In Georgina Reid’s piece on Michael Cooke I found my antipodal soul-mate garden. Georgina (The Planthunter) visited the garden designer at his home on the Central Coast in New South Wales, Australia for The Design Files this March. Reading Michael’s blog on his design practice, the plants — aloes, palms, crepe myrtles, strelitzia, bougainvillea, russelia — are very familiar. This could easily be home. And those Irish wolfhounds have been running through my imagination for a very long time. Always in slow motion, of course.
My family will vouch for my long-standing crush on Irish wolfhounds, which dates back to a childhood friend’s mother who bred these magnificent dogs. Occasionally, she’d let them loose to run in packs in an nearby empty field at the end of our cul de sac where she also trained and exercised horses. There is nothing like watching one of these dogs at full run, their long limbs effortlessly pulling forward to swiftly cover ground. As kids we’d try to run with them but a few tumbles taught us to just get out of their way, stand back and admire. If I pass you in the street with your Irish wolfhound, be prepared to be delayed while I greet and admire your majestic friend.
Michael has two Irish wolfhounds. Horses too. And an empty field nearby, or paddock as he calls it. My childhood is being reenacted in New South Wales.
Dogs, horses, and dragon trees too.
Because I recently acquired one, I’ve become sensitized to sightings of doryanthes, the Giant Spear Lily. My little one is Doryanthes palmeri, which eventually grows larger than Doryanthes excelsa, which flank Michael’s front door. D. excelsa has a taller flower stalk.
Note the envy-inducing xanthorrhea, the grass tree on the right. More photos by Daniel Shipp at The Design Files.