"Wallangreen"
Sculpture Garden
Fitch's Lane Grenfell, Home of Janice Wallace
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History

Garden Notes

Sculptor Profile


History

It only took Jan and Len 25 years to agree on a name for the home and garden.

 Change has been the name of the game.   Shaded gardens with areas to relax in have developed as originally inspired by the “Queen Elizabeth Park” in Adelaide.

 The challenge of living comfortably with the climate and the sharing and display of the sculptures Len began making about 10 years ago has brought us to what may be seen today.

It was springtime in 1982, we had placed a deposit on this almost bare block of ground containing a small dry dam.   (The photo album bears witness).  We planted a few trees, Grevillea robusta, then hand watered weekly.    We were inspired by Noel and Sharon Cartwright’s incredible native garden nearby.

 We installed a water tank, put up a shed and had the house to lock up stage by May of 1983 and we moved in with many pot plants and cuttings.   The house was half stone, half timber and half finished!  And we lived in a fish bowl!   Everyone could see in.  There was no shade. In Autumn we haunted the Forestry Nursery at Forbes and planted many tube stock trees and shrubs around the block and over the bank.   Watered and mulched following the digging with a crowbar the holes, putting a dried cow pat at the bottom, adding a layer of sand then a homemade mixed top soil.

Grenfell is known for its dedicated gardeners.   Nearer to Boorowa lived the late Kitty Green, Jan’s mother, another keen gardener who propagated many of the remaining exotic shrubs growing at “Wallangreen”.   Other outside influences were, generous local gardeners, minimal topsoil, heavy clay and heavier frosts which made us aware of the need for integration of the natives with tried and true exotics.   Heavy down pours of rain and The ABC Gardening Australia TV program brought us to look at our landscaping, as did a pet kangaroo, many pets, a small flock of sheep and  energetic inquisitive small boys. 

The dam in the paddock was de-silted and a pump installed.

In the 1980’s roses, geraniums and daisies thrived.   It was even too wet in the winters for some of the natives in the wet clay subsoil.  The orchard and vegetables grew and produced well.

We did not ever have sufficient water to begin a winter vegetable garden.   In summer the water was pumped from the dam.  Our garden has very rarely been watered from the water mains supply.   Water from the tank, septic recycling system and dam has been sufficient.

The trees and shrubs did so well that one of the locals said he would soon be looking for the monkeys in the jungle!

The ABC’s Gardening Australia program inspired many of our garden features, the mock rock making became a whole of family effort, as did collecting stones for the “Wallace Wall”, made following their presentation of Edna Walling.

We had realized that planting in autumn was the way to go, but despite this knowledge, the Borenore and Mudgee Field Days held great interest and temptation resulting in many failures over the years.

  We always had our eyes open for plants that suited our site, made an impact and could enjoy our climate.  

The boys left home, the pets moved on and the sheep were sold.  The summers were very hot and the winter rains were not reliable.  The rainfall was more erratic and our water supply dried up each summer.   The wattles had gone as had many of the Grevillea species planted in the 1980’s.  The climbing roses had proved too hard for Jan to handle without the boys to help with pruning.  Perennials and succulents became more common in the garden.

Extensions to the house in the late 1990’s caused some dramatic alterations.

The last Acacia decurrens had to go, the grape and rose trellis along with the back garden disappeared.    Drainage was a challenge.  After the extension the fernery area was revamped along with several areas for herbs and hardy perennials.

 Len began making more sculptures.   Many of the metal sculptures are reactionary pieces following impacting local and world events.  (From, Jan’s offer to help tidy up the shed, to September 11 and a visit to the grave of Ben Hall.) 

Making use of discarded metals became somewhat of an obsession of Len’s.

The clocks, like the building of the house were special challenges that Len undertook.  The dry stone wall had been built by Len as physical therapy after a period of ill health.

As the years of drought continued many of the garden sculptures were purpose built!   Take a look at “Bush Aglow” and the “Pulley Bush.”

Flowing vistas, contrast and textures have impacted upon our garden design as do fresh relaxing yet exhilarating garden perfumes.  Basic organic principles, economy and maintenance along with our landform, climate and soil will continue to bring changes to “Wallangreen”.

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Garden Notes

Many of the sculptures displayed are made of former machinery and tools of an earlier era.  Working, moving machinery parts have become wonderful abstract yet recognizable objects expressing the worldly impact of society today.   You may enjoy recognizing the old tools and parts now given another purpose. 

