Mount Tomah & Wood Green With The HMA

Members and guests of the Australian Institute of Horticulture and the Horticultural Media Association ventured to the beautiful Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah north-west of Sydney on February 23rd as part of the HMA Tour series.


Famous as Sydney’s cool-climate botanic garden, Mount Tomah is in wet eucalypt rainforest on 250 acres of beautiful gardens and natural bushland. Its oldest living trees are more than 200 years old and include Blue Mountains Ash (Eucalyptus oreades), Golden Sassafras (Doryphora sassafras), Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum), Black Ash (Eucalyptus sieben), Sydney Peppermint (Eucalyptus piperita), and Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata). Many of the exotic trees were planted by the previous owners before they bequeathed it to the NSW Government as a botanic garden and there are many fine established trees.


Guests were given a wonderful tour by horticulturists Greg Bourke and Mat Murray whose passion and incredible enthusiasm shone through the rain. Mat is especially passionate about bulbs and shared his favourite ten bulbs including the blue crocus of the Turkish mountains and species tulips with camouflaged leaves.


Greg’s favourite dahlia trials to see which varieties do well in the Mount Tomah climate. Doubles, singles, pompoms, they are really wonderful plants.

These are the natural shapes that basalt forms inside lava tubes as it slowly cools into hexagonal columns. The gardens make extensive use of it as paving, wall rock and vertical columns for fantastic visual impact. It’s really striking!

Gorgeous maples on show and they now replant the self-sown seedlings to sell to the public.

Great use of natural rock, heat-tolerant cover plants and shrubs.

Plants with real bite. Greg shared that the carnivorous plants literally doubled the visitation at the city botanic garden and these are most amazing plant for gaining the interest of kids and parents alike. The marsh here was gurgling with frog calls.

Sensational bedding displays of mixed Gerberas neat the visitor centre.

Then we headed downhill to the sensational garden at Wood Green where owners Peta and Peter Trahar shared their home and garden of 33 years. The Trahars are well-known for staging the original Plant Collector’s Fair that was held at Wood Green in Bilpin from its inception in 2004 until 2011 where it took on a new scale at the showground at Clarendon. Peta curates a wonderful garden of hard-to-find perennials, shrubs, trees and extensive acreage lawns that surround the home and farm buildings.

Peta’s famous Phlox is one you don’t see much of in gardens anymore but a real standout.

Peta is a professional landscape architect, photographer and writer and it really shows in her planting styles.

Wood Green has more than 28 zones including these beautiful vistas under the trees, the ideal resting spots on a wandering tour.

Open lawns open onto a deep green valley of towering eucalypts.

Many thanks to Judy Horton MAIH RH, Matt Carroll MAIH RH, and all HMA and AIH members and guests for coming along.

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