One of the nicest ways to spend a weekend is to pack a bag, grab your respective other, in my case Dave, head on up to the Blue Mountains and pick up your newly married friends on the way. What ensues is a laughter filled weekend which includes a gorgeous timber cabin, home cooked meals, red wine, market wanderings, a few cheeky purchases and a stroll around an open garden.
In this case the open garden is Mayfield Garden, located near Oberon in the Central West Tablelands of New South Wales on the western side of the Blue Mountains. Mayfield Garden is one of the ‘largest privately owned cool climate gardens in the world’. Purchased in 1984 by the Hawkins family, the garden has evolved to represent a grand English garden in the Australian climate. Nestled within a working farm, the extensive garden is made up of garden rooms that are joined by meandering paths and large expanses of lush green lawn. While the garden is very much a work in progress with areas still under construction and plants yet to fill out to their mature potential, there are some wonderful spaces within the garden. For example, you can wander through the Birch trees, explore the Pine trees, smell the divine roses and listen to water cascade over the many water features and water falls.
To say this garden is big is an understatement, it’s huge and requires around three hours to see it all. We took 2.5 hours with the only stops reserved for smelling roses and taking pictures and I was happy with that.
It was a joy to wander through the garden, map in hand but still not know what to expect at each destination. Within minutes of entering the garden you realise that this garden is more than just a hobby, it is a passion, filled with bold statements and attention to detail. For example, the aviary is an almighty bird enclosure containing its own mini garden. The chicken coop – well it’s more like five star chicken heaven thank you. Those chickens must be the happiest chickens on the Central West Tablelands – if not, dare I say it, the earth!
The highlight of Mayfield Garden for me was the grass roofed ‘Studio’. A gorgeous timber cabin up on a hill away from the main house with Birch trees planted on one side and sweeping lawn on the other. We imagined what sorts of arty endeavours might take place in the studio from painting and sculpture to stone masonry and artists retreat, who knows. What we did fancy though was ourselves perched on the veranda with a cold glass of anything we like looking out over the sun kissed countryside.
If you also had the opportunity to visit Mayfield Garden you may have been disappointed with the number of roped off ‘No Entry’ areas within the garden. I understand the need to keep prying eyes away from the family house that is reasonable and expected. But to advertise a garden maze and parterre then have no access I must admit was disappointing. I have mentioned that the garden is a work in progress and the maze planting still has a bit of growth to go before enclosing the occupant within, however the child within fancied a wander through the maze and she wasn’t allowed anywhere near it. The Parterre was also roped off too. Maybe it was because there wasn’t a skerrick of plant to be seen within its borders, who knows. Hopefully by the next open garden the Parterre will be richly planted, the maze will be amazing and visitors can explore both.
Aside from these disappointments, I did enjoy my wander around Mayfield Garden. I look forward to revisiting one day and seeing how the garden has matured and whether the grand ideas of Mr Hawkins have come to fruition. But only if I can get lost in childhood excitement within the maze.
I hope you enjoyed your tour through Mayfield Garden, perhaps one day you’ll get the chance to visit and see it in all it’s grandeur.
Mayfield Garden, 350 Mayfield Road Oberon, is open in Autumn 2014 on these dates; April 26th & 27th. May 3rd & 4th.
Until next time.