We thought you might like to come on a visual journey, and glean some some ideas about the versatility of Australian plants. These images are from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne, Victoria, around 45 minutes drive east of Melbourne’s CBD.
Iconic Xanthorrhoea – AKA grass trees are dramatic stand-alone features.
It’s here we find The Australian Garden – opened six years ago, within 363 hectares of precious native bushland. The garden, also designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean, covers 18 hectares – with the second stage of nine hectares recently completed, and now also open to the public. Renown Plantsman Paul Thompson contributed with botanical input.
Buchan Blue Wattle
When I first visited the garden in 2009 I was in awe – both of the diversity of plants and the way they’d been used – and my recent visit was just as thrilling.
Hopefully the bad press some Australian plants had a few decades ago is a long-faded memory. So many have now become garden favourites, not only here but in other countries as well.
We’ve learnt they perform best when cared for and given the right growing conditions – and to prune regularly if needed. We enjoy those hybrids developed for hardiness and beauty.
The Australian Garden is visitor-friendly, and an invaluable source of information about growing native plants, and land management.
But just as exciting is how these plants are used in some of the most brilliant, imaginative hardscaping!
You may have enjoyed a glass of champagne with a small, sweet hibiscus flower popped in? This is it! It’s Hibiscus heterophyllus – AKA a native rosella. Many are adapted for our gardens – with some lovely colours available.
A green border by the carpark – backed with Australian pines. Above: beautiful bark draws attention.
BELOW ARE SOME PICS OF STAGE TWO:
Of course this second stage is still very new – but it actually allows an appreciation of all the infrastructure. The landscape architects have produced outstanding ‘places’ – and ‘spaces’.
While the pathway to the new section is wide and easily accessible, these raised swirling extensions in bordering sunken gardens are filled with grasses.
I couldn’t resist, and hopped off the main path for a little detour… to enjoy a different perspective.
‘Floating’ discs crossing the water.
Volcanic plugs? So effective as a retaining wall.
Melbourne garden designer Lisa Ellis tries out the free form seats positioned on a timber platform. (We’ll be profiling Lisa shortly.)
The use of varying levels and materials creates tension, and anticipation.
Here’s Lisa again enjoying filtered light beneath the slatted, metal cantilevered arbour – an engineering feat!
Textural treat: a stylised gabion wall
Circling corten steel panels and poles support espaliered melaleucas. This would be a great idea to try at home – SO much potential for Australian plants!
The other part of the circle supports hanging baskets which take on a new mode. These prostrate plants include Acacia howittii and A. pravissima.
Eventually these frames will form green trunks when The Gum Vine, Aphanopetalum reinosum entwine their way to the top.
Rows of Hill’s Weeping Figs will eventually form a thick, shady canopy in a parklike setting.
In the foreground, weathered palings are placed like staccato notes.
Jesse Dawkins has been working at the gardens since the project first started.
All the designers, construction team and garden carers have done, and are still doing, exemplary work.
Stone slabs have been thoughtfully placed – appearing like a sculptural, geological formation.
The old and the new: a solid stone wall disects two distinctive areas.
These pics above are from an original part of the garden, where enormous steel slabs represent outback cliffs.
In keeping with the visitor-friendly approach, there’s a designated area for paddling which must be appealing on hot summer days.
If you haven’t yet been to The Australian Garden, allow a day on your next trip to Melbourne. We’ve given you just a glimpse here…
It’s just stunning – and you’ll come away inspired!
I can hardly wait for your next Blog to arrive, I am like an expectant child at Christmas.
Your offerings are giving me such pleasure, your photos and choice of subject superb.
Don’t change a thing, this is perfect and I look forward to a book or DVD soon.
All the best to OAG
A Would Be Gardener
Categories: Temperate Gardens
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