I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published February 6th 2020
Spectacular Autumn Gardens
It's early days yet but after a long, hot and, in some places, tragic summer, Victorians are eagerly awaiting autumn and believe it or not it is just around the corner.
Each autumn the Macedon Ranges come alive with a spectacular blaze of colour. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The Macedon Ranges, less than an hour's drive north of Melbourne, are preparing for the amazing explosion of colour that signifies the end of summer and the onset of cooler weather in the district.
Along Macedon's Honour Avenue the 154 Pin Oaks, representing 154 young men and women from the district who served in World War 1, will very soon start changing from green to orange and finally red. It's a transition that will gradually spread throughout the region, including the grand old gardens higher up 'the Mount', and one which will see the whole area bathed in dazzling autumn colours by late March, early April.
Honour Avenue provides a spectacular gateway to Macedon and 'the Mount'. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Autumn is a fabulous time of year, perhaps the best time of year, to head to Mount Macedon and visit two of Australia's finest garden estates, Forest Glade and Tieve Tara, both of which are open to the public. Forest Glade
Reborn from the devastating Ash Wednesday fires of February 1983 Forest Glade is today one of Mount Macedon's, indeed Australia's, great gardens.
Forest Glade Gardens - a blaze of autumn colour. Photos: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Covering 5.6 Hectares it's home to exotic trees, a Japanese garden and bonsai house, beautiful woodlands, fern gullies, a topiary garden, a must-see laburnum arch, pergolas & ponds and some amazing statues and fountains.
Anytime is a great time to visit Forest Glade but the garden gives up particularly breathtaking displays in autumn, dazzling explosions of colour - yellow, orange and red as the deciduous trees and shrubs start to shed their leaves for winter.
While you're there enquire about a tour of the world-class Stokes Collection, sixteen rooms of antique furniture and artworks. Included is the largest private collection of antique porcelain in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest private collections of its type in the world – almost 7000 individual pieces, some dating back to the 17th Century.
Forest Glade Gardens are open 7-days a week, 365-days a year (closed only on days of extreme fire danger) between 10 AM and 4.30 PM. A tour of the garden costs $10 per adult. Children under 16, as well as disabled visitors and their carers, are admitted free and you're most welcome to bring a picnic and make a day of it.
The Stokes Collection is a world class display of antique furniture and artworks. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The Stokes Collection is open for guided tours by groups of 8 or more people (adults only) and bookings are essential. If you can't get a group of 8 together give the Stokes Collection a call and it's highly likely you'll be able to tag on to an existing tour. An entry fee of $30 per person includes a self-guided tour of the gardens and a 2-hour guided tour of the Stokes Collection.
This property dates back to 1854 when it was owned by Mr W. Christian and known as Christians Orchard.
It's changed hands several times over the years, purchased by present owners John and Judith Brand in October 1995.
The original house was destroyed by fire in 1962 and its replacement was again burnt out and most of the gardens severely damaged in the Ash Wednesday fires.
Mount Macedon is home to some of the most beautiful gardens in Australia. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The original garden was laid out in the early 1860s and amazingly, despite the ravages of fire, many of the original old trees remain today.
The Brands have worked hard to build on earlier improvements to the property to create the beautiful garden we see today.
It features picturesque top and bottom lakes, rolling lawns, a rose walk & arbour, many beautiful garden beds and a children's playground dubbed 'Treasure Island'.
Tieve Tara is open from 1st March to 31st May. Cost of entry is $10 per person with children 12 years and under FREE. No dogs allowed.
751 Mount Macedon Road, Mount Macedon
Tel: 0455 187 868 www.gardensoftievetara.com.au
Getting There .....
Mount Macedon is 65-Kilometres northwest of Melbourne, less than an hour's drive via the Calder Freeway/M79.
Less than an hour's drive from Melbourne Mount Macedon and the Macedon Ranges should be high on your must-see list of upcoming autumn attractions. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media