The south-west has a wonderful assortment of events throughout the year, to entice people both far and wide to venture out and explore our beautiful country towns. Every year in the Blackwood and Great Southern Forrest region, passionate gardeners open their home gardens to eager visitors under the banner of the ‘Festival of Country Gardens’. Towns which participate in the festival include Bridgetown, Greenbushes, Balingup, Boyup Brook, Nannup, Manjimup and Pemberton.
The festival is conducted twice a year, in Autumn and in Spring with each season including both a prelude and the main festival event. The four event periods provides visitors with the opportunity to see a wide variety of gardens at different stages throughout the two seasons. Autumn is generally an opportunity to appreciation of the autumn foliage that flourishes in the cooler parts of most countries, whereas Spring is the time to see magnificent flora display, which bursts into life after the long cold winter months.
Although this year, Little Hill Farm did not open its gardens to the general public as part of the festival (this was primarily due to our current construction projects on the farm) we did hold a Spring Harvest Feast to coincide with the festival. It was our way of being part of the festival and allowing a select number of visitors the opportunity to visit the farm, where they undertook a guided tour with Adam and then enjoy a wonderful evening of food, conversation and merriment. The visitors learnt and tasted a wide variety of ingredients available in the Spring season and many coming direct from the farm itself.
Guests enjoyed a menu comprising of Italian Eggplant Patties, Mexican Corn Fritters with Avocado Salsa and Lebanese Dolmades for entree, Roman Stuffed Artichokes and Pasta Primavera for mains, followed by Rhubarb Custard Cake and Italian Custard Cream for dessert.
As I explained to the attendees, this year Spring came very late to the farm … only two weeks earlier the farm was still in the grips of winter, with chilli nights and heavy rains. The cool temperatures had hampered the growth of many of the Spring garden vegetables in the kitchen gardens. Not to worry though, the kitchen larder at Little Hill Farm is always overflowing with ingredients I told guest and they got an unexpected lesson on the joys and merits of preserving ones own produce.
For those who might be interested – follow the link and learn how to make my version of Pasta Primavera (Spring Pasta an Italian favourite) – [Click Here]
Having not opened our garden this year, Adam and I had the added bonus on Sunday to go out and see some of the wonderful gardens that were open as part of the festival.
Cottonwood a vast panoramic garden owned by Tony and Sharon Arnold – with expansive vista around and over, two very impressive lakes and trees, trees and more trees.
Mattamattup owned by fellow gardening friend’s Dennis and Cheryl Wilson – an overflowing garden with roses, roses and more roses, irises, day lilies and poppies as well as much more, including Dennis’s amazingly creative sculptures and his incredible shed, which is an eclectic collection of history, artefacts and machinery telling the story of the farm and regions history.
The Sunnyhurst Homestead owned by our near neighbours and friends Mark and Laine Stanford. Their 120 year old stone and iron home and vineyard is the magnificent backdrop to their stunning cottage style garden with a overabundance of heavenly scented roses, mature trees and cottage plants and lawn everywhere. The garden’s of Sunnyhurst are like a series of rooms each designed to excite and entertain the senses.
If you get the chance, please try and arrange a visit to the south-west during one of the Country Garden Festival periods, you will not be disappointed. For more information about the festival, head to their website – www.festivalofcountrygardens.com