Bernie’s a real beauty

By Riverine Herald

GARDENERS from near and far will be making a beeline for Girgarre with five amazing gardens opening Sunday October 28 from 10am-4pm.

The opening is part of the Girgarre Open Gardens Festival and includes a barbecue lunch and afternoon tea at Bonshaw Homestead.

Owned by Bernie Ryan, Bonshaw is one of the open gardens.

The grand old homestead and its gardens have undergone a massive transformation since Bernie purchased the property four years ago – changes include the establishment of a formal, cottage, native, English and Zen garden.

Bonshaw is Bernie’s third garden project and by far the largest renovation he has attempted.

It features sweeping lawns, beautiful specimen trees and overflowing flower beds.

Bernie’s English garden has found a home in the old calf paddock, which now explodes with blocks of stunning colours based on beds of iris.

The Zen garden has evolved around a relaxing pond with statues, while the native garden is a charming blend of favourite Australian flora and pieces of bucolic art.

Bernie has dotted bits and pieces through the garden after collecting things such as rustic old fence posts and rusted farm implements around the property.

In other areas cottage plants spill over each other while the vegetable garden is jam packed with home grown delights.

Bonshaw is a labour of love for Bernie and he said he would spend at least three hours a day working in it.

“It has certainly got under my skin and is a huge part of my life. I love design and I love designing gardens, it gives me quite a buzz to see it all come together,” Bernie said.

Bonshaw was built in 1905 by the Walter-Irving family and in the old days it would have been home to a significant workforce who tended the grounds – today it is just Bernie on his own.

“I just love gardening. It is so good for you to be outside working in the garden – it is so relaxing and stress free.”

Tickets and maps are available at The Cottage from 9.30am or can be purchased on the day at each garden, all money raised will support Girgarre Community Care and Gargarro Friends of the Garden.

Green Thumbs Nursery at the Cottage will also be open from 9.30-3.30.

For more information contact Loraine Ward on 0438 546 237