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Wildwood Garden

Home > Sydney > Day Trips | Escape the City | Family | Gardening | Gardens
by Linda Moon (subscribe)
... a dreamer, freelance writer, naturopath, mother & former social work student based in the Blue Mountains. Continue the journey with me- Soul Home:
Published September 8th 2013
A place to enjoy in the heart of Bilpin
Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Cherry blossom aisle

Granite paths meander through the quiet greenery while bell-birds ring overhead. A turn here reveals a stunning walkway of electric pink azaleas, a turn there an aisle of frothy cherry blossom or a garden bench. Sloping down, the land leads one to a flowing waterfall, ponds and finally to a small lake.

After a drive through the lush greenery and apple orchards of Bilpin, Wildwood Garden offers a chance to stretch the legs, partake of a tasty snack within a cafe and wander amidst eye-catching scenery. Located in a pristine, country lane in the Hawkesbury region, this cool climate garden, a mere eighty minutes drive from Sydney, offers respite from the hectic pace of city life.

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Wildwood Garden. A place for people to enjoy.

The Gods themselves couldn't have planned a better spring day for our visit. As the car rolls into the driveway we are greeted by the peaceful ringing of multitudes of bell-birds. In fact, Wildwood Garden turns out to be a birds paradise with lorikeets, King parrots and other species splashing colour and bird-song throughout the greenery.

Wildwood garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
The gorgeous azalea walk in spring

Before we embark on our garden adventure, we start with lunch upstairs in the tea-house. A little like an eyrie, the interior is airy and bright and spies down upon the nursery and the grounds below. Expansive windows looking out to the treetops and garden vistas give one the sensation of eating outdoors. With its light coffee-coloured cane chairs, the tea-house (in actual fact an enclosed verandah) is a cheerful and pleasant space from which to enjoy a light lunch, morning or afternoon tea or a snack. With the bell-birds ringing like chimes, I am soon sleepy and happy.

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
The peaceful tea-house.

The business of eating interrupts. We choose the quiche from the selection of sandwiches, pies, pastries, cakes and other snacks, and we aren't sorry. The home-made quiche and its accompanying salad make a pleasant light summery lunch in keeping with the season.

My partner spots a black snake dangling from a beam in the vaulted ceiling and stifles a scream. Catching sight of it, my four year old daughter shrieks. Later on, we learn that this is a rubber snake, whose intention is not to freak out guests, but to keep away nesting birds; a function it has performed most successfully. It seems the birds are just as well fooled as the humans.

wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
The gift shop offers garden paraphernalia and gift ideas.

With a restless four year old in tow, we reluctantly leave the peaceful haven of the tea-house. In European style, one is funnelled into the garden via the shop entrance and then out again. On the way through, my daughter is mesmerised by the many intriguing and colourful jingly jangly items in the shop.

Wildwood garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Beautiful vista

We spend the next hour or two exploring [it takes at least an hour to circumnavigate and explore the twelve acres of the garden].

Standout sights include the cherry walk, a sparkling azalea walk and the camellia garden featuring over 600 varieties of camellia. A blossoming crab-apple and the magnolia's, including the iolanthe magnolia with its gigantic head-sized flower, are truly stunning and become subjects for my camera. Unfortunately, the daphne hedge with its exquisite smell, isn't blooming today. Neither is the dogwood. Which means another visit another day.

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
The Camellia Garden

Flowing waters wash over stones, cascade from a five metre waterfall, and recycle water within three ponds. The water, surrounded by benches, ferns and trees, provides coolness and acoustics.

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Three ponds and a waterfall

There is also a rainforest walk, the Dragon's Den and Fairy Garden featuring unusual sculptures, a huge sandstone sofa and many rare and unusual plants.

As the season changes, other parts of the garden flourish and sparkle. In summer, the Rose Garden becomes the highlight, while in autumn the Maple garden comes into its own.

wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Sculpture in the Dragon Den

We find ourselves at the bottom of the garden, relaxing by the small lake by topiary horses. There are lots of benches to relax upon, or if a picnic takes your fancy, there's grass aplenty.

My daughter enjoys the goldfish in the lake and the topiary winged horse, while my partner relaxes on a wooden bench in the sun.

