Lake Macquarie Garden Club presents Open Gardens and Arts Trail this weekend, September 2 and 3

HELEN McLeod reckons there’s one thing keen gardeners enjoy almost as much as losing themselves in work at the bottom of the garden.

And that’s sharing their experiences, their lessons and their discoveries, with others.

That’s why she’s so looking forward to throwing open the gates to her Bolton Point garden to complete strangers this weekend.

Ms McLeod is one of 10 Lake Macquarie Garden Club members whose gardens will be open to the public as part of the club’s Open Gardens and Arts Trail.

“We want to share,” Ms McLeod said of her garden club colleagues.

“It’s a nurturing thing to be in the garden with nature.”

That sharing will extend to a few buckets of clippings that Ms McLeod will have at the ready, taken from plants in her garden.

Some of the plants that now take pride of place in her yard were given to her by other gardeners as clippings, so she’s happy to continue the cycle.

Event co-ordinator Lynne Turner said 10 distinctive gardens would be on show.

They were chosen for their diversity and varying styles, and include everything from waterfront and formal masterpieces to rambling native and even cottage-style gardens.

“The open gardens extend from the top end of Lake Macquarie at Speers Point, to Bolton Point, Blackalls Park, Toronto and Coal Point,” Ms Turner said.

“Some of the gardens were professionally designed, some big, some small, and others the result of hard yakka and dedication.”

Each garden will be open from 10am to 4pm both days, and entry will be by donation of $5 per garden or $25 for all 10 gardens.

All money collected will be presented to the Hunter Medical Research institute (HMRI), Ms Turner said.

“Morning and afternoon tea and coffee will be available at some of the gardens, served with scones, strawberry jam and lashings of cream,” she said.

The weekend will also be a showcase for some of the area’s talented artists, including painters, printmakers, sculptors, potters, felt workers and calligraphers, who will display and sell their works at the open gardens. 

“Our members thought it the perfect combination: picturesque spring gardens where artists can exhibit their works,” Ms Turner said.

Ms McLeod said her garden was best classified as rustic and eclectic.

“This is gardening on the wild side,” she said. “We started out 22 years ago wanting a native garden but, over time, people give you things...”

She said the steep slope of the yard initially posed problems, which later became opportunities.

The homes taking part in the open gardens weekend are at:

  • 43 The Ridgeway, Bolton Point (plus art and morning tea);
  • 6 Dora Street, Fassifern;
  • 99 Lake Street, Blackalls Park;
  • 143 Brighton Avenue, Toronto (plus art);
  • 12 and 14 Ambrose Street, Carey Bay (plus art);
  • 232 Skye Point Road, Coal Point (plus art and morning tea);
  • 328 Skye Point Road, Coal Point (plus art and afternoon tea);
  • Units 40 and 42, 36 Laycock Street, Carey Bay (plus art and morning tea);
  • 232 Kilaben Road, Kilaben Bay; and
  • 45 Macquarie Road (corner of Sherwood Street), Arcadia Vale (plus art).

More details at the Lake Macquarie Garden Club Facebook page.