GARDEN FOR GOOD unveils 10 breathtaking natural sanctuaries in Toowoomba, Australia’s Garden City

Garden for Good

Toowoomba’s GARDEN FOR GOOD unveils 10 breathtaking natural sanctuaries

The Toowoomba Chronicle unveils 10 GARDEN FOR GOOD gardens in a stunning digital showcase celebrating joy

The applause card is raised and it’s time to cheer because 10 of Toowoomba’s most wonderful gardens have been unveiled as this year’s inaugural GARDEN FOR GOOD flagbearers, and it’s time to take them to the world!

From native sanctuaries that are home to breathtaking birdlife, an eco-friendly oasis, crescendos of colour and floral utopias, through to green retreats inspired by much-loved childhood stories and a garden that celebrates social enterprise, GARDEN FOR GOOD has unearthed 10 extraordinary garden experiences to be shared with the world. Imagery here:

Today – Friday September 18 – marks the official beginning of Toowoomba’s GARDEN FOR GOOD digital showcase, a COVID-safe reimagining of The Chronicle Garden Competition, and a new era of celebrating Toowoomba’s beautiful gardens and generous community spirit! Driving the new program is a desire to cultivate kindness, celebrate Toowoomba’s diverse green-thumbed talent and raise funds for those doing it tough.

Erika Brayshaw, General Manager at The Chronicle said, “The decision to pivot to an online showcase in 2020 ensures the 71-year-old tradition of championing outstanding gardening continues to bring joy to this incredible community. In a bid to spread the love even further, the public can from today become part of the GARDEN FOR GOOD by donating to each of the nominated charities listed by this year’s participants. COVID-safe restrictions mean that gardens will not be open to visitors this year, however GARDEN FOR GOOD is a beautiful virtual experience, where visitors can watch videos of the gardens, view interviews with the gardeners, read about what makes their garden special to them and enjoy a gallery of wonderful images. We are encouraging people everywhere, from Toowoomba, Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne, London, New York… wherever they may be, to visit and make a difference.”


Bob & Val Ford – an award-winning sanctuary

Much loved and respected gardeners, Bob and Val Ford built their home in 1966 and it has blossomed into an award-winning sanctuary boasting winding vistas and beautiful nooks. In Spring, their garden bursts to life in a crescendo of colour – pansies, stocks, petunias, snapdragons, dianthus, cinerarias, primulas and cliveas all blossom, balancing their lawn perfectly. There’s also a Japanese dwell space, complete with a seat and mirror creating the perfect photo spot. They love gardening and it shows. It’s also no surprise the Ford’s garden boasts a mantlepiece overflowing with award, and has been featured in Gardening Australia as well as Your Garden magazines.

CHARITY: MS because it is a crippling disease and has affected our family.

Ninian & Ann Stewart-Moore – paddock to plate tranquillity

Celebrating the paddock to plate experience is at the centre of everything Ninian and Ann-Stewart Moore create at their beautiful property, Bunnycollen just out of Toowoomba. The rural property, that overlooks the Great Dividing Range, hosts an immense vegetable garden that provides a constant source of seasonal goodness for the farm’s Cellar Door, and friends. Adding to the tranquillity are colourful roses, extensive lawns and 100-year old Fig Trees, beautifully maintained to create a unique sense of calm.

CHARITY: The Royal Flying Doctor Service because the country needs it.

Charmaine & Peter Williamson – an eco-friendly oasis

Hailing from “Bethuel” in Mount Lofty, a very special place built by the famous “Old Mr Moss”, Charmaine and Peter Williamson’s garden is an eco-friendly oasis, an ode to the couple’s passion for sustainability and the arts.

Their garden boasts a hand-built solar watering system that saves 100 litres of water daily, as well as a tool shed, shade house, veggie garden and hydroponic system created entirely from recycled materials. With 25 years under Charmaine’s belt as an artist and Peter’s background in plant science, the couple’s ingenuity has sparked wide-spread interest from the likes of Sophie Thompson at Gardening Australia who awarded them 1st Best Sustainable and 1st Best Productive Garden in 2019.

CHARITY: Noosa Pots and Plants from the Everyday Hero charity list to help Beyond Blue.

