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It's time to see this Camelia Garden of Excellence
It was during the 1840's when some land in Aldgate was granted to Robert Thomas, of Robert Thomas & Co, the printer of the 1836 proclamation of South Australia. Many generations later and Robert's great grand-daughter Gwenyth took ownership of the property and with her husband they set about building themselves a house and surrounding it with a garden of utmost beauty and joy.
In 1970, following the passing of Gwenyth, this significant heritage property was bequeathed to the National Trust of SA, whom entered in to an agreement with the Camelia Society of Adelaide Hills to establish and maintain the collection of camellias and other plants in the garden, and to host regular Sunday afternoon open days where visitors can appreciate its beauty.
Open on the fourth Sunday of every month from April to August on behalf of the National Trust plus every Sunday during September on behalf of the Camelia Society, Stangate House and Garden is a popular attraction during the cooler climes of the Adelaide Hills. Each open day also has an afternoon tea which may be enjoyed in the house itself or on some of the garden seats alongside the Aldgate Creek which travels through the property on its way to the picturesque Aldgate Valley where cyclists and walkers congregate.
The main feature in the gardens are the Camelias, with over 600 varieties planted. The gardens have been recognised by the International Camellia Society as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence, one of only 3 in Australia and only 30 worldwide. With such a wide variety of Camelia, there is almost always some in blossom, with the four Sundays in September being the peak when the garden comes alive in a kaleidoscope of colour.
Aside from the Camelias and other perennials, the garden is home to a single and magnificent oak tree. This huge tree, so out of place in amongst the neighbour's gum trees, is rumoured to have grown in this particular location following the dropping of an acorn by a lonely English traveller sometime during the 19th Century.
Notwithstanding our ability to fully understand the origins of this oak tree, it has an imposing presence across the garden, and casts a shadow across the neighbouring Lovers Lane.
Apart from being open for 10 Sundays of the year, Stangate House and Garden also hosts a Carols night on the first Sunday in December while also being available during the rest of the year for hire for those special events including weddings. Contact and booking details are available from the website.
Stangate House and Garden is located on Edgeware Road at Aldgate just near the rail bridge. The gardens are open from 1pm to 4pm on each of the Sundays, often with special events and features associated with each Sunday including the annual celebration of the giant oak tree. A small entrance fee of $5 is payable with proceeds being used for continued house and garden maintenance. For further details refer to the Stangate House website or on their facebook page.
If the organisers are reading this I wish they would open up for one or two weekdays during the month of Aug or Sept. Too much to do on Sundays. I am sure it would be a popular for a couple of openings then. So I will miss it again this year:(