New Wychwood owners excited for the future

GREEN THUMBS: Matt Bendall and David Doukidis are delighted to be the new owners of Wychwood garden and nursery. Picture: Supplied
GREEN THUMBS: Matt Bendall and David Doukidis are delighted to be the new owners of Wychwood garden and nursery. Picture: Supplied

Winding paths and curling hedges; the enchanted Wychwood garden last year changed hands, from its creators to a young couple from Melbourne. 

Matt Bendall and David Doukidis took ownership of the well-known garden on the day the 2016 June floods began.

“It was an unwelcome surprise and not the most pleasant welcome to Tassie, and certainly not what we were expecting, but in many ways it was better it happened then when we were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed than now,” Mr Bendall said. 

“I think if you are waist deep in freezing seemingly sub-arctic water in our creek in winter cleaning out a log jam and it still feels like you’ve done the right thing, then your really must have.”

Mr Bendall said the couple have both loved horticulture, but to garden on this scale has been a learning curve. 

“For this first year you're almost looking out around the garden every day and seeing this new perennial poke its head above the soil and you wonder ‘What is that?’,” he said.

“Then you consult the internet and work out what it is, it’s a steep learning curve for sure, but it’s fun.”

The garden was again opened to the public in the last week of September 2016, and Mr Bendall said they have had a great response from the garden lovers who have followed Wychwood journey.

“People are excited that people like David and I, who are really keen gardeners and nurserymen, are excited by the idea of Wychwood I think they're relieved that the two people who have bought are going to keep it open - I think it would have been a shame if it had been [closed],” he said. 

Mr Bendall said the couple have always wanted to run a nursery.

“Wychwood is special for its really amazing collection of rare plants, and it was definitely the selection of plants that you just by and large don't find in other nurseries that drew us here,” he said. 

“That's certainly one of our intentions over the next couple of years to increase that stock and get new, weird and wonderful plants for Tassie that people might never have heard of.”

Right now the couple are in the midst of preserving the produce from the garden.

“If anyone who is reading this has any suggestions on tips or recipes they make please when you swing by let us know!” Mr Bendall said. 

“David really loves the kitchen garden, he’s mad for it … that was a big driving force for him he really wanted to get out and, as a lot of people do in Tassie, grow their own food.

“It’s fun, it’s a great thing, people are often pretty disconnected from the process of growing food.”

Wychwood is open from Friday to Monday from 10am to 4pm.