Open gardens / Braidwood’s six of the best

SIX gardens in Braidwood, including an organic vegetable farm and a grand, formal garden, will be open to the public on October 31 to November 1, as a fundraiser for the local community-run preschool.

Organiser Narelle Doherty says the event is running again after success last year, with three new properties – 116 Wallace Street, Warrambucca Gardens and Wynlen House – joining Mona, 14 Solus Street and Bedervale.

The 15-year-old garden at 116 Wallace Street is peaceful and private, say the owners, with its juxtaposition of formal and informal planting, strong lines of box hedges and paths offset by mass plantings of less structured varieties.

They say they wanted to create straight lines and a “bit of formality” with the paths, steps and borders but “what happens in the background is a bit less controlled”.

Wynlen House SlowFood Farm is a 0.6-hectare small farm run by owners Bronwyn and Helen, who now garden full time according to permaculture techniques and raise geese, chickens, pigs, turkeys and lambs for the table.

They say they produce “simple, honest food of the highest quality” and estimate they’re about 80 per cent self-sufficient.

The eight-hectare Warrambucca Gardens is undergoing renovations by owner Richard Barker, who favours rare plants in the property’s nursery and 1.6 hectares of gardens.

Spring-fed Warrambucca Creek provides a constant and ever-changing water feature that’s home to a resident platypus, says Richard.

He says the garden is best viewed by meandering along the well-worn path with handmade stone walls.

Rose Deo, owner of the grand Mona, which opened last year, says she bought the place two years ago mainly for the gardens and the stables.

“I like the cold climate and the changing seasons,” she says. “I also love the trees – there are so many beautiful old oak trees here; it’s a very old garden and it takes time to establish a place like this.”

Rose says she has a groundsman to help with maintaining the property, as well as a gardener friend who helps out once a week.

The property features a picturesque lake, stone Palladian-style bridge, poplar walk and an elm wood underplanted with bluebells, daffodils and jonquils.

“My favourite spot is probably the lake lawn, with views over Mount Gillamatong,” she says.

Also opening again this year is Cheryl Raper’s 0.8-hectare property at Solus Street, a manicured oasis of lawn and colourful garden beds, including the original 1840s bluestone cottage that was the old Mona manager’s cottage; and historic 2.8-hectare Bedervale, featuring contemporary sculptures created by the sister of owner Sonia Horan, providing a counterpoint to the historic colonial homestead and outbuildings.

Speakers over the weekend will include 666 ABC’s Graham Williams and landscape architect Michael Bligh.

There will also be face painting, pony rides, Devonshire tea, a sausage sizzle and guided tours of Wynlen House and Bedervale and its collection of National Trust-listed furniture and contents.

Braidwood Open Gardens, October 31-November 1, 10am-4pm both days, at a cost of $5 per garden. Under 18s are free. More information at braidwoodgardens.com.au

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