There are over 100 steel sculptures, both thought provoking and fun.  There is 1 h of grounds with many shady restful areas.   Paths and gateways and ‘The Dry Stone Wall’ lead through gently contoured banks planted with succulents and drought tolerant sculptural plantings to rock walls, water features and plantings of grasses, hardy perennials, trees and shrubs. Native trees frame the grounds and informal hedges of plumbago, honeysuckle, jasmines, and vines and creepers  screen the house yard.  Succulents, catmints, thymes and sedums are interspersed with Emu Bushes, Yuccas and paperbarks.  There are salvias, rosemaries, lavenders and artemesias, grevilleas and convolvulas amongst daisies herbs, verbenas and dianellas.

The Creation Clock is in the Gallery.  Entry is through the French doors on the eastern veranda, via the carport gateway.  

The  life sized sculptures ‘Outlaw’ and ‘Ben Hall’ (sometimes away from home)  should be sorting out the friends and foes at this entry.

Snow White’s friends have been working hard and may still be busy in parts of the garden, children may like try and count them.  If you are looking around carefully you may see some very sleepy wombats hiding amongst the bushes.  Large sculptured Bugs and Butterflies maybe discovered in the trees.

Emus are sheltering near the Peppercorn Trees.  The Artist Peter Brown quite likes emus, there are prints of Peter’s work for sale in the gallery.

Walking left from the Fitch’s Lane gate you will see several sculptures, these are part of a series made as a result of Jan’s offer to get in and help tidy up the “old wares area”.  This “old wares area”, more recognisable to many, as a junk heap, is west of the chook run and is Len’s inspirational supply source.  “Bob The Builder” points to it. 

Most sculptures have a descriptive name, and some a few words of explanation. Local auction sales were of great interest to Len, especially clearing sales and those extra bits in the boxes or the end of sale items going begging found a home when Len was around.

The “Wallangreen” sign and fence panels bear witness to this as well as the generosity  of friends  and Len’s many, many trips to the local tip

The Yucca Plant caught Len’s eye some years ago from a TV documentary which depicted the uniqueness of some specimens being pollinated by only one moth, on maturity one spike of beautiful flowers bloom then the plant dies to reproduce as clusters of pups.  The ‘Yucca’ is down near the ‘Dry Stone Wall’. 

‘My Egg’, was made after Len saw a similar style of sculpture on a weekend away.

‘Wings of Time” is an abstract sundial inspired by the waste to art concept.

‘The Dry Stone Wall’ was made during the 1980’s when Len was unwell and this physical work proved to be useful therapy.

The wharf was built for ‘The Lady Fitch’ which is to one day become a house boat.  At present the boat is simply used for dreaming on.  It is one place Jan can go and pretend she is by the sea!

On the slope above is a new area with cacti, edged by native grasses and trees.  This is a part of our endeavour to slow the water runoff from the  site.  Water damage from the violent storms in early 2009 have resulted in many landscaping changes.

The windmill was found at the tip, scattered and bent up parts were collected and restored.

In the 1990’s the driveway in Melyra Street, needed something different so Len came up with what has become known as his ‘Sculptured Fence Panel’.    Fitch’s Lane now has a very distinctive section of ‘Sculptured Fence Panelling’ made in 2007.

A trip to the local tip inspired the ‘Seat by The Barrack Gate’, the pieces were just begging to be put together.

The sculpture depicting, ‘The World Sitting on the Plates of the Earth with the Moon’, was inspired by the global warming issue when it came to the public interest in the late 1980’s. This sculpture has a solid foundation with which Len is emphasising the hand and control of God the Creator upon our world.

The gun sculptures are reactionary works of art.  It was following the events of Port Arthur that Len made these pieces.  Guns are only instruments, it is the minds of men that implement the damage.  Nearer the “Windmill” you will see Len’s Cacti with some rather incredible titles.

In the house garden there is a Tower Clock. This has recently been restored and for convenience an electronic movement is in place. This clock was built by Len over a period of many months and great encouragement, enthusiasm and interest was shown by eager regular visitors the late, Len Hillier, Neil Taylor, Robin Baker and Peter Rumble.  It is a Tower Clock, it has a weight driven movement and the case is made of redwood and cedar timbers, and coated with cement and oxide painted on.

