Bloomin' Blue Mountains in Spring

       BMBG_Spring_cherry_spring_Prunus_subhirtella_cultivar_pendula_weeping_cherry_Rosaceae_-_credit_Greg_Bourke.jpegImage:               Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Spring. Photo, Greg Bourke

By Ellen Hill

The freeze has thawed, the landscape has awakened from its Winter slumber and delicate baby green fronds have poked through the soil.

Within weeks, sploshes of vibrant colour will dot the scenery in the blood red of waratah stands in the bush; buttery daffodil drifts in public spaces; and 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 region - from Glenbrook to Hartley and sweeping across to the far side of the Blue Mountains along the Bells Line of Road, including the exquisite private gardens of Mt Wilson and the priceless public collection at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah - have attracted visitors to the region for more than a century.

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

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

Everglades property manager Guy McIlrath says flowing drifts of azaleas are a highlight there in Spring.

“The magnificent wisteria-covered walkway at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum at Faulconbridge is simply stunning, whilst the charming cottage gardens set against glowing sandstone at Woodford Academy are enchanting.”

McIlrath says the multicoloured palette of Spring colour throughout the Blue Mountains between September and November is filled with the bright hues of bulbs: tulips, late daffodils, bluebells, alliums, freesias and hyacinths.

The branches of cherry trees, crab apples and plums burst into bloom alongside azaleas and rhododendrons, while laburnum and wisteria cascade with colour and dogwoods erupt in pinks and cream.

In the untamed bush, red 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.

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

Everglades_tulips.jpeg

Everglades Tulips

Here are some ways to experience the vibrancy and colour of Spring in the Blue Mountains:

Leura Gardens Festival

October 1 – 4

W: www.leuragardensfestival.com.au

T: 0431 095 279.

Tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/events/923327/sessions/3255139

Nine of the most beautiful gardens in the boutique village will show off their magnificent displays of azaleas, rhododendrons, dogwoods, camellias and other cool climate exotics, as well as flowering annuals, perennials and bulbs.

Founded in 1965, The Leura Gardens Festival is a registered charity and raises funds for medical equipment and patient care at the Blue Mountains District Anzac Memorial Hospital, Katoomba.

It now also includes art and music garden events.

Mid-Mountains Garden Festival

September 10 – 11 & 17 – 18

W: https://www.midmountainsgardenfestival.com/

Photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1bcWmONvvkYu9WmYk65Wsoqns9RR0tz93?usp=sharing

Tickets: $32 festival pass, $60 festival pass for 2, children under-16 free with accompanying paid adult

Eight private properties (Aldebaran, Totoro, Arcadia, Tanglewood, Stoneholm Lane, Tarraleah, Elvis and Djurali) showcase their magnificent gardens across Woodford, Linden, Lawson and Hazelbrook to raise funds for Hazelbrook Public School.

Garden themes include a modern garden set against a 1920s bungalow, and a rustic cottage-style garden named after a Japanese anime nature spirit with a succulent flowered earth-roofed home, scented and medicinal plants, a Totoro teahouse and fantasy film sculptures scattered throughout. There’s a semi-formal European-style garden inspired by Elvis Presley’s song Follow that Dream, and a rustic patch with a treehouse and mud kitchen.

Each garden includes a special hidden art project by school students, and there’s plants and produce for sale at the school and individual gardens.

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Bells Line of Rd, Mt Tomah

W: https://www.bluemountainsbotanicgarden.com.au/

Opening hours: 9am – 5pm seven days

Cost: free

A sweeping oasis of more than 5,200 cool climate plants, visitors can explore the 28ha of publicly accessible space on individual walks or guided tours.

Visit the highest altitude botanic garden in the country during September to see more than 150,000 daffodils sprinkled across the lawns.

See exquisite Japanese cherry blossom trees and masses of our New South Wales state flower in October at the annual Wild About Waratahs festival.

The garden’s spiky blue puya plants, which grow up to 3m tall and bloom with jade-coloured flowers, will be displayed until December, attracting local birds and bees with their nectar.

From October to December, more than 200 dahlia and peony varieties will also be in bloom.

Mt Wilson, off the Bells Line of Road

W: https://www.mtwilson.com.au/ 

Cost: public areas free, private gardens vary

Nowhere is Spring colour more evident than at Mt Wilson, where spectacular cool climate private gardens and sweeping public avenues are ablaze with colour.

The historic village has more than 20 walks of varying levels of difficulty, lookouts to scenic vistas, charming picnic areas and Insta-worthy scenes at every turn.

The best way to experience Spring at Mt Wilson is to roam the on foot. Church Lane, Queen's Avenue, The Avenue and Cathedral Reserve with their rows of plane trees, limes, elms, beeches, liquidambar and pink cherries are a good sensory start.

Central Tablelands Garden Trail

October 29 – 30

W: https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/blue-mountains/lithgow-area/hartley/events/central-tablelands-garden-trail-0

Open hours: 10am to 4pm

Entry: $15 adults per garden, children under-16 free

Five diverse gardens of Little Hartley nuzzled against the western foothills of the Blue Mountains offer everything from historic buildings to Japanese influences, multi-hued cottage gardens, rare plants and gorgeous water features, huge perennial borders, loads of garden ideas and magnificent escarpment and mountain views.

Enjoy the unique garden collective of Highfields, Hartvale, Wild Meadows, Harp of Erin and Gory'u Japanese Gardens. Bus groups and picnics welcome.

Ewanrigg-3_EDIT.jpegImage:       Ewanrigg, Leura

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