Favourite Gardens Regularly Open to the Public : Education Gardens

The wonderful thing about gardening is that it can be done at any age and there is always more to learn, no matter how experienced a gardener is. In this post, I will be discussing a variety of gardens, which can be loosely collected under the category of ‘Education Gardens’. I have started with children’s gardens and progressed through school gardens to tertiary institutions offering horticulture courses like Burnley, Victoria and research like the Waite Institute, South Australia. Community gardens, plant shows and sustainable house days also provide valuable learning opportunities, especially for those interested in organic vegetable gardening, sustainability and permaculture.

Children’s Gardens

Children’s gardens have become increasingly important these days with the shrinking size of the backyard. In my generation’s childhood, we all had our own gardens, in which to develop our gardening skills, but these days , the house blocks are much smaller and often low maintenance with lots of hard surfaces, due to the fact that both parents are working and have little time to spend in the garden. Poor urban planning and the disappearance of open space, increased street traffic, parental fear for their child’s safety and the proliferation of electronic communications, to the extent that many children spend more time in front of screens (television, computer, mobile phones) than outside in the natural world, all contribute to decreased  exercise and contact with nature, resulting in an obesity epidemic and a newly described syndrome: ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’ . See the Children and Nature Network website at:   http://www.childrenandnature.org/.

Children’s gardens have been specifically set up to help counteract these problems.  I have already briefly touched on the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden in the Melbourne Botanic Garden in my post on early 19th Century Gardens: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/10/08/favourite-early-19th-century-botanic-gardens-in-australia/  . Also see :   http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-melbourne/attractions/children-garden.

The garden is open from 10am-sunset, 7 days a week, during school holidays. During term time, it is only open Wednesday-Sunday and public holidays, while Mondays and Tuesdays are reserved for school groups. It is closed for 8 weeks just after the July school holidays for restoration and maintenance.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 171The garden provides an interactive environment for children of all ages, backgrounds, physical abilities and cultures to play, explore and discover the natural world. It is designed to encourage creative unstructured play and imagination with a number of small, child-sized spaces, each with a different planting theme including : a jungle and rain forest ; a ruin garden; a bamboo forest; a gorge with rocks, gum trees and grasses; a tea tree tunnel; a wetland area, a rill which runs through the garden; and a meeting place with a spiral fountain.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 160BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 162BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 163Lastly, there is a Kitchen Garden, full of food plants, which delivers classes on sustainable gardening, composting and mulching and worm farming and companion planting to a wide variety of ages from preschoolers to school children right up to tertiary students and adult education classes.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 168Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_0386

A similar garden is now being is being developed in Sydney’s Centennial Park. For more details  about The Ian Potter Wild Play Garden, see : http://www.centennialparklands.com.au/about/parklands_projects/the_ian_potter_childrens_wild_play_garden

School Gardens

School gardens also do a wonderful job exposing children to gardening and the source of their food. We visited a terrific example in the Dandenongs in Victoria.

The Patch Primary School

53 Kallista Emerald Road,
The Patch Victoria 3792

http://www.thepatchps.vic.edu.au/

The Patch has a very impressive 2 acre school garden, which  includes a 1 acre fenced wetland, as well as an eco-centre, orchard, specific gardens and chooks, and it plays a major part in the children’s education.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 112It was planned and established and is totally managed by the students with the guidance of environmental education teacher, Michelle Rayner, who incidentally is the wife of John Rayner, who lectures at Burnley. The students spent a whole year from 2006-2007, doing site surveys and analysis, including orientation, levels and soil type and pH, so that they really understood the environmental conditions of the site. They researched school and community gardens throughout the world and factored their requirements into the final design eg animals; fruit trees; edible produce; baking; creative activities and construction.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 130The garden is divided up into separate areas :

Produce garden : onions; tomatoes; capsicum; cucumbers; beans and strawberries

Dry Garden : Drought-tolerant plants

Koorie Garden : dianellas and themedas; Bush food

Australian Garden

Alphabet Garden : Prep-Grade 2: Literacy eg V is for violets; P is for PoppiesBlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 119Chickens and Ducks : the chook house has a living roof of hardy succulents; Eggs are incubated and kids learn about egg hygiene; fertility rates; incubation; weight and body development of different breeds; life cycles; behaviour; movement; courtship; habitat; physical features; chook handling/ feeding/ care.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 124Eco-Centre : for formal learning and resources. Animals include bearded dragons and blue-tongue lizards, stick insects, green tree frogs, guinea pigs and budgies.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 116There is artwork throughout the garden, as well as willow structures like tepees; scarecrows; a wood-fired pizza oven; and a grass maze.

The kids can join a number of different groups including the following

: Weed Group

: Chook Group : looks after the poultry

:  Pizza Oven : manages the pizza oven when in use

:  Food Forest Group :  prunes and maintains the orchard

:  Willow Weavers Group : prunes and weaves the  willow

: Animal Carers group : looks after the animals in the eco-centreBlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 135Because they are involved in every aspect of the garden, the kids have a strong sense of ownership and pride in their garden. They learn so many gardening skills from soil preparation, propagation and planting to watering, mulching and harvesting. The garden also functions as an outdoor classroom, where the lessons learned in class can be applied in a practical sense. For example :

Mathematics : measurement of perimeters and circumference; measurement of tree height for a tree survey and habitat census; depth/ spacing/ plant size

Literacy : lots of writing and reflection; scientific nomenclature of plants

Art and Design : artwork; building living willow sculptures; scarecrows

Science : animals/ plants/ habitats; native animals : butterflies; native bee species; wetland species and the insect world. Entomology experts visited the school in December 2014 for a BioBlitz with the students. See : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ3wM8PTEcU. Land crayfish, giant earthworms,the great yellow slug, native bees, wombats, scorpions, freshwater eels, satin bowerbirds, wedge-tailed eagles, sugar gliders and water rats are just some of the animals that live on and around the school grounds.

: Sustainability and environmental science are important subjects at the Patch and the school was chosen as one of three finalists in the ‘Education’ category of the 2013 Premier’s Sustainability Awards, as well as winning the Eastern Metropolitan Region division of the School Gardens Awards in 2012.

Creativity and problem solving, innovation, teamwork  and interpersonal skills are all valuable learning outcomes.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 118It is well worth visiting the school on one of their annual open days. It is a lovely day out with live music, wood-fired pizzas and food made with produce from the garden; plant and produce stalls; tours by the students and talks and demonstrations eg scarecrow making; plant propagation; making miniature gardens and art.

