The Launch of ‘Favourites’ : Starting with Favourite Gardens of course !!!

Now that I have been writing these posts for almost a month, I have finally organised myself and have a Plan ! Every Tuesday, I will write about the garden- the current projects and what’s in bloom, as well as weekly events and the latest craft ventures. Then, every Thursday, there will be a different post topic each week including :

  • Exploration of the local area
  • Delicious recipes
  • Favourites – from gardens to books and magazines, films and music, artists and crafts people and blogs and websites. I will include these posts in a Header tab for easy later reference. Because I have so many favourites (especially when it comes to books !), I will only include my absolute favourites, which I could not live without! This should be a good future guide when I have to downsize !!! I promise I will try to keep each Favourite post down to 12 examples at the most !
  • Random Thoughts-which could include environment, sustainability, a concept, a special person or a feature garden, rose or plant.

A nasty cold  curtailed our trip to the Bowral Garden Festival  last weekend. We had planned to visit Moidart and Milton Park, two very famous old gardens in the Southern Highlands, so I decided to start my Favourite posts by writing about our favourite gardens instead !

We were saddened by the demise of the Australian Open Gardens scheme, which operated for almost 28 years from 1987 to 2015 and provided so many wonderful opportunities to visit beautiful inspiring gardens, as well as creating so many happy memories. It is good to see local councils and gardening clubs taking up the baton.

We have always loved visiting other gardens for their inspirational ideas about gardening, garden design, plant selection and even just their sheer beauty! Fellow gardeners are generous people and it is wonderful talking to them and sharing gardening ideas, hints and stories about their experiences.

It is also a great way to see the country and in fact, some of the loveliest gardens are in rural areas, where there is the land area and good soil to develop beautiful large country gardens. The Open Garden scheme provided many wonderful opportunities to view amazing country properties and old houses, which you would not normally be able to visit.

Visiting gardens is also a great way to acclimatize to a new area – to discover new towns and routes, as well as get used to busy roads and traffic! We have visited many gardens – both in our local area at the time and on our travels. We spent the  last 5 years in Victoria, the Garden State of Australia, or so the number plates on their cars tell you ! During our first year there, we visited many gardens through the Open Gardens scheme and really got to know where everything was. We even lost our fear of the Melbourne city traffic ! Ross was soon beetling around with the best of them- a far cry from his first trip down from Northern NSW with our dog, canoe and trailer in the Winter dark in peak hour traffic and no GPS! Mind you, we always did manage to avoid those frightening right-hook turns, for which Melbourne is famous, where you take your life in your hands and try to avoid being run down by trams, whose weight the cinema advertisements inform you is equivalent to the force of a stampede by 30 rhinos on skateboards  ! See : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w72R4zlgozY .

Victoria has many beautiful gardens, most of them easily accessible within a day’s drive, because it is such a small state. The Dandenongs and Mt. Macedon are gardening areas of great repute, due to their mountain climates and rich soil, and were originally the playgrounds of Melbournites escaping from the Summer heat and city’s hustle and bustle for relaxing holidays.

Because there are so many wonderful gardens I want to share with you, I have divided them up into the following categories ( with subdivisions if the size of the post became too unwieldy!) :

  • Botanic Gardens – 4 posts – Early and Late 19th Century; Early and Late 20th Century.
  • Gardens Regularly open to the Public – 5 posts – Historic Homes & Gardens; Famous Nurseries; Specialty Gardens; Education Gardens; and Sculpture Gardens
  • Private Gardens (some regularly open, but most often seen through the Open Gardens Scheme) – includes Historic Private Gardens; Country Gardens and Specialty Gardens.
  • Overseas Gardens – United Kingdom; France and Others
  • Bucket List of Australian Gardens
  • Rose Gardens – Merit a special section all of their own !!! Includes Display; Commercial and Bucket List.

So next month, look out for my first Favourites post : Favourite Early 19th Century Botanic Gardens and remember for future reference that these Favourites posts will be found under the Header tab titled ‘Favourites’. It was fun choosing which examples to use and I really enjoyed revisiting my favourite gardens through old notes and photos. I hope you do too and that my brief notes are of some use to you ! Happy Gardening !

P.S. My apologies if I have not included your favourite botanic garden- I had to be very selective, so that the post wasn’t too long ( this is why both centuries are split into Early – 1816- 1855/1929-1967 or Late – 1858-1892/1986-2002), as well as wanting to present a variety of gardens from every state,  or  it may just be that I  have not been there ! You never know,  I may be reserving that omitted garden for a special post all of its own at a later date !!! The Botanic Gardens of Townsville is a case in point, as there are 4 of them and we have a personal connection. We have a good friend, who was responsible for the recent developments of the newer ones ! I may also do a more in-depth post of the Geelong Botanic Garden, having researched it extensively for an assignment when I was studying at Burnley. I have used all my own photos, so you won’t find photos for the few bucket-list botanic gardens and I do have to get a few better ones for some of the gardens, but hopefully I will have these by the time their description is published!

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