GARDENING HISTORY: Dr Benson's orchard and garden on Caledonian Hill opposite the Town Hall was planted around 1870 and survived until the late 1930s. The mullock heap is near where Short St enters Caledonian Hill today.
GARDENING HISTORY: Dr Benson's orchard and garden on Caledonian Hill opposite the Town Hall was planted around 1870 and survived until the late 1930s. The mullock heap is near where Short St enters Caledonian Hill today.

Digging up history of Gympie gardens

GYMPIE'S garden history started straight away in the 1860s but local gardeners are puzzled by the lack of photos or stories from the 1950s and 1960s.

Gympie gardeners are collecting local stories and photographs as they research 150 years of gardening history as part of the city's 150th year celebrations.

Some of Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society's members were children in the '50s and remember their early attempts at gardening.

However, researchers have uncovered few photographs of '50s gardens so far.

Across Australia, the '60s was a decade of concrete and fibreglass swimming pools, outdoor living on patios, and 'bush gardens' planted with Australian native plants.

Bush gardens were reputed to be 'no maintenance' but gardeners soon found that they became straggly and dry-looking.

As a result, very few original '60s bush gardens survive.

More modern bush gardens use many hybrid native plants and gardeners know to water, fertilise and trim their plants for good results.

"The Gympie Times and Gympie Council garden competition started in 1967 so we have photos of these traditional English-style gardens," researcher Robyn Bowman said.

"The challenge is to find examples of '60s backyard pools and photographs of early bush gardens.

"If anyone has photographs and a little story to go with them, the horticultural society is asking to borrow the photographs."

Information about Gympie's old and new gardens will be added to a display at the Gympie Regional Library in October and at the Civic Centre for the Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society's 70th anniversary event on November 18.

GMHS president Henry Kross said preserving the gardening record was one of the main objectives of the project: "Old and new gardens will be included," Henry said.

"So far, we have 200 pages of photographs, newspaper clippings and text."

To participate in this garden history project, please provide details to Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society, PO Box 1236, Gympie 4570.

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