SLIP on your sandals and slop on the sunscreen, New England offers open gardens in spades.
Across the district, green thumbs are flicking through their garden manuals, finding new shrubs and flowers to plant as spring awakens the earth.
The best of the best are throwing open their gardens for the public to inspect, and to be inspired with ideas for their own patch of dirt.
From Armidale to Moree, there's gardens galore to wonder through. This year sees the inaugural New England Garden Festival.
Here's our pick of the crop; five gardens open to the public in coming weeks that are well worth a visit.
St Peters Garden weekend, Saturday, November 5 and Sunday, November 6.
Three gardens are open to visitors, with the main event at St Peters Cathedral in Rusden Street, from 9am to 2pm. Expect stalls, books, craft, cakes and produce. Morning teas from $5, lunches from $10. A native plant stall will be at the second open garden, in Link Road, on both days, with money raised to assist with the Armidale Arboretum.
New England Garden Festival
Saturday, November 18
This inaugural garden festival will bring together gardeners, specialists and the community for fun and educational activities, along with a range of retail therapy with an array of stallholders. The festival is at Armidale Racecourse; tickets $5.
Down-to-earth Inverell Garden Group open gardens Saturday, November 4 from 10am to 4pm
Barraba Garden Trail shows off six private gardens in Barraba. $25 for a full garden tour, or $5 per garden. Maps available. Raffles, tea and coffee, hand-made garden pots and various gifts all available to buy, with money going to cancer research. Go to down-to-earth Inverell Garden Group Open Gardens on Facebook for more information.
Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12
Glenrock Gardens, in Robinsons Lane, will be open to the public. Tickets from $15 per adult. Set on 10 acres, Glenrock Gardens is an award-winning country garden with a nursery and cottage attached. Plants adapted to cool temperate and highland climates are on sale. Go to glenrockgardens.com.au/contactus for more information.
Moree Plains Garden Club
This is for members only and anyone interested must join the club before touring local gardens.
But it is well worth the $20 annual fee. President Libby Smith says garden tours are usually held monthly from March, since it is too hot in summer. Members are touring the Tellaraga gardens, a property west of Moree, on November 11. This is an old, established garden on a cotton farm, featuring shrubs, lawn and agapanthus. Phone Libby on 0428 546 120 to join the club or for more information.
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