The role of public parks and gardens

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Front lawns of the Carrington Hotel

The iconic Carrington Hotel holds sway here in my country town of Katoomba, NSW. Built in 1883 and then re-named three years later in honour of the then Governor of New South Wales, Lord Carrington, the beautiful and originally-designed building is built on the highest point in one of the highest townships in the Blue Mountains.

As well as its front lawns playing host to a variety of fundraisers, activities and events (as I speak the much-loved Blue Mountains Ukelele Festival is being held!), its gardens provide a respite and source of relaxation for town residents and visitors alike.

With its mix of ferns and traditional cottage plants, the gardens have that decidedly old fashioned, English cottage garden look. This is a look much sought after in the cool climate Blue Mountains, an environment and climate zone suited to the typical plants that make up this genre.

Many residents, including your correspondent, often take time to sit and relax, eat lunch or just meditate for a short time during the busy day. The gardens provide that lovely “space” and occasional opportunity to think and evaluate.

Perhaps this is the role of all good gardens? To allow the gardener, visitor or resident to enter into a beautiful space and drift off for a short while to find peace in our increasingly hectic lifestyles. In the spirit of the great parks and gardens of the past, how important a role do our gardens and parks, such as those in public spaces like the Carrington Hotel’s front lawns, play?

The beautiful Carrington Hotel

We are indeed lucky in Katoomba to have such a grand hotel as The Carrington. It provides a focus for activities and is a source of pride for many residents. However as important as giving the town a magnificent centrepiece is the commitment to giving townsfolk and visitor alike a marvellous garden to complement the historic hotel.

Does your town or suburb have a historic park or garden that acts as a spot of relaxation for the people? How important is a park or garden for any township? In this day and age of rush, overtime and fast-paced living, how important is it to kick back, to slow down, to sit and read, to give the kids time to stretch their legs in a park or garden?

Love to hear your views readers, either here in the comments field or over in our increasingly popular Facebook Page.

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