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It’s lush – no drought about it

SWEET PEA: Ellen Martin in her Duckenfield garden which will open to the public for next month’s Maitland Garden Ramble. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.Wemay be in the gripof one of the worst droughts on recordbut that’s notgoing to stop green thumbEllen Martin from nurturing the garden she established from a pile of dirt five years ago.
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Ellen runs her high tea business Ducks in the Field from her 32 acre property, two of those acres she has turned into a stunning formal/cottage garden.

The garden will be one of eight gardens showcased in this year’s Maitland Garden Ramble on September 15 and 16.

The popular annual event, run by Maitland Black and White Committee to raise money for Vision Australia, is tipped to attract thousands over the two days.

Diversity in design, size and plantings are sure to delight visitors to the gardens, at Metford, Hinton, Lorn and Bolwarra.

“It will be spring in all its glory,’’ said a Black and White Committee spokesperson.

‘’The gardens featured will be both large and small, offering a visual feast of colour, sights and sounds.

“People will come from all over the region and further afield to meander through the gardens.

“It is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year with all money raised going to Vision Australia Hunter Division,’’ she added.

Because of recent business commitments Ellen hired a gardener but she willsoon have to take the reins back withthe gardener hospitalised for a hip replacement and out of action for about four months.

“I’ve always wanted a formal garden and I suppose you can describe what I have here as formal and cottage,” she said.

There are some oldestablished trees, box hedges and conifers.

Even in drought the garden is looking good -as it should with Ellen’s summer time quarterly water bills around the $1500 mark.

“They were a little better the last quarter, around $400,” she said.

“Despite being in drought we have been lucky.

“The last decent rainfall we had managed to soak in a little so we have some decent sub-soil moistureout here.

“To be honest I haven’t watered since the second week of winter, however the garden does need a drink now.”

The Garden Ramble’s eight propertieswillopenfrom 10am to 4pm both days.

A café, barbecue and gift stalls are available at selected gardens.

Tickets are available at each garden, Maitland Visitor Information Centre, Heritage Gardens Nursery, Bolwarra Café, Sharpe’s Nursery Bar Beach and Poppy’s Nursery Gateshead.Costs are adults $35 and aged concession $25; shuttle bus and ticket $45 and concession $35 and $5 an individual garden. Children are free.

Last year’s ramble raised more than $35,000.

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