Open garden at ‘Trevenna’

Published 08 April 2009

trevennaThe garden of “Trevenna”, the historic home that is the residence of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England, will be open to the public as part of Australia’s Open Garden Scheme on the weekend of the 18th and 19th of April.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, and his wife Ann, are inviting everyone to visit and enjoy the garden that weekend, listen to performances by a wide range of talented local musicians, and sample the food on offer.

There will be a $5 entry fee for adults, and children will be admitted free. Proceeds from this year’s “Trevenna” open garden will go to the Armidale Branch of the United Hospital Auxiliary. Morning and afternoon teas and lunches will be provided by the Auxiliary.

“Trevenna”, designed and built in the 1890s by the Boston-trained architect John Horbury Hunt, was bequeathed to the University in 1960 by Florence Wilson, the daughter of F.R. Wright, the original owner of “Booloomimbah” – another historic building at UNE designed by John Horbury Hunt.

Approached through a long avenue of pines, planes, cypress and horse chestnuts, the “Trevenna” gardens are constructed on several levels. The visitor is welcomed by a sunken garden at the entrance, with a stone sundial. The sundial is surrounded by lavender and petunias, as are the border gardens, with camellias and box hedging beyond. On the other side of the entrance a series of hedges encloses a private lawn. Many of the trees, including horse chestnuts, pines and planes, date back to when the house was built.

The front garden slopes away into a series of ha-ha walls, and wide perennial borders lead the eye to the city of Armidale. These wide borders are planted with a variety of shrubs including camellias, rhododendrons and a range of autumn flowering perennials. Ivy and grapevines ramble along the old stone walls around the garden.

At the rear of the house a wide sweep of lawn leads down to another sunken garden where a magnolia forms the centrepiece in a small oval bed planted with dry shade-lovers. A shaded border with hellebores, windflowers and violets provides a soft, leafy barrier between the garden and the tennis court.

An impressive range of mature trees adds to the ambience and tranquillity of the garden.

The Open Garden Scheme is a self-funding not-for-profit organisation, with proceeds being dedicated to community garden projects and other charities. Last season, garden owners raised $360,000 for charities and causes through Australia’s Open Garden Scheme. Donations since 1987 now stand at over $4,000,000.