Catherine StewartGoing clubbing

Yay! Today is Cottage Garden Club day. For those of you lucky enough to live in Sydney, the Cottage Garden Club meets in the St Albans church hall in Epping on a Saturday about once a quarter. It’s such an easy club to belong to; Sue Perkins is the autocratic secretary who has decided and organised everything for the past nearly 20 years, and that’s exactly the way the club members like it.

Sydney’s vibrant Cottage Garden Club

No minutes of meetings, no tedious formal business and no fussing about who’s going to do what – you just turn up, and everyone is welcome, unlike some clubs where it’s invitation only. Who could ask for anything better? It’s a measly $15 a year to join, plus $5 each meeting to cover hall hire.

Sue manages to persuade a wide variety of speakers to come along and entertain and inform, covering everything from perennials, to native, succulents, orchids, bulbs, and specialist growers of just about every type of plant you can imagine. As a real bonus, several times a year there are garden ‘rambles’ to a group of members’ gardens in a particular district. Oh, and Sue organises tours as well, to just about everywhere a gardener might want to go. The atmosphere is always friendly and welcoming, so if you’d like to learn more about plants come along. It’s a full day with usually 3 speakers, lots of specialist nurseries selling plants and other interesting bits and bobs like birdhouses, Florilegium’s books, or Margaret Cory’s fantastic perennial cradles, so it’s worth the trek even if it’s a few hours drive. You can even get your knives and tools sharpened!

Haloragis erecta makes a great foliage contrast and low hedge

And what did I buy? A shrub I’d seen a few weeks ago in Rosie Morton’s lovely garden in Nowra but couldn’t identify was coincidentally there for sale from Q Nursery. Haloragis erecta ‘Wellington Bronze’ is a NZ native that grows to just under a metre but can be clipped lower. The lime-green new leaves age to a bronze-purple so it’s a great foliage contrast plant.

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Creator, curator and editor of GardenDrum. Sydney, NSW.

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