Our beloved Barossa is without a doubt one of the most beautiful locations in the world!
A prestigious valley of luxury, opportunity, and pride.
And while the impulse to travel will entice us to explore other parts of the world, upon each return our rolling hills and well-manicured townships provide an alluring reminder that this is our home.
A contributing factor to our fondness is undoubtedly it’s handsome gardens, a factor often taken for granted, but certainly not by all.
In 1991 Les Garrett, a passionate rose gardener and railway worker at Angaston Railway Station, was inspired by his community spirit to assist in the preservation of Angaston’s wonderful appearance.
With seven founding members, sharing a passion for gardening, the Angaston Garden Society was established; a volunteer organisation for undertaking charitable works, gardening, and landscaping to enhance and beautify the township of Angaston.
Gardening began with support from the then District Council of Angaston and material donations by local businesses.
Since 1991, the Angaston Garden Society has attained total gardening responsibility for public domains such as the Murray Street rose tubs, Angas Recreation Park Gates, old Angaston Town Hall Square, Penrice/Murray Street corner, The Village Green, Angaston Time Capsule, Angaston Pioneer Cemetery, Angaston Cemetery and Tyne Street.
The appearance of these gardens will no doubt be familiar to most.
The level of care and knowledge of pruning and maintaining these roses is undoubtedly recognisable and appreciated by anyone passing them by.
For the work in these areas, The Barossa Council provides Angaston Garden Society with funding to purchase plants, materials, gardening supplies, safety equipment and insurance.
They also provide shed facilities for equipment and materials storage.
Meanwhile the Barossa Works Department provides road traffic management on request to ensure a safe working environment at designated locations.
Compliments are certainly appreciated by the society, and discussions and questions from local folk are always encouraged.
Great street conversation is, after-all, one of the most enjoyable parts of being in the society for its members.
The society has received praise from tourists travelling from all over the world and find great satisfaction in these.
And although they work for twelve months of the year, the big payoff is seven months of spectacular blooms.
The time spent on these gardens is three hours of every Monday morning, for those in the society who can make it.
Though all members take great pride in their gardening and beautifying the town, they understand that they have families and other commitments and responsibilities.
This is certainly something for any possible new member to understand, and the Angaston Garden Society indeed welcomes new members.
There are certainly no prerequisites to join and members have entered for numerous reasons over the years; gardening passion, interest in attaining knowledge of roses, desire to contribute and undoubtedly the social aspect.
It’s also a great avenue to do gardening if you don’t have a lot of space at home.
Current chairman, Richard Key, had been encouraged to join for more than a year before the treasurer offered to take him to meet the group. He is now in his 14th year.
“I picked up a lot of know-how working with some very knowledgeable members and have become reasonably proficient in rose maintenance,” Richard explains.
“I’ve even got to enjoy the glory of full bloom and the positive effect it has on people in general.”
At present the working membership is comprised of four men and five women, all between sixty to eighty years in age.
“Members generally come from the recently retired pool,” Richard explains.
“And as such we see sixty years and up as the norm.
“Our membership just copes with our total workload at the moment, and new members are welcome always.
“If our membership numbers fall, we may need to review our operational areas.”
Along with the many council gardens they maintain, the Angaston Garden Society are also contracted to care for private rose gardens for which they are totally responsible.
Funding from these gardens provide support towards social activities for the group, which they enjoy on a regular basis.
Members recognise the importance of social engagement, and this can include impromptu coffee shop breaks, various lunches throughout the year, group barbecues at the shed, visits to places such as The Farm Shed Museum in Kadina, Monarto Zoo and local clubs like Barossa Vintage Machinery Preservation Society.
They also donate to various disaster funds and to building funds such as BVMPS shed and Angaston Blacksmith Shop and Museum.
They also always seek to be customers of local cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Although this society is built around the upkeep of these beautiful roses, this is a community that appreciates each other and understands the value of friendship, outdoor physical activity and personal satisfaction in a job well done.