These gardens have been a part of my life since I was very young. My first memory of them was as a small child going for a walk with my Father. He pointed out where he would build a house if this land was his. Then, as a primary schooler, I visited on class trips and wandered along the paths and contemplate the spooky cement tunnels that had horrific clown faces painted inside them at the children's end.
As a mother, I have taken my children there when we had cabin fever and they could run wild in the ever-evolving playground, giving us all a much-needed break.
I have run around these gardens more times than I care to recall, whether by myself, with kids, or my running buddy. After several hundred kilometres, I have found I do become complacent when I am puffing harder than a steam-powered train, and forget to look around at my surroundings.
Which are beautiful. Autumn, for me, is my favourite season as its crisp early mornings hint at the winter that is approaching and warm sunny afternoons are a faint echo of the summer just past. Her colourful displays of deciduous trees waning are spectacular if you happen to be running along watching the wind blow them off branches.
Yet there is beauty in any season there here amongst the well-tended plants. Trees stripped bare against the bleak grey of winter has its own wistful melancholy. Burgeoning green buds and the heady scents of spring, inspire and free the soul making you feel like you can achieve anything. Or the cool shade of the thick foliage protecting you from the relentless summer heat.
My husband and I married here under one of the huge bean trees at the southern end. It's awful to admit but I cannot remember exactly which one (being slightly tipsy and quite emotional) as we eloped while our families waited at the restaurant to celebrate my 21st. I know I am biased with my ream of memories attached to this place but it is a worthwhile spot to visit for the day or if you are just passing through.
Photo courtesy of Castlemaine Parkrun Facebook Page