Open garden

CHRISTMAS begins early on the Monaro, when Curry Flat at Nimmitabel, one of the region's grandest station gardens, opens its gates for a festive season fair.

Owned by the Jardine family for generations, Curry Flat's garden centres around a beautiful old station homestead, encircled with deep verandahs and iron lace.

In 1956, noted designer and Berrima nurseryman Claude Crowe was employed to lay out the formal front area of the large garden with terraces and low stone walls.

A circular pond is edged with stone and brims with waterlilies and a small fountain, and massed planning emphasises the gardens expansive qualities.

Jim and Susie Jardine have extended the garden, making contrasting curved borders to beds of perennials, and shrubs and silver birches, which lead towards the large dam.

A herb garden near the house and a tennis court are near a long perennial border are other features, as are shaded walk with trees sheltering Hellebores.

Lushly planted with cool climate perennials, the deep borders frame lawns, which will host many of the region's finest craftsmen, who will bring a wonderful assortment of Christmas gifts into the garden.

Lunches and teas will also be available, so there's the chance to admire the garden, complete some Christmas shopping and enjoy a picnic lunch on Curry Flat's sweeping lawns.

The garden opens on Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 4.30pm at a cost of $4.50. For enquiries call 6943 2666.