Some of the sculptures are hidden amongst the garden plants.  “A Tough Old Bird” and the “Bush Aglow” are in the shadows of shrubs.  “Feathered Fred” and “Andrew Emu”  are displayed here with other sculptures all around.

“Curvaceous” is a seat made from flowing curves of steel.   A Grevillia Magnifica  and Echium  Fastuosum has just been planted in front of it beside the Mock Orange at the steps.   Behind these on the trellis is a Clematis ‘Napaulensis’ it is deciduous in summer!  The flowers are clusters and similar to a passionfruit in colour, however the seed pods are stunning in late spring.  “The Bed of Roses” nestles in there.  A stunning steel sculptured “Grass Tree” is under the Flinders wattle tree.

‘The Old Woman in The Shoe’ is sheltering on the front verandah , it is an automaton.  Incredible detail is recorded here.

‘Chained Lighting’ is a rather exciting sculpture placed in the entertainment area of the front garden, it could have a solar panel or be wired as a light.  A different sculpture ‘Taproot’ is under the Native Frangipani among the succulents.  An ‘Ant’ made of Copper is near by.  The lush Front Verandah Garden and Trellis Area, are watered from the waste water recycling system.

“Wallangreen” was exposed to the public through the ABC’s Australia’s Open Garden Scheme in 2008 and subsequently was featured in the “Land” Newspaper and “Style” Magazine.

We have tried to work with nature and today the garden is a hive of activity.

An abundance of wild life procreate around the water holes and in the rock walls.  The frog pond is quite a noisy area at times.  Splashes of colour from eucalypts and wattle in flower to violets and fluffy seed heads lead the visitor through gates and arch ways to paths, up and down steps from area to area. 

We had to put up a  “Ducks Crossing” sign as the various water birds shared the back driveway area.

We do hope you enjoy your time exploring the garden. 

Available also (on site) for your perusal is a Catalogue of Sculptures with prices..

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Sculptor Profile

Len Wallace
1945 - 2013

Len was born in Culcairn NSW Australia and was educated in many of the small country schools scattered throughout NSW and Queensland.  Len was a very shy boy and renowned for his drawings, many of which his teachers treasured.

Len attracted the attention of his correspondence teachers from Black Friars School for Distance Education in his High School days and was guided into an Art Course.  Cedric Emmanuel and Fred Williams were teachers at the Melbourne Art School at the time and Fred corresponded with Len over quite a few years.

Len was distracted from much of what life had to offer by his involvement in the Vietnam War.  An appreciation of art has been a part of life for Len and his home has always displayed various art forms.

During the 1980’s Len built his own home the principle structure being of rock.  Various timber features complement the interior.  The garden has been landscaped using natural and cosmetic rock.

Following a period of collecting interesting old wares discarded by the general population, whilst he was working as a clock and watch maker and repairer, Len was prompted by a severe shortage of work space to make some of this wonderful old stuff into sculptures.

In 2005 a dog “Steelo” and the pup “Scrap” were made from drums of old nuts and bolts by Len.  At Country Week Expo. Held at Rose Hill Sydney, “Steelo” was greatly admired and quite took the eye of our State Governor Professor Marie R Bashir AC.

In 2006 Len was chosen in the “Australian of the Year” Awards, as the NSW Local Hero  Regional 2007 recipient.  Len was nominated for this Award because of the part he played in establishing the Grenfell Men’s Shed and his ground breaking work in the area of men’s health.  The State Governor Professor Marie R Bashir AC presented the Award at a function at the NSW Art Gallery, and commented on Grenfell’s famous son Henry Lawson and how he could have benefited from a Men’s Shed.  Len then attended the Australia Day functions for 2007 in Canberra, meeting with The Prime Minister, and The Governor General.

In 2007, at the Grenfell 50th Henry Lawson Festival of The Arts Len was presented with the Weddin Shire Arts Award Statuette in recognition of his contributions to the community, through his work as a sculptor and at the Grenfell Men’s Shed.

In 2008 Len was recognized at the Lachlan Schools Linking Learning & Life Western Region Education Week Launch, celebrating “A Love of Learning”.

The Lachlan Shire Council’s Widening the Circle Project also recognized Len’s dedication, inspiration and service with a Certificate of Appreciation in March 2008.

World and local events have inspired Len and were a catalyst for many of his larger sculptures.

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