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Wirrapunga Garden Open Days

Home > Adelaide > Gardens | Open Days | Outdoor | Photography | Walks
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Event: -
See rare and endangered flora
Beautiful gardens across the state will be open again this spring. Amongst them is the unique Wirrapunga indigenous bush garden at Aldgate in the Adelaide Hills.

King Spider Orchid (Caladenia Tentaculata)
King Spider Orchid (Caladenia Tentaculata) ©paula mcmanus

The Aldgate Valley region once had over 600 native species. These days there are only approximately 300 that remain.

The garden is owned and lovingly cared for by Dr John Wamsley and his wife Proo. Over a number of years, they have removed the weeds and non-indigenous plants from the area and work hard to keep the gardens 'feral free'.

Cypress Daisy Bush (Olearia Teretifolia)
Cypress Daisy Bush (Olearia Teretifolia) ©paula mcmanus

Dr Wamsley is an environmentalist who started the hills sanctuary Warrawong, which now sadly has closed. At Warrawong he eradicated all non-indigenous plants and animals from the sanctuary and erected a surrounding fence to preserve the sanctuary's feral free state.

He gained public attention when he attended a tourism awards ceremony wearing a hat made from the pelt of a dead feral cat. The ensuing controversy led to a change in the law, allowing feral cats to be legally killed.

Dr John Wamsley was the Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year for 2003 and the Wirrapunga gardens have won awards too - in 2010 it won a Sustainable Garden Award and in 2011 was awarded the Native Garden's Gold Certificate of Excellence.

Purple Cockatoo Orchid (Glossodia Major)
Purple Cockatoo Orchid (Glossodia Major) ©paula mcmanus

Over 400 species of native plants can be found in the Wirrapunga garden. There are 40 species that are listed as rare and endangered. The indigenous plants are native to the Aldgate Valley and the whole area is hand weeded.

There is a path that weaves its way past all of the plantings and each site is clearly labelled. You're likely to see many different varieties of native orchids, acacias, lilies, grevilleas and sundews - many of them are rare and endangered. It's great to see them growing and thriving. Anyone of any fitness level would be able to do and enjoy the walking trail.

Bearded Orchid (Calochilus Robertsonii)
Bearded Orchid (Calochilus Robertsonii) ©paula mcmanus

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of September

Opening times:
10am to 4.30pm with talks on the Almanda Creek Project at 12noon and 2pm.
Guided walks leave every 15 minutes

7 Williams Rd, Aldgate

How much:
$8 (free for children under 18)

How to get there:
Take the Stirling/Aldgate exit off the Freeway. At the roundabout, turn right into Avenue Road; veer left into Longwood Rd, travel to Stock Rd on left, left into Williams Rd.

Last year, the Open Garden days were run by the volunteers of FAME (Foundation for Australia's Most Endangered). They had a sausage sizzle going, hot and cold drinks were available. There was a raffle and light meals could be purchased in the house. I'd assume that there'd be much the same available again this year. The money raised goes to the continuation of their great work.

It's a thoroughly enjoyable and educational day out in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. I would strongly recommend going along, learning something and supporting the people who work so hard to save the natural environment.

Scarlett Sundew (Drosera Glanduligera)
Scarlett Sundew (Drosera Glanduligera) ©paula mcmanus

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Why? Visit a unique Australian bush garden
When: Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September
Where: 7 Williams Road, Aldgate
Cost: $8
Your Comment
Great photos as always Paula!
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11266) 1939 days ago
Incredible pictures !
by Paul Arguile (score: 2|133) 1939 days ago
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