Here are 2 excellent videos about The Patch :

2009 : http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/media/30753/the-patch-school-garden

2012:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq9F6k3DFWw

Tertiary Institutions :

Burnley, University of Melbourne

500 Yarra Boulevard Richmond 3121

http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Burnley-FoBG-brochure-v-14-Feb-2016.pdf

Burnley is a world class research and teaching facility, specializing in horticulture, only 7km from Melbourne’s CBD. It is one of the oldest colleges in Australia and this year celebrates 125 years of continuous horticultural education (1891-2016). See : http://ecosystemforest.unimelb.edu.au/burnley125years

Originally established in 1861 by the Horticultural Society of Victoria on the Richmond Survey Paddock, Burnley Gardens were experimental gardens to trial plants for the new colony. The 6 acre gardens were highly decorative and laid out in a geometric style. They were officially opened in 1863 and included 1400 fruit trees, many of which were lost in a great flood later that year and had to be replanted. Vegetables were trialled in 1874. The gardens were extended, a pavilion built and annual horticultural shows were held until the 1930s.BlogEducationgardens50%ReszdIMG_0214

The Victorian Department of Agriculture took over the gardens in 1891 and started the first horticultural school in Australia. The first headmaster was Charles Bogue Luffman, an English landscape designer, who favoured a more natural style of garden design, so the geometric layout was changed to a more informal style with curved and sunken paths; shrubberies and deciduous trees; open lawns and ponds; cool shady areas and separate Winter and Summer gardens and paddocks of wildflowers. Production and ornamental horticulture were taught, but the college also had a dairy herd, poultry trials and bee hives. Women students were encouraged and the shool has produced a number of famous female garden designers including Edna Walling, Olive Mellor, Emily Gibson, Grace Fraser and Margaret Hendry.BlogEducationgardens50%ReszdIMG_9865In 1983, Burnley was amalgamated with the other colleges owned by the Department of Agriculture under the name of the Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture (VCAH), then in 1997, it was absorbed into the School of Land and Environment of the University of Melbourne.

Today, Burnley includes :

9 ha ornamental heritage garden (see map from : http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/about-the-gardens/burnley-map/. The garden is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register 2003 for 7 significant trees (now 6) and 3 buildings. Four trees are also on the National Trust Register of Significant Trees.

https://i0.wp.com/www.fobg.org.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Burnley-map-coloured-v-14-Feb-2016.jpg

 IN THE GARDENS

  1. Summer House
    2. Lily Ponds
    3. Rock Point and Bergenia Walk
    4. Grey Garden
    5. Ficus macrophylla Bed
    6. BBQ and Sugar Gum table
    7. Pine Bed
    8. Sunken Garden and Wisteria Walk
    9. Herb Garden
    10. Shady Walk
    11. Orchard Gates
    12. Orchard Border
    13. Ficus obliqua Bed
    14. Old Cypress Bed
    15. Azalea Lawn
    16. Fern Garden
    17. Bog Garden
    18. Wild Garden
    19. Rose Garden
    20. Native Rainforest Garden
    21. Perennial Border
    22. Oak Lawn
    23. Island Beds
    24. Native Shrub Garden
    25. Native Garden Ponds
    26. Mud Brick Hut
    27. Native Grasslands Garden
    28. Citriodora Courtyard
    29. Ellis Stones Garden
    30. Rockery
    31. Bull Paddock
    32. Roof Garden

BUILDINGS

  1. Reception / Main Administration Building
    B. Student Amenity Building
    C. MB 10 (FOBG meetings)
    D.Centenary Centre
    E. Library
    F. Nursery
    G. Classrooms / laboratories

Burnley also contains : a unique collection of indigenous and exotic plants; landscape construction areas; a pruning garden; experimental plots for master and PhD students;  research areas; container and field nurseries; training gardens for design and maintenance; a graphics studio; a horticultural library and a plant tissue culture and genetics laboratory.BlogEducationgardens50%ReszdIMG_9862Burnley conducts cutting-edge research into the changing needs of contemporary horticulture, especially with the influences of climate change. Current projects include the reduction of energy consumption for heating and cooling; rainwater absorption; the reduction of urban air temperatures; and the creation of wildlife habitats. New additions to Burnley include native grasslands; a rain forest garden; indigenous gardens and most recently, the Burnley Living Roof, a Green Roof and Green Wall demonstration centre with areas for succulents, vegetables and natives. Green infrastructure is used to reduce energy consumption with its insulation properties, cool the urban environment and provide wildlife habitat for biodiversity. See :

http://www.hassellstudio.com/en/cms-projects/detail/burnley-living-roofs/   and

https://thegirg.org/burnley-green-roof/BlogEducationgardens50%ReszdIMG_0208This contemporary approach is reflected in the wide range of courses offered. See : http://ecosystemforest.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees  and http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/whats-on-2/for-your-diary/.

These include :

1.Short courses : Urban food growing

2.Specialist certificates :

A.Green Roof Walls:

http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Green-roofs-and-walls-brochure-2014.pdf

B.Arboriculture:

http://courses.science.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees/graduate-certificate-in-arboriculture/overview

3.Discovering Horticulture : Introductory 10 week course

http://www.commercial.unimelb.edu.au/discohort/

4.Graduate Certificate in Garden Design (1 year)

http://science-courses.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees/graduate-certificate-in-garden-design/overview

This course has four units

: Landscape Design, which I studied in 2012- covers topics like the landscape industry; design process and principles; garden history and contemporary and traditional garden designers; and the use of form, texture and colour.

: Landscape Construction and Graphics

: Horticultural Principles- plant function, structure, production and nutrition; site evaluation; soil composition, texture, structure and management; planting, propagation, transplanting and water use; and environmental and ecological considerations including sustainability

: Plants for Designed Landscapes- use and selection

I loved my course and  learned so much, especially about Arts and Crafts gardens and the Geelong Botanic Garden- two of my assignments. Andrew Laidlaw was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher and we had some interesting field trips to Edna Walling’s Bickleigh Vale Village and the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. We also had an enjoyable creativity and design workshop, where we divided up into groups to solve design challenges. Each group had to create a garden, specifically for each of the senses. I was in the ‘sound garden’ group. We suspended buckets of water in the trees to create the sound of a waterfall and the other students were led through the garden with their eyes shut. We also had to work on individual projects too like the warmup exercise of creating a design from precut vegetation.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdaug 2010 094BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdaug 2010 0765.Associate Degree in Environmental Horticulture (2 years) https://coursesearch.unimelb.edu.au/majors/141-environmental-horticulture

6.Associate Degree in Urban Horticulture (2 years)

http://courses.science.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees/associate-degree-in-urban-horticulture/overview

7.Master of Urban Horticulture (Coursework)

8.Master of Philosophy (Research)

9.Doctor of Philosophy (Research)

The staff are excellent and there is a strong Alumni network, which offers employment and mentoring opportunities. The Friends of Burnley Gardens includes staff and former and present students. They provide guided tours of the gardens, as well as courses and workshops, for example botanical illustration and creating bee hotels. See : http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/.

