An anniversary weekend, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

Piet Oudolf, the famous Dutch garden designer says you should have a little of what you like in your garden, and I think this is a very good, simple philosophy for life generally, and especially on an anniversary weekend. We often go to the Snowy Mountains in January, for our anniversary. However, this year, most of the accommodation was booked out, so we decided to visit the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

The Southern Highlands is a two hour drive from Canberra, and has a milder and wetter climate. The rolling hills and farms look lush and prosperous, the fields are green and the dams always full of water. There many small towns and historic villages, many open gardens and vineyards, good food and wine, and bookshops. Perfect for us.

Our first stop was to Red Cow Farm open garden. It is a cool climate garden in the rural village of Sutton Forest.

Close by the roadside into Sutton Forest is the Cottage, surrounded by a white picket fence, and brimming with flowers and shrubs, colours and smells, bees and butterflies, and not far away, a black bird singing.

The farm has been designed into about twenty garden rooms, and has been a labour of love for the gardeners, since 1990.

We were lucky enough to see some of the garden before it rained, and these photos are, mostly, of the cottage and walled garden.

The cottage garden is surrounded by mature rare trees and maples, and throughout the garden there is an extensive collection of 800 roses.

Beautiful liliums, dahlias, in the background Eryngium (sea holly)

The gardens are flourishing in these rainy conditions, and the garden beds were full of dahlias, foxgloves, hydrangeas, liliums, clematis and eryngium.

This deep red Canna lily reminded me of our garden in Africa
Echinacea (coneflower)
I think the pretty red flowers in the above photo are Monarda
This gorgeous Stipa Gigantea looked wonderful, waving in the breeze, and well placed on the corner of the garden bed.
This variety of hydrangea was new to me
Californian wild rose
The yellow liliums in this garden were weighed down by rain, but none the less, stunning!

The monastery garden features art work, and statues, including the patron saint of gardens, Saint Francis of Assisi.

Peruvian Lilies

We had to cut short our walk around this wonderfully diverse garden as the rain started.

We had a booked a lovely AirBnB, and the thoughtful owner had shelves of interesting books and a coffee table with glossy gardening and country magazines….so a quiet afternoon of reading and watching cricket was in order.

Our weekend ended with an delicious evening meal at Harry’s on the Green. This photo was taken before the pandemic, we had the table tucked away in the corner, with no tables around us. It was a very pleasant evening in every way.

Photo from Harry’s on the Green website

When we were first married, we had a small but thriving garden, and, on weekends we often spent money on books when we were really trying to save for a house….after all these years, we have a bigger garden and a pleasant home, and far too many books!

Best wishes for the New Year, and I hope you find the time to have a little of what you like today!

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.

16 Replies to “An anniversary weekend, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.”

  1. A very happy anniversary! Sounds like a fantastic weekend. That garden is glorious, absolutely glorious. How I would love to walk through it. Everything sounded great, too. As for books… it’s not hoarding. It’s building a library. πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks Laurie, yes that garden was lovely to walk through, I’m sure you would love it. And yes, we are certainly building a library!

  2. Heaven in every sense of the word accompanied by a genteel environment – so good for the soul. Happy anniversary to you both!

    1. Thanks Theresa, I thought of you when we were walking through the garden, you would have enjoyed looking at every bit of it! There were so many plants, and hardly any weeds, heaven knows why!

  3. That must have been a great trip despite the rain. Thanks for sharing all those gorgeous pictures, a delight to the eyes. I quote ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’. I am sure that’s true.

  4. Happy, Happy Anniversary! What an amazing garden – the flowers, grass paths, everything is wonderful. One thing though that stopped me in my tracks was the green wall in the first photo. Oh my, but that is a beauty, and it takes skills to maintain it. I’m duly impressed with the entire post. Applause to the gardeners. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for the anniversary wishes. Yes, I agree with you about the green wall, it is an art to be able to do it, and maintain it! If I get a chance in the future to talk to the gardeners, I’ll mention that.

  5. What a wonderful way to celebrate your anniversary, Gerrie. Congratulations to you both. The gardens are so lovely. I can imagine how much you enjoyed your day there. Being out in nature is the best thing ever.

    1. Thanks Sylvia, yes, I agree being in that beautiful garden all morning was lovely. Glad you are back to blogging and hope all goes well.

  6. Happy anniversary. What a wonderful place to spend it. Seeing the garden and all those blooms was a tonic for me, especially while still in the middle of

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