Killabakh Garden Club and friends recently enjoyed a four day trip up to the Blue Mountains to soak up the dazzling display of autumn colours that only such a location can deliver.
The gardens, roadside and hills were ablaze with a fiery display of red, yellow, orange and pink deciduous leaves, glowing like beacons in the morning sun before falling to create a brilliant tapestry beneath the trees.
We admired glorious gardens at Mt Wilson including historic Nooroo, Breenhold, Windyridge and Bebeah, each established well over 100 years ago. All were awash with show stopping autumn leaves, but several featured other seasonal delights such as drifts of cyclamen, eye catching dahlias and borders of pink and white nerines.
At Windyridge, 10 minutes of contemplation on the wooden bench by the small lake and waterfall, draped in its russet cloak, was well worth the trip up the mountain.
At Bilpin we drooled over the colourful cottage garden displays at Wildwood and Woodgreen gardens, both brimming with beds of multi-coloured salvias, pastel roses and sasanqua camellias.
Wildwood gardens also had an extensive nursery which was well patronised by our group - I added five new salvias to my collection!
We also visited the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens at Mt Tomah, spread over 28 hectares with kilometres of tracks to explore. I trekked through the rainforest, conifers, Gondwana, bog and rock gardens - all fantastic and I certainly exceeded my 10,000 steps for the day.
On the way up to our accommodation in Lithgow, we enjoyed lunch and a guided tour of the impressive Hunter Region Botanic Gardens at Heatherbrae, maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers. The cacti and fern gardens are always a highlight for me.
On the way home, it was more nursery retail therapy at Blackheath, which also featured glorious tree lined streets ablaze with autumn colour.
I left the group on the return journey and flew on to South Australia to attend several events in my role as The Garden Clubs of Australia president including Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club's 100th birthday celebration.
The Adelaide Hills, also renowned for their seasonal spectacle, were certainly alive with the sights and smells of autumn with a dazzling display of coloured leaves. The main streets of Hahndorf and Stirling are a magnet for tourist buses and day trippers.
Autumn is a great time to be out in the garden, whether its sitting back and enjoying the fruits of your labours or getting down and dirty with some seasonal tasks. My first job on returning home will be planting the two liquidambars I purchased on the trip - a wonderful autumnal reminder of a lovely trip with good gardening friends.