Great gardens and fabulous flowers were the order of the day at the recent Garden Clubs of Australia Convention held at Lake Macquarie in the Hunter region of New South Wales. George Hoad AM, who helped organise the weeklong event and acted as MC for the opening and closing ceremonies, reports on the highlights.
The 29th biennial Convention attracted around 170 keen gardeners from garden clubs across the country. The Convention was centred on the northern end of Lake Macquarie, with events held at Warners Bay, Toronto and Argenton. The opening ceremony was held at Mima, the Multi-Arts Pavilion at Speers Point, where the gardeners enjoyed a delicious repast, welcome speeches and the opportunity to catch up with old friends.
Over the course of the week, gardeners were treated to a selection of beautiful private gardens, a visit to the Hunter Regional Botanic Gardens, visits to several art galleries displaying local works, a relaxing lake cruise and a tour of Newcastle.
The Garden Clubs of Australia AGM was held mid-week with guest speaker was Kevin Stokes, one of the founders of the Hunter Regional Botanic Gardens. Kevin gave an overview of its 38-year development.
The final day and closing ceremony were held at Rathmines Theatre, Rathmines, where the gardeners were treated to three fantastic guest speakers: David Fripp, wholesale nurseryman and plant breeder; HMAA members Angie Thomas, Horticultural Communications Manager from Yates; and Costa Georgiadis, host of ABC TV’s ‘Gardening Australia’. All three entertained and inspired providing a fantastic conclusion to a superb week.
The motto for Garden Clubs of Australia is ‘Friendship Through Gardens’ and this was certainly in evidence during the weeklong event and the Convention organisers promised ‘A glorious week by the Lake’ and they certainly delivered on that.