I really enjoyed the experience and we have since visited a few more, not only for the inspiration, but
it´s also a lovely way to enjoy the outdoors, have a cup of tea or coffee together, and an opportunity to ask the gardeners questions about their choice of plants, discover new plants or design ideas.
|A dry garden|
All sorts of gardens are opened to the public, from small city gardens to country estates, Open Gardens Australia has about 10 thousand gardens in its books, and each season about 600 private gardens are opened to the public, with over 175,000 people visiting these gardens!
If someone thinks they have a good, well maintained garden, they can request a visit from one of the selectors, and the Committee would then make a choice to include them in the visiting calendar.
On open days, usually on a Saturday or Sunday or the whole weekend, members of the selection panel and committee members, as well as friends and relatives of the garden owner are at hand to help man the entrance, provide refreshments, answer questions, etc.,so the help of the 10 thousand volunteers involved each season is essential.
An entry fee of usually $6 is charged for anyone over 18. From this fee, 35% goes to the garden owner or the charity of their choice, and 65% goes to the Open Garden Australia, who after the deduction of their operating costs, distributes the surplus to the community as grants for garden related projects.
Yearly, around $350,000 is given to charities by the garden owners, with over $4,7million donated since 1987. Also since 1987, over $1,1 million has been given to community garden projects from those 65%.
The first "open garden" we visited was in Mosman Park, one of the most exclusive suburbs of Perth. The boundary walls were covered in plates and little pictures made of broken china, and the garage wall painted with a colourful mural, both being out of character with the style and cost of housing in that suburb, so I'm almost sure the neighbours wouldn't be too happy with that outdoor decoration!
|Boundary walls covered in plates and tiles and a sunset painted on the garage door|
Inside, the front garden mostly occupied by a swimming pool was surrounded by murals on the walls as well as some walls covered in colourful crockery and broken tiles at the entrance to the house.
|Painted walls surrounding the pool, and a table and old bathroom basin get a mosaic makeover|
I like colour and I thought the idea of recycling was lovely but in this house it might be going a bit overboard...But who would wear yellow if everyone just liked blue? Tastes differ and this lady certainly had a different house and garden!
|Walls at the entrance to the house|
This next garden was a tropical haven in suburbia. Photos of the original garden had been put up showing that it had all been dug up and replanted over the years. It was a very hot day, but nice an cool under all the shady trees. The owners had built a lot of steps, bridges and hiding nooks to keep their grandchildren entertained, and that was a lovely touch.
|The tropical haven garden|
|Shower with enclosed view of the garden|
One of the most interesting features of this garden was a shower whose outside walls had been replaced by glass, facing the inside of an enclosed patio full of greenery. It certainly must be a wonderful feeling to have a shower bathed by the sun or under the night stars!
This next garden was a garden of a TV gardening presenter and it was a "study in the art of recycling" and very inspirational as well. The front garden was a "dry garden", and among various interesting ideas, the back garden had a water storage tank for rain water, chickens to provide eggs and eat leftovers, plants covered with mulch to protect from the harsh sun and keep the soil moist, a compost box, shade-cloth was used to cover the vegetable planter boxes when the weather was too hot...
|Chooks, mulch and vegetable boxes|
It's all being planned at the moment and I'm trying to convince my husband it will be a good idea too of course, as he will not have to be out there removing an endless number of weeds every other weekend!
Although I suspect he likes to remove the weeds, it's a relaxing pastime for him...