Clare and Colan meet at a party not long after they both found themselves living in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. The party turns into a wake when Clare’s ancient conifers suddenly die, leaving a gaping hole in her garden. Together they transform a barren patch of land into a cavalcade of colour. Shoots push through the ground, flowers bloom, trees grow, butterflies swoop, bees gather, mice eat flower buds.
Colan is Obi-Wan Kenobi to Clare’s Luke Skywalker. He imparts his plantsman’s wisdom. She brings a strong design flair.
Over the years their skills have intertwined.
Now they offer them to the world!
Clare spent many, many hours being dragged around nurseries as a child. She watched her dad dig many, many holes in the garden. She watched her mum instruct her dad which plants to put in which holes. Occasionally she would fetch them a glass of water (it was very hot in Perth). Years later when she intermittently returned from her life overseas, her gaze would graze the rose garden and she would enjoy a glass of water (wine) under the bougainvillea. She listened to her mum’s tales of gardening club intrigue while typing the minutes of her meetings. She killed her sister’s pot plants while house minding. She had no desire to garden. But she had a keen visual eye, sharpened by years as a magazine editor. Then she bought a house, and things changed.
Colan gardened before he was old enough to hang up his satchel at kindergarten. At home in the Blue Mountains, next door neighbour Mrs Goddard was the gardening guru. Abroad (Concord, NSW), his Nan took the crown. At age eight a sliver of garden was finally bestowed upon this young gardener. At age 12 his talk on how to grow plants (from seed) silenced a classroom and stunned his teacher. At 16, a friend counted the plants he had potted: a staggering 200! Leaving behind his beloved mountains for endless sunny days in Perth only strengthened his resolve. In the early 2000s Colan became a horticulturist. Colan believes that many of life’s lessons are learnt in the garden. And he’s perfectly fine waiting four years for his Fritillaria davisii to flower (from seed).