Claudia and Wiking Wahlgren in their hidden valley garden in Upper Orara. The garden is open to the public this weekend.
Claudia and Wiking Wahlgren in their hidden valley garden in Upper Orara. The garden is open to the public this weekend.

Garden? This is a garden

By BELINDA SCOTT

MOST people walk to do their gardening, but Wiking and Claudia Wahlgren use quad bikes.

They need the transport because this pair of enthusiastic Upper Orara garden owners preside over more than four hectares of subtropical garden and eight hectares of eucalypt and rainforest tree plantation.

And this weekend their Timberdale garden at 455 Mt Browne Road will be open to the public for the first time as part of Australia's Open Garden Scheme.

Located in a hidden valley behind Ferndahl Mountain Inn, the garden, which Claudia Wahlgren describes as 'a designed landscape rather than a garden' has been lovingly created during years of careful planning and hard work by the Wahlgrens and their head gardener Troy Heathwood.

Claudia Wahlgren said she thought other buyers had been scared off the property, which they bought in 1995, because of the quantity of lantana on it, not to mention the gullies full of rusting car bodies and discarded tanks.

But today's visitors stroll through a garden which stretches across rolling green lawns into the blue distance and where lush gardens are wrapped around a chain of waterlily-studded lakes and ponds, with a dramatic fountain, a boardwalk, herb and flower gardens, a colourful Japanese style pagoda, a jetty, a restful 'chapel' and sculpture pieces.

These include an installation of tall hardwood poles from Coffs Harbour's historic timber jetty, a piece in polished metal by Bellingen sculptor Evi Koller and giant cane hanging baskets by artist Jeramie Carter.



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