Caitlyn Mason & Sam Clothier- a floral utopia

The phrase “think pink” rings particularly true for Caitlyn and Sam, owners of Norwood Roses. Nestled among a sea of David Austen shrub roses, hydrangeas and poppies, the perfectly pink Norwood Rose cottage, has offered a space to dream for this pair of flower fanatics. Originally a quaint corner shop, the property was bought in 2016 and quickly converted into a floral utopia featuring winding antique brick paths, topiaries made from different buxus and a year-round floral showcase.

CHARITY: Beyond Blue because mental health issues affect so many people in Australia.

Gowrie State School – a sea of colour and smiles in the playground inspired by children’s stories

In a perfect reflection of the aims of Garden for Good, seeds of positivity planted by the Gowrie State School cleaning staff during COVID-19 have blossomed into a sea of colour and smiles in the playground. With tributes to their favourite children’s stories including The Lorax, The Frog Prince and The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch, this garden delights kids of all ages, and all of the butterflies! Bright flowers, lemon myrtle and grevilleas are just some of the gorgeous plants on display in this bright community hub.

CHARITY: The Children’s Hospital Foundation – Working Wonders

Janice Canning – a family-friendly labour of love for 36 years

Janice Canning’s love of gardening was inherited from her mother and grandmother, and for the past 36 years she has tended her garden in Rangeville just out of Toowoomba. Truly a family-friendly garden with bright pots and pavers, as well as highly sustainable succulents, natives, and drought resistant varieties. She loves the joy it brings to her grandchildren’s faces when they pick veges, herbs or fruit from the garden, or when they play in the 30-year-old cubby house.

CHARITY: The Starlight Foundation.

Les & Fae Stephson – an all year garden for a seasoned green-thumb couple

To nurture a year-round garden, one must be fitted out in “Happy Clothes”, as Les and Fae Stephson often joke. And we agree! This seasoned green-thumb couple boasts a garden of standard and rare grevilleas, camellias, and succulents all year round. In the Spring, the flowering plants feature – snapdragons, dianthus, and petunias, just to name a few. With a wealth of awards under their belt, the couple note a little bit of work each day has kept this garden lover’s dream alive and thriving for the past 30 years.

CHARITY: Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

Louise Noble – The Mulberry Project

Imagined under a mulberry tree in Nobby in 2016, The Mulberry Project has sprouted into a social enterprise creating pathways to employment in farming and food for disadvantaged communities. Volunteers, trainees and refugees join forces to grow chemical-free food such as peas, tomatoes and herbs to share as well as sell at their local markets. In its four-year history, The Mulberry Project has hosted over 200 volunteers and aided 20 community members into full-time employment; achieving its mission to create joy for many through assisting disadvantaged community members. It’s absolutely, a garden for good!!

CHARITY: AGtastic Education Programs of the Royal Agricultural Show Society of QLD which provides programs for children of all ages to experience and learn about agriculture, from plants to animals to the latest technology.

Paul & Noela Rubb – country garden goals reached!

Originally dairy farmers from the Acland area, Paul and Noela Rubb relocated to their gorgeous Haden property in 2006 and immediately begun planting their award-winning garden.

Shortly after settling, the pair learned their property was open to bad wind breaks so introduced ornamental olives and bottle trees that are now a key feature of the property. Speckled with tributes to their previous work together, the pair have installed gorgeous cattle troughs brimming with spring flowers as well as a large wheel rim that boasts green and gold ivy year-round. It is this clear attention to detail that has landed the couple Large Homestead and Country Grand Champion four years in a row in the gardening competition.

CHARITY: Lifeflight, because people in the country need it.

Richard & Anne-Maree Lindeman – a native sanctuary comes to life in three years

Park Rangers, Richard and Anne -Maree Lindeman’s affinity for native flora and fauna has manifested into a natural refuge for local wildlife. Spotted with native grasses and sandstone rock features as well as tree ferns and orchids, the garden they have created is truly a wonder, especially given they only started three years ago. They are particularly fond the ‘amoeba’ garden of Melaleuca ‘claret tops’ that mimic the plant’s form by utilising the naturally compact rounded canopies. It’s safe to say, this distinct focus on planting native flora has been a treat for the local birdlife, frogs and fish, over the past three years.

CHARITY: The Australian Wildlife Conservancy given it’s the biggest private (not for profit) owner and/or manager of land for conservation in Australia.


The Chronicle’s Garden for Good Guide will be inserted in the paper on Friday, 18 September and a 2021 Garden for Good calendar and gardening book is available for purchase at participating newsagents across greater Toowoomba from Friday, September 18.


/Public Release.