Garden gurus: Macanas create special property of mixed local native plants

Stan MaleyMidwest Times
Terry Macanas in his garden.
Camera IconTerry Macanas in his garden. Credit: Pictures: Stan Maley

Marg and Terry Macanas started out looking at a cottage garden on their 1.2ha (three-acre) lot just down from the Moresby Ranges on Tiltilli Rise. But it was all too big, so they moved into native planting.

“We lived in Bluff Point for five years and then bought this,” Terry said.

“We built bits on and then the garden. It really started then when I was working and driving out through Mullewa and those places. All the wreath flowers and native grevilleas were growing near the road with their flowers. I bought samples home and said, ‘we ought to grow some of these, they are growing in the bush on their own’.”

“I worked for Paul Johnston for five years following a TAFE course I did there with him,” Marg added.

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“A lot of our plants came from that.”

The lawns and pool are reticulated off a bore that has a limited supply of fresh water. A good supply of fresh bore water is hard to find in Geraldton.

A lot of the alluvial layers of water are shallow and sometimes contain a high salt content.

The native gardens are watered off the town supply, but only in summer.

Marg is keen on potted plants and is potting up succulents.

This is a good mix with water-wise natives, bore water for the lawns and pool and enough winter rain to keep everything looking good.

Terry and Marg Macanas' property,
Camera IconTerry and Marg Macanas' property,

“I am now an around the house gardener,” Marg said. “The rest is for Terry. I like to leave time to get out and about.”

“Do you prune the natives?” I asked.

“There are three things that kill plants here,” Terry said. “That’s borers, white ants and Terry with his spray. Yes, we do prune. With the natives, if they are not pruned they grow straggly and fall down.

“When they are regularly pruned they look beautiful. A lot of the plants that are here are second and third generation of the originals which we potted out and replanted.

“I built all the walls and paths. We used pavers from Dongara Pavers while he was in business. The rocks came from out at Tenindewa, towards Mullewa. I looked for table size rocks and my friend bought them in for me.”

Terry is doing the catch-up maintenance on their now established house and garden.

Prior to moving here, they looked around in Perth and even in Geraldton, at farmlets and bigger areas. One day, sitting on their present veranda, Terry said, “Well, what we are looking for is space where we are not crammed in, something with some sort of view, pool if we can get it. Peaceful and quiet and a good outlook.”

That’s when they agreed they already had what they were looking for and decided to get on and develop the lifestyle they were seeking. The Macanas say are very happy with their work in creating their special property of mixed local native plants, water wise plants and good irrigation. This allows them the freedom to travel in the confidence their garden will still be there on their return.

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