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Maryborough Open Gardens

Sneak peek at Maryborough Open Gardens

If you love gardens, then you won’t want to miss the annual Maryborough Open Gardens event, held each year in late August.

From traditional gardens to those with a more modern twist, the event is a rare opportunity for visitors to see some of the best private gardens in the city.

Hosted by the Maryborough Horticultural Society, the private gardens are open to the public for just two days every year, but there’s more to it than just seeing beautiful gardens.

Maryborough Open Gardens also raises funds through plant sales that go to local charities and encourages people of all ages (even children) to take up gardening as a hobby.

With 14 beautiful private gardens opening on 27 and 28 August 2022, it was no wonder that many visitors had trouble deciding which they liked best.

Wendy Ford from Stirling House in North Street said the fantastic response from hundreds of garden enthusiasts was wonderful to see.

“We moved into Stirling just 10 months ago and this is our first year opening to the public as part of Maryborough Open House,” she said. “It was fantastic.”

So without further ado, let’s take a look at two of the 14 gardens on show in 2022.

Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these gardens are sure to inspire you.

 

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1. Stirling House

As I walked up the driveway toward Stirling House, Suzanne McLean’s painting at the entrance first drew my attention.

Wendy Ford’s exquisite artwork closer to the stately manor also showed Stirling House was not just a place of beauty and tranquillity, but also of storytelling.

“The painting was a gift from my neighbour, Suzanne McLean, who is a beautiful artist,” Wendy said.

“She has lived over the road for decades, raised her family there and her grandchildren, and yet had never been inside Stirling.

“We formed a lovely friendship because we both enjoy our art.

“So, I invited Suzanne over, and then when her children visited, I invited them over; and when her grandchildren visited, I invited them over.”

Wendy said the children dubbed the house ‘Rapunzel House’ because it looked like the balconies in the Rapunzel story.

“Suzanne gave me this painting as a gift, which I just still can’t believe. It’s so beautiful. She called it Wendy’s Garden. I said, ‘Let’s call it Wendy’s Garden Rapunzel House’ because that’s their history and the gift to us.”

Suzanne’s gift to her new neighbour was a wonderful way to greet the newcomers from the Brisbane suburb of Wynnum.

Just over 10 months ago, when Wendy’s husband, Bruce Ford, noticed a real estate advertisement for the sale of Stirling online, he said to her, “We should buy this place.”

“Let’s!” Wendy replied.

Five days later, they purchased it.

Previously owned by romance novelist Anne de Lisle, and before her Rod Grieves, the house dates back over 140 years.

The stunning home features some American Gothic styling combined with the look of a Queenslander.

“Anne had the house set up beautifully, but since then we’ve made a lot of changes to the gardens. Wendy is the gardener. I’m the labourer,” Bruce laughed.

History and nature thrive in revamped gardens.

Goldfish love to swim around in the large 3-tiered fountain, where they can explore all their favourite nooks and crannies. The original smaller fountain is also home to many of them as well.

Restored garden seats provide a place for peaceful resting.

The hedges have been replanted, and arbours remain with two Petrea Volubilis and other plants like Yellow Bells, Jasmine and Climbing Roses.

The garden is a colourful oasis with new plantings including Summer Sense, Murraya, Gardenias, Rhoeo, Bromeliads, Magnolias, Rosemary, Lavender, Grevilleas, Lilies, Blue Eyes, and annuals.

“A mango tree was dying, so it’s now with the local wood turners’ group where members are turning it into bowls and other beautifully turned pieces,” Bruce said.

Maryborough Open Gardens - Stirling House

Maryborough Open Gardens - Stirling House

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2. 296 Lennox Street

It was easy to see why the garden at 296 Lennox Street is one of Maryborough’s finest. The lush greenery and beautiful flowers were what first caught my eye.

A leisurely walk through the beautiful and diverse gardens took me on a journey of discovery, with intriguing plants like azaleas, citrus trees, and potted flowers.

At each turn, there was another world full of fauna and flora that offered their own gifts for visitors keen to explore the natural space.

As well as the mature trees, palms and explosion of colour one might expect to see in a traditional garden, there were also rarer plants such as Phoenix palms surrounded by agapanthus, hoya plants, and Indian rope plants growing under the shade of the historic Queenslander home.

The southwest side of the house was home to a giant mango tree that was originally planted to shade the house from the western sun. The tree also provided ample shade and shelter for a rock garden and shade-loving plants beneath.

Beside the mango tree was a large deciduous Persimmon Tree, and a Coral Tree coming from India and Western China that was just getting its little flowers on the top.

Along the side fence, a stunning Fraser Island Creeper (Tecomanthe hillii), was just coming into bloom, a rare thing at this time of year.

The house itself is relatively unique because it straddles two blocks of land. Built in the middle of the double block, it dates back to about 1905.

There aren’t many houses built on two blocks of land in Maryborough.

Maryborough Open Gardens - 296 Lennox Street

Maryborough Open Gardens - 296 Lennox Street

PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts

So, if you’re a fan of gardens, or just want to see some beautiful ones, mark your calendars for next year and head over to the Maryborough Open Gardens website to find out which gardens will be opening.

 

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