Christopher Nicholas remembers his first visit to the site of the Byng Street Boutique Hotel when it had only recently been purchased and he was greeted with a fascinating jungle of overgrown plants, untouched for years.
“When I first visited the site with owners Liz and David Nock it was to inspect the original garden to see if there were any plants that we could salvage and also repeat in the new planting,” Christopher explains. “The best plants we saved were Tree Peonies which we transported for safe keeping to the Nock’s home until the renovation is complete.”
Born in Australia before moving to England aged 10, Christopher has extensive experience transforming old, disused gardens into modern living areas having nurtured a passion for plants from a young age.
“Living in Kent in England, I remember distinctly getting out of the car from school for the summer holidays and my mother had done the pots in front of our home. I cringe with the thought but I remember lilac-coloured Lobelia catching my eye. That was 25 years ago. It’s all been about gardens since.”
Now, Christopher resides in Sydney but loves his visits to regional Australia and especially Orange to design the gardens at Byng Street Boutique Hotel.
“My focus was to plant with seasonal planting that I imagine people visiting from the City would appreciate, including autumn colour, lavender and witch hazel.”
While colour and texture were to be a focus, Christopher also wanted the garden to be easily maintained and drought tolerant.
“There are several garden beds I am hoping to make as beautiful as possible available to play with, directly in front of the new building and the garden beds around the front lawn in particular.
“I’ve taken the colour of the Copper Beech and have incorporated the other foliage to high light it, so lots of tonal colour there to play with.”
In the shady part of the garden on the western boundary, Christopher plans to plant a simple ‘Woodland, which will probably peak in Winter.
“No matter what time of year guests visit, we want them to discover a hidden sanctuary that delights and satisfies as much as the hotel itself.”