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Bangala

Address: 12 Clarke St, Bowral
Owned by: Sue Hand & Ralph Suters
The house now known as Bangala, located on the lower slopes of Mt Gibraltar and overlooking the township of Bowral, was built shortly after the end of the First World War in 1920. The original 3-acre property and its distinctive circular driveway can clearly be seen on old maps of Bowral. 

The current owners bought the house in its one acre setting in 2007 and undertook extensive renovations and restoration. The work was recognised with a heritage award from Wingecarribee Shire Council in 2011. Having completed the work on the house, work  was then started on the garden.    

Apart from a few established trees, such as the maples in the rear, and the pin oak and the Himalayan cypress in the front, the garden is relatively young but now looks surprisingly established. We did not set out with a plan, although the aim was always to develop a garden that suited the Arts and Crafts character of the house.

There are no set rules for an Arts and Crafts garden and no set style, but an important element is a harmonious relationship to the house. Although typically containing elements of a cottage garden and a degree of wildness, such gardens also incorporate more formal areas near the house and extensive use of naturalistic plantings that imitate nature. The use of local materials, including in our case the locally quarried trachyte, is also a very important aspect.

Following these principles, we first developed two woodland areas in the rear garden. We were always mindful of plants that would grow together in nature and we incorporated the principles of succession planting to reflect the seasons. Of course, Martha Clarke, my gardening partner and I are confessed “plantaholics” and sometimes just have to have a certain plant, even if it bends the rules a little.

Some of the great Arts and Crafts exponents were plant collectors, so in this aspect we uphold that tradition. There are many hundreds of  different species in this garden with collections of such plants as hydrangea, viburnums, astilbes, crocus, bergenias, peonies, lilacs, cornus and hellebores to name a few. Not all can be seen at present as this is a four season garden.

Please enjoy a stroll through our developing garden. There are still many areas to further develop and many works in progress. What garden is ever finished!