Beechmont Garden, in Olinda is a ten acre verdant maze of rooms, hedged walks, walled gardens, spectacular mature trees and of course, beautiful seasonal flowers. Cherrie Miriklis, the new owner, knows a thing or two about flowers – for when she’s not “rejuvenating” at Beechmont she is busy creating exquisite floral arrangements at Flowers Vasette, her iconic Brunswick street store. One of the largest florist stores in Victoria, Flowers Vasette has a reputation for artistry and aesthetic distinction, much like the beautiful gardens of Beechmont.
While Cherrie has owned and operated Flowers Vasette for many years, Beechmont is a new addition to her floral portfolio, and a somewhat timely one as it celebrates Flowers Vasette 25th anniversary. “It was always my dream to own a beautiful garden in the country, I just thought it would be later rather than sooner,” said Cherrie. An innocent Sunday drive to the hills with the family, to simply browse and enjoy the scenery unexpectedly saw that dream become reality.
After chatting to a local real estate agent about properties for sale – with spectacular gardens they were invited to view Beechmont and, as Cherrie readily admits she fell in love with the place as soon as she walked through the gates with the burnished copper nameplate. “I had always loved the hills and this was a golden opportunity.”
The combination of a house in the hills, the dream garden and the proximity to the Monbulk growers was too hard to resist.
It’s easy to see why Cherrie fell in love with the property- its breath taking beauty is evident at every twist and turn of the garden. Winding your way along hedged paths framed by towering Mountain Ash, Blackwood Wattles and mature native Myrtle Beeches the garden has an impressive collection of rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. Not to be missed is the serpentine rill (pebble water run) rippling through a vast expanse of green lawn to a reflective dew pond. There is a croquet lawn, a native garden and a former tennis court, now a walled garden with a central pond, and plantings of wisterias, clematis, and seasonal Japanese windflowers. One of the most whimsical features of Beechmont is the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ inspired card parterre garden featuring hedged flower beds in the shape of card suits. Hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades frame a central garden bed and terracotta urn. The ‘Persimmons Avenue’ is a wonderful sensory experience and includes a number of scented plants and a collection of fragrant daphnes.
Like all gardens it is a never ending labour of love and currently Cherrie is working with Teedo Beggs, from TGB Outdoor design to maintain the grounds and gardens of Beechmont. “The plan is to maintain the existing garden beds and incorporate new plantings such as herbaceous borders, daphne and various other species,” said Teedo. Planting species that can be harvested for foliage or flowers, while still being an integral part of the design means that the gardens of Beechmont will keep the home filled with the most spectacular seasonal blooms and greenery all year round. The house, like the gardens of Beechmont has also been a work in progress for Cherrie and her talented Flowers Vasette team as the long term plan is to make the property available for event hire, weddings and family holidays. “It was also important for me to have a place for my staff to rejuvenate, or come together and celebrate. It’s too beautiful not to share and I wanted to give something back to the team,” said Cherrie. The home is a perfect entertaining retreat for large groups or for those wanting to just kick back and enjoy the ‘serenity’ as every room has a view of the stunning gardens. “The view from the living area across the rolling green lawn to the reflective pond is definitely one of my favourites,” admitted Cherrie.
Much of the interior of the 1970s home has been refurbished in Cherrie’s trademark style which she describes as a type of gypsy decorating. “I pick up pieces on my travels, buying for the store,” said Cherrie. Plush velvet button back armchairs are woven together with simple Nordic pieces and the combination works beautifully together, much like one of her opulent bouquets.
Cherrie wanted the interior to be classically modern with tactile, soft furnishings to make it cosy and user friendly. Warm, white walls and neutral flooring provide the perfect backdrop for Cherries soft décor palette, while baskets of languid ferns and colourful bouquets are reminders of the beauty of Beechmont.
Wandering about the garden or the interiors of Beechmont is a wonderful sensory experience – a heady mix of budding colour, fragrance and natural texture. From its reflective dew pond to its whimsical card parterre garden and towering mature trees it is both magical and unforgettable.
Words Jo McComiskey Photographs Adele Van Es