A Festival of Flowers
With winter in full swing and a cold and drizzly week ahead we are happy to sit back and anticipate the spring to come. Sandra Ross reflects on touring the NSW spring festival circuit last year, what has become a much-loved annual event for Ross Tours. Here she shares her highlights.
Early spring’s sense of renewal and rebirth, restores my senses dulled from a cold winter. Dogwoods, apple blossom, pears and cherries, carpets of daffodils, snowdrops and snowflakes are the perfect way to celebrate the season and it’s pure joy to visit villages and towns, meeting friendly gardeners along the way. Olfactory overload propels me along this amazing circuit of NSW spring festivals. The Southern Highlands is a great place to start and our home is Hotel Gibralta where cosy fires will be blazing. Tulips in full flight in Bowral, a walk around the fascinating Retford Park, exquisite white magnolia at Red Cow Farm, meadows of dear paper daisies as far as the eye can see at The Australian Botanic Garden and a wander around the charming country property of Mickey Robertson’s Glenmore House will reveal her slumbering borders awakening. Mickey serves a delicious al fresco lunch in the loggia, grown in the garden!
In Canberra we base ourselves centrally at Crowne Plaza so we can explore the intimate courtyards of Parliament House at their peak cherry blossom beauty, the famous background of many a newsy soundbite. And if it’s a froth of pale pink blossom that makes you weak at the knees, then the extensive gardens at Tulip Top is a must see, just outside Canberra. We pop into Ben and Ros Walcott’s Australian garden in Canberra’s Red Hill (featured in the latest Garden Clinic Magazine) and see delightful natives such as Qualup bells, banksia and emu bush taking centre stage. The time for a sugar hit with High Tea at the Hyatt.
Next stop Orange, with lovely gardens to discover at pretty Millthorpe along the way. We like the refined ambience of the De Russie Suites makes for a well needed home away from home. In Cowra we lunch in the world famous Japanese Garden, designed by Ken Nakajima in 1977. It’s more than a garden; it’s a powerful symbol of good will, encouraging reconciliation and peace. Japanese cherry blossom here is unbeatable. Finally we complete our flower circuit at the top of the Blue Mountains in time to admire the dogwoods, wisteria, tulips and private gardens of the Leura Garden Festival and stay at the grand Hydro Majestic Hotel. Majestic indeed.