I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published November 15th 2019
Macedon's Top Spring Attraction
It's been a long time coming but if you believe the experts, Victoria is set to enjoy some true spring weather over the next couple of weeks and that means the opportunity to enjoy some of our great gardens.
The trip to Mount Macedon is worth it just to see Forest Glade's magnificent Laburnum Arch explode in a mass of colour each spring. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Mount Macedon, of course, is renowned as the home of some incredibly beautiful gardens, none more so than Forest Glade.
Reborn from the devastation of the Ash Wednesday fires of February, 1983 Forest Glade is today one of Australia's great gardens. Covering 5.6 Hectares it's home to exotic trees, a Japanese garden and bonsai house, beautiful woodlands, fern gullies, a topiary garden, pergolas & ponds and some amazing statues and fountains.
And as luck would have it, if you visit here in the last two or three weeks of November, you'll be able to see Forest Glades incredible Laburnum Arch in its majestic blaze of spring colour.
Forest Glade's history dates back to 1859 when the land was used for orchards and grazing. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Anytime is a great time to visit Forest Glade but the garden gives up particularly amazing displays of colour in spring with, as well as the Laburnum, masses of rhododendrons, peonies and azaleas that have to be seen to be believed.
The original weatherboard home on the property was situated here and destroyed in the Ash Wednesday fires of February 1983. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
While you're there, enquire about a tour of the world-class Stokes Collection, sixteen rooms of antique furniture and artworks, including 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.
In 1941 the Newton family purchased the property and set about establishing one of Mount Macedon's most beautiful gardens. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Cyril Stokes purchased the property in 1971 and developed the gardens to the extent you see today. 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.
Getting There …..
Forest Glade is at 816 Mount Macedon Road, Mount Macedon, less than an hours drive north of Melbourne via the Calder Freeway/M79.
In 2011 Forest Glade was gifted to a registered charity with the intent of keeping the gardens and the Stokes Collection open to the public well into the future. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media