Australia’s Grand Dame of Gardening, 103 year old Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, has not only been inspirational through her philanthropy and community service, she’s also generously shared her wonderful garden, Cruden Farm near Langwarrin, Victoria, with the public over many decades.
Our visit to Cruden Farm was on a sunny spring day, when, despite blossom in abundance, and beds brimful with flowering perennials and shrubs, the garden exuded an air of tranquility.
In Anne Latreille’s book, Garden of a Lifetime, she reflects:
Cruden Farm is a place for people, plants and art works. It changes with the seasons.
This book is a joy to read and gives a wonderful insight into Dame Elisabeth’s energy, and resourcefulness, balanced with a mix of humanity and humility. It also touches on the great affection she holds for gardener and loyal friend Michael Morrison, who has shared the planning, planting and pruning with her over forty years.
While there are some formal elements at Cruden Farm, the garden has a relaxed, and very welcoming ambience – the result of eighty four years of devotion from this remarkable woman who was given the ‘small farm’ as a wedding present, in 1928, by her late husband Keith Murdoch.
We celebrate the Australian style Dame Elisabeth has brought to her garden and there is no better illustration than this graceful, lemon scented gum driveway, bordered by a low stone wall, leading to her garden.
Last week Dame Elisabeth Murdoch fell and broke her leg, and we sincerely hope she is content and comfortable while recovering at home.
Garden of a Lifetime can be purchased from www.opengarden.org.au