Do you need inspiration for your backyard? Or simply a beautiful place for a precious breath of air? Let’s explore five favourite gardens, in Melbourne’s backyard for that magic moment. Melbourne gardens, native and exotic are forever places that are often free to enter. A piece of happiness does not even need to cost the earth. Here is a tour around my favourite places in Melbourne.
Melbourne’s public gardens are nurturing, growing places where creative juices flow. Wow, that’s what I can do. Here is a trip guide to discover the outdoors spaces that are Melbourne gardens.
The classic, the premier garden of Australian native landscapes is Arid gardens part of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne.
Reimagine Australia and visit Australia’s natural landscape, especially Possum Gully wildflower walk. Cinnamon wattle blooms in spring although it is quintessential Australia all year round. Always some colour and the walk revives the spirit. Escape to the spaces of Cranbourne, add spark to the day. Remember to check out the corner where a house exterior has a standard suburban garden without roses. Visitors are encouraged to think about planting natives that do not need a drop of water during the summer droughts. Please make a comment about what you think about planting natives such as kangaroo paws. There is a large section devoted to the Aussi classic plant. Cranbourne is accessible for those who are mobility impaired with a dinky garden Explorer is an open-air motorised people mover that seats 22 people and has room for one wheel chair (with on ramp). It circulates around the Australian Garden on a set timetable approximately every 30 minutes. Explorer tickets are available at the Visitor Centre and from the Driver.
Location: Corner Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive (off South Gippsland Fwy), Cranbourne 3977.
Open: 9am – 5pm, every day (closed Christmas Day). Entry to Cranbourne Gardens is free.
No dogs allowed as the garden is situated among a native reserve.
The second garden is slightly confronting with garden sculptural fantasies challenging our idea of an ideal garden. The garden is worth a visit to check out our idea about what a good garden looks like. The garden is Dandenong William Ricketts Garden.
William Ricketts was passionate about his sculpture, his art and Australia. A survivor whose motto was thrive, revive and his legacy is open to all visitors. Extraordinary shape and imagery with a strong Aboriginal influence in style and creativity. Plus, check out the gift shop, it is very good with made in Australia policy.
Location: 1402 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Mount Dandenong.
There is no entry fee.
No dogs allowed
The third garden is all about the volunteers and the passionate gardeners who are the banner bearers of Australian native plants. Karwarra Native Garden and Nursery is a place where passionate volunteers inspire all of us.
A visit to Karwarra, Dandenong Ranges is compulsory and definitely should be on your must do list. A native garden where passionate volunteers show us how to manage a garden without a drop of tap water. As the volunteer told me, ‘A rose would not dare to enter, or a camilla, we are tough proud Aussies to the core …’ I especially enjoyed the policy of not weeding vigorously as it provided ground cover to protect plants against summer droughts. What are your thoughts about not weeding a garden?
There is an extensive plant nursery for locals to purchase plants to spruce up their gardens.
Location: 1192 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Kalorama VIC 3766, Australia.
No entry fee although donations are welcome.
The fourth garden is a small piece of Australia in the city center, the Australian Native Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. It is a quiet gem for city dwellers to escape to. Apartment homes often do not have access to a vehicle. If you are within walking distance of the Botanic Gardens there is a magical corner, the Australian Native Garden. The Native Garden entrance is at the south-eastern gate. It is where Victorian river red gums, native daisies, iconic kangaroo paws give us plenty of space to practice our social distancing. A hidden gem within a much larger public garden. Working in town, pop in a walk to the native gardens on your must do list. Then, there is the garden explorer people mover with a 30 minute live commentary. A great way to visit a garden if you feel like simply relaxing in a great setting, are mobility challenged or you simply want to hear an informed commentary about one of your favorite places to hang out in. Lastly the Royal Botanical Gardens have Aboriginal heritage tours or punting on the lake to inform Australians of a gardening heritage reaching back thousands of years. The gardens are vast with plenty of space for solitary walks and places to rest and refresh the spirit
The fifth garden is Dandenong George Tindale Garden. This garden is the narrative of a committed gardener. His legacy is now an arboretum we can all visit. George Tindale Gardens, is the story of a passionate gardener who transformed the hills and valleys of the Dandenong Ranges he called home. This garden is not native. It is included as a tribute to an Australian who supported the environment and the natural world. Dream about a visit to George Tindale Gardens Dandenong Ranges. The garden is a testimony to George and his wife’s collaborative effort to catalogue and develop an arboretum of rare and exotic plants and trees. The garden is not entirely native however it is extraordinary in that it is the legacy of an agricultural scientist passionate about trees and plants. And their house is a legacy of the 1930’s intact and now part of Parks Victoria who manage this special place for all of us. The paths are very steep and you will get lots of exercise going up and down. The massive mountain ash trees dominate the horizon and you feel as though you are in a forest of trees you have never heard of. Each tree has a plaque for people like me who wonder about where and where that specimen tree came from.
Location: 33 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke VIC 3789, Australia
No entry fee, Dogs not allowed.
And there is more to visit … just keep going and make a weekend of gardens and inspiration for your backyard.
The journey is worth it.