A sensational show of glorious autumn colour


May 2023

The garden at Cooinda is the legacy of the late Mrs Chris Steele Scott, a horticulturist and one of the founders - and SA Chair - of the former Open Gardens Australia. With vision, Chris planted the sloping hillside with choice trees and shrubs creating magnificent views and a stunning setting for the spring-fed dam sited to be centre-stage on the property.

Tall old trees make a welcoming entrance and lead to the new garden established by Chris from 2004 and now maintained by her husband Nigel. The sloping land is retained with dry stone walls which, along with hedging and clipped plants, add structure, some formality and year-round interest.

Away from the house the four acres becomes more park-like, but everywhere there are select and rare plant species to admire.  As a plantswoman with an aesthetic eye, Chris designed the garden to include botanical interest as well as visual appeal and there are delightful vistas and lovely views. Many of her plants are grouped as collections; there is a perfumed area, a parterre, a rose garden, an arboretum of deciduous trees, an assortment of natives, a vegetable plot, fruit trees and around the dam, bog plants including a huge giant rhubarb, Gunnera manicata.

The arboretum forms a beautiful backdrop to the dam and in autumn the vibrant orange, yellow, rich red and purple foliage of many oaks, acers, maples, elms, copper beech, cottonwoods and several deciduous conifers is striking. The fiery red stems of dogwoods add yet more colour and, on a calm clear day, the reflection of the sky and the vividly coloured trees mirrored on the dam water is spectacular. Looking back from the arboretum the view is just as impressive – the house and garden are framed by a mix of tall evergreen trees, their foliage mingling and contrasting with the autumnal tones of the deciduous trees.

Size: 4 acres

Garden Notes

Garden notes are written by the garden owner and often tell the story of their garden. Click the link below to download the notes. We suggest you also print them out and bring them to the garden.

Download Garden Notes