 Urrbrae House Historic Precinct Gardens

Waite Historic precinct, Waite Campus, University of Adelaide

http://www.adelaide.edu.au/waite-historic/

Part of the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide, a leading agricultural and teaching facility only 10 minutes from the city centre of Adelaide, the property was bequeathed to the university by Peter Waite, a prominent South Australian pastoralist, in 1922.BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_7457The Waite Campus includes :

1.Waite Arboretum : Open from dawn till dusk every day except in extreme fire danger, the 30 ha arboretum contains 2300 plants of 800 species and 200 genera, all growing with an annual natural rainfall of 624mm and less.

2.Waite Conservation Reserve : 121 ha of Grey Box Grassy Woodland and home to hundreds of native plant species, as well as kangaroos, koalas and echidnas. Also open dawn to dusk daily, except in extreme fire danger.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_92233.Urrbrae House Historic Precinct

Open Monday/ Tuesday and Thursday 10am-4pm, except on days of extreme fire danger.  Entrance is free.

Urrbrae House is a two-storey bluestone mansion, built in 1891 as the family home for Peter and Matilda Waite and is now used as a working museum, as well as an exhibition, conference and social function venue. The restored ballroom housed the National Textile Museum of Australia until 1999.BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_7454The 1880s coach house was the site of the first laboratory of the Waite Agricultural Research Institute and much work on the deficiencies of trace elements in South Australian soils was conducted there in the 1920s to 1930s. The garage is the oldest purpose built garage in South Australia, while the battery house is believed to be the first purpose built domestic powerhouse in South Australia.BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_7447I love visiting the gardens, especially for the peak flowering season of the Old Roses in October and November. I will write more about the 20th Century Rose Garden in a future post on my favourite rose gardens. It portrays the history and development of the rose and has more than 200 types of roses, including many species roses. I loved the circular rose garden, which inspired our Soho Bed, the formal parterre and all the arches covered with climbing roses.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9255BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9261BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9281BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9268BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9280BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9289BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9238The sensory garden beside the coach house was built in 1998 and was designed to stimulate all the senses with plants of many different colours, textures, aromas and tastes. Birds, butterflies and bees love it!BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9291BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9294The Garden of Discovery is a fascinating spot with a scientific discovery trail, supported by soundscapes, outdoor books and interpretive signage, which highlights the significant achievements of South Australian scientists at the Waite Institute in environmental and agricultural science over 75 years. Some of these achievements include :

Genetic studies and plant breeding and evaluation projects from 1949-1955

Constance Eardley’s work with the arid lands of Australia

James Davidson’s research into insect pest management and Tom Browning’s work on understanding insects, sustainable development and biodiversity.

The use of biological controls to manage insect populations as an alternative to the use of chemical pesticides.

Future research includes work on biotechnology and DNA sequencing; molecular marker development; the management of plant diseases; land use technology and horticultural and viticultural production and processing.

The Waite Institute is home to the Australian Wine Research Institute, responsible for research and education in viticulture. Major research areas include : the selection of and biochemistry of wine yeasts and bacteria; the importance of viticultural practices to grape quality; the molecular improvement of grapes, wine quality assessment and varietal evaluation, wine colour and phenolic chemistry and the development of sensory procedures for wine assessment.

We enjoyed the display of different wheat varieties from early spelt to the latest varieties.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9290BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9297The Labyrinth (2010) is the latest addition to the garden and is built on the site of the old tennis court. Dr Jennifer Gardner, the Curator of the Waite Arboretum, designed the labyrinth,  basing it on an ancient Finnish 9-circuit stone labyrinth, and it is made of 921 timber rounds, recycled from trees from the Arboretum. There are also a number of outdoor sculptures around the garden and arboretum.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9282BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9284BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9285

More informal learning opportunities are offered by practical experience in community gardens, as well as visiting plant shows and Sustainable House Days.

Community Gardens :

We have visited a number of very inspiring community gardens during our time in Victoria. including Geelong West and Mornington. Community gardens are a wonderful resource for those with limited space at home to grow vegetables and are strong supporters of sustainability and organic gardening. Not only do they promote good health through healthy eating and physical activity, but they provide valuable opportunities for people of widely differing backgrounds and abilities to share their knowledge and ideas and develop friendships and a sense of community.

Geelong West Community Garden

129-131 Autumn St Geelong West

https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/directory/item/551.aspxBlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 15.35.59Formed in 1985, Geelong West Community Garden has : 34 plots including raised beds; 3 equipment sheds and tools; a shelter area for workshops; an outdoor kitchen and pizza oven; a children’s play area and sandpit; and fruit trees and herb gardens.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 15.35.34BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 14.41.57Mosaic art sculptures made by community members under the guidance of Helen Millar : http://www.flockofbirdsmosaics.org/.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 15.35.50BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 14.42.07Membership is $35 per year. Meetings, workshops and courses. I loved my 2 workshops with Helen Millar- really inspiring and a great venue. There is an Open Day last Saturday in February as part of Pako Fest.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 15.58.15BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-05-05 16.42.09Dig-It Community Garden, Mornington, Victoria

http://dig-it-garden.weebly.com/BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 185BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 184BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 178BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 179Started in 2000, this garden has 50 plots, including : Four  raised beds for the elderly and the disabled; propagating igloos; composting areas and worm farms; an orchard and a vineyard; a berry house; a demonstration wicking bed; an edible sensory garden; a chook palace; a natural habitat area including ducks and a frog pond; an outdoor kitchen and cob oven; a sandpit and even a special asparagus patch.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 182BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 189BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 201Membership is $30 per annum and includes food swap, educational workshops and the sale of produce, seeds and seedlings. It also has an annual Open Day.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 180

I loved all the artwork in this garden from the hand-painted signs and quirky mail boxes to the scarecrows and this giant snail!BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 187BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 197BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 198BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 205Plant Shows

Plant shows are also an excellent way to learn about plants. We have already discussed the large International Flower and Garden show in Melbourne, but smaller shows are often held for specific plants like peonies or wildflowers. Here are a few photos from our visit to the 2012 Peony Show in Melbourne- a great opportunity to compare these luscious blooms and dream about future purchases of favourite peonies.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 002BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 010BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 005 I particularly loved the blooms of the hebaceous peony ‘Coral Charm’.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 017 During the wildflower season, there are often wildflower shows, in which wildflowers are identified. We had a wonderful trip to Western Australia in Spring 2008, where we were introduced to our first wildflower show at Albany Flower Show and it whetted our appetite for further shows.BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_6004BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_6006BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_6010 In Victoria, we loved the internationally significant Anglesea Heath area, which is full of colour from the Epacris and Banksias in Winter and the orchids and wild flowers in Spring.

BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 045BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 033BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 041BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 043BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 042 The community host the Anglesea Spring Wildflowers Show, which we attended in  in 2011 and 2013. See: http://www.angair.org.au/activities/annual-wildflower-weekend-and-art-show and http://www.angair.org.au/about-angair/news-archive/324-wildflower-weekend-a-art-show-sp-1932479854BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 180BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 150BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 195Not only are there wonderful displays of native wildflowers, but also art and craft exhibitions, indigenous plants for sale and guided wildflower walks and bus tours. There are also exhibits of other Australian natives, for example the Tamara Rose (Diplolaena grandiflora), a species endemic to Western Australia, seen in the bottom photo.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1234BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1216BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1233 We used to love finding all the wild orchids, though I must admit we did have a little help with the odd flag or help from a guide.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 345BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 272BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 358BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 391BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1264BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1349BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1333The Angair Wildflower Show and Art Exhibition will be held in 2016 on Saturday and Sunday 17 and 18 September from 10.00am to 4.30pm at the Anglesea Memorial Hall, McMillan Street, Anglesea

Adults $5
Children Free
Students and Pensioners $2BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1263BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 386

Sustainable House Days

And finally, Sustainable House days are wonderful ways to see other people’s homes and gardens and learn about sustainability, organic vegetable gardening, raised beds, espaliering, herb gardening and quirky sculptures, as well as meet like-minded individuals. They are held all over Australia on the 2nd Sunday of September each year from 10am-4pm. See : http://sustainablehouseday.com/.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2013-09-08 15.06.39BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2013-09-08 15.13.21Here are some more photos from some of our local days in Geelong with great ideas from raised beds and protective guards to garden seating, water features, focal points and even quirky home-made outdoor sculptures. For this year’s Sustainability House Day in Geelong, see :  http://www.geelongsustainability.org.au/shd.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-09-14 11.33.20BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 163BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 090BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-09-14 11.33.35BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 184BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 121BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 109BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 120BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 102BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 113BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 126BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 122

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favourite Gardens Regularly Open to the Public : Specialist Nurseries and Gardens in Victoria

Victoria certainly deserves its reputation as the ‘Garden State’, as publicized on their car number plates! Last month, we looked at the larger, very well-known general retail nurseries with fabulous display gardens open to the public. This month, I am focusing on a few of the many wonderful smaller specialist nurseries in Victoria. I have divided these nurseries according to their specialist plant type and have started with Dahlias, which were fairly well-covered in last week’s Feature Plant post. I will then move onto nurseries specializing in orchids, hellebores, rhododendrons, and natives, before finally giving a taster of the many wonderful plant fairs, which enable purchases from nurseries, which are often too far away to visit and well as increase their exposure to a wider audience. Please note my beloved roses have their very own section later in the year!

Dahlias :

Country Dahlias

195 Mathisons Rd. Winchelsea VIC 3241 (5 km south of Winchelsea, west of Geelong)

http://www.countrydahlias.com.au/

The largest collection of dahlias in Australia.BlogApril Dahlias50%Reszdlate apr 2013 132Jenny Parish has been growing dahlias since 1976, when an aunt gave her a box of dahlias. Her 2 acre farm now has 20,000 plants of 2,350 different types of dahlia with every conceivable form.BlogApril Dahlias50%Reszdlate apr 2013 161
She produces an extensive mail-order catalogue online, but the farm is open to the public during the peak flowering season from 1st March to the 22nd April each year (closed Fridays), costing $7 per head.BlogApril Dahlias50%Reszdlate apr 2013 154
If you are interested in Dahlias, it is well worth a visit. It is great to be able to see the Dahlias in bloom and the dahlia paddock is spectacular!BlogApril Dahlias50%Reszdlate apr 2013 171
Orchids :

Pioneer Orchid Farm

735 Portarlington Rd. Leopold VIC 3224

www.pioneerorchidfarm.com.au

Situated on the Bellarine Peninsula, 10 minutes from Geelong, Pioneer Orchid Farm is one of Australia’s leading growers and sellers of high quality flowering Cymbidium orchids.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdspr2 013Brenton and Merrilyn McGee opened a small general nursery back in 1979 with a small range of orchids. Over the years, the range and number of orchids grew, so in 1993, they closed the general nursery to concentrate exclusively on flowering cymbidium pot plants for retail sale and wholesale distribution. It is still a family concern.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdspr2 006BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdspr2 010 They now have 4,500 squared metres of shadehouse and glasshouse space, holding 250,000 plants in varying stages of development.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdspr2 007

By selecting and growing only those orchids at the cutting edge of breeding and development, they have been able to produce a huge variety of high quality orchids. BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdspr2 019

Their selective breeding program in 1994 has developed new lines like the Boutique Pioneer range.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdspr2 004
There is plenty of information on their website about breeding and growing orchids. It is also possible to visit the nursery from mid-June to mid-November 7 days a week from 9.30am-5pm to view their exquisite orchids in bloom. Other times (February to June) by appointment. BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdspr2 009Their shadehouse in full bloom is such a beautiful sight! They sell direct to the public, as well as supplying other Melbourne nurseries.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdspr2 008
Hellebores (Winter Roses)

Post Office Farm Nursery

934 Ashbourne Rd, Ashbourne VIC 3442

https://www.postofficefarmnursery.com.au/

Hellebores are a Winter flowering perennial, originally found in deciduous woodlands in Europe and West Asia, and grown in temperate areas of Australia, including : Tasmania and Victoria; Coastal NSW up to and including Sydney; Inland NSW up to the Queensland border; Toowoomba, Queensland; and temperate areas of South Australia. I shall be discussing Hellebores as a Feature Plant in July, so will concentrate on the nursery for now.BlogSpecialistnurseries20%Reszd2014-07-06 10.56.54The owner and breeder, Peter Leigh, started growing hellebores in his inner-city Melbourne backyard as a keen amateur collector back in the early 1990s. He studied Horticulture at NMIT and Burnley and began importing hellebore seed from the UK and quickly outgrew his Brunswick backyard. He moved to a 20 acre property at Ashbourne, near Woodend, in the Macedon Ranges, established a production nursery and began selling plants to the public.BlogSpecialistnurseries20%Reszd2014-07-06 10.57.28
All the plants are grown from his own breeding stock. Peter imports the very best Hellebore seed and plants, as well as doing his own breeding. He sells 75mm pots mail-order to all states except for Western Australia between April and October, as well as selling 140 mm and 200mm pots wholesale to retail nurseries between Autumn and Spring.

