Hive of activity at ‘Still Waters’

Hive of activity at ‘Still Waters’

Local couple Cathy Hughes and Rick Paltridge are opening up their expansive ‘Still Water’ garden to the public later this month.

The garden, located 15km south of Penola, will be open to view on April 13 and 14.

Visitors can wander through their four-hectare park garden set amongst towering river red gums, perennial borders and an array of mature deciduous trees.

“While our garden peaks with lots of colourful perennials during late November, April is when the deciduous trees such as the oaks, ash, maples and elms provide colour and interest, just in a different palette,” Ms Hughes said.

“The tapestry of autumnal colours is beautiful and calming.”

Other distinctive elements to their garden include two connected wetland areas that support local birdlife, insects and frogs, Frank Lloyd Wright inspired stonework structures, original sculptures made by Mr Paltridge, and a small quince orchard with all 16 varieties known to be growing in Australia.

Each day of the open garden, Ms Hughes will host regular free tours of the orchard, while Mr Paltridge will present two short demonstrations about his unique stone-walling techniques.

Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase fresh quinces and Quince HQ products, as well as garden plants, roses, arts and crafts, peacock feathers, light food and coffee refreshments plus wine tastings by two local cellar doors.

“I am also really pleased to offer delicious quincy sparkling juice for the first time in SA,” Ms Hughes said.

“It is made by the Jewson family from their quinces and that have paired with apples sourced from the Bannockburn region in Victoria (near Geelong).

“And for art lovers, Adelaide based artist Catherine Fitz-Gerald will be the artist in residence for the weekend demonstrating how to paint a still life of quinces.”

Ms Hughes said the couple was keen to showcase quinces, their garden, as well as regional makers and producers.

“Quinces are an ancient fruit that are beloved in many food cultures across the world, including Australia where there is a renaissance of interest occurring,” she said.

Ms Hughes said to the uninitiated, a ‘typical’ quince is likely to be described as yellow, furry, wrinkled, large, hard to cut, impossible to eat fresh, and possibly even ugly, but you would be forgiven for wondering why anyone would eat them.

“To me, they are a fruit with personality, voluptuous, sensual, fragrant, golden, velvety, sublimely aromatic (think rose, guava, vanilla and apple) and very versatile to cook with,” she said.

For more details about this Open Gardens SA event, including entrance fees, directions and garden protocols visit

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