The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on February 13, 1997 · Page 64
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia · Page 64

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Issue Date:
Thursday, February 13, 1997
Page 64
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Well into paradise GLENN Callcott can't remember a time when he didn't have a garden. At four years of age, he was helping his dad pot plants in the bush house in the backyard of the family home in Bankstown. Among those plants were a rare Hippeastrum, with a white stripe down the centre of each dark green leaf, and a flower whose petals were marked with a kind of craquelure, like that on an ancient celadon bowl. Callcott is still growing that plant in his present garden, which is one of the most unusual in Sydney, a lush paradise improbably established six years ago in a light well between two inner-city apartment blocks. The space is 8m by 3.5m. Basically, it's a rectangle of concrete that slopes inwards at the centre to allow runoff from water downpipes. At best, the garden gets an hour of direct sunlight a day. If that sunlight is intense, the plants, accustomed to shade, can scorch and wither. For most of the year, the sun penetrates no further into the garden area than the fourth-floor window of the units backing onto it So Callcott's challenge was to make a garden not only in an awkward space, but also with virtually no light, a true shade garden, where conditions are similar to those on the floor of a rainforest. He has taken to the task with gusto. The result, despite two major ' setbacks, is spectacular. Those setbacks would have daunted a less determined spirit. Just as the garden 1 HI . TFr -? v2ra5 4 i i if 18 5' ' H Nature call: Callcott's lush garden thrives in rainforest-like conditions. How Glenn's garden goes Glenn grows: Alpinia (three varieties) Alstroemeria Aspidistra Begonia (five varieties) Billbergia nutans Calathea Campellia Cereus Chlorophytum (variegated variety) Clhia miniata Coleus (annual and perennial varieties) CordyaKis Ctena nthe Cyathea cooperi Dkhorisandra Dieffenbachia (four varieties) Dracaena (two varieties) was getting underway, the body corporate decided to renovate the block. No sooner had those renovations finished and the garden started to recover than renovations started next door. "This little garden has been destroyed twice," says Callcott. "Once in 1991 and again in 1995. Scaffolding took all of the light away. The floor was covered with a thick layer of concrete. By the end of '95, all I had was a few unpromising sticks." Recovery, however, has been rapid and the light well is once again abundantly green. One should expect no less perhaps from a gardener who is also a board member of the NSW branch of Greening Australia. Callcott explains his passion for gardening: "You feel as though you're participating in the growth of the plants, facilitating their lives. There's a sense of you helping a plant achieve its full potential, showing people what it can do." Time? Callcott maintains his garden with 10 minutes' work every second day, either before or after work. He doesn't mention it, but others do. This is a generous garden. Most of the people who live in the two blocks get to enjoy the garden. They look out on it, look down on it. But not Callcott. His flat is on the western side of the building, so, apart from those 10 minutes spent there every other day, he never actually gets to see it. LEO SCHO FIELD Ficus elastica Ginger (four varieties) Heliconia (three types) Hippeastrum variegata Hoya (two forms) Impatiens (four varieties) Kentia palm Maranta Nephrolepis (fishbone fern) in three forms Peperomia hederafolia and four other forms Rex begonia Scilla violacea Spathyphyllum Strobilanthes Tree begonia (10 varieties, including three unnamed curtivars) ffljEaTTrafflil Uniquely distinctive fine furniture & artefacts from Korea, China and Japan. Open7days9.30-5.30pm (opposite Pymble Hotel) 997 PACIFIC HIGHWAY, PYMBLE. 488 9298 A n m Jg flHIIW j af fT VARDROBi B SYSTEM? 'plHiy 1 1 ffiiii-ilS lfj hlS h In Ii fl w II A A A rPMI Al I I fl UFs lUliU MUM ihtH Academic wardrobes aren't just about coathangers and drawers for socks n' undies. Whatever you need to stow away, Academic will incorporate a handy I compartment to take care of it. However there's more to being a clever .wardrobe than just space saving ideas. 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