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Downunder Home and Garden in Harmony.


By bernieh


As some of you might know, I have my own blog (well actually I have two!) Anyway, whilst trying to reason with a fellow blogger about just why I don’t have a lot more of the currently popular ‘tropical’ plants growing in my garden, I realised for the first time that planting things like Gingers, Strelitzias and Heliconias just would not suit the era of the house on the property.

It was a ‘lightbulb’ moment … aha! that’s why Palms, Ferns, Acalyphas, Crotons, Begonias, Coleus and Cordylines seem so much more suitable!!! They’re more old-fashioned ‘tropical’ plants.

It’s a Ying and Yang harmony thing!!! The house provides a context for the garden and the choices I make about what to plant in it. Of course, the climate and conditions are a huge consideration, but I realised I had also unconsciously tried to create a garden that is in keeping with the era of the house.

Our house is what’s described here in Oz as ‘a traditional Queenslander’. It’s a type of house that is unique to this state of Queensland and it has certain features which I love.

What’s a ‘traditional Queenslander’?

- it’s a timber home, usually built in the period 1890-1915

- it has tongue and groove walls or VJ … vertical join walls

- it has a steeply pitched tin roof … usually a corrugated tin roof

- it’s high set and built on stumps to cool the building through ventilation

- it has verandah space that wraps around three sides of the house to provide a cool place out of the sun

- it has polished timber floors

- it has french doors

- it has a central hallway to encourage cool breezes to flow through the house

- it has high ceilings indoors, usually around 10 feet high

- it has distinctive features such as breezeways above the doors, pressed metal or plaster ceilings, verandah balustrades, window hoods

- and internal decorative features such as ornamental ceiling roses and picture rails.

I must say I now feel a whole lot better knowing I have a perfectly good reason why my garden doesn’t look all that ‘tropically trendy’ even though I live in the tropics. So …. is there harmony between your house and garden? It’s food for thought!

More blog posts by bernieh

Previous post: My Downunder Garden In Flower - Winter 2010 (June to August)

Next post: Drop by and visit my Greenhouse/Shadehouse Garden



I love your home and garden. Modern trends come and go! I dont go for modern indoors or outdoors either as they dont last and soon look dated and somewhat ridiculous. So stick to your guns and continue preserving the house and gardens as was originally intended.

11 Oct, 2010


What a beautiful home, i absolutely love it.
In particular the steep roof and the verandas and the whole light, bright, open airiness of the place - i'd live there in a heartbeat.

11 Oct, 2010


Fascinating insight into your home and Louise says's we would love it, I am not so sure about the temperatures though .The roof you say Is corrugated steel ( we use it on sheds) and when it rains the noise is deafening do they insulate to deaden the sound.
Early in the 1900's Relations of my wife moved to Australia When a company they worked for called John Lysaght set up a factory manufacturing corrugated steel sheets ,one of the uses would have been roofing, may be you have some of there's.The company continued in the UK for many years and as a child remember seeing them repairing army tanks the sort of work they had undertake in the war years.

11 Oct, 2010


Drc ... as I've never really been one for following trends for that reason ... they come and go ... it's probably the reason why I so love the house. I seem to be drawn to the more classic styles.

Louise ... the older generation certainly knew how to design for the climate! The verandah was used as a living space ... people often slept out there on hot summer nights in the days before ceiling fans or air-conditioners. I can remember all the day-beds on my Grandma's old house!!!

Bjs ... the heat and humidity is very hard to get used to if you haven't grown up with it. I think the reason the older generation used the corrugated iron was because it was cheaper and easier to install ... they could get out of the sun quicker!!! As it was never painted, it was also good at reflecting heat.

11 Oct, 2010


Bjs ... forgot to say, yes I have heard of Lysaght but I'm not sure if our roofing would be one of his products. As for the noise when it rains ... there is insulation of a sort with the pressed metal ceilings inside. When the monsoonal rain buckets down, however, it's very very noisy inside.

