By Gisela Horner | Friends of Bella Vista Farm Volunteer
For the past 14 months, Bella Vista Farm’s gardens have become a safe and delightful haven for Friends to share some social time together.
Importantly it has given them an impetus to re-establish the Heritage Garden.
Sharon Rawstron leads the team of the regular gardening group with Marge Leary, Kathryn Matthews, Honor Large, Graham Rawstron, Geoff Whetton and Heather and Rob Blackadder. Others often come to give a hand. They come every week armed with gardening tools and get stuck in for many hours.
Rob, one of the newer recruits, with his ‘can do’ attitude, has converted old timber pallets to make a large composting area where tired plants and weeds are aerated, recycled and turned back into rich soil.
In 2000, the Hills Shire Council began restoring the garden. However, it needed constant and ongoing care, replenishment and re-design. A lot of research was then undertaken particularly by Sharon.
During COVID, gardening has provided the group with an opportunity to meet. They keep a safe distance from each other, enjoy the open space and, working on a project that gives great rewards.
Spring and summer will showcase Cecile Brunner, Monsieur Tillier, Jean Ducher, Reine de Violette, Old Blush China heritage roses, lavender, salvia, crepe myrtle and many others. Many of the plants are from cuttings collected and nurtured by the volunteers.
Sharon calls Kathryn a ‘gardener’s gardener’. When Kathryn took her U3A walking group to Bella Vista Farm, she said ‘I could see the garden could do with some help’ and joined soon after as a Friend.
Her great brew of nettle tea has done wonders for the health and vigour of the plants. Dealing with the dry and windy conditions and resident rabbits hasn’t daunted the group.
They love to be part of transforming the garden into a showpiece enhancing the beauty and charm of the historic home which stands atop the hill at Bella Vista.
Bella Vista Farm welcomes visitors the 1st Sunday of every month between 9am to 2pm. Entry is free. QR requirements apply.
Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens, enjoy a delicious Devonshire Tea in the relaxed rural setting, listen to classical music performed by the Hills Shire Symphony Orchestra. A Trash and Treasure stall provides quality bric-a-brac and house tours showcase the homestead and way of life in the 1800s.
The Farm is located on the corner of Elizabeth Macarthur Drive and Norwest Boulevard, Bella Vista.
If you are interested in becoming a member and would like to contribute to the Farm, please send your email to [email protected]
Heritage Garden, Heritage Garden, Heritage Garden, Heritage Garden