Gardening: Tours a feast for the senses

Graham and Ann Burns on their property Sirocco in Oakhampton
Graham and Ann Burns on their property Sirocco in Oakhampton

SPRING is just around the corner and apart from warm weather and beautiful spring colours and perfumes, garden lovers will have a great range of garden openings and events to choose to visit.

The first to whet your appetite is the Newcastle Native Orchid Society's Spring Spectacular, which will be held on August 30 and 31, at Windale-Gateshead Bowling Club, 2a Lake Road, Windale. For further details phone Tony on 4963 4583.

The highlight on the local gardening calendar each year is the Maitland Garden Ramble, which is the initiative of the Maitland Black and White Committee, which donates the event's proceeds to Vision Australia. It will be held on September 20 and 21.

This year there are seven gardens open that can be viewed individually ($5 entry) or as a group ($25 entry). A shuttle bus will leave Maitland station at 9.45am each day.

Tickets are from Maitland Visitor Information Centre, Sharpe's Nursery Merewether, Cherry Road Nursery, Heritage Gardens Nursery, and the Bolwarra Cafe. A map and garden description is provided.

Some of the gardens are on acreage.

One garden, Fernleigh, has been developed over 26 years, and others are older gardens undergoing change.

You will see roses, camellias, orchards, vegetable gardens, magnificent trees and shrubs and colourful beds of annuals.

Go to for more information.

In the Blue Mountains there are 10 gardens open at Hazlebrook and Woodford over two weekends - September 13 and 14, and September 20 and 21.

Now in its 30th year, the festival shows the beauty and diversity of gardens in the Blue Mountains. The gardens are a diverse collection of landscapes, established trees, flowers, natives, herbs, fruit trees and shrubs, set amidst the beauty of the mountains.

Go to or the Facebook page "HazlebrookWoodfordGardenFestival" for more information.

One of the best weekends I've had was when I spent a couple of nights in Leura for the annual garden festival that will be held this year from October 4 to 12, celebrating its 50th anniversary. Many of the gardens seem to hang off the mountain escarpment and are filled with cold climate plants and incredible displays of azaleas.

The Galston Open Gardens will be held from October 17 to 19. Many of these gardens have a formal structure. Tickets are available or the Galston Club.