LITTLE BUT LOVELY: Alva Bell, 85, in her Umina Beach cottage garden, has been winning garden competitions for over 30 years, and is part of the Gosford Open Gardens on September 28 and 29.
LITTLE BUT LOVELY: Alva Bell, 85, in her Umina Beach cottage garden, has been winning garden competitions for over 30 years, and is part of the Gosford Open Gardens on September 28 and 29.

Pick your Gosford Open Garden ideas

NINE dedicated seniors gardeners have put their heads and hearts together to organise the inaugural Gosford Open Gardens on the weekend of September 28 and 29.

Its dual aim was to "showcase some of the beautiful and diverse gardens on the Central Coast" and provide inspiration and new ideas for visitors to use in their own gardens, committee secretary Jenny Coles said.

"We want to show that you can get ideas from anywhere, and you can make of your garden anything you want," she said.

Originally the concept of president Dot Kite, Jenny said everyone on the committee was a member of one or more of the local garden clubs, giving them good representation across the Coast.

Having applied for and gained a grant from Central Coast Council, all that remained was to choose 10 gardens to be shown.

"We wanted each garden to be slightly different from the last," Jenny said.

That includes azalea and succulent gardens which "are all the rage and very water-wise" to a traditional cottage garden, bush tucker and a sculpture garden to Palmdale's 6ha (15 acre) "Walk on the Wildside", an enhanced bushland garden.

"Because we know the Coast has a large percentage of Seniors, we wanted to have some smaller gardens as well, because people do want to downsize but still enjoy gardening," Jenny said.

She said the gardens were full of different ideas regarding planting, texture and colour, being water-wise and potential garden features.

Each, she said, represented years of experience and dedication.

Due to its size, the Palmdale property is only available for viewing on a guided tour basis, while other gardens will provide specially written notes by each gardener.

Nine of the 10 gardens will be open both Saturday and Sunday, with Foresters Beach open only on Sunday.

Gardens are open in Pearl Beach, Long Jetty, Forresters Beach, Ourimbah, Palmdale, Kariong, Niagara Park, Mardi, Terrigal and Umina from 10am-3pm and cost is just $5 per person per garden (children free). Profits from the Open Gardens will go to Elsie's Retreat, as well as charities.

For map and brochure, go to gosfordopengardens.org, local nurseries or email gosfordopen gardens@gmail.com.

And, once inspired, head to the Plant Lovers Fair at Kariong Mountains High School in Festival Dr for supplies.


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