IN MID-NOVEMBER 31 members of U3A Castlemaine in central Victoria took part in a five-day ‘Gardens of Northern Tasmania’ tour, organised and led by former colleagues and now Deloraine residents Richard Mack and Rosalie Young.
Among the gardens visited were Old Wesleydale, Wychwood, Culzean, Entally House, Woolmers Estate, Villarett, Kaydale Lodge, Annsleigh, and the Emu Valley Rhododendron Gardens. Also included were a number of smaller private gardens in Weetah, Mole Creek and Longford.
Coming from the poor soils and harsh summers of the box-ironbark forested region of central Victoria, the participants were amazed at the lush scenery and extravagant colours of our local gardens. “Nothing I have ever seen compares to this garden,” said one on leaving Old Wesleydale, while another was blown away by the “fabulous trees and calming reflections of the lake” at Culzean in Westbury.
Even small gardens were praised, White Dove Cottage at Longford being described as a “lovely cottage garden, perfectly designed and planted.” She said she was inspired to regenerate her own garden on the mainland.
A barbecue on the banks of the Meander, hosted by members of the local garden club, gave participants an opportunity to experience the serenity of the riverside walk in Deloraine with its indigenous sculptures and plantings.
The tour was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the beauty of northern Tasmania to the participants. Many had not visited Tasmania for many years and it became clear that they were keen to return, bringing family members with them.
“It was so lovely to see the pleasure that our friends got from visiting these wonderful gardens,” said Rosalie. “It just made all the hard work of planning the tour worthwhile.”
In addition to the pleasure that the tour gave to the participants, it also had an economic benefit, bringing over $24,000 into the local community.
What’s next? “We’re thinking about a tour that combines gardens and some of the grand architecture of the region,” said Richard.