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Spring has finally sprung!

Spring has finally sprung!

After a particularly wet winter we can now look forward to spring gardens that will soon delight with an extravagance of flowers. Most major towns and cities in Australia have beautiful parks and gardens where you can relax and enjoy the great Australian outdoors. They are usually maintained by the local shire and offer lovely open spaces and picnic areas.

Araluen
A visit the internationally acclaimed Araluen Botanical Gardens in WA is always a great idea for a family outing or a get together with friends. Araluen was one of thirty gardens around the world to be recognised by the International Camellia Society under the Camellia Gardens of Excellence in 2012.  The loam soils and high rainfall in this sheltered valley of the Darling Ranges offers a unique opportunity to cultivate both native and exotic plant species. Picnic in the shade of the Iron Bark, Holly or Queensland Black Bean or enjoy a treat at the Chalet Healy Café.

Spring is the perfect time to visit, as the array of tulips that were scattered throughout the gardens start opening up and delight visitors with their abundance of colour. Other bulbs that are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to showcase their beauty are Magnolias, Daphnes, Acers, Paeonias, Michelias, Luculias and Lilacs.

Araluen is also a favourite amongst bird watchers, as the unique setting offer a variety of habitats suited to many different bird species. Sightings of fifty three species have so far been confirmed and bird watchers can expect to see water birds, birds of prey (raptors, owls and meat eaters), cockatoos and parrots, seed eaters, insect eaters and honeyeaters. The park is located about 30 kilometres south of Perth and is open every day of the year, except on Christmas Day. Opening hours are from 9.00am to 6.00pm during the season (1 August to
30 April)

Private garden viewing
If you are in Perth, you can visit private gardens in your area where talented garden owners share the joys of their garden with the public. A cup of tea or coffee and cake is often available for purchase, so that you can relax in the beautiful surroundings.

Entrance fees vary, but most gardens charge $6.00 per adult. Children under the age of 18 may enter free. The entrance fee is usually split equally between the garden owner, who often donates all or part of their share to charity, and to cover organisational costs of Open Gardens WA, a non-profit association.

Garden enthusiasts are invited to join at an annual membership fee of only $30. Members are kept up to date with Open Gardens West Coast’s calendar of events, receive early bird offers and special rates as well as have the opportunity to join as a volunteer.

This season commences on 26 and 27 August with a visit to French’s Retreat, 1A Radford Place, Safety Bay from 10.00am to 4.00pm. This charming garden is hidden from the street by a Cottonwood hedge. Dutchman’s pipe creeper and Bougainvilleas cover archways and walls while loads of Cliveas flower under the Chinese elm. June Keil will be speaking on cultivating Blueberries. She will focus on the correct soil preparation and how worms in your garden enhance the flavour of your blueberries.

Twelve gardens in the Perth Hills and other suburbs are open to the public this year. Visit the What’s On page of www.opengardenswestcoast.org for the full programme

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