On the first Saturday in May we were lucky enough to spend the day visiting a number of gardens in the Adelaide hills with fellow Happy Patch community garden members.
First up was the amazing home and garden of Mt Barker artist Irene Stone-Pearce. ‘TickleTank,’ as she affectionately named it because “people are tickled pink when they see it,” is a truly remarkable place. In 1998 Irene bought the small block of land, complete with a 50000 gallon water tank buried in the middle, because she thought converting it into a home would be a “nice challenge.” Tons of soil had to be removed, whilst the tank itself had to be emptied of water.
On a tight budget, using mostly recycled materials and with help from friends and family, Irene transformed the tank into a beautiful home.
The lower level of the tank became Irene’s main living area, kitchen and a sleeping space for the grandchildren.
The amazing circular couch was built from besser blocks and cement.
The kitchen is made from recycled materials.
The kitchen floor is a glorious mosaic created by Irene.
The upper level became her bedroom and en-suite.
Three additional concrete tanks (300 and 5000 gallons) were added to the home. Two became a small sitting room, laundry, bathroom and spare room.
The shower floor is another beautiful example of Irene’s exquisite mosaic work.
The third tank became Irene’s studio space.
The house is full of light with many windows looking out onto the lush garden.
Little bits of whimsy can be found everywhere throughout the home.
The house is surrounded by garden; the plants are mostly ones Irene has propagated, grown from seed, or received as gifts.
Much like the house, the garden is also decorated with Irene’s art and objects she has found or been given.
One corner of the garden is decorated with blue.
Comfortable seating, also made by Irene, can be found in cosy spots.
Another tank, until recently used to store rain water, has been converted into a children’s cubby house.
Mosaics also grace the outside of the home.
A dragon, the first of many created by Irene, curls around a retaining wall.
Irene is a remarkable woman; it was inspiring to spend the morning wandering around her glorious home and garden, and chatting to her over a cup of tea.
I will write about the other gardens we visited in future posts.