On August 16, 2017 Grenfell’s Endemic Native Plants Garden will be 20 years old.
The site on O’Brien’s Hill was once covered in grass with a few Iron Bark trees on the northern side. On February 19, 1996, Noel Cartwright, Peter Luthje and families wrote to the Weddin Shire Council with an idea of establishing a garden in which to grow native plants found in the Weddin Shire. The location to be O’Briens’ Hill, east of the power station.
Council accepted the idea and helped with the organising and expenses. The area was ripped and soil, rocks, logs and wood chips were placed into position. The first planting took place on October 5, 1996, when Grenfell Cubs, Scouts and parents helped plant 150 local native plants. Another 200 plants were put in the following March. Since then plants have been added when available.
Mayor Maurice Schneider officially opened the garden on August 16, 1997. Special guest on the occasion was Mrs Hazel Althofer of the Burrendong Arboretum, Wellington. A large Grey Box Gum tree stump was transported from the Forbes Road area and located in one of the gardens on February 7, 1998. This stump is around 140 years old, and measures three metres across.
On October 24, 1998, The Governor of NSW, Gordon Samuels, and wife took the opportunity to visit our Endemic Garden. The Governor stated in a letter to Weddin Shire Council that they “were both very impressed with the concept and result of the Endemic Garden”. Advance Energy sponsored a picnic area and extensions, which were opened on June 17, 1999.
As most of the plants could not be purchased from a nursery, seeds and cutting material had to be collected from plants in local bushland and propagated by Noel before planting. The paths and lawns were kept well groomed by Peter and Faye Luthje. During recent years council has assisted Noel in the gardens. The plant identification plaques were replaced in July 2016 and thanks must go to former shire engineer Bill Twohill and Clr Carly Brown for their help in getting the plaques and stands in place. Many superb articles have been written about our Endemic Gardens including one in the NSW Native Plants publication. A number of people have helped keep the garden looking it’s very best, many thanks are extended to them.
The Endemic Native Plants Garden’s 20th Birthday celebrations will take place on Wednesday August 16 at the gardens from 10am. Come along and enjoy a cuppa and a slice of birthday cake as well as an informative talk from founder Noel Cartwright.