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H. atrorubens

During flowering season, from June to September, there are a series of Open Days on a Sunday only. All other times are by appointment only. At 11am and 2pm, there are tours of the nursery, in which he explains their propogation and growing techniques. There is a huge variety of hellebores for sale with lots of different colours and forms. There is even a small number of rare varieties.BlogSpecialistnurseries20%Reszd2014-07-06 10.56.34Post Office Farm Nursery has the National Hellebore Collection, as registered with the Garden Plant Conservation Association of Australia. They are also members of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association of Victoria.

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H.x ballardiae ‘Pink Frost’, a cross between H. niger and H. lividus, has dark foliage, pink flowers and is very vigorous.

Their open days are an excellent opportunity to see the plants in flower and learn all about their requirements, but if you cannot attend an open day, the nursery also participates in the many plant shows around the country.BlogSpecialistnurseries20%Reszd2014-07-06 11.29.40 Their website is also excellent with growing information, links and resources and a wonderful gallery of photos, so that you can dream about and choose your next purchases.

Rhododendrons:

National Rhododendron Gardens

The Georgian Rd, Olinda VIC 3788

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/national-rhododendron-garden

While not a private nursery, the gardens do have a nursery attached and because they specialize in rhododendrons and are regularly open to the public, I felt they belonged in this category!BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 746
They were developed by the Australian Rhododendron Society in 1961, after leasing a block of land near the township of Olinda from the state government in 1960.BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_4544 - Copy Volunteers cleared the land and planted rhododendrons, propagated by the society members from their own collections. Unfortunately, a severe bushfire in 1962 destroyed the original plantings, but it did clear more land, so they started again! BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszd2014-01-01 12.35.14Many of the plants have been propagated from seed and plants donated from other international and national rhododendron societies, as well as plant hunting trips to New Guinea, India and Nepal. There are 950 species of rhododendron in the wild, from tiny prostrate alpines to 30m tall trees, and the National Rhododendron Gardens hold 550 of these species. Of the 15,000 plants growing in the gardens, half are species rhodendrons, including evergreen, deciduous and Vireya rhododendrons, and half are hybrids.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 660
Rhododendrons mainly grow in the Northern Hemisphere, predominantly China, Himalayas and North America, but the Vireya group (300 species) grow in tropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere- mainly New Guinea, Indonesia and Borneo. Australia has 2 native species of Vireyas, which grow on the mountains behind Cairns in North Queensland: R. lochiae and R. viriosum, which flower from Spring to Autumn.

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Vireya hybrid : Littlest Angel

The National Rhododendron Gardens cover 43 hectares in the middle of a forest of tall Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), the tallest flowering trees in the world. The specimens next to the parking area are spectacular! BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszd2014-01-01 12.51.20They are situated 600m above sea level in the Dandenong Ranges, west of Melbourne, and receive 1200mm rain each year.BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszd2014-01-01 12.27.40BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 781 The soil is deep, slightly acidic, volcanic clay loam with good drainage, perfect for growing not only rhododendrons, but also azaleas (12,000), camellias (3,000) and daffodils (250,000), as well as magnolias, hydrangeas, deciduous trees, flowering cherries, hellebores and cyclamens.BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszd2014-01-01 12.42.20BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszd2014-01-01 13.17.32
But the predominant focus is on rhododendrons! This slightly battered map shows the layout of the grounds. For a clearer view, consult the website!BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_4545 The area is divided into a number of different areas including a Magnolia Lawn, a Conifer Lawn, a Lyrebird Garden, a Cherry Tree Grove, a Protea Garden and a Camellia Garden, as well as having many beautiful lakes, pavilions, picnic areas, views and paths.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 754BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 725 It can be a very long walk if you want to cover the whole area, but fortunately, a Garden Explorer bus operates during the peak flowering season in Spring. The full narrated tour takes 25 minutes, but you can hop on and off the bus at various points for a more in-depth exploration of specific areas. The bus costs $10 for adults; $8 for concession and kids; under fives are free and a family costs $35.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 720BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 705BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 735
The Hanami Cherry Blossom Festival is held in September, when the flowering cherries are in full bloom. The gardens are also available for weddings and photography.BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszd2014-01-01 12.46.35
They have been operated by Parks Victoria since 1995 and are open every day from 10am-5pm, except for Christmas day, dangerous weather conditions (eg high wind or high fire risk) and major works. BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 686The cafe, Cafe Vireya, operates at weekends and provides picnic baskets for lunch in the gardens, as well as Devonshire Teas. Plants are available for sale, as well as botanical and garden-themed gifts. Entrance is free – little wonder that they attract 50,000 to 60,000 visitors each year!BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 659BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdearly nov 2010 667
Native Plants

Goldfields Revegetation Nursery : Central & Northern Victoria’s Native Plant Nursery, Wildflower Farm & Land Rehabilitation & Environmental Consultants

