Garden hopping a sure bet

Karli and Shirley Lahtinen with bulbs and succulents. 183705 Pictures: ROB CAREW

By Kath Gannaway

Warburton Garden Club is taking a punt on good weather and big crowds for their Open Garden Weekend having this year moved the event to the Cup Day weekend in November.

Visitors looking for an escape from the spring racing frenzy will be on a sure bet with club members opening six very different gardens from Launching Place through to Warburton East and featuring a range of additional activities.

Shirley and Kari Lahtinen’s garden in Launching Place, for instance, has book sales over the weekend.

Others have plant sales, sausage sizzles and other refreshments.

But always, the highlight of this popular annual weekend garden extravaganza is the gardens and the gardeners.

Shirley and Kari’s garden is a great example of courage in the face of a garden that just doesn’t work for the gardeners.

They have converted what was a garden of conifers and diosmas into a mixed garden that showcases seasonal interest and pleases their own gardening style.

An extensive display of exotic shrubs share the space with a vegetable garden, fruit trees and a developing native garden.

This year’s gardens range from small to large and offer a beautiful opportunity to stroll among some of the Upper Yarra Valley’s most interesting private gardens.

Shirley is typical of the gardeners who work for months to ensure their gardens are at their very best, but somehow still manage a friendly welcome to visitors and jump at the opportunity to share their knowledge and joy of gardening.

“Yes, you enjoy it, but you do end up totally exhausted after two days of pretty solidly walking around your garden,” Shirley says of the experience.

“But, it’s really just lovely when you see people enjoying your garden.

“When someone looks at something you’ve done and takes the time to tell you “that’s a good idea; I could use it”, it’s nice to give people ideas and see that they appreciate what you’ve done.”

The gardens will be open on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November from 10am with last entry at 4.30pm.

Entry passes are available at all the gardens except the Yarra Junction garden and are $20 for a six-garden pass, $5 single garden visit. Children under 16 are free entry.

Gardens are at 75 Heath Crescent, East Warburton; 9 View Street, 24 & 20A Warburton Road and 19 Marlino Avenue in Warburton, 12 Valley View Court, Yarra Junction and 17 Cairncroft Avenue, Launching Place.

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