Spring Colour, Wild and Tame

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 By Ellen Hill

The cherry trees of Leura Mall are world famous, the tulips at Everglades House & Garden attract visitors from around the world – but have you discovered the wild surprises in our World Heritage-listed wilderness?

Rhododendrons are at their best at Campbell Rhododendron Gardens at Blackheath, while red waratah stands are scattered through the bushland and celebrated at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah in Spring.

There’s a secret world of colourful private gardens behind heritage drystone walls awaiting those who swap the Bells Line of Road for village laneways at Mt Wilson.

There, trees come from seed taken from Hadrian’s Villa in Italy and crab apple from Cambridge University in England.

While you wander you can meet – virtually, through the Mt Wilson Historic Village Walk App (download it from the Apple or GooglePlay store) – the wealthy retailer who did not survive a gall bladder removal performed on his dining room table, and the (reputed) illegitimate son of King Edward VII whose house includes a secret passage purportedly built to elude bushrangers.

Credit_David_Hill_Everglades_House_Gardens_1.jpegPhoto: David HIll, Deep Hill Media

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

Gardens are a feature of all National Trust properties in the Blue Mountains, with a magnificent wisteria-covered walkway at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum at Faulconbridge and cottage gardens set against glowing sandstone at Woodford Academy.

The multicoloured Spring palette of planned gardens in private properties and public spaces is filled with the bright hues of bulbs: tulips, late daffodils, bluebells, alliums, freesias and hyacinths, while blooming cherry trees, crab apples and plums, the azaleas, laburnum and dogwoods are expected.

But the wild places in the Blue are also sprinkled with tiny yellow and red native peas, purple flowering mint bushes, pink Boronias and white flannel flowers, breaking up the muted hues of eucalyptus trees and sandstone with splashes of colour.

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

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Leura Gardens Festival – September 29 – October 2

Open times: 9.30am to 4.30pm daily

W: www.leuragardensfestival.com.au

T: 0431 095 279

Tickets valid: https://www.trybooking.com/events/1084288/sessions/4016804

Single garden $10, three gardens $20, all gardens $40

Seven of the most beautiful gardens in the boutique village will show off their magnificent displays of new growth, masses of flowers, gorgeous bulbs and an amazing variety of cool-climate plants including azaleas, rhododendrons and peonies as well as magnificent deciduous trees.

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, and other local health-related organisations.

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 252ha oasis of more than 5200 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.

Hartley Valley Garden Festival

10am to 4pm October 21 – 22

COST: $15 per person per garden (Hartvale $15, Harp of Erin free of charge). Children under-16 free

P: Jennifer Edwards 0404 531 555

W: https://www.facebook.com/CentralTablelandsGardenTrail/

Diverse, colourful and just 15 minutes from Blackheath, the privately-owned gardens of Highfields, Hartvale, Wild Meadows, Harp Of Erin and Gory'u showcase cottage, Japanese gardens and prairie gardens; water features and rare plants; perennial borders, rock walls, historic buildings and spectacular views.

Refreshments, art and plants will also be for sale.

 

 

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