AS high as the house, defying all planting instructions in full sun and facing north – Elsie White’s camelia dominates Saumarez Homestead’s elaborate gardens.
It’s also property manager Les Davis’ favourite.
Spring has well and truly sprung, and the gardens of Saumarez Homestead are blossoming.
To celebrate, the grounds will be open to the public after a long winter break for the Spring Garden Fair.
Saumarez Homestead property manager Les Davis said he wanted to take advantage of when the gardens are at their best.
“This year has been a bit different because there hasn’t been as much rain, but things are just starting to wake up,” Mr Davis said.
“The tulips, the ixias, brassicas, the daffodils, the camelias, whereas if we wait until the roses are good in November, everyone misses all of the bulbs.”
Landscape designers, gardeners and writers will present lectures at the event.
Saumarez Homestead will be adorned with flowers from Mary’s Garden, the Picking Garden and volunteers’ gardens.
The famous Heritage Rose garden won’t bloom until November, but the collection has grown significantly.
Donated by Catherine MacLean, the collection will include more than 600 roses representing each of the major rose groups bred before 1930.
Designed by Ian Telford, the rose garden is based on a Tudor rose and has 44 concentric beds.
The Spring Garden Fair will see Lissa Kathe Rummery playing harp in the gardens.
Stalls, sculptures, artwork and Devonshire teas on the verandahs will be available.
“Any time I get tired of looking at the computer screen, doing the management work I just go for a walk through the rose garden,” Mr Davis said.
“It’ll be a really nice day for families to come out, and anyone who wants to come by themselves for a quiet walk around the gardens.”
The Spring Garden Fair is on at Saumarez Homestead on Sunday September 17.
It opens from 10am to 4pm and entry is free, with a gold coin donation for short house tours, and normal prices for fully guided tours of the homestead.