After designing and building her first cottage (Sonning) in 1923. Edna starts working with her favourite garden contractor and stone wall builder Eric Hammond. I am to believe that Eric was given a lot of credit for Edna’s design due to the fact that women weren’t as well recognised as designers in the 1920’s!
In 1926 Edna becomes a regular columnist for Australian Home Beautiful. Blanche Sharp becomes her assistant/accountant; and lifelong friend. Edna may have been a great designer and a handy builder, but book keeping and invoicing weren’t her thing!
Also during this year Edna was commissioned to design a garden in Sydney, first of many. To make the trip she purchases her first car (rare for many) and the two friends and Edna’s mother made the trip. Another chapter in her life begins.
As well as the two acre’s where Sonning was built, she then purchased another seventeen, with the estates temporary name being the ‘Pig and Whistle’. Edna wanted to capture her childhood memories and romance of her home in Devon. “Bickleigh Vale” became the estates name – October 11th 1928.
During this time Edna was commissioned by Dame Nellie Melba to maintain her country estate Coombe Cottage. Edna employed three girl gardeners to work at Coombe Cottage. A highlight of Edna’s career was when Melba ceremoniously launched Edna’s exhibit of a full-scale garden for an Arts and Crafts Exhibition at the Melbourne Town Hall. A very proud moment for all, especially Edna’s Mother.
Our cottages at Bendles Cottages are all named with reference to important milestones during Edna’s life. They are ‘Sonning, Bickleigh, Downderry, Mistover and Toorak’. Enjoy the romance of a slice of history and book a cottage at Bendles Cottages Bed and Breakfast