Meet Chris Cuddy, owner of Perennialle Plants
Perenialle Plants is a mail-order nursery for tough plants, and a regular stallholder at Collectors'. You can also drop in to the nursery if you are in the Canowindra area. As well as the plants, there's an inspiring garden and lovely little shop full of artisan-made house and garden desirables.
I came here to study straight out of school and loved it. I went back to Sydney to study horticulture at Sydney Uni, but returned to Canowindra. There is a great community here and the landscape is beautiful. And did you know that the word Canowindra is derived from the word that means ‘home’ in the local Aboriginal Wiradjuri language? It means home to me too.
What is your plant focus?
Living and gardening in Canowindra I needed plants that were drought-tolerant and frost-hardy. Most of the plants in my catalogue are from southern Africa, the Mediterranean and New Zealand. But I also look for suitable tough plants from the Middle East, the Americas, and here at home.
Where are most of your customers gardening?
They come from all over the country, and from a range of different climates too. I have a client who is gardening on Magnetic Island, for instance, so in the dry tropics off the coast of Townsville where he’s having great success with some of my plants.
You grow your plants outside. What benefits are there in that?
It grows a tougher plant. The curse of modern life is that people buy on appearance. In the supermarket that means that a perfectly good apple with a spot gets tossed. In the same way people go into a nursery and want a plant that is beautiful and lush. The best way to achieve that is to feed it well and protect it from the elements. But when that plant goes out into the real world it finds life very difficult. I find that the plants I grow outside just glow when they get into the garden because they haven’t been coddled. They have been subject to wind, rain, sleet and full sun and learnt to cope.
Is your garden about trying out plants, or making something to please yourself?
It’s actually both. I want to make something beautiful; that utilises all of the colours and textures and shapes and forms in a way that is pleasing. At the same time I want to know that the plants I’m growing I can recommend to other people. So as well as creating a lovely garden, we are selecting for the best-adapted plants for hot and dry situations.
Which is the Perennialle stall?
Browse Chris’ collection of perennial plants at Stall No. 3 near the fairground entry.
Interview and images: Robin Powell via The Garden Clinic Magazine