Where east meets west

Jennifer and Barry Lacey in their Newstead Garden - one of several thriving local gardens preparing to open over the Melbourne Cup long weekend.

Lacey’s garden in Newstead is such an eclectic mix of spring profusion it’s hard to believe that when the owners arrived on site 19 years ago it was just a vacant block.
Barry and Jennifer Lacey share a love of gardening and a passion for sharing that love with others.
Their ‘east meets west’ garden is one of the handful of flourishing local gardens now getting set to open their gates to the public over all or part of Melbourne Cup week.
Lacey’s is known as the ‘east meets west’ garden because of its contrasting planting mix that includes cactus, bonsai and plenty in between, including cottage classics framed by established trees.
Like Lacey’s, each of the local gardens now preparing to open publicly originally intended to do so as part of the district’s 16th biennial Festival of Gardens that was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But greater clarity around permitted visitor numbers in recent days has prompted Lacey’s, along with Mica Grange at Sutton Grange, Forest Edge at Muckleford, Lixouri at Barkers Creek and Mossbank at Castlemaine, to open this Friday October 30 through to Tuesday November 3 – and in some cases throughout Cup week.
Jennifer says Lacey’s will open from Friday through to Tuesday November 3, but will happily open beyond then by private appointment as well.
“It’s good therapy. I love coming out with a cup of tea and just wandering,” she says.
“You see something different each time. It gives us great joy.”
Barry says their collection of thriving irises and roses should be in top shape by the weekend.
And he says the usual $5 entry fee for Lacey’s will all go to Newstead CFA.
Past president of Central Goldfields Bonsai group, Barry particularly enjoys showing off his bonsai collection while Jennifer will also have some of her decoupage art on show, with handmade cards and seedlings for sale.
“If people are lucky, the cactus will be flowering as well,” Barry says.
Also at Newstead, Antares Iron Art Garden’s Roger McKindley has since told the Express his garden will open as well for the Cup weekend and the following weekend too.