Winter is with us. Cold winds bite and morning frosts leave an icy carpet.
Riversdale closes for the month of July for a winter break, although the volunteers are still at work. The house team take the opportunity to "spring clean" the house and to work on the maintenance of the items displayed within the house and outbuildings.
Riversdale has a unique collection of colonial and Edwardian memorabilia including ornaments, kitchen utensils, books and clothing. Work is also carried out towards the organisation of the annual Rare Plants and Growers Garden Fair and the Victorian Christmas Exhibition, which opens on the day of the garden fair.
The garden team is also at work in the garden, although a quiet time, maintenance work continues. A new project is also underway to revamp the garden at the western entrance to the house and two lavender gardens have been made around the barrel plant pots, which have previously stood under the windows of the original stranger's rooms.
Medlar, that old-fashioned fruit, keeps on giving. Medlar or Mespilus germanica has been cultivated since Roman times and was popular in England in the 17th century making its way to Australia with the pioneers during the 1800s. The fruit is unusual in being available in winter and is well represented in the Riversdale garden.
As well as the two medlar trees on the eastern lawn, several others grow in the garden and this winter have given us a bumper crop. The fruit, closely related to the pear, is hard and acidic and must be softened, 'bletted' by frost and stored until the softening process begins.
Once it becomes mushy the skin takes on a wrinkled texture and is now ready for use. The fruit is boiled and jelly made from the liquid, the boiled fruit is then pulped and used to make chutney giving us two tasty treats from one fruit!
Although closed for July we will be open on the third Sunday of the month for our Devonshire teas. They will be held on Sunday July 21. Come out for a cuppa and scone. If the weather is inclement tables will be set up inside the house in the warmth. Browse the Riversdale gift shop for that special gift or take a tour of the house. Built in the 1840s Riversdale is filled with colonial furniture and decorated with many interesting and quirky items. If it's a sunny day spend some time in the garden.
Riversdale house and garden is closed for July 2019.
- For more information on Riversdale visit our webpage at nationaltrust.org.au/nsw/Riversdale
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