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Click on the thumbnails below for more photos and history. We have only seven images to date, but hope to insert other images as they come to hand.

Click here to download a PDF sketch plan of Bickleigh Vale

 

Glencairn
Glencairn (1936)
Mistover
Mistover (1934)
The Barn
The Barn (1929)


Sonning (1936)


Devon Cottage



Wimbourne

 


The Spinney

 

THE FUTURE
The challenge today for owners as caretaker is to maintain the gardens in changing climatic conditions. Many ancient trees were stressed by the drought, dropping limbs and dying. Now others are struggling to hold their roots in the ground because of so much rain. Also there is the issue of “weeds versus heritage” as many of Edna Walling’s favorite plants are now on the Shire of Yarra Ranges weed list e.g. Agapanthus, Erigeron, Cotoneaster, Vinca Major and Hawthorn to name a few. Residents are now thinking about succession planting to replace senescent trees.

Since Edna Walling left Brickleigh Vale in 1967, residents have worked together to maintain the roadside vegetation. In 2009 they became affiliated with the Victorian Environmental Friends Network to become “Friends of Edna Walling”. They also received a grant from Heritage Victoria and have worked with the Shire to rejuvenate the roadside vegetation. This year residents have planted over 500 trees, shrubs and ground cover plants and bulbs.
The residents’ aim is to preserve the environmental vision of Edna Walling and her Heritage Village – which is the only one of its kind – for future generations. They are currently working to raise funds to set up an interactive “Edna Walling Walk” for visitors.

THE PLANTINGS
At Brickleigh Vale, Walling blended native and exotic plants and built cottages nestling into a landscape characterized by repeated plantings of a wide variety of her preferred groundcovers, shrubs and trees. When residents replant today, they do it with one eye on her writings so that the character is preserved.

TREES: crab-apples, birches, hornbeams, hawthornes, plums, tea tree, apricots, oaks, elms.
SHRUBS: various viburnums, kolkwitzia (the beauty bush), berberis, buddleia (the butterfly bush), japonica, cotoneaster, forsythia, spirea, magnolia, mock orange, mint bushes
GROUNDCOVERS/FLOWERS: yarrow, brachycome, erigeron, forget-me-not, periwinkle, thyme, veronica, bell-flowers, foxgloves, penstemon, snow-in-summer, herbs



Property profiles

HURST – 100 Pembroke Road, Mooroolbark
“Hurst”, a sweet little place nestled deep into a 1971 square meter block of meandering paths and defined garden beds. Miss Walling built this dollhouse like cottage in the 1930s for her gardener. The cottage has been lovingly maintained and exudes warmth, charm and comfort. High pitched ceilings, wood heater set in a beautiful stone fireplace with charming paned windows and a vine festooned pergola over the entry complete the dollhouse feel. There is one good-sized bedroom, scullery off the kitchen and ladder steps to a magical mezzanine loft. The garage and shed are attached to the house and the bathroom and laundry have all been updated. Hurst is a true testament to the extraordinary brilliance and vision of Edna Walling, her environmental awareness was well ahead of her time.

BADGERS WOOD – 17 Brickleigh Vale Road, Mooroolbark
Badgers Wood was constructed in 1937 on a large allotment that was sub-divided in 1977 to allow construction of another house, now called The Spinney.
In 1980, the original cottage at Badgers Wood was substantially, but sympathetically, extended by the producer Simon Wincer (The Man from Snowy River, The Cup). At the western end of the house significant elements of the original cottage and Edna Walling’s ‘signature’ features have been retained – a high-pitched roof, and stone chimney and low-set windows, allowing the garden to be brought ‘inside’. These elements continue through into the extension with the new lower level rooms being nestled into the garden. The pool is also a new addition, having been built in 1983.
Throughout Badgers Wood local stone has been used extensively – for the front dry-stone wall, paths, steps, and the pool surrounds, often softened with violets (Viola), forget-me-nots (Myosotis), and bablies-tears (Erigeron Karvinskianus).
The garden exemplifies Edna Walling’s use of mass and void, with the creation of garden rooms. Significant trees include the well-established hawthorns (Crataegus species) at the front of the house, a large golden elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Lutescens’) in the lower half of the garden and tall eucalypts and a weeping elm at the western side of the house. Lower/middle storey plants include japonica (Chaenomeles species), azaleas, numerous hellebores, bulbs, camellias, roses, wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) and wisteria. As the seasons progress new ‘surprises’ are always appearing, giving an ever-changing view from inside.

