Launch of 25th anniversary season of Open Gardens Australia
SAT 25 AUGUST 2012
Welcome to The Lodge – this old and beautiful residence – and yes you’re right, it’s in need of a few renovations, I’ve had some comments on the paintwork as we’ve moved around.
But this old and beautiful residence is used by our Prime Ministers including me, and what that really means is it belongs to you, it belongs to all Australians.
I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be able to commend to you the magnificent work in this garden, and 25 years of magnificent work in opening up the gardens of Australia by Open Gardens Australia.
It’s great to do so here in this garden city that is our nation’s capital – turning a grand old 100 in just a few months’ time.
It was Rudyard Kipling that once described his nation as a garden.
He took care to note that beautiful and nourishing gardens aren’t made by sitting in the shade and saying ‘Oh, look how beautiful it is’.
I think he was right.
Gardens are a lot like nations because so many of the skills required to cultivate a beautiful garden are the same skills that are required to build a nation.
To produce a beautiful garden like those you’ll be opening to the public this year requires a great deal of forethought, detailed planning and a healthy amount of ambition, and I think from the discussions I’ve had some sitting on your nerves!
The gardener must commit him or herself to a task that won’t see any benefit for quite some time.
Because first comes the hard work, bending your back to till the soil and investing your resources of seeds, fertiliser and water in just the right place, at just the right time.
Sometimes these investments pay off.
Sometimes nature throws up something completely unexpected.
But as in life, we learn from experiences and we grow wiser for it.
The patience and perseverance that it takes to grow gardens and nations are not always valued in the modern world.
Too often, in our rush to deal with all the noise in our lives, we skip past those important lessons that everyone should learn.
If new generations were to miss these fundamentals, or if we were to forget them, then it would be a great loss to all of us.
Thanks then, to the gardeners.
They plot a course, put in the work and weather all the storms that come their way.
The reward is a quiet place where we can reflect on life and its lessons; to remember what’s important; and to quite literally stop and smell the roses.
I’m very thankful that Mike and his team here at The Lodge do such a great job in providing such a place of beauty and restfulness, just as the people who come and visit open gardens across Australia will be thankful for the enrichment that it brings in their lives.
I’m also thankful to those in the media who take their knowledge and passion for gardening and share them freely.
People like the legendary TV presenter and journalist Colin Campbell, who sadly passed away this week.
So many gardens around the nation reflect Colin’s insight and enthusiasm, especially in Queensland.
I know many people will be remembering him as they celebrate Open Gardens Australia this year.
It will indeed be a remarkable garden season. We’ve had good rains.
And regions affected by floods and bushfires are bouncing back with resilience.
So to all of you – and I’ve met a considerable number – who are opening their gardens to the public, it’s almost time to put away the shovels and the secateurs; almost time to open your front gates with pride, knowing all the hard work has paid off and we are a richer, better nation for what you have created.
I very proudly launch Open Gardens Australia in its 25th anniversary year, and I warmly wish Open Gardens Australia and each of you every success in this season.
Thank you for joining me here this morning.