Green thumbs gather at Lanyon

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WORDS: Kathryn Vukovljak
PHOTOS: Silas Brown

THE garden at historic Lanyon homestead has never looked better, with its beautiful roses blooming and the huge vegetable garden overflowing with produce beneath views of the Brindabella Ranges.

DSCF0153The working farm will again host Open Gardens Australia’s annual Plant Fair on March 23-24, which promises to be heaven for anyone interested in gardening, and bigger and better for the centenary year.

DSCF0136“Lanyon’s grounds represent one of the earliest examples of gardening in the region and are loved by residents as an oasis of reflection and fun,” says Sally Stratton, ACT historic guide at Lanyon.

“The Plant Fair is the perfect setting to appreciate the legacy of green thumbs past and to pick up a special plant that continues our gardening tradition.”

DSCF0150The garden features historic bunya bunya trees on what was once the popular croquet lawns – “ but the roots of the old trees have put paid to that,” says Sally. There’s also wisteria dating back to 1890, a lily walk which is gradually being replaced after rabbits and hares ate them all, and a flower “picking” garden, created to grow flowers for inside the house, among other heritage features.

DSCF0158The fair will be held in the grounds of the 1850s homestead, where visitors can wander through the gardens, chat to Lanyon’s guides and volunteers and enjoy the talks, children’s programs, garden tours and other activities.

“The fair brings together specialist growers with everything from bulbs to trees, natives to exotics as well as garden art, outdoor furniture, tools and guest speakers,” says Bronwyn Blake, from Open Gardens Australia.

DSCF0175Talks will include landscape architect Michael Bligh, on historic country gardens; author Attila Kapitany, on designing with succulents; Australian Garden History Society’s Helen Wilson, on gardens of the 1930s; historian Dr Lenore Coltheart, on the legacy of nurseryman Thomas Hobday and permaculture consultant Nick Huggins, on permaculture in the backyard.

Lanyon Homestead, Tharwa Road, Tharwa. The Plant Fair is open from 10am-4pm on the weekend of March 23-24. Admission is $10, under 18s free. More information and a full list of exhibitors and activities is available at

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