Having grown up near landscape gardener and designer Edna Walling's signature gardens at the Bickley Vale estate in Melbourne, and knowing that she spent most of her life in the area, I was surprised to find an Edna Walling tribute garden on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, some 1500 km to the north. I was visiting the Buderim Forest Park to see a waterfall when I stumbled across this garden by accident. This free public memorial garden initially feels like it is located in a very odd spot, wrapping around a car park for the Buderim Forest Park. As I stepped out of my car and walked along the meandering path between the bunds of the tribute garden, I wondered to myself, why would a small community in Queensland want to pay tribute to a landscape designer from Melbourne?
The meandering path through the Edna Walling Tribute Garden in Buderim
Fortunately, a stone marker with a plaque was able to inform me that after Edna Walling spent most of her career in Melbourne, she retired to the Buderim area on the Sunshine Coast in the 1960s, where she designed several gardens in the local area. Edna Walling passed away in 1973 and as with many artists, the garden didn't formally recognise her contributions to the local area until two decades later in 1995. The garden is only small, but is well maintained and mimics some of the key elements of Walling's style, within a sub-tropical context. To view the garden, you can park at the end of Quorn Close in the Buderim Forest Park.
For those unfamiliar with Edna Walling's landscaping style, she was known for re-creating cottage gardens that captured a sense of warmth and cosiness within the Australian landscape. Often there is something hidden or beyond in her gardens. Her curved, low stone walls and narrow enclosed laneways bordered by vegetation, only allow glimpses of stone cottages up ahead, before opening up like a new discovery. She also utilised many indigenous plants, despite drawing from a European landscaping tradition.
Edna Walling Lane in the Bickley Vale Estate in Mooroolbark, Melbourne
Bickley Vale Road and Edna Walling Lane in Mooroolbark in Melbourne are public roads that you can walk down to take in Walling's Bickley Vale Estate. It is a bit tight for vehicles due to the extremely small turning circle at the end of the lane, so it is best to park on Pembroke Road and walk in. The properties are private unless opened as part of one of the publicised open days that occur from time to time. One of the cottages, Sonning, was Walling's residence.
One of the stone cottages on Edna Walling Lane in Melbourne
When visiting the Edna Walling tribute garden in Buderim, take some time to visit the adjacent Buderim Forest Park, which was the main purpose for the car park that houses the garden. There are a few articles on Weekend Notes with personal impressions of visiting Buderim Forest Park and its main feature, Serenity Falls, such as this one which inspired some artwork.