DEVON COTTAGE – 9 Edna Walling Lane, Mooroolbark
Devon Cottage was originally part of the adjacent property “Sonning”. Edna Walling’s first home in the village. Built in 1956 the rustic stuccoed English cottage hugs the ground as if growing out of the garden. Flagstone paving sweeps around the cottage from the outside through French doors into indoor areas. The sprawling woodland garden features an original stone birdbath made by Edna Walling, a bulb lawn and a huge Parottia Persica, said to be one of the largest in a private garden.
Favorites Walling trees include oaks, hornbeams, hawthorns, crabapples, aspens, pin oak and sliver birch, which together provide a leafy canopy. Curving paths softened by ground covers of ivy, erigeron, campanula, plectranthus, and Vinca minor lead to shady garden rooms enclosed by walls of greenery with moss lawns, another Walling signature. Garden beds include Japanese anemones, hellebores, spireas, vibernums, berberis, japonica, forsythia, magnolia, kolkwitzia, ajuga, forget-me-nots, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.

DOWNDERRY – 10 Brickleighvale Road, Mooroolbark
Downderry was originally built as a small cottage by Edna Walling for her Mother. It was built in the early thirties, The landscape then was open bushland, the cottage nestled into the gentle sloping land, featuring a stone chimney and a balcony with French doors opening onto views of the garden. Stone steps led up to the front door and veranda. A garden was established including dry stone walls and some of the signature trees. Later Brian and Jan McKeever purchased the property. Brian, a newly qualified architect and having grown up in Brichleigh Vale, worked with Edna in extending the cottage to cope with a young family. The garden was added to with some of the trees being planted for the children’s birthdays by Edna.
Other owners have added to the house and garden, with all maintaining the Walling philosophy. Some of the significant trees in the garden include Copper Beech, Elm, American Scarlet Oak, Lime, Cypress, Hornbeam and Malus.

MISTOVER – 2-6 Brickleighvale Road, Mooroolbark
The Heritage Listed Property and Gardens of Mistover were designed, created and built by Edna Walling. Mistover was one of the first cottages to be built in the Brickleigh Vale village with the first owner and occupier being Grace Mary Hughston who took up residence in 1934.
It would seem that Mistover was typical of many homes built in this area and sold as “weekend getaways”, and were constructed with very simple and practical designs. A number of extensions have taken place over the years by previous owners, which have been in sympathy with the ideas and philosophies of Edna Walling. The present owners have occupied Mistover for two years and have further updated parts of the house and garden and are committed to continue the traditions and legacy of Edna Walling.
The garden consists of large Liquid Ambers on the northern side of the house, as well as a large Camphor Laurel and a number of Camellias and Rhododendron trees are also featured. Unfortunatley many Eucalpys have been lost over the last years due to extreme conditions of a number of drought and wet seasons, however work is in progress to rectify this decline with new underplantings of small shrubs.
We believe that the gardens of Mistover reflect the ideas of Edna Walling with her fondness for having shades of green on green.

