Gardening is in Suzie Kidman’s blood

November 6, 2023 BY

Proceeds from Suzie’s Open Garden will go to the CWA.

Put simply, Suzie Kidman can’t remember a time when she wasn’t interested in gardening but a quick walk down memory lane would see her passion for time in the great outdoors came from her grandmother.

“I just feel like it has always been a part of my life,” Suzie said. “My grandmother was a very keen gardener and I just feel like I have always loved it.”

This weekend, Suzie is showcasing her downsized garden as one of three Penola gardens opening their gates to the public as part of the Open gardens SA scheme.

After spending 38 years cultivating and developing a huge garden at the family property, Suzie has spent the past nine years creating a suburban block sized garden in the heart of Penola – a new challenge after the basically boundary-less expanses of her farm garden.

“When I was out at Limestone Ridge (family property) I could just keep adding and adding and that’s what I did,” Suzie said. “But when we swapped houses with our son and daughter-in-law and moved into town, I did have to think it through a bit more and plan because I was working with a suburban block.”

Suzie is the first to admit, the Limestone Ridge garden was becoming simply too much, even for the most passionate garden and she has embraced the downsizing, especially as she has still been able to include things close to her heart, the veggie garden and fruit trees, providing the fresh produce for her other passion – cooking.

“It is amazing what you can do with a town block,” Suzie said. “I am still growing my veggies, herbs and fruit trees as well as all the beautiful flowers. I could always find a space on the farm to do whatever I wanted but now I have to be disciplined about the plantings and I am grateful now that I don’t have a bigger garden.”

Suzie’s town garden is compact but overflowing with roses, many perennials including hardy salvias, hellebores, agastache, foxgloves, delphiniums, daylilies, delicate Queen Anne’s lace and other old-fashioned favourites.

A tall pittosporum hedge creates a backdrop for a border of roses with flowers in shades ranging from yellow to pink and into red, all underplanted with vibrantly coloured iris. Pots of annuals add extra pops of colour and throughout, there are succulents imaginatively planted in interesting containers. Chinese star jasmine along the western boundary fence makes a lovely green outlook from the house and as well as providing perfume when in flower.

A Chinese pistachio tree chosen for its fine foliage and glorious autumn colour is centred in the gravel paths between the raised beds in the vegetable garden. Although small, this productive area is well-tended and with several dwarf fruit trees, provides a supply of fruit, vegetables and herbs. The chook house tucked away in the back corner is partially hidden by a vigorous climbing iceberg rose.

Gardening and cooking aren’t the end of Suzie’s talents either – she also creates superb needlework cushions and bags and her work will be on display with some pieces for sale.

Proceeds from Suzie’s Open Garden will go to the CWA.


Address: 16 Hetherington Avenue, Penola

Open: Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November 2023, 10AM to 4.30 PM

Please bring cash as EFTPOS facilities are not always available.

Please note: Opening with two other Penola gardens: $10/$8 each or $25 for all three.

Extra Activities: Light lunch