The Braidwood Open Gardens weekend is fast approaching with seven gardens available for viewing.
October 15 -16 from 10am to 4pm. Entry fee to the gardens is adults $5 per garden with under 18s free entry. The gardens are contributing the proceeds to a fundraiser for the Braidwood Preschool. Come and see seven amazing gardens in the picturesque, heritage listed town of Braidwood.
For a gold coin donation you can also wander a section (not including the garden) of the stunning historic property Millpond Farm.
Refreshments will be available at Durham Hall, a vintage car display, art exhibition and Landcare talks at Millpond Farm, guided tours of Bedervale Homestead (only open Sunday) and guided tours of the produce gardens at Wynlen House.
Here is a little info on each
660 Majors Creek Road, Jembaicumbene
From the wisteria-wrapped veranda of the farmhouse, the sun glints off the pond like a mirror and the four-storey mill stands to attention in the background. The couple are working with friends Kate and Peter Marshall to rehabilitate a 25-acre wetland on the property and planting has begun to create a sprawling arboretum of 25,000 trees. A bird-watching trail with views to the Tallaganda and Budawang ranges is under construction, allowing visitors to discreetly view migratory birds, waterfowl, platypus and wallabies. On Saturday, members of Braidwood’s two vintage car clubs will have some of their early vehicles on display. On both days (11am and 2pm on Saturday and 11am on Sunday), Landcare is hosting talks in the Mill by industry experts on the Scarlet Robin Project, a 10-year program aimed at recognition and protection of eight woodland birds’ habitat in the south-east of NSW.
666 Majors Creek Rd, Jembaicumbene
Past the neighbour’s alpaca flock and down the track flanked by gangly spring calves sits 1830s historic cottage Durham Hall. Last opened to the public two years ago, the garden was first established by Anne Badgery, wife of William Henry Roberts, in the 1840s.
Their daughter married Thomas Molyneux Royds, who bred racehorses on the property, including Archer, the first winner of the Melbourne Cup. The property and gardens have since been under the custodianship of the Royds family for five generations. James and Belinda say maintaining such an historic garden is a responsibility they don’t take lightly.
One of the first gardens to be mapped and surveyed by the Australian Garden History Society, it has been recognised for its heritage significance and has been listed on the Register of the National Estate. The centrepiece of the garden is hard to miss. Standing magestically at the northern side is a massive Atlantic cedar, its branches reaching up 30 metres.
Other plants of interest, dating from the 1880s, are the Osage orange, or bow wood tree, and the rare Desmodium amethystinum, a Chinese shrub with sprays of pale blue flowers in autumn. Old roses include Fortunes Double Yellow, Mrs Dudley Cross, gallicas and Pink Radiance.
As an artist, the relatively blank canvas of Linden’s garden didn’t daunt Heny Fletcher and her husband Leigh when they purchased the Jembaicumbene property almost three years ago.
Viewing the six-acre parcel and French provincial-style homestead on the internet, they thought it ”a bit too posh” for their liking, but after coming to Braidwood for a look while living in Bright in Victoria, the couple “turned up one day and bought it the next”.
One of the defining features of the garden is “the ring”, a semi-circle planting of low-lying shrubs that surrounds the property’s 120 solar panels which provide the Fletchers with all their power needs, and then some.
One of Heny’s latest projects is what she calls her “jewel box”, a square garden planted among the foundation stones of the old Jembaicumbene school house. In it, she indulges her fascination for miniatures, including tulips, daffodils, magnolia, irises, hellebores and snowdrops.
539 Tudor Valley Rd, Reidsdale
Kate Chinnick is a gardener not afraid to push the boundaries.
In fact, since she and husband Mick bought their Reidsdale property in 1997, she’s moved the fence twice to accommodate her ever-increasing garden.
In 1999, they moved into their newly constructed house which they built using timber cut from the property. They salvaged stone from the ruins of an old cottage on the property and used it to created a stone retaining wall near at the back door which Kate says has ”turned into a wonderful home for blue-tongue lizards and copperhead snakes”.
Then, work on the garden started in earnest. As the trees grew, Kate joined them together with beds filled with shrubs and perennials, created a duck pond in a natural depression below the house and, quite by accident, discovered her love of roses.
674 Reidsdale Rd
Robyn Sim purchased Green Farm, a 5.3-hectare grass paddock, in 2005 with the view of developing the property to support a sustainable lifestyle as a retirement ”project”.
The attraction of the ‘paddock’ was the magnificent Eucalyptus viminalis on the eastern side and the granite outcrops.
The garden can be described as a one that has evolved rather than one that has been planned, although the granite outcrops have dictated where gardens are located.
Reidsdale experiences distinct seasons and the garden reflects this with all seasons having their special attraction; from the bare trees silhouetted against the sky in a bleak winter to the drifts of bright daffodils in early spring.
Spring also brings out the blossom trees, giving way to flowering shrubs, irises and roses. Summer flowering perennials then come into their own before the deciduous trees and shrubs change colour in autumn.
Bedervale, 1a Monkittee St, Braidwood
***Please note Bedervale will only be open Sunday this year.
Dotted among the 2.8 hectares of gardens at historic Bedervale are ethereal sculptures
“As it was originally only a three-bedroom house, it was really all show and no go,” she laughs.
The current garden was first established in 1974 in an informal style which provides a sweeping panorama from all angles. Massed planting and mature shade trees provide structure and the rolling rural vistas take in the nearby lake.
Old stables, a coach house, school room and kitchen edge the rear courtyard and to the west, there is a gardener’s cottage, productive orchard, original vegetable garden and historic family graveyard.
Wynlen House, 92 Monkittee Street
Visiting Wynlen House SlowFood Farm is like stepping back several generations, to a time when most families used every inch of their plots to produce fresh food.
Rows of neatly arranged garden beds are packed with the burgeoning bounty of spring, but as Bronwyn explains, even Braidwood’s harsh winters don’t stop the garden producing. ”One of the things we’re trying to do is not overwork the land,” Bronwyn says.
”In permaculture they talk about synergy and creating an environment where everything is working together and producing more than the sum of its parts.”
In this vein, each bed produces six crops, the planting timed so that the first crop provides protection for the subsequent seedlings. Each bed is rotated several times a year to maintain and build on soil integrity.
”This is simple honest food of the highest quality. It is food with soul and we believe you can taste the difference.”
* The entrance fee allows visitors to wander around the micro village farm and for a small additional fee Bronwyn and Helen will be providing guided tours of their garden and farm.
Deua Tin Huts
6 Dempseys Rd, Krawarree
As keen bushwalkers and nature lovers, Andrew and Clare Kavunenko couldn’t resist buying their 15-acre Krawarree property when they discovered all the gems on its doorstep.
Having previously enjoyed running a bed and breakfast on their farm outside Mittagong, the couple said it made sense to have another go at a small accommodation business. So they set about constructing their house and three freestanding, environmentally sustainable tin huts.
”Being only 15 acres, surrounded by the open space of the valley floor and the wooded hills to the east and west, the property is a manageable size and sits open to the valley views,” Clare says
”Our children had grown up and we’d had our eyes on this area for some time. As a young couple we had seriously looked at settling around here, so belatedly here we are.”
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