Open garden: Autumn colour comes to Burra

DESPITE being at the mercy of the weather, Monica and Allan Schmidt are opening their beautiful established garden in Burra to show off its spectacular autumn colour.

Monica and Allan Schmidt’s new rose arbour... “Nine months, 74 holes, 8.5 cubic metres of concrete, 300 metres of wire, 38 roses, 650 lineal metres of timber and one shoulder reconstruction.” Photos by Gary Schafer

Monica and Allan Schmidt’s new rose arbour… “Nine months, 74 holes, 8.5 cubic metres of concrete, 300 metres of wire, 38 roses, 650 lineal metres of timber and one shoulder reconstruction.” Photos by Gary Schafer

“Some of the trees are turning, but most are quite protected in the garden,” says Monica. “I’m not normally keen on cold weather, but we need a frost for the colours to come out before the open weekend!”

Monica says the garden always has the most amazing show of colour at this time of year, with shades of yellow, red, orange and purple taking over the 3.6-hectare property.

Woowoolahra will be open for the long Anzac weekend (April 25-27) as part of Open Gardens Australia.

This will be Monica and Allan’s eighth year living at the property, and a year they’ll never forget – they built a huge rose arbour on the banks of the dam near the house, while still working full time. Construction finished in December.

“Allan designed the arbour himself, and we built it all from scratch,” says Monica. “We didn’t know what to do with ourselves when it was finished, as it had been pretty much our whole lives for nine months!”

The build even resulted in Monica needing a shoulder reconstruction, which she’s remarkably cheerful about.

“It was probably a combination of old war wounds as well as nine months of back-breaking labour,” she says. “I’m just about getting back to normal now.”

Monica says she wanted a pale pink rose to go over the arbour, and selected the Nahema variety for its colour and amazing perfume.

“I heard about the incredible fragrance of the Nahema rose – Guerlain has made a perfume based on it, so I did some research,” she says.

“Wagner’s Rose Nursery in SA was amazingly helpful and had some great advice, and now the roses are just stunning, and should still be in flower on the open garden weekend.”

Woowoolahra also has a hectare of garden rooms separated by stone walls, a cypress woodland with paths winding through to the dam, a berry garden and wildlife around every corner.

Monica and Allan say they couldn’t be more thrilled with how the arbour turned out. Monica says their favourite spot is sitting on the 3m-squared pier they built in the middle of the arbour.

“We’ve got the Adirondack chairs out there now, and it’s the best place in the garden to sit and turtle-spot!” she says.

OAllan and Monica Schmidt’s garden, 6 London Bridge Road, Burra, will be open between 10am and 4.30pm on April 25-27. Entry is $7, children under 18 are free. Proceeds to Open Gardens Australia, ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group and Burra Community Association.

Also on throughout the open garden weekend will be:

  • A café serving lunch, morning and afternoon teas, including a Polish dish in honour of Monica’s heritage, and cold drinks
  • Dog agility demonstrations at 11am each day
  • Vintage and antique jewellery for sale

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