Bloomin' Blue Mountains in Spring


By Ellen Hill         Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

The vibrant robustness of waratah stands in the bush; stands of daffodils with their buttery, frilly nodding heads; the famous cherry trees of Leura Mall, Campbell Rhododendron Gardens of Blackheath and manicured azalea groves of Mt Wilson.

The kaleidoscopic Spring blooms of the Blue Mountains, from Glenbrook to Mt Victoria and including the priceless collections and displays at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah, have attracted visitors to the region for more than a century.


Everglades House & Garden at Leura has long been a star attraction, with its sweeping Sorensen-designed dry-packed stones walls, meandering pathways and tiered terraces of exotic species overlooking dramatic soaring escarpments and deep valleys enclosing the delicate subtlety of native plants.

Property manager Guy McIlrath, who moved to the Blue Mountains in 1997 after being a regular visitor for many years, joined the National Trust property in 2004 as head gardener and says flowing drifts of azaleas were a highlight of the heritage property in Spring.

Gardens are a feature of all National Trust properties in the Blue Mountains, delighting visitors and creating an environment conducive to leisurely learning and appreciation of heritage.


``The wisteria covering walkways at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum at Faulconbridge is fulsome and stunning, and the cottage gardens set against glowing sandstone at Woodford Academy are charming,’’ McIlrath says.

Although National Trust properties have been closed to visitors due to restrictions, all gardens continue to be maintained.

McIlrath says the multi-coloured palette of nature throughout the Blue Mountains between September and December is carpeted with the bright hues of bulbs: tulips, late daffodils, bluebells, alliums, freesias and hyacinths.

Fragile and fragrant cherry trees, crabapples and plums burst into colour alongside azaleas and rhododendrons, while laburnum and wisteria cascade with colour, and dogwoods bloom pink and cream.

In the untamed bush, red and rare white waratahs dot the landscape and myriad native peas such as Pultenaea sprinkle the scenery with yellow and red flowers.

Purple flowering mint bushes (Prostanthera), pink Boronias and white flannel flowers delight bushwalkers with splashes of colour among the muted hues of eucalypts and sandstone.

``Everything about Spring makes you feel alive – energy is rising, colour abounds and there is life everywhere,’’ McIlrath says.


Deep Hill Media photographer David Hill, whose images are available for licencing, has photographed the beauty of organised gardens and the uncultivated wilderness of the Blue Mountains for 25 years.

``It’s fascinating to watch the seasons change and follow the flowers throughout the region, from the more temperate climate of the lower Mountains to the cool climate gardens of Leura, Blackheath and across to Mt Wilson.

``I love how creative people are with their gardens and how they express themselves through plants and landscape design.’’

Native flowers are equally as beautiful as exotic plantings, Hill says.

``Flowers in the bush can look quite harsh, but the closer you get you realise how intricate and delicate they are. It’s not just about the colour, but the texture and the foliage is amazing.’’


For McIlrath and Hill, Spring is an exciting herald of new growth and rebirth, particularly after bushfire.

``While I love every day in the Blue Mountains, Spring and Autumn are definitely the star seasons of the region,’’ McIlrath says.

``There are so many beautiful gardens to see and no bigger garden than our wonderful Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.’’

As well as the famed Leura Gardens Festival (postponed until Spring 2022), of which Everglades is a centrepiece, a bushwalk is the ideal way to experience Spring.

Updates about National Trust of NSW property opening dates are available on individual property social media pages and at

Also visit:


Wild Meadows, 243a Coxs River Rd, Little Hartley

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Open: October 9 – 10, November 14 – 14

A 3-acre contemporary naturalistic garden set in the hills of Little Hartley, with flowery meadows, perennial borders and woodlands filled with some unusual plants.

The garden experiences four distinct seasons and the changes are dramatic.

Spring is a mixture of fresh greens and short colour bursts from bulbs and herbaceous plantings that awaken from Winter’s rest. Siberian iris and purple hesperis follow to dominate the meadows.

Summer is a riot of colour with roses, lilies and perennials. Autumn is more sombre with the turning of leaves in the trees and perennial meadows, and Winter is filled with russet hues and displays of unusual seed heads.

World Heritage Adventure for All
The Great Takeaway Pivot


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