Featuring Australian Native Plants Katandra is an Australian aboriginal
word meaning "Song of Birds" and in this garden
the birds do just that. Over 75 species of
birds have been recorded in the gardens. The property
was purchased in 1976 as a working orchard of cherries
and plums. About one acre was cleared of fruit
trees to start the home garden in 1977.
In 1989 the cherries and plums were bulldozed
and Dot was very keen to have a few gum trees.
These were planted, then Bob, in particular, developed
a strong interest in the Australian flora and quickly
added more Australian plants and a "few" more gum
trees. Bob learnt how to propogate the Australian
plants and soon the garden was doubled in size.
Not content with a small garden the O'Neills soon
were looking to add more and more garden beds until
today the garden of 8 acres is stopped only by the
fencelines. The whole property has been turned into
one of the most fascinating of gardens. An
extremely extensive range of Australian "Wildflowers"
with numerous collections has been landscaped into
mulched garden beds. The property holds the
OPCA collection of Australian Correas or "Bush Bells"
as some like to call them.
The gardens offer peaceful surrounds,
magnificent views, a place to walk around and commune
with nature. and an opportunity to see the honeyeaters,
blue wrens, wattle birds, fantails, willy wag tails,
thornbills, grebes and many other birds which frequent
the gardens. Visitors are able to wander the gardens,
filming the plants or identifying some of the 75
bird species which have been recorded in the gardens
over the past few years.
Today the O'Neills have set
up two 4.5 star self contained Bed and Breakfast
cottages set privately amidst the gardens for Garden
Lovers to come and stay. The cottages are
fully self-contained and the O'Neills provide the
food for guests to make themselves a full
country breakfast each morning. A private suite
is also available for families or those who prefer
to have a spa.
In 2005 Bob was awarded the prestigious "Gardener
of the Year" by ABC's Gardening Australia
Bob was presented with
the Golden Spade by John Patrick in October,
The golden spade has
an engraved plaque attached to it.
Bob proudly shows his
trowel awarded as "Ornamental Gardener
of the Year 2005."
Around the house and cottages can
be found a mixture of exotic plants, cottage plants
and Australian native plants. Bulbs in season are
breathtaking as is the collection of Tree Peony plants.
Numerous fruit trees, include avocados, persimmons,
feijoas, mandarine, oranges, macadamia nuts, locquat,
fig, red currants, youngberries, cherries, plums,
kiwi fruit, oranges and nashi fruit.