Regardless of where she has lived, or for how long, Janice Teunis has always turned her hand to creating beautiful gardens bursting with colour and life.
Janice Teunis is an optimist. Take a bare patch of dirt and Janice sees possibility and an abundant garden. She has gardened in varying climatic zones around the world and whether she has lived somewhere for one year or five years, Janice has created a garden. Sometimes she has started from scratch and sometimes she has given existing spaces a makeover with her seemingly magical touch.
Janice and John Teunis have put down roots in St George, after many moves due to John’s work as a Minister and teacher of theology. The couple share the same sense of adventure and have taken much pleasure in raising their five boys in different settings in Australia and America, including one position in a Jewish-Christian community on an Indian reserve. “Whether I was living in outback western Queensland, Brisbane, Minnesota or Georgia – I have always gardened,” says Janice. “Gardening is my canvas; where I create my pictures and put my craft to work.” Janice admits she has had her challenges including an occasion in America where she found black bears in the raspberry patch!
In almost four years since moving to St George, Janice has transformed the surrounds of the couple’s renovated cottage home. Her penchant is English-style gardens and she has applied her extensive knowledge of plants to find just the right varieties to suit harsh Australian conditions. The result is a carefully balanced yet free-flowing cottage-style garden. The front beds come alive in Spring and Autumn with masses of fragrant roses such as Just Joey, Abraham Darby, and Crepuscule. Janice likes to keep her rose bushes a little taller instead of harsh pruning, giving the garden height. Regardless of the season, there will always be a cacophony of colour. “To make sure I have flowers in Summer, I lay the mulch so that it will be disintegrating by the end of Summer to allow the seedlings to grow.” She plants self-seeding annuals such as love-in-the-mist, annual salvias, nasturtiums, alyssum, lobelia and poppies that skirt the roses and fill the beds. Perennials also feature including echinacea, salvias, lamb’s ear, and irises. “I love seasonal gardens, I don’t want all green – I like to see and experience the change of climate.”
The back garden of the home is divided into ‘rooms’ with a clever layout of beds that feature apple trees, a thriving apricot tree, and decorative small trees. “The sun defines gardening out here; it is so fierce – we need trees for shade.” One of Janice’s prized trees is a Japanese maple. Normally preferring cool growing conditions, the tree is happily flourishing in the micro-climate she has created. Although Janice began her garden with a detailed plan, she believes her gardens will eventually take on a life of their own. “At the end of the day I think it is important to stop and enjoy the garden and not anticipate what is too far ahead.”
Words by Kerryn Suttor Images by Dana Gluzde