, Quince
Corylus – Hazelnut Hedge to northern fence


Arizona Blue Ice Cypress
Arthropodium cirratum – New Zealand rock lily
Avacado tree
Cupressocyparis leylandii – Cypress hedges
Brachychiton rupestris – Queensland bottle tree
Laurus nobilis – Bay tree hedge
Miscanthus sinensis grass
Citrus × sinensis – Blood orange
Peach trees
Nepeta – Catmint
Feijoa hedge
Ulmus horizontalis – Horizontal Elm
Cercis canadensis – Forest Pansy
Diospyros Ebenaceae – Persimmons
Ceratonia siliqua – carob hedge
Elaeagnus hedge
Black Mulberry


Fruit trees; Cherries, Fig, Apples, Plums, Nectarines, Peaches, Quinces, King Mulberry
Casuarina – She oaks


Ligustrum – Privet hedge
Ceratonia siliqua – carob hedge to the east
Olive hedge to the east and south
Cupressocyparis leylandii – Cypress hedge to the west
Mespilus germanica – Medlar


Lemon trees
Ceratonia siliqua – carob hedge to the east
Olive hedge to the east and north
Cupressocyparis leylandii – Cypress hedge to the west
Psidium cattleianum  – Strawberry guava
Punica granatum – Pomegranate
Sambucus nigra – European elder
Diospyros Ebenaceae – Persimmons


Brachychiton rupestris – Queensland bottle tree
Punica granatum – Pomegranate
Feijoa hedge
Perennials & Miscanthus grass
Fagus sylvatica – Copper beech hedge to north
Viburnum tinus hedge to the east
Oakleaf hydrangea – Snow flake


Closes Tuesday 31 May 2016 at 5pm

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TOM SHAW – 0438 118 903 or


NICHOLAS WEST – 0418 559 494 or
ARCH STAVER –  0417 515 802