THE BARN – 3 Edna Walling Lane, Mooroolbark
The Barn was built in 1928 as a shed for Blanche Scharp, friend and colleague of Edna Walling. It was one of the first homes built upon the Brickleigh Vale acreage, an investment Edna made to preserve her beloved Mooroolbark landscape. Blanche’s requirements for her two acres were to have a stable for her horse, garage for her car, workshop, storage and a man’s room upstairs. Blanche named her shed ‘Good-a-Meavy’ but all came to know it by its nickname “The Barn”.
Edna lived at The Barn from 1951 for 16 years. She renovated the original shed and painted it the palest shade of pink. When she left for Buderim, QLD in 1967 she divided the Barn into 4 half acre blocks. Today the Barn still exists on just over 1 acre.
In Edna’s time the garden of the Barn is described as native grasses and trees, with an outdoor patio to the north. She reported mowing the lawns only twice a year!. Since Edna, it has been home to many happy families, giving children a wonderful freedom to explore and create.
The garden is in a constant state of evolution with the loss of some aged trees there has been sensitive replanting of Edna’s favorites. The tennis court and large extensions to the house were added in the 1980’s.
Paul and Jen have lived at the Barn for just over two years. Armed with energy and enthusiasm they have pulled out overgrown areas of Jasmine, Ivy, Cotoneasters and Privet to add some sun-kissed vegetable gardens, Fruit Trees and Perennial beds. With the loss of the fine old Gum Tree to the north of the house, wonderful northern light has entered the garden. It has also exposed a view to the northern neighbours, which is being replanted with Crepe Myrtle, natives, Perennials and bulbs. Many plants for new beds arise from cuttings of neighbours and sharing of there is a delight of the village.
To the west of the tennis court a trellis of archways which will allow some rampant roses to ramble has been uncovered, together with a secret spot of paving to enjoy a cup of tea. Whilst things look somewhat Spartan down here, truckloads of deadwood and briars have been removed and it will all spring forth with life renewed to again fill Edna’s garden rooms with structure. The fresh earth will be filled with cuttings and growncovers and some cornus and pears will be added to the amalanchiers. There is a section left relativey untouched where rose, honeysuckle, clematis and jasmine climb and jolly together and reach for the sky. The next adventure will be to tame the jasmine and remove some deadwood in coming seasons.
It has been said that people who first lived at Brickleigh Vale wanted to retain its beauty; that’s why they had chosen to live there. Some 75 years on the sentiment certainly rings true today.

THE SHEILAN – 5 Brickleigh Vale Road, Mooroolbark
East time Edna Walling subdivided the land which she had purchased in the early 1920’s, she sold lots to “like-minded people”.
In the 1930’s, such a person, Miss McGeoch, a single lady of Scottish ancestry and Nursing Sister at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, purchased the land which is now No: 5 Brickleigh Vale Road. An agreement was negotiated with Edna Walling which allowed for the construction of a Scottish Crofter’s Cottage. So “The Sheilan” (Scottish for “Resting Place”) was built, with the small cottage at the front gate already being on the title. Edna Walling had the overarching say in the construction of the cottage and was involved in the building of the two stone chimneys and garden landscaping.
Nestled in an acre of mature gardens the property has a combination of mature exotic and indigenous trees, shrubs, perennials and ground cover plants. The small front garden is quite formal with plantings of Azaleas, Roses, Edna Walling Crab Apples, Camellias, Spirea, Bamboo, Liquidambars, Yellow Jasmine, Weigela and Japanese Maples. In contrast, the extensive, predominantly green, shaded back garden room to the next. The back patio overlooks a natural swimming pool and waterfall, built in Edna Walling style.

WIMBORNE – 19 Brickleigh Vale Road, Mooroolbark
Our housewas built in 1940 by the Ronald Taylors shortly after they were married. They asked Edna Walling to come up with a design and then modified certain aspects, such as the height of the ceilings. This was not so easy as Edna was very particular about her designs. Mrs Taylor had worked with Edna for some time and bought the block in 1938 for £1,000. Because materials were hard to come by during the war, the bricks were recycled from a house that was being wrecked in North Melbourne. Edna specified that the rest of the house be clad in Californian redwood and the roof was of iron due to the shortage of slates and shingles. Mrs Taylor and Edna designed the garden and we have early photographs showing some gums and old fences but little else. When the Taylors left Brickleigh Vale in 1948 there was still no electricity connected. Stories of Edna’s great love with Brickleigh Vale abound and we know that when it was installed two years later she met the SEC at the front of Brickleigh Vale Road with a shotgun, just to make sure that they did not damage anything.
The house and garden have had only four owners since then, and we have been here for just three years. So we have watched with fascination as it has revealed itself to us. The garden is about an acre and a half and has many large trees so most of it is quite shady. We have begun to replace what the drought and old age have taken. It is a lovely garden to live in and we are constantly surprised by things that seem to just arrive with each new season. Wimborne is typical of Edna Walling in that it has lots of separate garden rooms, joined by mysterious paths leading to a pond or a wilderness or lawn.
When our friends come to visit they often say that it is like a separate reality. The people who live here feel very lucky to be its caretakers and we love to share it with the many admirers of Edna Walling’s great vision.

 

 

 

 

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