DESTINATION: ORANA CACTUS WORLD

Orana Cactus World is a labour of love. It’s a magnificent garden and nursery located in the small town of Gilgandra, central NSW, about a six hour drive north-west of Sydney and about 45 minutes out of Dubbo. It is a quiet town with a small population of just 2700.

Words and photography: Jacqui Turk

On arrival the view of Orana Cactus World is spectacular. Tall and sculptural cactus rise high above the fence making their mark on the small town’s skyline. Nestled in-between neighbours, this impressive garden will excite anyone visiting. It’s hard not to stare in awe at all the spiky tentacles, knowing that they have taken years, in some instances decades, to grow.

Lester Meyers, has been here since 1972. His love of cactus lead him to purchase the half acre block to house his then growing cactus collection. A cactus enthusiast from a young age, Lester bought imported seeds from Mexico, seeking out new and interesting varieties. His collection has grown immensely over the years and he still has some of those original plants from imported seeds growing in his garden, over 40 years later.

Most of Lester’s plants are housed in a large greenhouse and all are grown from seed under his watchful eye. Cactus are sensitive to frost and Gilgandra can get frosty in winter. The greenhouse protects the plants from Gilgandra’s extremes. But the heat and lack of humidity are the optimum climate for cactus and succulent growing.

This garden is a must visit for any cactus and succulent fan. It is a long drive but the opportunity to speak to the inspirational Lester Meyers about his beautiful garden and possibly bring a cactus of your own home is definitely worthwhile.

Orana Cactus World is open most weekends or by appointment. Call Lester for address and to make sure its open before you make the long drive out!
P: 02 6847 0806.

Most of Lester’s plants are housed in a large greenhouse and all are grown from seed under his watchful eye...