The name “VIzArche” came from Alison and her husband Charlie’s sir names combined (Vizy and Archbold). Loosely based on Versace, a bit of a tongue in cheek, Aussie version.
As a child growing up, Alison spent her younger years in England, via her fathers posting, and was fortunate enough to live in a beautiful 300 year old home with sprawling gardens and magnificent trees. There was a forests with bluebells and this special place impacted on her profoundly. Her imagination ran wild and she always dreamed of creating something magical when she was older.
Alison and Charlie met 18 years ago, and both had an incredible love of animals, nature and gardening. They wanted to make something special together, so when they married in 2006, they bought a small farm on the outskirts of Canberra in NSW, and moved with Alison’s sons.
The farm only had 4 gum trees on the 23 acres and about 10 bushes, so they immediately set to work planting, and haven’t stopped since. It has been hard work establishing the property fighting against the droughts, the cicada invasions, the burning hot summer winds, the tree snapping Kangaroos and the plant annihilating rabbits. Sometimes plants have to be replaced 4 or 5 times, but the place is now slowly coming to life. It still may be quite some time before they have the forest with bluebells, especially as the climate is nothing like Englands, but they are giving it their best shot.
They also love growing heritage organic vegetables, taking cuttings of anything and everything to grow, and propagating seedlings.
Along with the many budgies, they also raise a few varieties of chickens which include Araucana’s, a smaller chicken with a tufted head, which is known for its beautiful pale blue eggs, and French Marans chickens, which are known for having the darkest brown eggs in the world.
A flock of Black headed Dorper sheep also call the farm home, as do 3 Suri Alpacas, that guard the lambs when they are born.
Bees were added a couple of years ago, to help with pollination, but also because they wanted to enjoy fresh honey, and Alison’s brother in law was an apiarist from way back, and was able to help them learn the ropes.
The farm is a lot of hard work, but more than that, it brings them a huge amount of joy and a sense of achievement. Its ever changing scenery throughout the seasons provide a constant source of inspiration for Alison’s artwork, as do all the creatures. A place they now love and enjoy with their family and friends.