Wedderburn to showcase its gardens

Published on 05 October 2017

Six local home owners will showcase how gardens can thrive in the Loddon region’s harsh climate when the annual Wedderburn Open Gardens event is held on Sunday, 22 October.

Held as part of this year’s Naturally Loddon Spring Festival, the day highlights the diversity of gardens in the area, from expansive gardens set on a couple of acres, to small gardens on a town block.

Organiser Jude Raftis, whose garden will also be open on the day, said the event was an opportunity to see how owners tailored their gardens to suit the climate, particularly what is practical and achievable.

“We live in such an arid climate, we have such severe summers and winters,” she said.

“Particularly this winter has been very bad with frost damage. I know some of my plants have turned to mush. But you’d be amazed at the type of plants that will come back.

“A lot of people are returning back to planting natives as they can survive the dry. Native and succulents have become more popular in recent years – anything that survives really.”

Ms Raftis said the gardens this year will range from established gardens to a garden open for the first time.

“Having a first-time garden for the event is great, as it means people can revisit the garden when it is open in later years to see how it has ended up looking and what has been grown successfully.”

In addition to Ms Raftis’ garden in Wedderburn, other gardens scheduled to take part include Roger and Jo Polkinghorne and Susan and Tim Lockhart from Berrimal, plus Wedderburn locals Susan and Graeme Smith, Faye Lockhart and Peter and Carolyn McHugh.

Ms Raftis said a lot of work goes into making gardens look their best for the event, which can be a challenge given the area’s climate.

“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into these open garden and the owners spend a lot of time to really dress their garden up.

“Particularly in Wedderburn, given its location where it dips down, the frosts are worse here than they are in the surrounding areas – even farming communities are able to grow more than what we can in Wedderburn.

“Essentially, we have such harsh winters and summers here that anyone who can create a garden is doing a good job.”

Ms Raftis added that there were plans to add more open gardens to the rotation.

“We’ve got 16 gardens at the moment and we’re hoping to add a couple more, that way there will be six gardens each year on a three-year rotation,” she said. “This gives people a chance to see how they transform over time.”

The ticket price is $15 a head which includes a Devonshire morning tea at the Coach House Gallery and free entry into the museum.

Proceeds for the day will go towards the Coach House Gallery Museum as well as establishing a Lions Club aged care facility in the area.

People attending the Open Garden day will need to drop into Wedderburn Community House on the day from 9am onwards to register and collect their maps. Closing time for the event is 3.30pm.

For more information, phone 5494 3489.

Running from early September until the 28 October, the Naturally Loddon Spring Festival features 15 family-friendly events spread across the Shire. To obtain a festival brochure, phone the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on 5494 3489 or visit

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