For our final event of the year, on Saturday 17th November, we were not only lucky to have a brilliant sunny day but also to have the opportunity for two behind-the-scenes tours of some renowned establishments on the Mornington Peninsula.
Firstly our out-going President, Sue Vernes treated us to morning tea from the back of her car at our first stop at Merrywood Plants in Baxter.
Jenny and Chris England, the husband and wife team who run Merrywood gave us a talk and tour of their espaliered plant business. We leant that from humble beginnings in the industry they rose to become the premier supplier of such plants in Australia. Guided by both Jenny and Chris we learnt the finer points of espaliering, from the initial plant specimen to the final saleable product. They are always trying out new species and a recent one of note was Ginkgo biloba, its unique foliage trained very elegantly.
Jenny and Chris England with their Gingkos
The Royal Mail Hotel in Mornington provided the perfect al fresco lunch. It was capped off with our raffle of Karen Sutherland’s new book “Tomato”, a Scotts hamper, some Pizzini wines and a Leucodendron from Ausflora Pacific. Thank you to those donors.
Our afternoon stop was at Morning Star Estate in Mount Eliza where EWHA members Judy Barrett and her daughter Christine Keuk showed us over their large function facility, which incorporates extensive heritage buildings and a garden boasting over 700 rose varieties! Roses in all forms and colours were in full bloom.
Judy described her experiences as a novice taking over the property 20 years ago and building it up gradually to include functions, accommodation, a restaurant, vineyard, olive grove, orchard and lots more – with little outside help. She faced many obstacles along the way not least of which was a rose virus which threatened the garden’s viability. Her determination and sheer hard work are a credit to her.
The afternoon was rounded off with Judy’s renowned Devonshire teas taken under the shady trees overlooking the bay – a fitting end to our 2018 events.
On behalf of our group we extend our thanks to Jenny and Chris at Merrywood Plants and Judy and Christine at Morning Star Estate for their generosity in showing us over their facilities, imparting their knowledge and inspiring our women.”