Berry Garden Festival makes local charities blossom

Participating in the 2014 Berry Garden Festival has fulfilled one of Catherine and Luke Bizeray’s dreams. Photo: MAISIE COHEN

Participating in the 2014 Berry Garden Festival has fulfilled one of Catherine and Luke Bizeray’s dreams. Photo: MAISIE COHEN

THE Berry Garden Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The four-day event has raised more than $600,000 for local charities during that time, including over $100,000 towards the linear accelerator appeal.

Ros and Robin Brooks will showcase their garden, Woodhill, as part of the 25th festival.

It is garden number four, located on Brogers Creek Road, just below Drawing Room Rocks.

“The garden is a full-time job at the moment,” Robin said. The Brooks’ sprawling three hectares is a magical combination of cottage garden and woodland, with sculptures and water features completing the picture.

“It’s total chaos here at the moment. We only have limited watering capacity here so we are really hoping for some rain.

Like a lot of other gardeners, Mr Brooks has noticed that some plants have been flowering earlier.

“A lot of the azaleas are flowering already,” he said.

The Brooks’ garden has featured twice before.

“It has been 12 years since we have opened the garden to the public,” he said.

This will be the 25th year Robin has been a member of the Berry Garden Club and he thought opening the garden would be a good way to celebrate.

Owners of garden number two are Catherine and Luke Bizeray.

Catherine has been gardening since she was a little girl, inheriting her passion from both her mother and grandmother. “Now my daughter follows me around, she even has her own pink gumboots and her own wheelbarrow,” Ms Bizeray said.

This will be the first time the Bizerays’ garden will feature in the festival.

“We bought the property five years ago and pretty much removed everything except for one big liquidambar and one camellia.

“We have planted the plants that I love, including camellias, flowering ornamental blossom trees, crepe myrtles and gardenias for the scent,” she said.

Ms Bizeray devotes at least half a day each week to working in the garden, although she admits the lead-up to the festival has been a little more hectic. 

“In holiday time we garden as a family from early morning until the sun goes down,” she said.

The $20 charge allows people access to eight of the most beautiful gardens on the South Coast. Single garden visits costs $5 with children being admitted for free. The festival will run from September 11–14.

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