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Sovereign Hills resident’s big ideas for small garden

Sovereign Hills’ David Satherley knows a thing or two about gardening.

The horticulturalist turned to the industry 50 years ago, completing an apprenticeship in New Zealand. He’s landscaped gardens across Australia, America, his birth country, and to this day remains passionate about plants.

In just three months Mr Satherley and his wife Robin have transformed a low-maintenance strip of lawn bordering their new home in Sovereign Hills’ Stirling Green precinct into an urban oasis.

“About 80% of the plants I’ve grown from cutting and division,” Mr Satherley explains to Sovereign Hills as he points out the many varieties thriving in the ground, tiered garden beds and hanging baskets.

A blend of sub-tropical plants and pretty perennials such as dracaena, philodendron, Xanadu, hibiscus, canna lilies and geraniums are peppered throughout the Satherleys garden, which has been attracting encouraging feedback from neighbours and those passing by.

“It’s very important to me,” stated Mr Satherley. “A garden can make a home; it’s the first impression.”

What this couple has achieved in just three months is quite remarkable. Every morning Mr Satherley can be found improving their patch, adding a focal point here, a new garden bed there or developing new cuttings in his DIY greenhouse.

The couple, now married for 53 years, relocated from an acreage property in Forster with a plan of streamlining the maintenance.

“We had alpacas, chickens and had it like a park,” said Mrs Satherley, a former school teacher and artist.

“We came here to downsize. We wanted to pull everything in.

“We mainly love this spot here because of the trees and the wildlife. It’s relaxing and it does something for your soul – the trees and the clouds.”

Mr Satherley’s top tips for creating a garden at Sovereign Hills include:

  • Add lime to the existing soil or build up with new soil (which has been sterilised of weeds).
  • When buying plants from a nursery, submerge the pot in a bucket of water, wait until the bubbles stop rising. Lift out and wait for 3-4 minutes before removing from the pot to replant.
  • If the plant is rootbound, trim the roots to “shock” them. This creates feeder or “adventurous” roots which will branch out into the new soil.
  • He’s also a big fan of feeding plants fertiliser to help them flourish.

For a small fee this experienced horticulturalist is offering his garden design service to locals, to assist with plant selection, placement and information to help your garden grow.

You can contact David and Robin Satherley on 0447159838 or rob.sath@bigpond.com