A French idyll in an Australian landscape
When Bryce and Marian Somestook a whistle-stop tour of France in 1986, they couldn't have imagined the lasting effect it would have on their future.
Having tried to coax various gardens to flourish along on the harsh Western Australian coastline and later moving on from suburban gardening in Melbourne, the Someses found 26 acres of bare but beckoning land in Victoria's Gippsland in 1992 and set about creating what Bryce lovingly referred to as a French folly. The ever-expanding garden, which now includes an olive grove and vineyard in addition to the orchard and extensive perennial and picking gardens inspired by Monet's Giverny, surround a rustic rammed earth farmhouse and barn that are also continually evolving.
This rich and evocative memoir is not only an uplifting story of creating a French idyll in an Australian landscape, but a beautifully written account of how a garden changed their lives.
Marian and Bryce Somes lived in their family home in Richmond until quite recently, working only part time developing their French garden property in Neerim South, Picardy.