Spring Has Most Definitely Sprung

Potted Freesias in full bloom at Rouse Hill House and Farm

The potted Freesias near the bathhouse, currently in full bloom at Rouse Hill House and Farm Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

Earlier this year the Rouse Hill House and Farm Bathhouse building underwent some major renovations, requiring us to dig out its surrounding plants to reinstate once the works were completed.

Well that has all come and gone and other than a bit of damage from some bug hungry chickens; the bulbs, pelargoniums and ground covers are looking better than ever after a stint in some fresh soil.

One of the biggest surprises we got was seeing the freesias blooming for the first time in quite a while. There was only one small patch in the garden, which we decided to pot up and will eventually divide into more pots to increase their numbers. As with many old garden plants that have been subject to breeding and hybridising, the horticultural botany of Freesias has become confused over time. These sweetly perfumed Freesias at Rouse Hill are most likely old garden cultivars of Freesia alba or Freesia leichtlinii X Freesia alba, bulbs originating from the southern cape of Africa.

Its amazing the plants you can find at our historic houses, even after years of neglect, all it takes is a little care and knowledge to restore these living collections. These popular little bulbs flower year after year, especially after a dry winter, gradually spreading into clumps. In some parts of Australia they have become naturalised as invasive weeds.

Potted Freesias in full bloom at Rouse Hill House and Farm
Close up of the beautiful flowers produced by the Freesia leichtlinii. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

About the author

Photograph of a man standing beside a garden shed

Steve Halliday


Steven is one of the horticulturists who takes care of Sydney Living Museums’ green spaces and gardens.