Open gardens, open hearts

Sep 25 2019

Lynne Turner

Some people are content to cruise through life, resting on their laurels. Lynne Turner is not one of these people. Attending a meeting of the Lake Macquarie Garden Club Lynne looked around the room and thought ‘we can do more with this passion’.

United by a shared love of gardening, Lynne saw that everyone in the room had something else in common – they were all touched, in some way, by shared illnesses and chronic health conditions.

This was the seed that inspired the Lake Macquarie Open Garden and Arts Trail. Since 2017 a range of spectacular gardens have opened their gates to the community to raise funds for HMRI – with $25,000 raised each year and donated directly to HMRI.

Lynne was recently awarded a Community Service Award from the NSW Government in appreciation of the hard work she puts in with the garden club and the fundraising for HMRI. While Lynne insists that the award is the result of the whole club’s effort, it’s impossible to deny the effect that Lynne’s had on the community.

Combining gardens and art

What really makes this open garden weekend unique is the melding of arts and garden. Lynne is an avid artist, with a stunning studio nestled into her garden on the shores of Lake Macquarie. It’s filled with paintings, etchings and Lynne’s real passion, sculpture.

Dotted around her gardens are exquisite pieces, unique, classic and full of personality – just like Lynne. On the Open Garden Trail visitors will have the ability to get up close and look at, and even touch, these unique pieces of art.

Lynne chose HMRI as the beneficiary of the Open Garden Trail’s largesse because of the wide range of health and medical research undertaken at the Institute. “So many of us have been touched by cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s and other chronic illnesses,” Lynne says. “Rather than donating to one specific disease area, at HMRI we can spread the funds across a range of different research fields.”

The event has grown year-upon-year, with avid gardeners (and their neighbours) lining up to open their gates to the public. The gardens range from a 100-year-old house and garden in Carey Bay, to a sustainable garden at Wangi Wangi, beautiful creek frontage at Blackalls Park – or absolute waterfront at Coal Point.

At each garden you’ll also have the opportunity to see artists with their work. “Gardens are a work of art in themselves – they inspire people with the colours, scents and sounds,” Lynne says. “We’ve got 10 artists who’ll be located in the gardens over the weekend: painters, felters, textile makers – who have all been great supporters of the event.”

The Lake Macquarie Open Garden and Art Trail will take place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October, 10am – 4pm. Tickets cost $35 for all gardens and exhibitions over the two days, or $5 single garden entry.

For any more information email artandgardenslakemac@gmail.com, or print your own Flyer/map from Lake Macquarie Garden Club's Facebook page.

Tickets may be purchased at Lee Rowan’s Gardenworld, Toronto Sew Easy, Cherry Rd Nursery, Heritage Gardens Nursery or at your first garden on the day.