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Published July 5th 2013
If you're planning a trip into the Dandenong Ranges, then a visit to Cloudehill Nursery and Gardens is definitely in order. You'll find it on the Monbulk-Olinda Road, almost into Olinda.
My eldest daughter introduced me to Cloudehill by taking me there for my birthday and I've been visiting there now for around four years. They have a cafe and cook with ingredients grown in their very large and orderly vegetable garden. We wandered around the nursery, which is really delightful, but the best part is through the gates to the gardens. They are compartmentalised and they have a series of plants due to bloom forth at all times of the year. That's why it's important to go every season - so you can witness the changes every two to three months.
The property was bought by a farmer from Western Australia many years ago, after seeing the Dandenong Ranges area on a visit. He fell in love with the area and kept an eye out till a large enough property became available for purchase.
There are something like 20 different garden rooms on the property and the gardens can be used for weddings and other events.
There is a cost to visiting the gardens but if you're like me you'll invest in a seasonal ticket; after three visits, each thereafter becomes free. I just love going there to see what's on display.
The gardens are open 7 days a week 10am - 5pm.
If you're restricted with a baby make sure you have a carrier as the site isn't pram friendly, with lots of steps to go up and down. Same with a wheelchair. The gardens are built on the side of a hill so you do need to be able to move around on foot.
And when the foliage might be at its lowest point, there is all the architecture and statues to enjoy too. Definitely a place worth visiting on several occasions.