A seed of an idea - Kangaroo Island garden show book launch

STUNNING GARDEN: Kaylene Graham in her stunning Wind & Wings garden on the north coast of Kangaroo Island. Photo: Stan Gorton
STUNNING GARDEN: Kaylene Graham in her stunning Wind & Wings garden on the north coast of Kangaroo Island. Photo: Stan Gorton

Friends Jennie Teasdale and Anne Morrison met for coffee and cake in the garden at Cockatoo Cottage in July 2020.

They were to talk about a way of brightening the year for fellow Islanders, after the disastrous bushfires of 2019-20, closely followed by the restrictions of COVID.

It was just the seed of an idea - "maybe we could open up our gardens for a day, so people could wander around and enjoy the garden, and meet with friends in a safe environment?"

They decided to contact other gardeners to see if they wanted to join in, and soon there were 12 garden owners busy weeding and working to get our gardens into shape for the first Kangaroo Island Spring Garden Festival, to be held in Spring of 2020 - the seed had germinated!

Caroline Taylor's magical garden at Western River. Photo: Stan Gorton

Caroline Taylor's magical garden at Western River. Photo: Stan Gorton

Kaylene Graham and Caroline Taylor, whose properties at the western end of the Island were affected by fire, came on board to help us organize the event.

And with Kaylene's help, they received a grant of $6500 from State Emergency Relief Fund, to help pay for advertising, printing, signage, catering needs and other expenses.

Gardens on show were all over Kangaroo Island, from Kingscote to Western River.

Some large country gardens, and a small town garden. New gardens, some replanted after the fires, and old gardens that had evolved over the years.

The festival was a great success, with an average of 168 people attending each garden over the six weekends.

Donations given to various charities and projects totaled $6736, though entry to gardens was free.

Wind & Wings garden footage

After it was all over, Jennie decided to write a book to celebrate the first garden festival, and now we have "Exploring Enchanted Gardens on Kangaroo Island".

Each chapter in the book tells the story of the gardens and their gardeners, with many lovely photographs, and hand painted "mud maps" of each garden.

Kangaroo Island's community gardens are also featured.

Sophie Thomson, who has been such a support to our gardeners since the fires, has written the foreword, and is also coming over to launch the book 2pm to 4pm on Sunday, Dec. 19 at Frogs and Roses.

Everyone is welcome to join the gardeners, in the garden of course, for afternoon tea to celebrate the launch of the book, the sales of which will help with costs of running the 2022 festival and beyond.

What a great gift for any garden lover.

Contact Anne Morrison on 0428 955 598 if you're interested in sharing your garden next year, and help them grow the seed into an ongoing garden event not to be missed.