Historic charm comes together at ‘Blackburn’

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WITH a 120-year-old, ivy-clad smoke shed, an old shearers’ quarters for guests, a wisteria walkway made from timber from the old Sydney Finger wharves and a slab hut dating from 1840, “Blackburn” in Yass has beautiful, historical buildings around every corner, surrounded by colourful, flower-filled gardens. 

A working sheep farm, the gardens were created from scratch, by hand and with passion and enthusiasm by owners Jen and Dave Hewlett.

“I always said I wouldn’t have a big garden, but it seems to keep growing,” says Jen. “We’ve even got some ideas to extend it further, but I’m not sure if we should!”

The family have a passion for salvaging and recycling – they built the many stone walls themselves with collected stone, and cleaned 32,000 old bricks to build their home.

This large, lovely garden will be open on the weekend of November 10-11 as part of Open Gardens Australia.

The garden started off 30 years ago with just two tall trees, which later fell down, and the couple had to plant more to create much-needed shade. Gradually, the garden grew taller and now surrounds and protects the house, which features a pergola made from adzed timber salvaged from an old woolshed, says Jen.

The garden is a floral feast of crabapples, banksia roses, bulbs, lupins, poppies and forget-me-nots, and features comfy sitting areas dotted about under the trees.

“I love going out down the walkway from the back of the house,” says Jen. “Even if the banksia isn’t out, it’s just really pretty.”

“Blackburn”, 1357 Cooks Hill Road, Yass, will be open 10am-4.30pm, Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11. Adults $7, children under 18 are free. Funds raised will go to Open Gardens Australia, Red Cross and SIDS & Kids. More information at opengarden.org.au

While in Yass…

THE tranquil young garden at 4 Hatton Drive, Yass, features beautifully neat repeat plantings of silver birches, crabapples, Manchurian pears and seduction roses.

A restful space, with a colour scheme of soft blues, silvers and whites, the garden also has hedges as a strong feature, with six different types providing structure and definition. 

At the front, a hedge of Tom Thumb provides a backdrop to the garden beds, while mini agapanthus border the path, with hellebores and roses in between. A herb garden sits below a stone wall at the rear of the house, with a vegetable garden beyond the swimming pool.

Adults $7, children under 18 are free, open 10am-4.30pm, Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11. Teas and light lunches will be available. Proceeds will go to Cystic Fibrosis Australia and Open Gardens Australia.


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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist.

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