OPEN GARDEN: Jan Flanigan in her Mt Crosby garden, which is open to the public this weekend.
OPEN GARDEN: Jan Flanigan in her Mt Crosby garden, which is open to the public this weekend. Rob Williams

Orchid lover will share their beauty

WHEN spring finally comes, Jan Flanigan's prized orchids start to bloom.

That means it's time to share the two acres of magical gardens at 8 Belah St, Mount Crosby, with the community for the weekend.

Coucals at Mount Crosby is being opened to the public for the ninth year running, and the event, just like the gardens, continue to grow.

"Last year we got 400 people, which was good. We enjoy having the people. I like visiting other people's gardens, so I feel like I should share mine," Mrs Flanigan said.

The self-taught gardener has travelled around the world, gaining and sharing knowledge in Croatia, Italy, France, England and Canada. The lessons Mrs Flanigan learned abroad have helped her perfect the art of growing orchids, which she proudly grows naturally.

"We've put logs around the garden and we grow them on the logs and rocks; how they grow naturally," she said.

Maintaining the sprawling gardens is almost a full-time job, and Mrs Flanigan, with the help of her husband Jim, has spent the past three weeks tidying and trimming in preparation for the open days.

Opening the gardens to the community not only allows Mrs Flanigan to share her love of all things that grow, it raises much-needed money for a good cause.

All proceeds from the open days will go to the Australian Red Cross Ipswich Branch, a cause that is close to Mrs Flanigan's heart.

"I come from the Channel Islands near England, and the Red Cross rescued the island from starvation during World War II. My memories of the Red Cross go back to my childhood. They do so much good," she said.

Coucals at Mount Crosby is opening its gates tomorrow and Sunday between 9am and 4pm. Entry is $7 and children under the age of 18 can enter free.

Volunteers from the Red Cross will be serving cakes, sandwiches and refreshments.



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