Garden Clubs of Australia president George Hoad's gardening column

The grass is moist with dew. The late spring morning air is heavy with the intoxicating fragrance of citrus blossom. The bees are just starting to rouse and the birds are revelling in a merry chorus. Ah, it’s so nice to stop, take a moment and soak up the wonders of nature!

This year has been such a full and busy year for me, both in the garden and out – but a most rewarding one.

My role as president of The Garden Clubs of Australia Inc (GCA) has taken me across the country, visiting clubs in all states, attending meetings, anniversaries, friendship days and special events.

I experienced firsthand the rich diversity that our magnificent country presents and also the challenges that we as gardeners overcome in the pursuit of our passion. I travelled from the north-east corner of Tasmania to the south-east corner of SA, from Norfolk Island to the west coast of WA and many points in between.

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In March I had the honour of launching Australia’s inaugural National Gardening Week, which was held October 8-14. Many garden clubs and other organisations, both locally and nationally, took the opportunity to celebrate the simple joys of gardening and to highlight the associated environmental, social and health benefits.

I’m proud that my simple idea and an initiative I feel very passionate about, will eventually become a truly national celebration. Don’t forget to Dig In and Celebrate October 7-13, 2018.

In early November, the GCA held its 25th biennial National Convention at Ulladulla, hosted by the local garden club. More than 300 members attended, spending a wonderful week visiting gardens, attending talks and sharing a passion for gardening. A highlight was a visit to Willinga Park, a world class equestrian centre set in beautiful gardens at nearby Bawley Point. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested by owner Terry Snow, a most humble and extraordinary man.

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Killabakh Garden Club celebrated its 30th birthday this year and continues to grow and prosper. A great year of activities were enjoyed by the members, concluding with a four-day trip over to the Tamworth region.

Being away so much, the upkeep of my own garden has been a challenge but one I do enjoy enormously. I did manage the completion of a stumpery garden, an exciting new addition, and hosted several fundraising events for local charities.

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Once all the Christmas carols have been sung and the seasonal gatherings enjoyed, I do hope that you too will be able to smell the blossoms and enjoy your own little patch of paradise!

Happy gardening and Merry Christmas to all.