HE­LEN YOUNG

The Weekend Australian - Life - - GARDENING - Au­tumn Fes­ti­val of Coun­try Gar­dens South­west West­ern Aus­tralia Co-or­di­na­tor: Carol Saun­ders Open May 6-8, 10am-5pm $2-$5 a gar­den, chil­dren free

DE­SCRIBE THE EVENT:

It’s a chance for peo­ple to visit gar­dens that have won­der­ful dis­plays of au­tumn colour, here in south­west West­ern Aus­tralia. Nine­teen gar­dens are open next weekend in Bridgetown, Nan­nup, Man­jimup and Pem­ber­ton, in­clud­ing or­na­men­tal, na­tive and pro­duc­tive gar­dens. Many are her­itage prop­er­ties so it’s won­der­ful to see how they have ma­tured across the past 100 years.

In ad­di­tion to the gar­dens, the Bridgetown Au­tumn Fair is on at Ford House on Satur­day, May 7, from 9am to 3pm. On the banks of the Black­wood River, it has mag­nif­i­cent gar­dens around an 1896 house. The fair will have many stalls sell­ing gar­de­na­lia, plants, de­li­cious food, cof­fee and raf­fles.

Other fes­ti­val at­trac­tions in­clude a free, guided walk through the Pri­or­ity Bit­tern and Wa­ter­bird project at 10am on Sun­day, May 8. This is a project re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing early min­ing op­er­a­tions into habi­tat suit­able for the en­dan­gered Aus­tralian bit­tern and other wa­ter­birds. There’s also a guided walk ($5) at 10.30am on Sun­day through the World Col­lec­tion of trees at the Golden Val­ley Tree Park in Balin­gup, where the au­tumn colour is mag­nif­i­cent.

We’re hold­ing a sundowner to en­joy drinks, nib­bles and mu­sic at the Cidery in Bridgetown at 6pm on Fri­day, May 6, as well as an au­tumn-themed din­ner at the Em­po­rium Bistro in Bridgetown on Satur­day, May 7 (book­ings es­sen­tial).

WHAT MAKES IT SPE­CIAL:

It’s a com­mu­nity event or­gan­ised by vol­un­teers who form the Black­wood Coun­try

Gar­dens group. Our fes­ti­val has been run­ning for 17 years and ev­ery­one looks for­ward to see­ing lots of vis­i­tors. This year we had so many own­ers of­fer­ing to open their gar­dens we ex­tended the fes­ti­val to in­clude Fri­day. Most hosts will pro­vide morn­ing and af­ter­noon teas for a nom­i­nal cost and some will have plants and other items for sale. As well as the glo­ri­ous au­tumn colour, the roses are stun­ning down here and some gar­dens own­ers have hun­dreds of them.

BIG­GEST CHAL­LENGES:

Dis­tribut­ing the posters, fly­ers and pro­grams to all the towns in the sur­round­ing re­gions and Perth. We have big dis­tances to cover here.

YOU HOPE VIS­I­TORS WILL:

Learn about new plants and trees, gar­den de­sign and how to care for gar­dens. And re­alise that liv­ing in the in­land south­west of West­ern Aus­tralia pro­vides a fan­tas­tic life­style.

MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION:

Down­load pro­grams and maps at black­wood­coun­try­gar­dens.com or get them from Hil­lview Gar­den Cen­tre, 200 Hamp­ton Street, Bridgetown. De­tails of gar­dens and events on web­site or face­book.com/fes­ti­val­of­coun­try­gar­dens.

Ford House, where the Bridgetown Au­tumn Fair will be held.

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