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Heronswood House and Gardens

Home > Melbourne > Lunch | Historic Houses | Gardening | Day Trips | Cafes
by Lorraine A (subscribe)
Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
Published June 9th 2013

The stately Heronswood house is beautifully surrounded by gardens and is also home to The Diggers Club and Fork to Fork restaurant. It's in a picturesque location overlooking Port Philip Bay in the seaside town of Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula.

Welcome to The Diggers Club

Heronswood is a place I have been visiting since I was a child with my parents as they were always in The Diggers Club buying heirloom plants that are difficult to find elsewhere.

'Pizza garden'

I haven't been for the last ten years, which is bad as I don't live far away, however it was my daughter's suggestion to visit after she had been to Heronswood with her school a few weeks ago and was desperate to show me around the gardens, in particular the sand pit and the 'pizza garden' which is a vegetable garden.

Heronswood house

Heronswood's garden is on a large allotment, approximately the equivalent of 25 house blocks and has stunning bay views. I wouldn't mind taking up residence in this beautiful location, however the gardens would be more than a full time job, which is currently attended to by 3 full time gardeners.

Dry garden bed

The garden consists of many different sections and features a dry garden, sub-tropical garden, cooks herb garden, children's garden, vegetable paterre, mini plot, food border, modern herb garden, evergreen grey garden, duck pond, tile garden, summer perennial garden, climber walk, edible hedges and the kitchen garden.

Climber walk

History of Heronswood:

The historic Gothic revival house was completed in 1871 for William Hearn, the first law professor at Melbourne University. William enlisted Edward Latrobe Bateman in 1866 to design a 5 bedroom home for his family.

Morton Bay fig in the background

The first garden at Heronswood was planted in the 1870's, remnants can still be seen today, with the big Morton Bay Fig registered by the National Trust as a significant tree.

The buildings of Heronswood were classified on the National Trust in 1973 and placed on the register of the National Estate in 1978. The house is open during festivals, with the next opening being the spring festival 9-10th November.

Buying plants at Heronswood:

One of the great things about visiting Heronswood for both novice and experienced gardeners is nearly every plant in the garden has its name and drought tolerance sign next to it. This makes choosing the same plant in the nursery easy and also allows you to see what plant combinations work together to provide the best colour, contrast and highlights in the garden.

Nursery area

If you are unsure about any of the plants in the garden, the staff are very knowledgeable and are more than happy to help with plant selection and advice.

The nursery specialises in heirloom plants and uncommon varieties that you will not find in Bunnings or Masters, therefore prices are a little dearer, but not overly so.

Wooden table with plants

Fork to Fork restaurant:

Fork to Fork restaurant

When we visited on Sunday, Fork to Fork was very popular. I really liked the outdoor eating area which has a great big wooden table filled with plants in the middle, a children's sand pit and mini maze gives it a really nice family feel. I have never been into the restaurant so I can't say what the food or coffee is like, maybe a reader out there has been and can share their thoughts?

Front of Heronswood house

If you would like to visit Heronswood, it's open 7 days a week 9am -5pm (closed Dec 24-26 & Good Friday).

Garden entry is $10 per adult, members and children are free.
Membership is $49 for 1 year or $69 for 2 years. Membership gives you free entry to St Earths and Heronswood, 30% off plant purchases and 8 free packs of seeds throughout the year.

Looking back onto the house

Happy gardening.
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Why? Heirloom plants and great views
When: 7 days a week
Phone: shop 03 59847321 Dining 0359847318
Where: 105 Latrobe Parade Dromana
Cost: $10 adults, free for members and children
Your Comment
Lovely piece Lorraine nice balance of history and your personal history surrounding visits to Heronswood. Gorgeous photos. This is one of my must visits every time I am on the Peninsula. Not just the gardens and coffee shop but am fasinated by the thatched roof. Cheers Nadine.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|6006) 2821 days ago
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