Weddin Whispers: Friday October 29, 2021 | A good flowering spring | Pictures | Grenfell’s record
IRIS GARDEN: The Grenfell Iris Garden was one of the gardens on display in 2019 during the Open Gardens weekend. The Grenfell Garden Club then thought it appropriate to briefly review its history. The following information was published in the Grenfell Record on October 2, 2019.
The Iris Garden started with Gaynor England. Every day she passed Snow Brown’s house on the highway across from the Mawhinney Grain Complex. Her garden had a great iris display and Gaynor was so struck by how well they grew in her garden that she got the idea to establish one or more iris gardens in Grenfell and organize a annual iris festival to attract visitors to the city. She discussed the concept with Sylvia Brind, a public meeting was called attended by over fifty people, and the Iris Committee was formed in the early 1990s.
The first iris garden was established in the triangle between O’Brien and Warraderry streets. The Council made the land available and the Committee members dug the beds and arranged the rocks. Then small plots were planted at each end of the middle bands of Forbes Street and Rygate Sq. Strong supporters of iris gardens were Allan and Gloria Stien, Sylvia and Jack Brind, Gaynor England, Kay Fowler and Maurice Schneider, among others.
Support has been offered by a number of regional iris nurseries keen to promote the plant, with donations received from as far away as Sydney and Victoria. The Iridescent Nursery in Cowra came to Grenfell to give lectures and demonstrations on iris cultivation and provided written material in addition to rhizome donations. It has been suggested that in-kind donations could be worth up to $ 30,000 to $ 40,000. Special mention must be made to the Rainbow Ridge Nursery near Mandurama who gave the Committee carte blanche to take them for free as long as they collected them as many iris rhizomes as they wanted after replanting at the nursery – some trailer loads have been brought back to Grenfell.
Planting at the O’Brien site began in 1995. The current Iris Garden was part of a much larger plan for a tourist area including the historic gold mining area of O’Brien’s Hill, the endemic garden, an arboretum, the iris garden and landscaped swimming pools. The full plan expired, but the Iris Garden continued albeit on a smaller scale – originally it was to extend north on what is now Rod Walsh’s Block and to a similar distance to the south. But it remained a substantial creation, spanning over an acre and attracting visitors from Sydney and overseas during the flowering season as well as locals. A guestbook in the possession of Allan and Gloria Stien includes signatures from tourists from Japan, Germany and Ireland as well as interstate visitors. The comments were always favorable, mixed with an element of surprise that Grenfell had such a pull.
The wooden arch to the south of the current plantation was originally intended to be the main entrance to the garden. It bears a plaque noting the official opening of Grenfell Iris Gardens by Gordon Samuels, Governor of NSW, on October 24, 1998. The garden was listed on the cover of the 063 telephone book of 1998. The Grenfell Lions Club subsequently erected a covered picnic table and seating.
Unfortunately, over time fewer and fewer workers were available and by the mid-2000s the garden was tended by Allan and Gloria Stien with a reduced area. In recent years, Anne Gault has worked to bring the Garden to life and in 2018 all the flower beds have been rejuvenated and the irises divided and replanted.
The Jardin des Iris is worth a visit, especially when flowering is at its peak in October.
DINING ROOM:Joan Cations, head of Grenfell Food Hall, says the hall is open every Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Visitors must log in with QR code or pen and paper. A mask must be worn – no mask – no entry, with the rules of four square meters between people. Customers will need to enter, choose their items, pay and leave immediately. At this point, they will not offer morning tea. This is a requirement of the government and of the Presbyterian Church.
Orders can also be placed by phone, Facebook and emails to email@example.com. Order before 5 p.m. on Sunday for delivery the following Friday. For more information contact Joan Cations 63431235.
Volunteers are always busy in the lobby, receiving and unpacking groceries when the van arrives on Wednesday, stacking shelves and packing customers’ online orders for delivery on Friday.
SINCERE SYMPATHY: Sympathy is extended to the family of Ngaire Soley whose untimely death occurred at the end of the week. I was a work colleague with Ngaire for the past ten years before she took up a post at the Grenfell Preschool and Long Day Care Center. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.