11 Oct, 2010


What we all need perhaps is to be able to swap , some of our cooler rain for some of your warm sunshine. Your home is beautiful.

11 Oct, 2010


My garden reflects my home it used to be a gamekeepers cottage many many many years ago, so I went for the cottage garden look, with lots of colour and many different plants to reflect the cottage feeling of our home. Love your house, just couldn't handle the heat. I think your planting is also very in keeping with your home, good one.

11 Oct, 2010


Sounds like a very fair trade, Heron! Wouldn't mind that at all.

Oliveoil ... having a cottage garden is something I've always dreamed about. It would be heaven ... but of course not possible here. I can only imagine the joy your garden must provide ... hmmm 'gamekeepers cottage' sounds interesting. I'm afraid those words don't conjure up a picture for me as I have no idea what it might look like.

11 Oct, 2010


Love your home Bernieh, but I have to say my uncle's family live up near Gympie and their house looks nothing like yours!

11 Oct, 2010


You are one very lucky lady to live in such a wonderful place. :0)

11 Oct, 2010


Thank you Pip ... I love it too. I also have family in Gympie ... and I used to visit my Granny there many, many years ago. A lot of the older homes there ... including my Granny's ... would be the later period Queenslanders. They changed slightly over the years ... in colder places like Gympie there was no wrap-around verandah, they usually had a smaller open porch style entrance but the house was still raised.

11 Oct, 2010


Thanks Sue ... always so gracious with your comments.

11 Oct, 2010


Your places looks lovely inside and out:)

11 Oct, 2010


beautiful home & garden Bernieh,how the other half live eh that plus all that sunshine let me know when you get fed up & i will swap with you lol..:o))

11 Oct, 2010


Yup that sounds like my rels' place. Do you know Amamoor - about 12 kms south of Gympie? That's where they live.

11 Oct, 2010


Beautiful inside,beautiful outside.

12 Oct, 2010


What a wonderful home, you dont need to be trendy!

14 Oct, 2010


oh my how glorious!! congratulations and then some - a great deal of work and I have a feeling most if not all of it done by you and yours - how you must love the result =))

and how i do so agree re the 'trendy garden' idea - I lived in and renovated an Queenslander for 21 years and planted a 'suitable' garden to compliment it - right on a river bank - was bliss - big grand trees with wonderful gardens underneath - VERY sad to leave but health necessitated moving to a suburb with buses - brick veneer and fences are hard to get used to but even here the 'trendy garden' doesn't seem to apply - and so many of the plants promoted have fussy needs and sulk if not pampered to the nth degree - no time to just sit and enjoy which - unless I'm very mistaken - is the whole point of having a lovely garden?

thank you for sharing the pictures - made me homesick LOL

14 Oct, 2010


Just catching up again ... thanks very much Nana, Joanella, Pip, Camillia, Sandygirl and Cate.

Joanella ... we've been getting quite a few showers of rain here which is out of the ordinary for mid-Spring. Unexpected but most welcome.

Pip ... yes I have heard of Anamoor but I've never been out that way. Isn't that where they have the Music Muster?

Cate ... I do like the sound of your previous house, down by the river. That would have been hard to leave!

16 Oct, 2010


Not sure, I only went there once....

16 Oct, 2010


Hi Pip ... yes I'm sure my relatives have talked about the Music Muster out in the Anamoor Forest. I haven't been down to Gympie for years now ... used to go every second year when I was a child to visit my Granny and family but the family has mostly moved away now. I always loved the hills of Gympie ... lovely views.

17 Oct, 2010


The Amamoor hills are lovely too, especially when the bougainvilleas are out (they were when I was there) - once I looked across a valley and saw a lovely splash of purple on the other side - quite spectacular.

17 Oct, 2010



Very well documented information about your house and garden!

I especially love the verandah space around the must be so peaceful and comfortable during spring and early summer to sit and enjoy the garden.

19 Oct, 2010

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