Members and friends of the Bangalow Garden Club gathered by the Anglican Church in Bangalow early on a chilly autumn morning awaiting the arrival of the bus to take us to Tenterfield. Our new bus trip co-ordinator was a bit anxious as it was his first bus trip organised for the club. The participants on the other hand when just happy and eager to get going with the anticipation of autumn colour in this colder part of Northern NSW.
We travelled out of Bangalow, Clunes, Lismore and finally Casino and out onto the open road. The rolling hills of the New England district were carpeted in lush green, even the usually dry forests looked less thirsty thanks to the additional rain that has fallen.
Tenterfield, the historic town known as “the birthplace of Australia”; the town where Sir Henry Parkes made his famous 1889 speech calling for Australia’s federation. The town has many lovely historic buildings and homes. Outside of the town centre we finally arrived at Glenrock Gardens.
Glenrock Gardens, a lovely cool temperate highland climate garden that is incorporated into a working farm. The garden is surrounded by iconic Australian bushland and is designed in the English garden style with dry stone walls, a succession of lakes, a northern prairie borders and woodland gardens with the terraces, croquet lawns, spring borders and double borders. It was originally created by garden designer Carolyn Robinson.
Our members roamed ambled along the meandering paths and enjoyed the beauty of this gardens. It was lovely to see the deciduous trees, Liquidambar styraciflua liquidambars, Nyssa sylvatica tupelo, maples, oaks, birch and poplars, in their autumn colour, reds, yellows and oranges interspersed between iconic gum trees. Other beautiful large trees Salix willow, Taxodium swamp cyprus.
At this time of the year the garden was slowing down and preparing for a well-earned winter rest. The good “bones” of the garden still provide loads of interest. Stalwarts of the garden; salvia of various colours and cultivars; Miscanthus grasses, Poa tussock grass created a beautiful sight with their flower spikes swaying in the breeze; Iris foetidissima a few in flower but most showing off their bright orange seeds; clumps of Tradescantia virginiana; ceanothus, Cynara cardunculus cardoon; Artemisia absinthium wormwood and Stachys byzantina lambs ears providing a lovely grey in the borders; the Hydrangea paniculata panicle hydrangea and Hydrangea quercifolia oakleaf hydrangeas although not in flower their leaves adding contrast; all looking beautiful at this time of the year.
Our next visit was to The Bungalow and Ivy Leaf Cottage, a beautiful formal garden. We were greeted by the owner and gardener Kim Massey. Kim welcomed us to her elegant garden and told us about her cancer battle and how creating the garden practically saved her life, helped her through her darkest days and even helped with pain relief. Her story is so heart-warming and inspiring.
Both front and back garden are divided into quarters with a central circle and walkway. The front garden is formal with the circular centre garden bed ringed in Buxus box. There is an inner ring of Teucrium fruticans. The central urn is ringed by Berberis barberry and in each quarter of the circle there is a ball of Ligustrum sinense small leaf privet. The planting in the outer circle is lavender and balls of Berberis. On the steps leading up to the house pots and an old wheelbarrow filled with Sempervivum, Echeveria and other members of the Crassulaceae family.
The back garden is less formal with the quarters filled with trees, large shrubs and perennials. The main trees in this area are Ulmus parvifolia chinese elm. Other trees of note are prunus, robinia, and magnolia. Topiaries of Juniperus chinesis sparten juniper are also featured in the quarters. Salvia, lambs ear, Cerastium tomentosum snow in summer are also planted in the quarters. The Chapel is made of concrete reinforcing mesh. Parthenocissus tricuspidata Boston ivy climbs through the mesh, its leaves now dropping, must be a glorious sight in its peak season.
Our members had many, many questions as some of the plants in this garden were not familiar to sub-tropical gardeners. The tour ended with a delicious and much appreciated afternoon tea.
We thank Stephen Stoker for arranging such a long but very enjoyable day.