For the love of gardening with Emeri De Bortoli

By De Bortoli Wines |

Emeri says you should be careful what you wish for. After bargaining with her husband Deen for 15 acres of land she has spent over a decade dedicated to her passion of building this expansive garden. It has tested her many times but as the trees and gardens become more established you can see that her care, time and patience has been a labour of love worth pursuing.

Walking through the garden is like stepping into another world far removed from the busy winery and vineyards surrounding it. Every plant has a story about where it has come from. There is a Yukka from her childhood home in Griffith, a rock taken from the vineyards in Nericon (on the outskirts of Griffith) and made into a feature, and even an old wagon which was transported from the family’s property in the King Valley.

A trip to Emeri's garden is not complete without her three dogs in tow, who play and frolic in the garden beds, wrestle and lie all over the plants. Emeri doesn’t tell them off instead she says,

“Nothing can be perfect, if you wanted the perfect garden all the time you wouldn’t have dogs or the perfect house you wouldn’t have children,” knowing there is no way she would consider a life without either.

Emeri currently favours the Australian native grasses which thrive in the climate and provide stunning textures and shapes throughout her garden. Another favourite is the fresh produce that the garden provides. An avid home cook, Emeri is currently enjoying the abundance of pumpkins and zucchini that the gardening is bearing.

While she appears to know nearly all the species of flowers, trees and shrubs in her garden, Emeri admits if she doesn’t know the name at first she tends to name them after the person whom gave it to her, such as Therese’s tree. A personal touch that makes Emeri’s garden all the more special.

A major feature of the garden is the impressive dam and brand new rock waterfall that overlooks the internationally renowned Noble One vineyards. This water feature has been Emeri’s latest project that was designed so one can sit atop the rocks and enjoy the sweeping views of the vineyards with the Cocoparra ranges in the distance.

Above: 8 of Emeri's 13 Grandchildren play atop the new water feature.

You could easily spend half a day strolling through the gardens listening to Emeri describe the origin of how each garden came to be. She jokes that she might be seen as a bit mad with the hours and costs devoted to her gardens but it is also her family’s home where life and work are intertwined.

Emeri is opening her garden to the public for the first time this year in October during Griffith’s annual Festival of the Gardens. Although not finished, Emeri says “A garden is never really ever finished. There is always work to be done and I’m happy for them to come back again next year and see how it has evolved.”

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