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Topiary horses.

Established thirty-one years ago, Wildwood first opened to the public in October 2012. Prior to purchasing the property, owners and self-proclaimed passionate plant people, Wayne and Sue Tapping had an extensive background in retail and wholesale nurseries. "We really have a passion for plants," Sue says.

When I remark upon the loveliness of the area, Wayne explains that they cleared the tiny roads in the early eighties and made many street plantings. He is chuffed to learn that this section of the Bells Line of Road is now known to some as 'millionaire's row road.'

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Stunning Crab-Apple and other blooms.

Together, the plant-loving duo designed and built Wildwood over thirty-one years. Remarkably, they also maintain the garden by themselves as well as run the onsite café, plant nursery and gift shop.

Wayne says that the high aluminium content of the soil at Wildwood made it unsuitable for growing many natives. Instead they decided to focus on exotics, such as camellias, and rarer plants.

wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Over 600 varieties of camellia.

Wayne explains that the garden contains "a lot of camellia's you won't get again. The growers don't grow them."

There are still many areas of the garden under development. With Wildwood Garden a work in progress, no doubt there will be more to see each time you come.

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
The five metre waterfall.

A visitors book kept in the cafe contains comments from many contented visitors. It seems Wayne and Sue's labour of love has brought joy to many.

"Absolutely magnificent, outstanding deluxe!!! A great salvation because my husband & I find it difficult to go on holidays," raves Helen Bayley. D&D write, "absolutely beautiful garden we couldn't imagine how much work & love has gone into the making of this garden so wonderful a tribute to you all." From the Hollingsworths of Glenbrook: "Such a wonderful legacy & a true labour of love. I haven't heard such wonder & excitement from my 6 & 3 year olds in a long time. Thank you."

Wayne summarises the motivation for the garden: "It's just for people to enjoy."

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
The stunning iolanthe magnolia.

Getting to Wildwood Garden:
Wildwood Garden is located at 29 Powells Road, Bilpin.

To get to Bilpin from Sydney, take the Windsor Road exit from the M2 Motorway, travel through Richmond to Kurrajong Road which continues as the Bells Line of Road. Powells Road is a left turn off the Bells Line of Road.

Sue and Wayne couldn't have made it easier to find Wildwood, with multiple signs and pink balloons heralding the way.

Opening Times
The garden is open Friday to Monday, 10am-4pm, during late winter to spring and in autumn. The dates below are for this spring and next autumn.

Spring: August 9 - November 4, 2013
Autumn (2014) March 21 - June 9, 2014

Special openings
Wildwood is open other times by appointment for groups of 20 or more. Groups are welcome on regular open days too, but Wayne and Sue prefer notification for catering. Please call Wayne on 0417 042 460 for a quote.

Garden entry costs
adults $8, concession and students $6, children under 16 free

0417 042 460 (Wayne) or (02) 4567 2194 (after hours; if unanswered leave a message and they will get back to you)

Cafe serving coffee, tea, cakes and light lunches, gift shop, nursery, toilets, parking including disabled parking, picnic grounds beside the lake.

Wildwood Garden is child friendly.

wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Wildwood is child-friendly.

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
Facilities include plant nursery, disabled toilets, gift shop, tea-house and parking.

Wildwood Garden, Bilpin, Hawkesbury region
The lake
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*Linda Moon was invited as a guest
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Why? Down time, relaxation and beautiful flowers
When: Spring: August 9 - November 3, 2013. Autumn [2014]: March 21 - June 9
Phone: 02 45672194, 45672888, 0417042460
Where: Wildwood, Powells Road, Bilpin, NSW
Cost: Adults: $8, Concession: $6, Children under 16: free
Your Comment
How stunning - love your photos and most informative article. Thank you again Linda.
by Lucy (score: 3|1157) 2836 days ago
They definitely like their prink flowers; it is a beautiful place. The gift shop looks a bit out of place though; everything else is so serene and peaceful, and then this loud, busy Rio-esque bazaar pops up.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2840 days ago
Looks magnificent! Will definitely be visiting this one soon:)
by trish (score: 1|34) 2837 days ago
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