Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Naturalist - Louise Oosthuizen

A charming corner of Louise's garden. Photography: Sallyanne Hartnell Reflect Photography
Gardens don't have to be big and sprawling. Louise Oosthuizen specialises in creating teeny tiny gardens with lots of lovely succulents and small vintage pots. She is the creative behind The Naturalist Melbourne and has a penchant for collecting treasures from the natural world and the past, which she turns into some pretty impressive works of art. Louise's own garden is an extension of her work and centres on this inviting nook.

What is the story of your garden?
We live in Warrandyte and have done so for about 15 years now. We are surrounded by gum trees; truly a lovely place to live. Our block is on a hill; therefore has many levels, nooks and crannies. We mainly have native plants,such as grevillea, native grasses, bottlebrush and wattle. We have a creek at the front of the property, which is native bushland. Our garden is not perfect, but rustic just the way I like things to be!
Some of Louise's treasured finds. Photography: Sallyanne Hartnell Reflect Photography
A tiny succulent finds a home in a large shell. Photography: Sallyanne Hartnell Reflect Photography
What changes have you made to it?
We paved the area out the back of the house so we can enjoy a flat area for entertaining or just sitting. We have kept it quite natural but added winding paths here and there.

How do you and your family like to spend time in your garden?
I have two children and they love nothing better than climbing trees and, because of the different levels and nooks, it makes a great garden for hiding in. We love to entertain out the back, whether it be a barbecue in the summer, or my husband, Almero, who is originally from South Africa, will make a potjie pot in the fire pit during cooler months. This is a traditional slow-cooked meal in a cast-iron pot. Or there is a favourite spot of mine (pictured), which is just the perfect spot to sit and read, or do nothing much.
Louise escapes to this cosy nook in the garden. Photography: Sallyanne Hartnell Reflect Photography
Petite succulents adorned with feathers and vintage bottles. Photography: Sallyanne Hartnell Reflect Photography
How does your garden inspire you?
I love to collect, not only vintage pieces, but objects from the natural world. So there is inspiration all over my garden. From skeleton leaves to dragonfly wings, they all end up a part of my collection. My kids also are great little naturalists, bringing me their 'treasures'.

What are your must -haves for a garden?
A place to sit and enjoy your surrounds.

All-time favourite plant?
It would have to be my potted succulents that I have collected over time. I plant them in various vintage vessels - egg cups, tea tins, sugar bowls, teapots - they all make great planters and add something special to the garden.

Favourite activity in the garden?
Hmm, lots of things really: entertaining, playing with the kids, or sitting in my favourite spot.

Check out Louise's blog at thenaturalistmelbourne.blogspot.com and her shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheNaturalistMelb. For more of Sallyanne Hartnell's work, see www.reflectphotography.com.au.

Inspiration abounds in the garden. Photography: Sallyanne Hartnell Reflect Photography
A garden on a ledge shines with vintage charm. Photography: Sallyanne Hartnell Reflect Photography
Natural beauty in Louise's garden. Photography: Sallyanne Hartnell Reflect Photography