A let­ter home

Gardening Australia - - GARDENER OF THE YEAR -

Our trip was ut­terly won­der­ful! It was quite lit­er­ally a dream come true, as ev­ery­thing went very smoothly and (de­spite not be­ing as young as we once were!) we man­aged to pack a lot in.

We made gar­dens the fo­cus of our trip. Our 10 days in Paris were spent ex­plor­ing some amaz­ing gar­dens, and trav­el­ling fur­ther to oth­ers, such as Monet’s gar­den at Giverny. We caught the train to Lon­don and on to Corn­wall, where we vis­ited The Lost Gar­dens of Heli­gan and the Eden Project.

On our re­turn to Lon­don, we joined our Col­lette ‘Spot­light on Lon­don’ tour, which in­cluded the Chelsea Flower Show. Ev­ery­thing at Chelsea is on a huge scale. We saw many amaz­ing gar­den dis­plays and masses of plants in the large pavil­ion. Our favourite gar­den, by the Horse Res­cue So­ci­ety, fea­tured an over­grown gar­den with a ‘just built’, aged shed and a horse sculp­ture made en­tirely out of horse shoes, in­clud­ing some from the Queen’s horses.

On our free day of the tour, we caught the train to Siss­inghurst Cas­tle Gar­den in Kent, where we ex­plored the many beau­ti­ful gar­den ‘rooms’, in­clud­ing the fa­mous White Gar­den.

Other gar­dens vis­ited in­cluded Kew Gar­dens, Wis­ley, The Sav­ill Gar­den in Wind­sor Great Park, Kens­ing­ton Palace Gar­dens, Chelsea Physic Gar­den and Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity Botanic Gar­den. Even though my gar­dens in Mel­bourne are on a much smaller scale, I found th­ese vis­its in­spi­ra­tional, es­pe­cially the plant and colour com­bi­na­tions.

Our whole trip was so very spe­cial. To any keen gar­den­ers won­der­ing whether or not to en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion, I say don’t hes­i­tate! I never imag­ined in my wildest dreams that I could win Gar­dener of the Year, but de­cided to go ahead and share my story.

Ev­ery gar­den, no mat­ter how small, makes the world a bet­ter place, and by shar­ing your love and pas­sion for gar­den­ing you will in­spire oth­ers.

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