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Enjoying Australia’s Open Gardens in 2012

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Australians love their gardening, and with ideal growing conditions almost all year round, it is no surprise that there are some pretty impressive gardens. When the idea came up to organise a way to show some of Australia’s public and private gardens, it was always going to be a winner.

Open Gardens Australia

Back in 1987, Victoria’s Open Garden Scheme began as a way to open up both public and private gardens for public viewing, for even just a day or two. The idea behind it was to help encourage Australians to get into their gardening by showcasing some of what people are doing already. The Open Garden Scheme proved so successful in Victoria that it grew to become Australia’s Open Garden Scheme, and was then renamed Open Gardens Australia.

How does it work?

The gardens on show are of all types, ranging from huge country manor style gardens to inner city terraces, and there are over 10,000 gardens involved. For a day or two each season, a number of gardens are selected to host showings, with an entry fee of $6 usually charged and, quite often, refreshments available. These showings offer an incredible opportunity to not just see some impressive and innovative gardening, but also to talk to the gardeners about how they are doing what they are doing, and even to get their advice on what you are attempting to do. The entry fee is split 35-65 between the garden owner and Open Gardens Australia, with many gardeners donating their portion. Open Gardens Australia uses any money they bring in to cover costs, and puts any surplus towards community grants and projects.

Who should go to Open Gardens Australia?

Everyone! Whether you are an arborist or just someone who wants to learn more about plant and tree care, this is an awesome opportunity to see some of the creative things other people are doing and get to know your neighbourhood. If you are a green thumb yourself, the benefits of being able to connect with other gardeners can’t be understated, because for advice, inspiration or pure camaraderie, this event is hard to beat.

How are the gardens chosen?

If you want to get involved and have your garden included in the program, Open Gardens Australia will first send out garden ‘selectors’ to look at what you have to offer. They are looking for gardens that are good examples of their particular type, well maintained and interesting, so if you feel like your garden meets the criteria, contact Open Gardens Australia to get involved.

When does it happen?

Open Gardens Australia has gardens being shown and showcased all year long, but only gardens in the more northern tropical parts of the country will be open throughout the winter.

How to find out more details

The Open Gardens Australia website has all the answers that you need. The ABC has also been a huge supporter since the beginning and regularly makes announcements relating to the latest in Open Gardens Australia. Gardening Australia on ABC TV is another fantastic resource.

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