Spectacular blooms beckon

GREEN THUMBS: Escape the stress of modern life and reconnect with nature during the 33rd Maitland Garden Ramble this weekend.
GREEN THUMBS: Escape the stress of modern life and reconnect with nature during the 33rd Maitland Garden Ramble this weekend.

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The annual Maitland Garden Ramble is a vision splendid in every way,  showcasing the magificent spring gardens of the local area while raising money for Vision Australia.

“We raise  money for the partially visually impaired and blind people of the Hunter,” Heather McLaren, president of the Maitland Black and White Committeee of Vision Australia said.

“We have two fundraiser each year, a luncheon at Maitland Town Hall  and the Garden Ramble,  which is always on the third weekend in September when the spring gardens are coming into bloom.” 

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Eight gardens are featured this year ranging in size, shape and colour

Garden 1, at historic Pinehurst House, East Maitland, features substantial trees and hedges, plantings and perennials.  

“There will be a cafe operating on the big verandahs serving up tantalising sweets, cakes, scones, tea and coffee, wine and cheeses, as well as stalls with home made local crafts,” Heather said.

 Garden 2  in Wesley Street, Bolwarra has lovely roses.

“Local rose expert Peter Hill will be giving talks on Sunday at 10.30am and 2.30pm,” Heather said.

Garden 3,  set on 3.5 acres at Oakhampton Heights, has been  14 years in the making and will feature talks from the owners about their creative efforts. 

 Garden 4, at magnificent Abyglassyn House, features  two big Moreton Bay believed to have been planted when the stones of the house were layed in the 1800s.

Garden 5, Trill Cottage at Bolwarra, has colour everywhere, as well as a barbecue.

Garden 6,  Leylandi at Bolwarra, is set on a half acre, where you can wander the paths through azalias, camelias and Australian natives to a spectacular view over the Hunter River.

Garden 7 is a ¾-acre parkland of native and exotic plants in Bolwarra.

Garden 8 is Bev Steggles’ home at Ashtonfield  – a garden of pots, annuals and perennials.

“The Horticultural Institute Clinic will be held there between 10am – 4pm Saturday and Sunday, where people can discuss any topic they like,” Heather said.

Maps and descriptions of all gardens are available at Maitland Information Centre where you can also buy your tickets. Cost is $5 per garden or $30 for all gardens ($25 pensioners). Tickets are also available online. A bus will run from Maitland Train Station both days, leaving at 9.45am and returning by 3.30pm. Cost is $10. 

“A lot of lot of people come up from Newcastle by train,” Heather said.

The committee celebrates it’s 50th anniversary next year.

“We still have original members on the committee,” Heather said. “The gardens represent what we are; their beauty and growth has reflected the committee itself.”