After 4 busy and interesting days it is time to go home. But before I left I went round to look at the back garden. Oh dear what a disappointment, it was definitely the least impressive feature of this otherwise glorious mansion. After all the attention to detail inside the house, the garden was a sad and neglected relic of what once could have been a splendid Victorian showcase.
In the 1880’s John Reid entered into federal politics and had visions of being Prime Minister as Tenterfield was being considered, amongst other towns, for the capital of Australia, so he had dreams of Stannum House becoming the government house. This didn’t eventuate but Stannum House became the centre of Tenterfield society. A place to play games of tennis followed by afternoon tea and tiffin with the elite of the area. Ladies in crinolines fanning themselves to keep cool as they sat under the trees. The perfume of roses wafting through the air. Maybe children running around.
Can you visualise these scenes?
But look at it now…
A testimony to the determination of roses to survive. The grass withering in the heat and lack of any rain for months.This marble lady once the centre of a perennial border. I see Agapanthus seed heads valiantly trying to procreate.A row of Grecian urns lined up along the side of the tennis courts gallantly reflecting the sun.
This intimate seating maybe once draped with climbing roses or jasmine spreading its scent around.Can you imagine this garden cared for and watered, green grass and shrubs and flowers in profusion. Back then there would be no plastic bags blowing around.No piles of rubbish accumulating in corners.
In a way I wish I hadn’t seen the garden. But gardens take a lot of hard work, especially in this climate, and obviously the house takes a lot of running. Maybe they should ask for volunteers, those armies of willing and dedicated keen gardeners, to restore it.
But I can’t let this be your last view of Tenterfield. So as we left town I stopped to have my last look at leaves and fill my memory card with these visions of autumn splendour.
As we leave town the temperatures are forecast to plummet, tomorrow winter is arriving. We will be back in our sub tropical climate by then.
But there is one more delightful surprise waiting for us 160 kilometres along the road…