On Friday, September 23, a wonderfully enthusiastic group of visitors traveling together from Queensland, Australia, arrived at Brush Hill. They were led by Barbara Wickes who did a marvelous job and they all were delighted to see the Australia flag flying above our front door in welcome. Here she is with me welcoming the group. Barbara is the immediate past President of the Perennial Poppies Group after serving for 15 years. The charming name was chosen since the members come from all over southeast Queensland. In addition to founding this group and leading it for so long, she also organized many tours like this one. Before that she coordinated Australia’s Open Gardens Scheme. The tour she organized for this group had quite an itinerary! Despite the fact that this group had been visiting marvelous gardens for the past three weeks, beginning in Washington, D.C., carrying on through Wilmington, Philadelphia and New York, with more to come on through Boston, their energy levels were undiminished. As their big bus drove into the parking field, they enjoyed Charlie’s Fifo Woodshed (“first in, first out), and the amusing sign about Frog parking.
Although it’s a late time of year to visit Brush Hill, there were plenty of things still in bloom, lots of strong color and even Australian plants to see, including pots of Phormiums and Cordyline australis. Even a few fragrant roses were in bloom.
The skies were overcast so it wasn’t too hot for the box lunch picnic the group had ordered from The Pantry in town that was delivered just as they arrived. Our added offer of wine or beer for everyone was welcome and no doubt, added to the group’s appreciation of the garden afterwards! They took advantage of the many seating options beyond the tables on the north and south terraces and spread out all around. I only found one couple having a quiet lunch down at the pond by accident just as they were saying it was all perfect, but for a glass of wine. On cue, the wine arrived! Another couple went into the Woodland and enjoyed the music of the Waterworks with their lunch but were so private, I missed them with the drinks offerings. I discovered another couple tucked away behind the fountain on a bench, hidden among the plants. It was a special treat to have this terrific group of people with us.