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.
The gardens are flourishing in these rainy conditions, and the garden beds were full of dahlias, foxgloves, hydrangeas, liliums, clematis and eryngium.
The monastery garden features art work, and statues, including the patron saint of gardens, Saint Francis of Assisi.
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.
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.