Joy and Noel Baldwin in their Jacaranda garden.
Joy and Noel Baldwin in their Jacaranda garden.

Garden revamp for purple fest

THE chance to lure more garden-loving visitors to Grafton during the Jacaranda Festival has prompted organisers to replace the garden competition with a non-competitve event.

Organiser Helen Campbell, who is the director of Jacaranda Open Gardens, said declining numbers of gardeners willing to compete in the competition and a dwindling number of visitors viewing the gardens had led to the decision.

Mrs Campbell said the new structure would allow bus companies from outside the region to organise their itineraries well ahead of time.

“Having an open garden program means we can tell the bus companies where the gardens will be well ahead of time,” Mrs Campbell said.

The new format would take the stress out of the event for gardeners, but still create an incentive for gardens to be at their best, she said.

“The garden competition had reached its use-by date.

“It made everything so stressful. Nothing could be out of place.”

The Grafton Garden Club is calling on Clarence Valley residents and organisations to show off their gardens during the Jacaranda Festival time.

“This is a new initiative to encourage proud gardeners to share the fruits of their labour with the local community and visitors at a time when the region is at its floral best.”

Mrs Campbell is seeking expressions of interest from garden owners in an area bound by Grafton, South Grafton, Swan Creek, Ulmarra, Tucabia, Junction Hill, Coutts Crossing, Waterview Heights, Seelands and Glenugie.

Participating gardens are to be available for viewing on two consecutive weekends, October 29 and 30 and November 5 and 6.

There will also be a schedule for bus groups to visit by appointment between October 31 and November 5.

Mrs Campbell said if they can attract six to 10 gardens for the event, the club will be pleased.

She also said the gardens should be in yards that are fully landscaped around the entire house.

Open gardens will be listed in the official Jacaranda Festival Program and on the festival website.

Entries close on Friday, July 1.

For participation conditions and entry forms, garden owners are asked to contact Mrs Campbell on phone 6643 1645.

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