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This town is blooming every year in October
Now bigger than ever, this once small local garden festival has grown to include other nearby towns. It is now a major event and draws hundreds of visitors to the region. The main focus is still in Renmark on the Murray River, in the Riverland district of South Australia. The town is around 260 kilometres from Adelaide and makes an ideal weekend escape at any time of year. In Spring, when the flower festival is on, it is a perfect time to visit before the extreme heat of summer. This is when the town puts on a grand show; when you can see the roses at their best and enjoy all that there is on offer in this beautiful clean sun-drenched country town.
You will see plenty of beautiful roses in Renmark. Image by Out and About
The Rose and Flower Festival runs for ten days and has a variety of events. It is a true festival, in that it is held over a long period, it invites community participation and also has organised public events. One of these is the grand opening on the riverfront in Renmark. There are special displays in a marquee down on the riverfront with talks and awards. Awards are given for the best gardens. The Institute has a fine exhibit of gorgeous floral displays and quilts. The biggest part of the festival is the many open gardens at the homes of local residents. Here you can find some inspiration and ideas for your garden and wander about and see some beautiful gardens. Most of these are not grand homes. They are ordinary people who love gardens and open them to show you their efforts.
Gorgeous David Austin roses in a floral display. Image by Out and About.
There is too much on here to see in only a day. You really need at least a weekend to get around and see everything. Because of my love of roses, I am drawn to this event every few years, and I am pleased to see it has become one of the State's biggest events. On my last visit, I came across many visitors who make the trip every year. It was fun to chat with fellow garden lovers along the way. Many were doing the loop around all the towns for a week and staying at local accommodation, visiting gardens in a new town each day. You can also visit the huge David Ruston Roses in the town.
Rustons Roses has extensive grounds to wander. Image by Out and About.
A local resident is proud to show you her garden. This gardener makes these sweet planters in old boots which are for sale. Image by Out and About.
For touring about the open gardens you will need a map. You can download program here- PDF doc or you can pop into the Visitor Centre which is located in the township by the river. Ensure you ask questions as to where to find some of the gardens, especially the outer lying ones. I got a bit lost as I didn't realise some of the open gardens in the outer area of Renmark were so far out of town. Also, some of the streets had no signs, which is something that needs addressing if you are sending hundreds of people out there.
Remember the open gardens are spread far and wide, so have plenty of fuel and some snacks and drinks. Many gardens have teas and drinks for sale also. Many took advantage of these as it usually turns out to be a very warm weekend. Some gardens close at 4pm and others at 5pm so you need to schedule which ones you wish to see. I simply could not get to all of them. On another visit, I will go to the nearby towns which also have art galleries and more to explore.
One of the local resident's garden.Image by Out and About.
I sincerely thank the many owners of some of these gardens who are pictured here who welcomed me and talked with me about the festival. All the owners are in their gardens on the open days and are happy to tell you the names of plants and how they grow them. It was wonderful to see families and couples who work together in the garden to achieve such a lovely result. Do tell them how beautiful their garden is and they will beam a wide proud smile. They have worked all year to show this garden to you, and what a magnificent job they have done. Many I talked to have been opening their garden since the festival began many years ago.
The Ppiros Family welcomed me are very proud of their superb garden on a small town block. It may be small but they have 300 roses and many flower varieties. Just look at this stunning orchid. Image by Out and About.
It was delight to see these beautiful gardens of all shapes and sizes, with each one very different. It is a curious discovery to see what lies beyond each front fence. A visit to Renmark and district in our glorious Spring weather is a wonderful short break. There are caravan parks, motels and bed and breakfast venues to choose from for accommodation. The event boosts the local economy and I would say it is one of Australia's great garden events.
Garden crafts and art markets had a pop up shop at the shopping mall on the main highway. Image by Out and About.
The festival was the idea of Eithne Sidhu, who in association with David Ruston started the festival many years ago to bring people to the town. You can see a memorial at Jarrett Gardens.
"To plant a garden, is to believe in tomorrow" Quote by Audrey Hepburn