A combination of Paul Bangay's beautifully-designed gardens and stunning photography by Simon Griffith come together in a memorable book.
Paul Bangay has forged a stellar reputation for garden design – originally in his native Australia, but he has also worked around the world.
And despite the fact that many of his creations are in cities or on the other side of the world, there is a real touch of the English country garden about much of his work, while there are also clear Mediterranean influences at work too.
He’s collected some of his favourites in a stunning book, Paul Bangay’s Country Gardens (Penguin Lantern, £30), with photography by Simon Griffith.
It’s a truly beautiful tome, from which we’ve picked out some of our favourite images – just the thing to warm the cockles of British gardeners at a time of year when the last of our summer flowers are on the way out for the winter.
Nimmitabel, New South Wales
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Three generations of the same family lived in this house before they decided to re-design the grounds, bringing its own challenges. “The house and garden, created by the grandparents of the current owners, sit in a protected valley in the windswept plateau the locals call ‘the Monaro’,” writes Paul.
“The wind and the resulting treeless plain dominate this landscape, so the positioning of this house in such a sheltered spot was a stroke of genius.”
The main lawn at this beach house, with deep beds of Hydrangea macrophylla, white and blue agapanthus and Trachelospermum jasminoides. “The beach house is truly a place to relax, and the garden reflects this mood,” says Paul.
This is one of three terraces created at this house – a box-hedged space referred to as the ‘picking garden terrace’, which features penstemon, rose and iris. Paul describes it as “a flower garden created not only to look good but also to provide the house with cut flowers.”
“I found myself in the enviable position of creating a country-style garden in the inner suburbs of Melbourne,” writes Paul of this project. English box spheres and violets line the path, overlooked by an English bronze statue.
The pleached hornbeams emerge from the gravel path surrounding the main lawn. In the foreground you can see Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, and Euphorbia wulfenii.
New South Wales, Australia
The swimming pool pavilion at this house in Murrumbidgee River is one of the highlights of this project, as Paul explains: “It involved a very old home, situated on a unique property in one of the most beautiful rural areas in Australia.
“It also helped that one of the owners was the descendant of one of Australia’s greatest gardeners, so she had a deep love of gardens in her blood. When I work with someone with a passion like that, so similar to my own, the outcome is always very special.
Goulbourn River, Victoria
Mature elm trees already dominated this site – and Paul focused on making the most of them. “Perched on a tall cliff overlooking the Goulburn River, the site is protected from flooding but has good access to water, making it a haven for gardens, trees in particular,” he writes.
“I made the most of the topography and the position of the trees, creating a dominant axis that runs from the house through the trees and terminates on the precipice of the cliff.”
“This was my fourth garden for this client, the first three being city gardens,” writes Paul.
“Growing up in the country left her with a burning ambition to create her own country garden so that her children could take part in the rural pursuits she had enjoyed as a child.”
The statue hidden among the Wisteria is a playful touch which piques the interest – something which it sounds like Paul is keen to do. “As a designer, boredom is my greatest enemy; the seasonal changes that satisfy a lot of gardeners are not enough for me,” he says.
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