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to enjoy the garden." Pairs of chairs are strategically placed at many scenic spots throughout the property.

"Hopefully the tulips will be in bloom for people to see, but as it has been quite frosty these past weeks they may not be out. However, there will still be plenty for people to see."

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´╗┐Garden delivers rare beauty

The third section of the garden was completed in 2001, when the couple bought a piece of road reserve. The finishing touch to any garden, Stephen says, should be a pond. Tugurium has two. Converse All Star Ox Black/Grey Leather Trainers

"We built this when I was host of Gardening Australia," he says of the front pond. "And seating should be placed Converse All Star High Tops Leather

Each is dug to about 1 2 metres deep to minimise evaporation and to also provide peace of mind during the hot summer months. Water in the front pond sustained the garden and protected the property last summer as fires swept through Riddells Creek nearby.

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Stephen, a long time resident of Macedon, is a passionate gardener and says "gardening feeds my soul". He started working at his father's nursery at the age of 10, when he also joined the Mt Macedon Horticultural Society. By the age of 19 he was the president and still is to this day. His lectures on plants are in high demand and he and Craig host tours of gardens here and abroad. Many would recognise Stephen from his time on ABC television's Gardening Australia, which he hosted for three years. Tugurium featured prominently throughout his time on the show, which gave the average viewer access to "a gardener's garden".

be taken too seriously.

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As befitting a woodland garden, plantings are unstructured. Stephen has chosen to use different plants of similar textures to create variety while maintaining a sense of continuity. But as you wander along the garden paths a sense of fun and quirkiness emanates. There's a chook and duck shed dubbed 'Cluckingham Palace' whose residents are named after food dishes such as Peking, Sweet and Sour and a l'orange, a succulent garden deliberately planted on the roof of a small shed. Burmese cats Guinness and Perinet roam the property during the Diamante Converse Womens Uk day, while Stud the cockatoo and Dick the galah provide background chatter as Corgies Emma and James enjoy a quiet life in their own section of the back yard.

Even the name of the property suggests gardening shouldn't Converse Ladies Shoes Sale

As for divvying up the garden jobs, Stephen says Craig is responsible for the straight paths and the perfect circular lawn that hosts the orchard trees. He is also known as the "under gardener" and is the proud owner of a mug that states just that. Stephen sips from a mug labelled 'head gardener'. It's clear this couple love to laugh as they garden.

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"If you are going to enjoy the view, you should buy the view," Stephen says of buying the house next door. "Otherwise someone can come along and chop down this or that and change things completely."

He is also a self confessed "compulsive plant collector" and loves rare and unusual species. His nursery, Dicksonia Rare Plants, is one of only a handful of rare plant nurseries in Australia and, along with Tugurium, is home to three national collections for the Garden Conservation Association of Australia Cornus, Sambucus and Acanthus.

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"Tugurium means hovel," says Stephen, proudly laughing. "Or mean dwelling. As with gardening, we kept with the Latin in naming our home. Gardening is about having fun. I like a bit of randomness in the garden. You shouldn't take it too seriously and above all enjoy it."

The orchard garden is in the front yard of the property next door, which the couple bought in 1999.

"I was told I was mad and that citrus wouldn't grow here," Stephen says, "but have a look at them brimming with fruit."

I always say gardening is not a destination, it's a journey. (it) is all about learning and I will spend the rest of my life learning. Stephen Ryan

Open garden in MacedonTugurium, home to horticulturalist Stephen Ryan and artist Craig Lidgerwood, launches Victoria's 2014 Open Gardens Australia season. Photos: LEIGH SHARP

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"You can rely on Craig for a straight line," Stephen points out. "Craig likes perfection where I am more random."

As the adjacent property had no big trees, Stephen says it lent itself to being a more formal style but it still had to tie in with the original garden. Evergreen hedges envelop the lawned orchard and again curved paths were chosen to enhance the mystery as to what lies around the next bend. The vegetable garden is self sustaining and regularly brimming with produce. A nearby compost plot is regularly turned over. Citrus trees were planted in a narrow section of land that lapped up the sun's rays.

"It doesn't matter where you live there is always a risk for anybody, I am more unlikely to be hit by a tram," he says of opting for a rural lifestyle.

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Tugurium is open to the public on August 16 and 17 as part of Open Gardens Australia. The scheme, in operation for more than two decades, aims at promoting the enjoyment and benefits of gardens and gardening. Since 1987 more than $1.1 million has been given to projects across Australia. As Stephen rarely opens Tugurium in winter visitors will have the unique opportunity to see the bones of the garden with its structural foliage and deciduous plant framework and winter blooms.

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