230 Tannery Lane Mandurang VIC 3551

http://www.goldfieldsrevegetation.com.au/

A specialist award-winning retail and wholesale native plant nursery with over 2000 indigenous and selected native species, including plants for attracting birds, food & medicinal plants, aquatic plants, cut flowers, climbers, ground covers, herbs and grasses, as well as trees and shrubs for erosion and salt control, farm forestry, honey, fodder, windbreaks and screening. They supply indigenous plants to Central and Northern Victoria, as well as Metropolitan Melbourne. They are open 7 days a week 9am-5pm.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 517BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 493 All the plants are adapted to the soils, frost and 500mm rain and are propagated from seeds and cuttings collected from many provenances within 3 bio-regions in Central & Northern Victoria.: Victorian Riverina; Goldfields; and Central Victorian Uplands. All plants in their catalogue are labelled with their provenance.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 488
The plant catalogue is accessed by search criteria including : bioregion; plant characteristics; special growing conditions (wetland, salt tolerance; fire resistance; indoor; riparian) and uses (farm forestry; timber; waste water management; landscaping; flora for fauna; honey; cut wildflowers and bush tucker and medicine).BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 469
Plants are available in tubes or 150mm pots, with a limited range of advanced plants. They also sell seeds in bulk quantities for revegetation sites, as well as cards and books, nesting boxes and bird feeders, rabbit guards, weed identification posters, terracotta pots and garden ornaments, wildflower bouquets and environmental information.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 524BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 525
The nursery was started by Marilyn Sprague, who was very concerned about environmental degradation in the goldfields area, including changes to water quality and vegetation, as well as increasing erosion . The threatened Box-Ironbark forests were of particular concern. She developed a wildflower farm near Bendigo and her subsequent knowledge of seed collection, propagation, raising of seedlings and planting became much sought in the field of revegetation, especially mine-site rehabilitation.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 476
The nursery has a strong commitment to the environment and education. Nursery staff regularly conduct tours and the website also has some great fact sheets eg: What to Plant and Where (establishing wetlands) ; Managing your Bush Block ; Wildflowers for Floristry and the Home Garden and Native Plant Soil Preparation. Landcare groups, school groups and university students studying environmental science also visit the nursery.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 522 The nursery has won an award for the operations principles of Best Practice Environment Management, as well as Victorian Tidy Towns Commercial/Industrial Site Award in the Keep Australia Beautiful Rural Pride Awards.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 485
Related services include : Site Inspection, Environmental Management Plans, Seed Collection, Direct Seeding, Contract Growing and Planting, and Revegetation Proposals for Environmental Effect Statements. Current revegetation projects are for Bendigo Mining, Perseverance Corporation and Reef Mining NL. The nursery has also supplied Catchment Management Authorities, Landcare groups, local councils and large corporations like Telstra and VicRoads.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 492BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 491
It is well worth a visit in Spring to see the wide variety of Australian wildflowers. The nine hectare nursery site is managed by Ashley Elliot and was designed by Greg Burgess and Taylor and Cullity with display beds for specific regions.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 515BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 507 The propagation and growing-on areas are separated from the retail operations by extensive areas of wildflowers grown for the cut flower industry. These plants are grown on contoured ridges, covered in weed mat and mulch and watered by sub-surface Israeli dripper tubes.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 504
During Summer, water is supplied via pipe-line from Lake Eppalock, but since this can be cut off at times, there are also 2 large dams on the property.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 487 All water is recycled. Water overflows from one dam down a waterfall, alongside a path, underneath the environmental shop and then through a wetland/biological filter of indigenous water plants to end up in a small pond and is returned to the main dam via a submersible pump. All run-off from the nursery ends up either in the dam or the pond – nothing is wasted. Salt and nutrient levels in the water are regularly monitored.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdoct 2010 495

Kuranga Native Nursery

118 York Rd. Mt. Evelyn VIC 3796

http://www.kuranga.com.au/

Kuranga Nursery at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges is also a very impressive nursery and has the largest range of native plants in Australia. It has 2 catalogues :
1. General natives : sold in 14cm pots, though a few are sold in 20 cm and 25cm pots.
2. Plants indigenous to the Greater Melbourne area : sold in 50mm square forestry tubes.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0096 Tube stock is propagated from seed and cuttings taken from plants in the Greater Melbourne area. Collector’s Corner houses attractive, but hard-to-grow, native plants with more particular requirements.The website also has information on plants in season and an upcoming newsletter.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0095
The Paperbark Cafe and Gift Shop are housed in an architect-designed building made with 100-year old ironbark exposed beams, recycled from Sydney Wharf. Paperbark Cafe has a seasonal menu with a Bush Food twist including : Lemon Myrtle, Mountain Pepper; Quandong and Wattle Seed.

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Dwarf Hairpin Banksia : Banksia spinulosa ‘Birthday Candles’

The huge gift shop has an extensive range of books on Australian Native Plants; cards; mugs; garden gifts; homewares; native fragrant body products; bush foods; sculptures and garden ornaments; pottery; bird baths and water bowls; bird feeders and nesting boxes; and decorative metal garden spikes.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0094
The nursery is open 7 days a week, except for Christmas day and Good Friday. The nursery is open from 8.30am-5pm, while the cafe and gift shop close at 4.30pm.

While you are over near the Dandenongs, it is well worth visiting the next two native gardens:

Karwarra Australian Plant Garden

Mt Dandenong Tourist Road (behind Kalorama Memorial Reserve), Kalorama, VIC 3766

http://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Lists/Parks-Facilities/Karwarra-Australian-Plant-Garden

2 hectare garden with more than 1400 different species of native plants, a retail plant nursery, community function room , BBQs and picnic tables and lovely views. The garden is set on a sloping site beneath a canopy of beautiful Mountain Grey Gums (Eucalyptus cypellocarpa) and Messmate (Eucalyptus oblique). ‘Karwarra’ means ‘Place of Many Flowers’.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdmarchapril 067
Established in 1965, Karwarra was developed by the Mount Dandenong Horticultural Society and is one of the few public gardens where native plants are used exclusively, giving visitors the opportunity to see how they can be used effectively as part of a landscaped garden. Garden designer, Kath Deery, guided Karwarra’s early development and her design still informs the garden today. The garden includes a rockery by Ellis Stones. It has been owned and operated by Council since 1989, with support and assistance from the ‘Friends of Karwarra’ group. A 2006 Master Plan was drawn up in 2006 to renovate and rejuvenate the grounds and improve access paths. The ‘Friends of Karwarra’ support the garden by opening the garden on weekends, assisting with plant propagation and garden maintenance, with promotion of the garden and various other activities.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdmarchapril 068
The aim at Karwarra is to promote the use of Australian plants in horticulture by displaying plants, which perform well in the environment of the garden. Species are selected for their ability to tolerate shade for much of the year. Species being grown including Banksia, Boronia, Correa, Crowea, Ericas, Grevillea, Hakea, Hibbertia, Persoonia, Pomaderris, Prostanthera, Telopea and Thomasia. Many rare and unusual species are grown, as well as rainforest and fern species. There is also a bush food and medicinal trail, as well as educational displays, plant catalogues and flowering calendars. Karwarra has an important role in plant conservation and holds the Garden Plant Conservaton Association of Australia (GPCAA) Boronia and Waratah collections, as well as other significant plant collections.
It is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10am-4pm and 1-4pm on Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on Mondays, as well as Total Fire Ban Days and during extreme weather. Entry is free, but no pets are allowed.
Karwarra provide a free e-newsletter containing valuable native plant growing information, Karwarra’s events and exhibitions, activities, workshops and plant sales. The retail nursery has plenty of Australian native plants for sale, both as tubestock and more advanced plants in 6 inch pots.

