Friday, 19 October 2007

Spring Gardens

Leura, the town immediately east of our town, Katoomba, is a quieter, more upmarket area of fine old homes surrounded by gracious gardens, many of which are owned by wealthy retirees or long-established families. Each October, there is a one-week open gardens festival, which raises money for charity. This year a ticket costing a mere $18 gave you access to nine private gardens, so naturally I went along.

Most of the gardens featured banks of flowering azaleas and rhododendrons under stately English oaks and beeches.

The one featuring mosaic columns and many shallow bowls of succulents reminded me of Seattle gardens I have seen, particularly the Little and Lewis garden. A lemon and an orange tree growing in big blue pots were more reminiscent of Tuscany. Growing your own citrus is a possibility here; my sister has been supplying me with lovely organic lemons from her garden for the past month.

The smallest garden on the tour had some of the best features, including the water feature with the floating silver balls. It also had the best view, especially when seen through the foliage of a native tree fern.

The photo of the beautiful bank of erythroniums and hellebores gracing one of the grand estates is for my friend Lambert. They are all the common E. x versicolor 'Suphureum', but it was the mass of them, extending perhaps 30 metres along the base of a drystone wall, that was so impressive.

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