THE historic home and idyllic gardens of Hesslewood, home of the Odendaal family, provided the perfect backdrop for the third quarter Greytown Garden Club meeting. This well attended meeting was enjoyed by a large group of members and guests who, after the inspiring talk by talented gardener and landscaper, Alida Oosthuisen, spent time exploring the well established gardens of this stately home. Greytown Garden Club president Jen Cowie said Alida is a self-taught, well grounded, passionate gardener and proprietor of Tuinhuis Garden Centre in Ladysmith. Drawing an analogy with how fashion trends change seasonally, Alida emphasised that gardening trends also change and the optimal time for contemplating these changes is in winter. Changes need not be drastic or extreme, but new areas can be opened up for the planting of spring annuals by simply pruning back moribund growth or lifting branches to reveal fresh areas for planting. By opening up and highlighting specific areas with simple, inexpensive, hard landscaping objects such as a strategically placed bird bath, statue, log or bench draws attention and revitalises what may have been a rather uninteresting or stagnant area of the garden. From comments exchanged and overheard while enjoying a leisurely tea after the meeting it was evident that Alida's down-to-earth presentation inspired many who attended this meeting to regard their gardens with fresh insight. We now await the blessing of good spring rains to bring the gardens of the Umvoti district to their full potential once again.