The Haywards were intensely British in their taste and style and in keeping with the English manor house style of their home, Ursula Hayward chose specific aspects of an arts and crafts Edwardian style garden to be part of her grand view at Carrick Hill, particularly in the use of cellular structures such as hedges, lawn terracing and stone paving.
The surrounding grounds, modelled on the English country park, feature clumps of trees, orchards and cutting beds. Originally there were avenues of cedars and poplars.
Beyond the house, grounds and paddocks, the hills and bushland of Brown Hill rise up and extend to the east.
A popular addition to the grounds is the Children’s Storybook Trail which comprises a series of landscaped scenes taken from various classic children’s stories that families can discover and enjoy. A printed guide is available to assist in exploring the Trail.
During the Hayward's time, a large team of gardeners were employed to look after the grounds. Cliff Jacobs began working as a gardener at Carrick Hill in 1936 and retired in 1986 – a remarkable 50 years of service – his passion for the gardens of Carrick Hill never diminishing in all that time. This commitment and passion still continues today with a dedicated group of gardening staff and volunteers.
The inner or formal garden, designed by Ursula Hayward, contains a variety of roses, many unusual trees and plants and has stunning views from the lawn terraces to the city and coast. Once the setting for elegant social occasions and tennis parties, these areas are ideal for open air concerts, theatrical performances and private functions.
Features of the inner garden:
Elms & Lawns
The two great Elm trees on the western terraces overlooking the city of Adelaide and the ocean beyond provide one of Carrick Hill’s principal vistas and are quite breathtaking.
Below the Elms, between two flower gardens is a stunning feature unique in Australian garden design – the pleached pear arbour. The term ‘pleach’ is derived from the Latin plectere meaning ‘to plait’ or ‘weave together’. Pleaching is an ancient technique that was known to the Romans and much admired in medieval Europe. Hornbeam and lime were favoured but perhaps the inspiration for using pear trees at Carrick Hill was found by the Haywards at Batemans in Sussex, the manor house home of writer Rudyard Kipling.
Entertaining with style was a feature of the Hayward home and fresh herbs from the garden would have enhanced many of the dishes placed before dinner guests.
Orchids, Liliums and cutting beds
Fresh flowers from the cutting beds could always be found throughout the house as Ursula was a passionate arranger and painter of flowers. Among her favourite flowers were the roses, orchids, tuber-roses and liliums. Large numbers were also grown to provide flowers for the house and part of the original collection can be found along the driveway near the shade house.
Ursula Hayward was a keen rose grower, selecting many old-fashioned roses and new award-winning varieties for her stunning garden displays. Each year, she purchased the winning variety in the rose section at the Royal Adelaide Show. Rose beds can be seen along the entrance drive, around the tennis court and in the Alister Clark collection located below the Cafe.
The Alister Clark Rose Garden
The Alister Clark Rose Garden was created at Carrick Hill in 1990 with support from the Heritage Roses in Australia Inc. Alister Clark (1864-1949) was one of Australia’s greatest rosarians and in 1936 was awarded the Dean Hole Medal by the National Rose Society (England), the highest international honour for a rose breeder. Clark’s lifelong passion for breeding roses resulted in more than 140 new Australian varieties. Over 30 of these have been established at Carrick Hill, including:
Mrs Albert Nash
Mrs Fred Danks
Mrs Maud Alston
The approach to the house is enhanced by the stone bridge and babbling rill. The Rill was a popular water feature of Edwardian garden design often used by Gertrude Jekyll, one of England’s most famous garden designers. A rill is a manmade canal running through a garden to provide ambience and the pleasant sound of running water. Rills allow for water loving plants to thrive along its banks and in the ponds above and below.
The bush pole shade house with its brush roof provides a cool, moist environment for a wide range of bromeliads, ferns, tree ferns, orchids and other shade loving plants. The unusual shape of the shade house is believed to have been based on the ruins of a farm building that belonged to the original Mitcham dairy which was established in the 1880s.
The vegetable garden, maintained by volunteers, displays vegetables commonly grown for the Australian table. The garden gives children and adults an opportunity to see fresh vegetables on the plant. A wide range of in-season vegetables can be seen, smelt and touched. The vegetable garden is also home to Peter Rabbit and some of his friends.