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Catch the colors and leaves for the last time
Shorter days, cooler weather, and before we know it, autumn has arrived. Autumn signifies big changes in gardens as trees begin the process of jettisoning the old leaves and preparing themselves for a cold winter. If this isn't your garden, but you want to see a garden behaving like this, then why not drop in to someone else's garden that has been kindly opened as part of Open Gardens Australia.
Open Gardens Australia, for the very last time, have arranged for 14 gardens across greater Melbourne to be open during this coming autumn.
Rockley Road Garden (14-15 March) 32 Rockley Rd, South Yarra
An elegant, green, Italianate garden with massed 'Alba' rugosa roses, hedges of sasanqua camellias, lavender, box and Boston ivy welcomes guests to this garden. Delightful clipped box balls, a soothing fountain, and a collection of potted Japanese maples provide a year-round beautiful garden.
Rockley Road Garden
The Patch Primary School (14-15 March) 53 Kallista-Emerald Rd, The Patch
A village fete with music, pizzas, coffee and a sausage sizzle complement this sustainable garden that has been designed and implemented by the school's students. Arts and crafts, garden tours, talks, demonstrations, garden workshops and activities for the kids ensure that this visit will take the better part of a full day.
A stunning young garden alive with the colour and perfume of roses, irises and lavender in box-hedged beds. Beautiful stonework, paving, fountains, two large lily ponds and waterfalls are bordered by copses of silver birches.
At Beaumaris, we have a sustainable and productive garden created with flair and creativity. Unusual foliage and plant combinations are a key feature of the eye-catching native species, used in the nature strip and the productive back garden, with raised vegetable beds and a chicken coop.
Designed by Phillip Johnson, this Australian native garden recreates a peaceful bush setting and includes a delightful pond with small waterfalls. Accompanied by live classical music, why not walk along the fern walkway leading to a billabong surrounded by gums, banksias, native wildflowers and murals.
Nonesuch (11-12 April) 150 Hereford Rd, Lilydale
This Lilydale garden features a formal walkway of magnificent copper beeches, standard roses and box hedge pyramids. Beyond the walkway is where mature weeping willows, Japanese maples and various shrubs in their autumn finery shelter creative and eclectic plantings.
Garden of Hope (11-12 April) 2 Jura Crt, Park Orchards
A formal, axial design by designer Jacquie Chirgwin is balanced by deep-curved shrubberies and lovely vistas over bushland. Paths wind past prolific plantings of roses, Japanese anemones, grasses, succulents, salvias, geraniums and coleus, with autumn colours on display from maples, golden ashes, and the red berries of dogwoods.
Garden of Hope
Kristie's Bouquet (11-12 April) 11 Forge Rd, Mount Evelyn
A spacious garden of great diversity, and a focus on sustainable practices, have mature trees sheltering garden beds, featuring an eclectic mix of bird-attracting natives and massed colourful perennials, including over 80 species of salvias.
The Mosaic Garden (18-19 April) 64 Rathmines Rd, Hawthorn
With mosaics flowing across walls, steps and boulders, this unique garden has been recognised internationally for its innovation and artistry. Talks at 11am and 2pm each day will focus on the mosaic sculptures, garden furniture and the water feature.
Giufre Garden highlights how native and indigenous plants can be used to overcome difficult terrain and soil conditions. There are eucalypts, grevilleas, acacias, eremophilas, correas, alyogynes, Geraldton wax, hakeas, banksias, and many massed grasses to complement the dam and the small pond.
Sam Cox's Garden (18-19 April) 12 Lorimer Rd, Wattle Glen
Garden designer Sam Cox's own Australian native garden uses Castlemaine slate paving to link the mudbrick house to the garden and surrounding bushland. A waterhole, edged with boulders and aquatic plants, and fed by a waterway, nestles into the landscape. It is shaded by lemon-scented gums, and surrounded by mass plantings of chrysocephalums, goodenias and correas.
Sam Cox's Garden
Warrawong (2-3 May) 63 Luck St, Eltham
This steep block has been sensitively developed in a series of broad terraces, allowing views of the young garden from the Alistair Knox house. Gravel paths link garden beds, while bluestone and brick paths link the different levels. Yellow box trees shelter grevilleas, correas, indigenous acacias, cherry ballart, and goodenias.
Boston ivy clings to this Scottish castle while cypresses, an avenue of olives, and a venerable old oak in its autumn glory date from the 1850s. Now restored to its 1920s condition and available for tours, the castle is surrounded by wide lawns and pretty flower beds backed by camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas.
Tugurium (30-31 May) 8 Centenary Ave, Macedon
This extraordinary garden from Stephen Ryan provides a wonderful opportunity to see the bones of the garden with its textures, structural foliage, deciduous plant framework and pre-winter blooms.
All gardens are open from 10am to 430pm and have a token entrance fee of $8 to help cover costs. Open Gardens Australia have recently advised that, as a result of rising costs and falling revenues, Open Gardens Australia will cease to exist, effective from 30 June 2015.