By Mick Jensen
It’s a garden of international significance, a gem on our doorstep, and now Trott’s Garden is opening its door for free to enable more people to enjoy its splendour.
The 4ha garden off Racecourse Road was started by horticulturist Alan Trott, who transformed a bare paddock into a world recognised garden.
He sat down and drew up a full plan for the site in 1985 and set about developing his dream.
That design has been acknowledged as top notch and includes a very formal herbaceous border and knot garden.
There is also a red border area, woodland area developed around curves and English-inspired formal gardens.
The garden features 50 species of magnolia, 70 kinds of maples and varieties of dogwood, around 650 rhododendrons, azaleas, all underplanted with woodland plants and ground cover.
There is also a chapel, two elevated viewing platforms and a pond.
“We want more people to come along, to picnic here and to really enjoy this truly special place,” said Trott’s Garden administrator and promoter Nicola Walker.
She said the trust that operated the garden had made the call to open it for free and garden founder Alan Trott was very much on board with the decision.
Previously entry to the garden was $15 per person.
Guided garden tours will continue to be offered, and there will be a charge for those.
“We have to be able to operate sustainably, so we are keen to further develop income streams and keen to promote Trott’s Garden as a destination.
“The garden is a great venue for weddings, parties, meetings and events, so we encourage people to make use of it when they can.”
Mrs Walker said the garden would be open from 10am until 4pm, every day, from now until Christmas.
“Obviously we will need more volunteers to enable us to manage those hours, so we are keen for more volunteers to get involved.”
There is a volunteer pool of between 80 and 90 at Trott’s, with people involved in a range of duties like general gardening, lawn mowing, greeting visitors and catering for visitors.
“We are totally indebted to our volunteers.
“Their community spirit enables us to operate the garden, and now that will, in part, be repaid with free community entry,’ said Mrs Walker.
Mrs Walker is one of two paid staff, alongside gardener and tour guide Leanne Smith.
Rhododendrons at Trott’s are just starting to flower, while January and February is the time when perennials come into their own. The four season garden is closed over the winter months.