Katandra Gardens

49 Hunter Rd, Wandin North, VIC, 3139

http://www.hotkey.net.au/~katandra/

8 acres of magnificent Australian Wildflower gardens with thousands of Australian native plants from all states of Australia. Dot and Bob O’Neill were the 2005 winners of ABC’s ‘Australia’s Gardener of the Year’ competition and are very knowledgeable and passionate about Australian plants and birds.BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 398The O’Neills bought a working cherry and plum orchard back in 1976, then gradually cleared the orchard, planting gums and native plants instead. There is a wildlife lake and plenty of birdlife. ‘Katandra’ is the aboriginal word for ‘Song of Birds’ and there are over 75 bird species in the garden.BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 406
Katandra Gardens are open for visitors daily. Visitors on bus and coach tours can have a personalized tour of the garden and refreshments or you can stay in their B&B accommodation in 4 self contained cottages, as well as a private B&B suite for up to 14 visitors.BlogSpecialistnurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 412

Plant Shows
Finally, if you cannot make it to any of these specialist nurseries, they will often come to a Plant Fair near you! While we were in Melbourne, we attended the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show four times! Now that we live in Candelo on the Far South Coast, our closest annual Plant Fair is held in March at Lanyon Homestead, just south of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens Victoria Parade and Nicholson Street , Melbourne, VIC at Stop 11 Tram stop.

http://melbflowershow.com.au/

16-20 March 2016 9am-5pm each day, with a special twilight session from 6.00pm-9.30 pm on Friday 18th March 2016.

Adult tickets cost $27 and concession $ 23. Children 6-16 years old $10 and Family is $60 for 2 adults and 2 children; The Twilight session is $20 Adults and $10 kids.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0579This is the big garden event for the year and it is mindblowing, especially your first visit! It is always held in March at the beautiful historic Queen Victoria Building and Carlton Gardens in the heart of Melbourne.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdlate march 121 We attended in 2010 as newcomers to Melbourne; in 2011 as a Floristry student at the Gordon TAFE, Geelong; in 2012 as a Burnley Garden Design postgraduate student and in 2014, when my sister visited us from Qld.

Outside, there are show gardens displaying the latest in landscaping;BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0599 a Landscaping Victoria Boutique Garden competition for landscape designers and architects, as well as students, where they present a 5metre by 5metre garden design;BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdmarchapril 052BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0661 the Momentum Energy Sustainability Award winning displays;BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0628 a Children’s Garden;BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdmarchapril 038

and a sculpture display, as well as lots of sculptures for sale ; BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0696BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdmarchapril 055as well as live entertainment, food outlets and lots of stalls showcasing nursery plants and garden and landscaping products and materials.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0568BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0569BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdlate march 109BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0594BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0584
Inside the building, floristry dominates with : the Great Hall of Flowers, including displays by florists and floristry schools; a Growers Avenue; a Fresh Flower Market and RMIT Floral Fashion displays, whose theme this year was : ‘Hot House : Danger, Desire, Delight’!BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0506BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0489BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0531 There are also Floral Design Workshops and presentations, as well as an art exhibition, based on plants and the garden.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%Reszdlate march 174

It is easy to spend a whole day there, so the price of the ticket is well worth it.BlogSpecialistnurseries50%ReszdIMG_0477

Lanyon Plant Fair

Lanyon Homestead Tharwa Drive Gordon ACT 2906

http://gardentourhub.gardendrum.com/tours/lanyon-plant-fair-act/ and http://hsoc.org.au/

12-13 March 2016 10am-4pm $10 per adult; Under 18s free.BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0701Now in its fifth year, Lanyon Plant Fair is hosted by the Horticultural Society of Canberra Inc. There are over 30 local and interstate stallholders from growers of bulbs to trees, natives to exotics, as well as garden art and top quality garden tools. For a list of stallholders, see : http://hsoc.org.au/documents/LanyonPlantFair2016_stallholders_asat22Jan.pdfBlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0664 (2)BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0686BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0699BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0649BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0640 (2)BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0643 - CopyIf you have any special requests, it is worth phoning the nursery before they leave home, so they can bring your desired plant with you. This is particularly beneficial with nurseries like Yamina Collectors’ Nursery, who normally require a minimum order of $130 plant value plus freight, packing and quarantine fees before they will send out to you. I bought my specimen of Exochorda macrantha ‘The Bride’ from them this way last year and the owner Don Teese was only too happy to oblige without the hefty minimum order cost or the freight cost. Admittedly, I did end up succumbing to a Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’ and a Calycanthus florida from their stall, but I still paid less than $130!!! If you would like to glance at their catalogue, their website is: http://yaminacollectorsnursery.com.au/. Yamina Collectors Nursery is based at 34 Mt Pleasant Rd Monbulk, where a large collection of rare plants are available, mostly in 15-25cm pots. Visiting times are: Weekdays 8.30am-4.30pm; Weekends and Public Holidays 1 -4pm. On Winter weekends (May – August), it is only open on Sat 1-4 pm. The nursery is closed on Sundays.BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0696 (2)BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0646 (2)But back to the Plant Fair…! It’s a lovely day out and not only can you buy some wonderful new plants, but there are also talks and demonstrations by garden specialists, as well as special children’s activities. Last year, I bought my two wonderful dahlias, ‘Ellen Huston’ and ‘Meadow Lea’, from Drewitts Bulbs (http://www.drewittsbulbs.com.au/), a small wholesale nursery at Silvan, Victoria, which only sells to the public at plant fairs. This year, I bought some special bulbs from them as well : Fritillaria meleagris; Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ and Species tulip:  Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’. I also purchased a stunning purple flowering Salvia called ‘Indigo Spires’ from Q Nursery, which is based in Goulburn and which specializes in cold-tolerant plants, so it should survive our frosts!!!BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0700

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Drewitts Bulbs
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Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’

Lanyon Homestead is a commercial sheep and cattle property on the Murrumbidgee river at the foot of the Brindabella Ranges just south of Canberra. It was established in the 1840s and has lovely old gardens with beds of perennials and roses and a productive heirloom vegetable garden and orchard.BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0673 (2)BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0676 (2)BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0691 (2)BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0670 (2)BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0672 (2)BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0662BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0659 (2)
There are also a number of smaller plant fairs throughout the year like the annual Mt. Macedon Plant Lovers’ Market, which we attended at Bolobek on 16 September 2014 and the Winter Plant Day, which we visited at Villa Parma, Hepburn Springs on 20th July 2014. The former will again be held at Bolobek, 370 Mt. Macedon Rd, Macedon on 17-18 September 2016 from 10am-4pm. See the Country Perennial website for a list of upcoming plant fairs : http://www.countryfarmperennials.com.au/index.php/2013-11-11-03-55-00/plant-shows.

