Sad tinge to a beautiful garden opening

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WHEN Maria White’s dear friend and running buddy Marg van Belkom was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year, Maria decided to fundraise by opening her beautiful Wanniassa garden to the public for the first time.

Maria White… “I felt so devastated for Marg and her family, and so helpless. I wanted to help in some way.” Photo by Kathryn Vukovljak

“I felt so devastated for Marg and her family, and so helpless. I wanted to help in some way,” she says.

“I’ve always loved getting outdoors and growing things, so I thought that opening up my garden to help raise money for MND research was something I could do.”

Maria’s neat, colourful, cottage garden will be open from Friday, November 17 to Sunday, November 19, and she says the weekend will include a café serving tea, coffee and cakes under her shady pergola, a raffle and a plant sale.

“The garden is a feast for the eyes, with different varieties of flowers all year round,” she says.

“It’s chock-a-block with plantings and colour, and with the mountain views from the back terrace where you can view the whole garden at once, it’s a lovely space to relax.”

Maria says she and her husband Jim work on the garden together, generally with him carrying out her ideas.

“I like to think I’m the brains of the operation and he’s the brawn!” she says.

“It works well and we both very much enjoy the garden.

“Our favourite place to sit is under the pergola, it’s very peaceful and relaxing there and I can get quite mesmerised sitting by the water and watching the fish.”

Maria’s pristine front garden features a rose arbour and follows a gentle path of pavers around to the back, past the veggie patch and colourful floral corners and up to the pergola, lawn area and fishpond.

With roses, camellias, daisies, geraniums and valerias providing bursts of colour, the garden is also productive and features thriving apple, mandarin, dwarf peach, lemon, lime, nectarine, pear and plum trees, as well as plenty of veggies.

Maria says she hopes the open garden event will go some way to helping with MND research and in supporting Marg.

“Marg and I had run together at least three times a week for the past 11 years so it’s been a big adjustment for her as she’s already in a wheelchair now,” she says.

“We’ve had so much support for this event from our running group, with everyone helping out or donating in some way, and it’s been wonderful.”

Maria’s cottage garden, 29 Holden Crescent, Wanniassa, 10am-3pm, Friday, November 17-Sunday, November 19. Adults $8, Pensioners $5 and children under 18 free. Disabled parking and wheelchair access available. All proceeds to motor neurone disease research.


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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist.

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