June 22, 2024 5:43 PM

Flowers are Blooming for Say it With Flowers



When you take in the visual beauty and extent of Sedgewood property’s cottage garden, it is hard to believe there was nothing more than a couple of trees on the property when Susan and Harry Ginns first moved in.

That was back in 1979 when the couple and their three sons moved to Mitchells Flat near Singleton with ambitions of breeding quarter horses.

I asked Susan the property’s size and her answer is the reason why The Hunter River Times is doing this story: “I think its 46 hectares, something like that but it doesn’t matter because it’s not for sale.”

Now the numerous gardens surrounding the home feature an abundance of variety and colour, nooks offering shady resting places, trinkets of interest and garden features created to encapsulate the sculpture and beauty the couple experienced and loved while holidaying in Italy.

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They moved from Wyong Creek on the Central Coast to Mitchells Flat because the property offered what they thought would be the perfect landscape to breed quarter horses.  After 10 years of ‘putting money in a hole’, the property became a home to Friesians and then Friesian/Hereford Cross.  These days the property produces a mix of Angus and Hereford cattle but Susan is quick to add that it is a lifestyle operation only.

“If we were living off the property we’d starve to death,” Susan laughed.

The original five-room home has been added on, more bedrooms, a formal lounge and dining, another bathroom, sitting room and eat in kitchen has more than doubled the home’s footprint.

However, it is the garden and plantings across the property that dominate this story.

As previously said, there was scarcely a tree.  Susan’s mother carefully collected seeds from the she-oaks and silky oaks growing beside the creek and planted them across the property.

It was obvious, despite them not being native, that they would grow well because of their abundance in the surrounding locations.

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Over three years more than 1500 trees were planted and now they appear as if they have been there forever.

The garden surrounding the home is well watered and when it came to must-haves, Susan said her English ancestry dictated that she would not be surrounded by dust so water was a must and so the gardens began to grow.

Most of the Sedgewood plants have grown from seeds or cuttings and more than often, the plants choose their location.

“There is a mix of shade and sun and you soon realise what environment the plants and flowers prefer and once they find a spot they like, more plants pop up, it just happens,” Susan said.

Rocks dug from paddocks on the property have been gathered over the years and now feature in rock gardens and almost every plant has its little story.

If she spots a plant in a friend’s garden that attracts her interest, Susan soon gets a clipping and a walk around her garden reminds Susan of many friends.


“The Canna Lilly is from Susannah O’Brien and this one over here is from Adrienne Jackson’s garden.” 

Both women are fellow Red Cross members so there is some added benefits of being a member of the local branch.

Back to the garden and consideration also needs to be given to the wildlife.  Corn has never been successful given the local cockatoo families love nothing more than to enjoy a feast on this potential crop.

The vegetable garden has its own netted spot contained in an area within the garden by a quirky picket fence.  Traditionally, Susan grows beans, greens, spinach and berries but most of the vegetable plot is now home to an abundance of dahlias planted specifically for the Singleton Red Cross Calling event on March 25.

“I have grown the dahlias for the event but they are loving it there and are already starting to bloom,” Susan said adding that she is not too concerned because there will be plenty of other flowers to choose from for the event including 25 white roses that line a section of the driveway next to the orchard.

Other members with spectacular flower gardens will also be contributing blooms and arrangements for the event and the branch is particularly grateful to August Bloom, Hunter Floral Boutique, Moss & Twine and WOW Flowers for also providing floral art and flowers to add to the visual pleasure the event aims to achieve.

The event, Say it With Flowers, is at Singleton Civic Centre from 2:30pm and will be set in Morpeth, particularly its florist shops, featuring entertainment by Bev Brooker with Two Shades of Grey and refreshments.

Tickets are $30 and are on sale now at Hunter Floral Boutique, 71 John Street, or from Red Cross members.