Don and the Burke’s Backyard team travelled north-west of Sydney to Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains. There they visited a beautiful garden called Windyridge, and met the owners, Rodger and Wai Davidson.
The garden dates back to 1877, when it was part of the estate of pioneer settler, Jesse Gregson. In 1921, the property was subdivided and Jesse’s daughter, Helen, became the owner of the sweeping, timbered slope that became Windyridge. Swiss migrants, Fred and Hanny Huber, purchased the property in 1940. They planted many deciduous trees including pin oaks, maples, copper beeches, ginkgos and tupelos. Rodger and Wai Davidson, owners of Davidson’s Wholesale Nursery at Galston in Sydney, bought Windyridge in 1995.
When Rodger and Wai first came to Windyridge there was really no garden, just lots of trees. They began to transform it into a grand garden with the help of Landscape designer, Gordon Sykes. Tens of thousands of cold climate plants were brought in, including 3000 Karume azaleas which were planted to create a wave of colour when in flower. Windyridge is not on town water using bore water, so twice a year shredded paper, stable manure and pea straw is applied to the garden beds to conserve water and maintain an even soil temperature.
Today Windyridge features sculptures and works of art by Ted Secombe and other artists. There are stunning watergardens, including a lily pond and waterfall. A classic fountain in the middle of the formal parterre garden is surrounded by clipped box hedges and roses. There is also a white garden, magnolia garden, rainforest, rock garden and a bluebell wood, all connected by carefully designed paths and walkways.
Even the toilet block is impressive with its own water feature, beautiful paving, and basins by Ted Secombe. Rodger described the gazebo area and barbecue as the ‘fun bit of the garden’. The timber gazebo is open on all sides, so there is plenty of room for people to sit or stand up and move around. Nearby is a fridge, a sink with hot and cold running water, and an open log fire.
Mt Wilson, NSW
The garden is open 9am – 4pm every day in April, May, September, October and November. Entry:$9 each adult, $8 group of over 20 and $3 for children under 12. For more information phone (02) 4756 2019 or (02) 9653 1393 during office hours. Website: www.windyridge.com.au