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A spectacular passion

Leonne Gebert doesn’t remember when gardening grew from a hobby to an obsession.
But she’s happy to admit the pastime has become a major part of her life, a passion rarely from her mind.
More than 30 years ago, Leonne and her husband Peter set about transforming the garden of their 6.5 acre property Kumbala east of Jeparit.
The garden is now a spectacular haven dominated by an array of Australian native plants that have not only survived a decade of drought but flourished in the conditions.
Leonne said it was trial and error that helped the couple discover which plants thrived in the harsh Wimmera climate.
“Without a suitable water supply in the region, we were forced to look for plants that could survive on little or no water,” Leonne said.
“Fortunately we have had great success with many of our choices along the way and haven’t lost many plants.”
Leonne said a decision to place stones around the base of each plant was a key to their success during the drought.
“Those stones probably saved our garden,” Leonne said.
“They’ve helped keep moisture in the roots and kept the frost out during winter.”
Leonne and Peter are now hoping to pass their knowledge on to other garden lovers by opening their property to the public this weekend.
“We’re not charging an admission fee because we just people to come along and learn about the types of plants that can be grown in this area,” Leonne said.
Eremophilas dominate the garden and Leonne is hoping to shed some light on the plant.
“People think of eremophila as just the one plant but there are literally hundreds of different species,” she said.
But when quizzed about the number of eremophila found at Kumbala, Leonne was almost lost for words.
“Ooh, that’s a good question. We’ve never actually sat down and counted the number but it would have to be over 100.”
And when it comes to sitting down, the Gebert’s garden offers plenty of options with logs and wooden seats providing a place to “take a break”.
The property also has a “magic tree” for the couple’s seven grandchildren, a series of “party lines” donated by a neighbour and a water feature that is now a morning “regular” for the district’s birdlife.
“It’s the only water source for them so each morning they’ll drop in for a drink and a bath,” Leonne said.
The couple would like to say the garden is now complete but with a passion like gardening, you never say never.
“Every year we say we’re not going to buy any more plants,” Leonne said.
“And every year we both agree to give in to the urge and extend the fenceline just a little bit more,” she laughed.
“Gardening is just something that gets in your blood and becomes a part of you.”
The Gebert garden at Kumbala is open to the public this Saturday and Sunday from 1-4pm. The property is six kilometres out Willenabrina Road on the Rainbow side of Jeparit.

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Posted on Aug 26 2009

Posted by on Aug 26 2009. Filed under Environment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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