How a suburban yard became a beautiful 'friendship garden'


A gardening couple downsized from a five-acre property to a suburban block in Sunshine Bay, but knew it had "good bones".

It was 20 years ago, when John and Judy Regan's interest in gardening grew as they beautified acreage at North Batemans Bay.

"We wanted to do something special with the undulating land that also had a dam on it," John said.

"Then, one thing went to another and it (gardening) grew on us over the years."

Five-years ago, they decided to downsize and move to a suburban home in Sunshine Bay.

"The house was 14-years old and had no garden at all," John said.

It was a blank slate for the couple who got straight to work.

"We have done a lot of planting, we knew it had good bones," he said.

The home is now surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens.

"Judy designs most of the garden and I do all the hole digging, building all the arbours and woodworking," John said.

The yard had "good bones" for a garden. The image at top left shows the front yard before.

The yard had "good bones" for a garden. The image at top left shows the front yard before.

Plenty of hard yakka has gone into the Regans' garden. They thanked friends for all their cuttings over the years.

"We call it the friendship garden, because a lot of people gave us cuttings and plants," he said.

"It's a bit of everything."

Among the friendship garden is also a "COVID garden", which is a raised garden bed they built during lockdown last year.

When the Regans put down the potting mix and shovel, they love to kick back in their gazebo, under a big wisteria, and gaze upon their azaleas.

John and Judy's "COVID garden" project.

John and Judy's "COVID garden" project.

"The Iris' came up as well, some beautiful apricot ones, but they're almost finished now," John said.

"There's a lot of colour at the moment."

The retired couple were happy with their home patch of paradise and can't wait to reconnect with fellow Batemans Bay Garden Club members.

"We love meeting people and going to open gardens, where members show you around their garden followed by a morning tea," John said.

John's top tip for new green thumbs was to position plants wisely.

"It's no good putting something in the wrong spot," he said.

He said Judy takes the time to plan each plant's position.

"I don't want to have to dig a whole twice," John laughed.


This story How a suburban yard became a beautiful 'friendship garden' first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.