News

Easier than could be expected

AUTOMATED GARDEN: Bev Marbach, with husband Roy, created the garden at McCleods to be as low-maintenance as possible.
AUTOMATED GARDEN: Bev Marbach, with husband Roy, created the garden at McCleods to be as low-maintenance as possible. Jack Lawrie

LOOKING at Bev Marbach's garden, one would not get the impression that she hardly has to work on it.

The garden, located up along McCleods Rd covers roughly an acre of space, featuring lush tropical flowers and shrubs, a fruit orchard and many statues and features.

Bev started the garden in 1992, shortly after moving into her husband Roy's property.

"The garden is always evolving, it's changed a lot since then,” Bev said.

Bev and Roy were part of the Ventnor School restoration and still occasionally contribute to maintaining the gardens there.

When Bev first arrived at the Ventnor property, near Monto, there was a wattle tree at the front, a couple of Captain Cook bushes, the mango tree at the front, some banana trees and little else.

At the time, she enjoyed mowing the area around the house with the push-mower, but realised a lot of the empty space could be put to better use.

While Roy, and Bev's son Scott Long, help out from time to time, the vast majority of the garden management is done by Bev.

"My view is I've got four and a half thousand acres of garden; I don't need any more,” Roy said, referring to the total property.

Low maintenance

The biggest feature of the garden is that watering is almost entirely automated, using sprinkler systems to keep the thirstier plants fresh.

"I don't spend every day on my garden; it pretty well looks after itself,” Bev said.

"It's pretty permanent and low-maintenance; there's weeds to pull out, but I don't have to go around dead-heading plants.”

The garden uses tropical plants, characterised by tall, green, lush plants to ensure that no matter what happens, it won't be hard to find something beautiful.

Using ground-covering plants, such as violets and topiary trees, they're able to retain moisture in the soil which reduces the amount of extra watering needed.

"All my things that flower are self-seeding: I don't plant anything extra,” Bev said.

"I don't plant annuals because it would go against my view that a garden should be something you enjoy, and annuals take too much time and work.”

There are many statues and features, including an old Hawaiian Princess, two cherubs kissing and a little fisherman, which Bev has a personal fondness for.

They use a solar pump from a nearby dam to supply the water, and the sprinklers water it two or three times a week.

The system isn't infallible; birds occasionally peck at the sprinklers requiring them to be reset and a prominent water feature out the front wasn't working at the time of the visit.

The garden is built to last, though it had begun to deteriorate from the drought weather before last month's rain arrived.

The property received 40mm for the month of March, a significant reversal of fortune.

Being on a slope, the flood water created waterways all through the garden, but didn't cause much major damage.

The Marbachs mainly garden for aesthetics, but there is a fruit orchard in the next yard over and a vegetable patch currently in the works.

Gardening attitude

Bev's principles about gardening are rare for many hobby gardeners.

"A lot of people say they spend four, five six hours every day in their garden, but that's not on as far as I'm concerned,” she said.

"There's other things in life than your garden and that makes you a slave to your garden, which i don't want to be.”

In the establishment of the garden, Bev was more hands-on, but from it's very inception, the goal was always to establish ground cover early and make something that was beautiful and low maintenance.

These days, Bev's main source of labour comes from mowing the grass.

"I mow up and down the roadways on the ride-on; it takes me about six hours,” she said.

"I can't push mow any longer because I can't walk behind the mower.”

Topics:  easy maintenance garden ventnor


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Monto woman pleads guilty to stealing

SENTENCED: A 38-year-old Monto woman pleaded guilty for stealing.

A 38 year old Monto woman pleaded guilty to two charges of stealing.

Travellers and backpackers enjoying soup night

Backpackers at the Mundubbera soup kitchen every Wednesday night.

IT'S been a successful program for seasonal workers and backpackers.

Animal activists protest at Swickers

Animal rights activists descended on Swickers in Kingaroy on Wednesday to protest against the slaughter of animals.

The protest happened on Wednesday afternoon.

Local Partners

Crash on the Boyne bridge

THE North Burnett Regional Council deputy mayor Faye Whelan believes the Boyne River bridge should be replaced.

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

Amber Heard, Elon Musk among Splendour celebs

Bernard Fanning plays the main stage at Splendour in the Grass 2017 on day 2.

DAY TWO of Splendour in the Grass was the day of celebrities.

Survivor twist bound to shock

TARA Pitt benefited from a shock twist on Australian Survivor, but will everyone be happy? She’s bracing for a viewer backlash.

The Block goes back to school with gorgeous kids rooms

Ronnie and Georgia's winning kids bedroom in a scene from The Block.

ONE magical bedroom received the first perfect score of the season.

A prince is sailing around the Whitsundays

Prince of Denmark Frederik is racing on Wild Oats in the Whitsundays.

Rumours circulating about where the princess is

What's on the small screen this week

Rob Collins and Jessica Marais in a scene from season two of The Wrong Girl.

JESSICA Marais returns in The Wrong Girl.

Playing Tom Cruise's wife was a dream for Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in American Made.

The actress stars opposite Cruise in the action comedy

Taylor Swift wipes presence off social media

Singer Taylor Swift has deleted her social media accounts

Social media wipeout prompts rumours of a new album

Swedish TV drama turns up heat

Louise Nyvall stars in the Swedish TV series Farang.

Scandinavian crime thriller goes troppo