Birthday Blessings

This is why I am NOT a millionaire! I NEVER win my bets!!! Amongst the known contenders for the Candelo Rose Cup, Stanwell Perpetual won by two lengths, followed by Heaven Scent, then Lolita. But the two dark horses were the unidentified (still!) rose on the lane side of the house (front/back wall!) and a very sneaky Alnwick in the Soho Bed, right under our noses!!! I think we decided in the end that the winning trio were : Stanwell Perpetual (photos below) , Alnwick , then the unidentified climber !BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.23.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-07 17.03.02I love Stanwell Perpetual! She is so modest and unassuming, yet so generous with her blooms. She is often the first and last rose to bloom in the season and she has a divine fragrance! The following photos show : Heaven Scent; Lolita and our two dark horses: our unidentified climber and Alnwick.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.35.33BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.56.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 14.26.19BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.10.47We visited Canberra on the hot Tuesday and caught up with old friends, who both work at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The gardens are a real show at the moment and so impressive! There has been so much growth and development since our last visit 10 years ago.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-06 11.31.16BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.29.43Afterwards, we called in to the lovely Heritage Nursery at Yarralumla (http://heritagenursery.com.au/), where I found a scented rhododendron at long last. Rhododendron ‘Daviesii’ has a lovely warm spicy fragrance and will be perfect to hide the compost bay.

I  discovered and bought my long-desired crabapple , Malus ‘Golden Hornet’, but because it was a bare-rooted tree, which has been potted, we will have to wait till Christmas to plant it out, so that we don’t damage its fragile new roots. We also bought a French Tarragon and a Sprekelia bulb (Jacobean Lily).BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.24.45BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.37.29We arrived home to discover that the blue Dutch Iris and ranunculas had finally opened.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.21.07BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 16.28.51The poppies are a real show of happiness!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.25.01BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.59The ranunculas always remind me of Can Can girls, with their frilly skirts and rich exotic colours!

BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.30.03BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.45BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.20.06BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.19.52‘Madame Lemoine’ (white Lilac) and  the ‘White Caviar’ (Magnolia below) are still flowering, but the bluebells and  ‘The Bride’ have bowed out. It looks like we could get a bumper crop of navel oranges!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-07 17.05.35BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.25.25A few more unexpected discoveries :

‘Little Red Riding Hood’ has her first flower and I just discovered the first of the highly scented old-fashioned Grandma’s freesias!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 09.03.28BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.14The anemones continue their amazing display!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.36.51BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.18.08BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.18.23BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.17.54This is the last of the tulips, as well as the first blooms of a Scented Geranium.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.15.19BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.05.42The Banksia and Fortuneana roses are throwing plenty of blooms and our daisies are looking very happy!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.06.01BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.01.17‘Green Goddess’ has been joined by this exotic bromeliad bloom.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.04.29BlogBdayblessgs40%Reszd2015-10-10 16.59.10 - CopyLots of garden tasks this week!

We planted out the new Rhododendron in front of the compost bays behind the red Azalea, the new Lemon next to the Cumquats and the Black Passionfruit vine on our neighbour’s fence, about which she is delighted!!!BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 09.03.47BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 14.00.43We transplanted the herbs to new pots and replaced the Russian Tarragon with the tastier French Tarragon, banishing the former to the vegie garden. We planted out the Heritage tomatoes, the lettuces, the red cabbages and the mixed capsicums and sowed sunflower and carrot seed.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.21.14BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.21.32BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.37.58We planted the Jacobean Lily at the bottom of the steps, where its red blooms will be a real eye catcher. And we tied back the climber Clos de Vougeot, which is covered in blooms and found a home for my 3 metal fairies in the shady reading nook.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-26 16.29.01Ross found a perfect spot for his Pink Rock Orchid in a natural depression in the trunk of the Pepperina tree, where it can be seen from all angles of the garden.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.03.48BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.04.23And we celebrated Ross’s birthday at the end of the week. Finally, I can show you a photo of the gift I made him – a cushion covered in his favourite rain forest birds! It was so difficult finding Ross-free time to make it and I was almost caught out a number of times towards the end! He loved it !!!

BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-03 13.31.41BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-03 13.30.05

We had a great birthday dinner with friends and dear Katrina made him a spectacular chocolate cake, decorated with mixed berries, apple blossom and purple Bouganvillea and a cute little wheelbarrow, which she found in the toy shop! A great addition to the collection, though a trifle small!!!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 19.36.00BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 19.37.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.54.12BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.54.53A pod of 8 Humpback Whales even made it to the party (though a day late!). We were so thrilled to finally see some and they were so close into the shore. The adults and their babies are heading back down south for the Antarctic Summer!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.59.20BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 11.10.32BlogBdayblessgs40%Reszd2015-10-10 11.31.50 - Copy (3)BlogBdayblessgs30%Reszd2015-10-10 11.15.48 - CopyOn our way home, we took some photos of the beautiful Spring wild flowers in bloom.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.07.02BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.18.16BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.08.24BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.08.42But the best birthday treat of all was a surprise visit by our youngest daughter and friend on Saturday night! So it was back to Tathra the following afternoon! Alas, no whales this time, but we did find this little fellow moseying along the footpath!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.13.09BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.12.43

My daughter was slightly concerned that the echidna might try to cross the road, but when she tried to divert him, he just dived into his ball and dug his toes in, so firmly that he wouldn’t budge! We waited and watched him as he approached the gutter, but I suspect he may have been pretty street-wise, as he veered away from making the leap down onto the road! They are such cute creatures and great survivors, being one of only two Monotremes (egg-laying mammals) in the world. It is thought that they originated over 200 Million years ago. When both whales and such primitive mammals turn up for your birthday weekend, you know it has been a pretty special one!!!             Happy Birthday Ross!!!