Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Family Creates Garden to Be an Oasis in Suburbia

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Family Creates Garden to Be an Oasis in Suburbia

Article excerpt

Byline: KELLI DOWNEY

GARDENING for the Kilmister's is a one family affair.

It is a passion for Gladstone residents David and Julie Kilmister which has steadily rubbed off on their children Douglas, 11, and Caitlin, 9.

Over the past five years they have transformed their one acre Carthurbie Court yard in New Auckland into what can be best summed up as their very own private oasis.

It is a perfectly balanced masterpiece which is testament to the family's environmentally friendly way of living.

Predominantly a native garden, the Kilmister's "green" approach is witnessed at every turn you take when wandering around the breathtaking property and even extends into the make and running of their home.

At the rear of the property you will find a lush rainforest area which features bridges running through it, two ponds plus statues and quirky art creations from the children scattered throughout.

This is accompanied by a dry scrub area, more suited to the Gladstone region, containing species that can handle no watering at all unless from rainfall.

There is a food garden which boasts a range of vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini and finger eggplant.

Then there are citrus trees such as lime and rosellas for Julie to make her own jam.

"We have our own waste water treatment system that goes back into the garden and watering the rainforest area," Julie said.

"We also compost and recycle, have a solar hot water system and recently installed solar panels."

Interestingly, there were only two large gum trees standing in the yard when the Kilmister family purchased the property.

One was knocked down but the one gum saved stands proudly in the middle of the rainforest area.

Holding a penchant for native gardens after having grown up around them, Julie said generally natives took care of themselves.

Julie said growing a successful garden was largely about species selection.

And successful it is, with the family garden earning the runners-up title in the Best Large Garden category in The Observer Civic Beautification Committee Garden Awards for 2010.

Young Douglas also added another feather to the cap after tying for first place with Scott Leigh in the Best Junior Novel Garden section.

It is the second time in three years that Douglas has earned this title with his impressive succulent and cacti garden.

A garden which earned him this praise the very first time he entered the garden awards.

"It's a pretty good boy garden," Julie admits.

"We have a retaining wall and have allowed the kids to have their own gardens in this area.

"It has got to be interesting, has to be spiky and a different species to what he's already got to make it into Douglas's garden.

"He is very selective of what he puts in. …

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