Gardens are a major feature of our One of a Kind Apartments at 43 Stockdale Street Dickson. They were not an after thought or tacked on after completion of the construction. They are an integral part of our design. From the outset we sought to create a hospitable human habitat not only by innovative eco-design but also by using the gardens to soften and protect, and provide amenity. Also, we considered it important to create a bountiful environment for both flora and fauna.
In summer our gardens, with time, will provide protection from the summer sun and heat. In fact, we made it our priority to ensure the mature Ash tree (fraxinus ssp.) on our western boundary was preserved and nourished to overcome the shock of the new building around it’s roots so it can provide us with it’s priceless summer afternoon shade. However, as every Canberra resident knows, winter is our harshest season. Although the apartments are passive solar in design and comfortable in themselves, our challenge was to create an amenable and comfortable space in the garden for the cold winter days. Not only for our guests but also for our grandchildren!
To achieve this we have constructed a greenhouse on the north-western face of the apartment block. Here it basks in the winter sunshine while being protected from the afternoon summer sun. It is large enough that we have installed seating for our guests who have been able to take advantage of the warm winter rays. It also serves as a winter home for our orchid collection that is displayed throughout the apartments when in flower.
I have always enjoyed vegetable gardening and have created a small vegetable garden along the back fence that allows me to utilise the compost created from the green waste left behind by our guests. The greenhouse affords me an entirely different opportunity because it is built on the top of our in-ground tank thus depriving me of any soil. So I have built a hydroponic system where I am experimenting with a whole range of fruit, vegetables and flowers. I am a complete novice so I can’t say how it will turn out, however, if you visit One of a Kind Apartments make sure you drop into the greenhouse to see how our garden is growing. You may be lucky and there will be strawberries, tomatoes or herbs for you to pick!