BOWYLIE Station’s, a property of significance in the Yass region since the early 1800s, is rarely open to the public.
Open Gardens Australia will be opening its large, country garden on Saturday, November 19, and it will be of interest to gardening enthusiasts, those with an interest in historical properties and anyone who enjoys the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of an idyllic rural setting.
Situated at Gundaroo, the first significant elements of the Bowylie garden were planted in the 1860s when William Guilfoyle, one of the early curators of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, planted the magnificent elms and conifers that still grace the garden today.
In 1896, the property was acquired by the Osborne family, who renamed it Bowylie and began the true development of the garden.
When a newly married Mrs James Osborne arrived in 1904, the garden’s only features were the trees and the barbed-wire fence that surrounded them.
She laid out the garden, including the Lambertiana hedge, the circular gravel carriageway that passed in front of the house and planted the Bunya Pine, Magnolia floribunda and the main veranda’s wisteria, a descendant of which still flourishes today.
After World War II, a large rose garden was developed at the front of the house, and a vegetable garden with long rows of berries was planted near the river.
The Osborne family sold Bowylie in 1995, but the current owners continue the tradition of using all parts of the garden for family occasions.
Since 1995, the property has seen its most prolific period of investment and expansion.
James Hoskins was commissioned as the landscape designer with a brief to develop an English-style garden, retaining as many of the existing garden features as possible and, in 1997, a full-time gardener was employed.
Artworks by local and international artists have been installed throughout the garden to provide focus and points of interest.
The gardens have continued to evolve with more garden beds constructed and existing ones enlarged and replanted.
Bowylie as it is seen today is a superb amalgamation of the maintenance of the property’s history, adaptation to the physical environment and the creation of a haven for several generations of the owners’ family.
The Bowylie Station garden, 3668 Sutton Road, Bowylie, will be open in aid of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Open Gardens Australia on Saturday, November 19. Tickets are $10 and children under 18 are free. Tickets can be booked online at www.opengarden.org.au for the four, two-hour sessions at 9am-11am, 11am-1pm, 1pm-3pm and 3pm-5pm. Community groups will provide refreshments for sale.
[box]Other open gardens
2 Larakia Street, Waramanga: A delightful garden brimming with interesting and rare plants. Well-arranged layered plantings from the tree canopy down to colourful shrubs and attractive underplantings.
Open 10am-4.30pm, November 12-13, entry $6, children free. Art and sculpture exhibition. Refreshments and plants available to purchase.
44 Waite Street, Farrer: Distant views are a picturesque backdrop to a lush suburban garden. Blue-mauve flowers of native plants contrast with cream walls; massed annuals hug quirky sculptural pieces.
Open, 10am-4.30pm, November 12-13, entry $6, children free. Refreshments and plants available to purchase.
5 Angell Place, Banks: Successfully established during the drought, this small waterwise garden illustrates that you don’t need space to create a peaceful haven. White cedars, maples and birches provide shade; a bottlebrush attracts birds.
Open November 19-20, 10am-4.30pm. Entry $6, children free.
72 Charterisville Avenue, Conder: Illustrating the opportunities offered by elevation and a mild micro-climate, murraya, clivias, snail vine and other plants uncommon in Canberra flourish in well-established beds.
Open November 19-20, 10am-4.30pm. Entry $6, children free. Refreshments and plants available for purchase.
19 McBurney Crescent, Richardson: Tranquil garden featuring many mature deciduous trees including maples, oaks and Ginkgo biloba. Courtyards contain bonsai and small ponds surrounded by tree-ferns, cycads and bromeliads.
Open November 19-20, 10am-4.30pm. Entry $6, children free. Refreshments available for purchase. [/box]