What is Open Gardens Australia?
Open Gardens Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that opens private gardens and organises garden-themed events for public enjoyment around the country.
Our aim is to promote the enjoyment, knowledge, and benefits of gardens and gardening in the Australian community, and to build strong public support for the development of gardens across the nation.
Established in 1987 as Victoria's Open Garden Scheme, our path to national expansion occurred over a period of two decades, with the final territory being added in 2000, when we truly became Australia's Open Garden Scheme.
In 2011 the organisation was renamed Open Gardens Australia, to better reflect the nature of our role as the premier national body opening private gardens to the public, rather than our operational framework (ie. Scheme).
How is Open Gardens Australia run?
There is a national Board of Directors, all of whom are volunteers. The President is Tamie Fraser, who has held that position since 1992.
The organisation works within the framework of a Strategic Plan and Board Charter.
Open Gardens Australia has nine regions (one in each state and three in NSW) each with a management committee and a panel of selectors. Directors, committee members and selectors are volunteers.
The key to the organisations success is the huge number of volunteers involved.
As well as the Board, committees and selection panels, there are thousands of friends and relatives who help the garden owners on their open days by manning the gates, providing refreshments, etc. In all there are around 10,000 volunteers involved in some way each season.
To oversee the national operation of Open Gardens Australia, we employ a Chief Executive Officer and a Financial Administrator. Each region also has a part-time Regional Liasion Officer and Coordinator who are responsible for administering the region and for supporting the garden owners.
Our national expansion, which began in 1991, was greatly assisted by a grant of $150,000 from the Australian Horticultural Corporation with funds raised via the Nursery Industry Association pot levy.
ABC Radio has been a proud supporter of Open Gardens Australia since its inception in 1987. From local Saturday morning gardening talkback to 'Gardening Australia' on ABC television, the ABC supports and recognises gardening as one of Australia's most popular pastimes. Details of gardens opening as part of the program are also broadcast on ABC Radio around Australia.
Meet Us - the Open Gardens Team
You'll find a full Organisational Chart here. (Current as of April 2013)
What sort of gardens open?
We open private gardens of every size, style and description. Old and young, large and small, from inner city courtyards to grand country estates, from tropical gardens to the more traditional gardens of the temperate south.
Where are they?
We open gardens right across Australia. There are gardens open in every state and territory.
How many gardens are there?
Open Gardens Australia has about 10,000 gardens on its books, with new gardens being discovered all the time. Each season we open around 500 private gardens to the public. Each of the gardens usually opens for just one or two weekends each season.
When are the gardens open?
As Open Gardens Australia now embraces the whole of the continent, there are gardens open in every month of the year.
In the temperate south, the main program runs between August and May. Moving further north into the tropics, gardens are also open during the winter.
How are they chosen?
All of the gardens included are first visited by our selectors who are experienced gardeners themselves.
To be included in the program, the gardens must be good examples of their type, interesting and well-maintained.
I know a lovely garden which should be open. I'm interested in opening mine too. What should I do?
Please email us.
What happens to the entry fees?
The owners who so generously open their gardens to the public charge a nominal fee (the standard fee is $7). All of the income is derived from these entry fees. We receive no funding from Governments or other agencies.
Our garden owners donate around $350,000 annually to charities and local causes. Total donations since the organisations inception in 1987 are over $4.7 million.
Since 1987 over $1,100,000 has been given to community garden projects by Open Gardens Australia. In addition, we have substantially funded our own national expansion.
Read more on how the Community Benefits...
Who visits the gardens?
Gardening is one of Australia's most popular leisure activities. Each year around 275,000 adults and countless thousands of children visit our gardens.
Is garden visiting expensive?
Visiting our gardens is an inexpensive and rewarding experience. Our standard fee is $7 per adult (some gardens are slightly more).
Children under 18 accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge.
What can I gain from visiting gardens?
The greatest knowledge and inspiration comes from seeing the work of other gardeners and being able to talk to them. Whether you are a novice or an expert, garden visiting is the best way to get new design ideas, to discover new plants and rediscover old favourites.
How do I find the gardens?
There are a number of ways you can find details about the gardens that we open:
Open Gardens Guide
The Open Garden Guide has all the information necessary for planning garden visits right around Australia. More information...
The website lists all of the gardens that are scheduled to open. Visit Your State...
or you can contact the National Office.