Chinoiserie: floral notes


(Please note: as this blog has been transferred from our old website some images are low resolution.)

Tucked away behind a storybook cottage along a sleepy back street of Mittagong, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, is an enchanting garden.

The property, named Chinoiserie, is the home of Chris Styles and Dominic Wong. Fifteen years ago, when Dominic began drawing up a garden plan while their house was being built, there wasn’t even one tree on the place.

They run a Bed and Breakfast so Dominic says it was important to plan the garden to be seen from the dining room. A clever idea as winters are very chilly so visitors are able to appreciate the garden in cosy comfort.

Previously while living in Sydney, Dominic practiced his horticultural skills on a 500sm block – and as much of the nature strip he dared claim. His early garden featured drought tolerant plants surrounding a Californian bungalow. Even there, on a compact patch his garden drew attention of horticultural identities such as Don Burke, who filmed it in 1996.

A move to the Southern Highlands offered Dominic a chance to indulge his passion and with much more space, planting possibilities seemed endless. A larger property though meant more lawn, so Chris helps with mowing.

“I have loved peonies since I was a child in Malaysia,”  Dominic says. “My mother was from China and it’s the national flower, so the motif was quite familiar.

Dominic explains that in early Chinese dynasties only the Emperor could grow peonies, so during the Cultural Revolution Mao wanted them all destroyed as he associated them with the royal family. Luckily, monks growing peonies in monasteries told him that the roots were used as medicine to purify the blood, and for women’s problems so thankfully the peonies were saved!

Have you ever seen a Peony Pavilion? Here’s one – it was inspired by a visit to China.

Deep-hued climber, ‘Lorraine Lee’ accompanies the delicate pink ‘Duchess de Brabrant’.

Chris’s recycling project: garden prunings woven into an urn, then painted white – brilliant!

logoDominic and Chris’s garden is unashamedly abundant with joy. Keep an eye out for when it opens – or just book in for a weekend at  Chinoiserie if you’d like a shot of beauty.


Readers’ comments:

Gorgeous garden! I thought I recognised the name Dominic Wong from a garden I saw in the inner west years ago.

Catherine Stewart
You have a wonderful eye for stunning photos. I do enjoy these posts about inspiring gardens.

Thank you all.

Ann Baster
Could you let me know when the DVD comes out. The photos are just gorgeous.

Anyway keep up the good work. Photos are just exceptionally lovely.

Marcia and John Rivett



You certainly….
Get to see some fabulous places/gardens.
Take some wonderful photos.
Thanks for sending them thru.
Euan Murdoch

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