Australia's Open Garden Scheme
Australia's Open Garden Scheme is a non-profit organisation that began in Victoria Australia in 1987. Its aim is to promote the knowledge and pleasure of gardens and gardening across Australia. Under the scheme, private gardens are opened for public viewing for one or two weekends a year. About 650 gardens are opened annually across Australia, from a database of about 5000 gardens. Each year over 275,000 adults visit open gardens, together with accompanying children. A schedule for openings across Australia is published annually.
The scheme grew out of the practice in Victoria of "grand" private gardens in the hill country near Melbourne opening occasionally for public viewing for the benefit of charities. However the scheme does not limit itself to large gardens, with many normal-sized suburban gardens, and even tiny inner-city plots, included. Most openings in the southern, temperate zone occur between October and May, while tropical gardens open during the winter months.
A nominal fee, usually $5 per adult, is charged for each viewing. This money is divided with 35% going to the garden owner or their nominated charity, and 65% going to the Open Garden Scheme. After funding the scheme operating costs, the remainder is given as grants to community garden projects, with over $800,000 in grants being made by the end of 2006. Additionally garden owners have passed on over $3.5 million to their nominated charities since the commencement of the scheme.
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