Bulleen Art and Garden; a gallery and plant nursery on Manningham Road in Bulleen, is hard to miss. Its bright red, purple and yellow coloured wall jumps out at you as you drive past. Fun metal sculptures and signs invite you in.
What you'll find there is a garden specialty store; stocking so much more than just a simple mix of products for the backyard. They've got hand-woven baskets with which you can collect homegrown harvest, food preserving equipment, cookbook and kitchen items. There are pretty lanterns, dining ware and sculptures to compliment outdoor dining experiences. There are shoes, gloves and other gardening apparel as well.
All that before walking into the Bolin Bolin Gallery where figurative ceramics, metalwork, stone sculptures, mosaics and woodcarvings are on display. The works vary throughout the year according to the gallery's exhibition program. There are also artist workshops where members of the public book in for sessions of creativity and to learn from the professionals.
Beyond the gallery, a short bridge over a water feature takes customers into the plant nursery. It too is colourfully decorated with totem poles, painted fencing and dozens of sculptures. It has a wide variety of plants organised into sections such as 'climbers', 'shade plants', 'coloured plants', 'ornamental'. However, the main difference here, compared to the more centres, is that Bulleen Art and Garden have an absolute commitment to promoting and educating people about sustainable living.
It's not just talk. They maintain working examples of good composting practice, how to build a water garden and use lawn alternatives. They can show you how to plant for habitat and attract frogs and birds to your garden and they have live chooks on site with the fun invitation that if kids spot an egg in the hen's nest, they can take it home to have for breakfast.
Seedlings, cherry trees, decorative grasses, screening plants, vegetables, berries, dwarf fruit trees, shrubs, mulch, certified organic compost, bonsai and more. At Bulleen Art and Garden you will find a much more interesting variety of plants than the generic mix typically seen at big hardware and department stores.
And did she mention the Sustainable Living and Gardening classes on numerous topics that are held weekly at Bulleen Art & Garden at very affordable prices; as well as the Gallery workshops held regularly for people exploring their artistic side?