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Published January 9th 2015
Catch the last of the Open Gardens this Summer
Summer is a great time to be in the garden with shady trees, warm glows, bright greens and pretty flowers. And what better way to experience summer gardens than to pop in to someone else's garden during summer and to admire their wonderful handiwork over the previous winter and spring. Open Gardens Australia, for the last time, have arranged for 9 gardens across greater Melbourne to be open during this summer.
Ghazeepore (24 25 January) 680 Ghazeepore Rd, Freshwater Creek
Just minutes from Geelong is a romantic farm garden situated on a meandering creek. Against the beautiful backdrop of ancient Red Gums, winding paths lead to repeat plantings of hardy species that are proven performers. Live jazz will be playing from 2pm-5pm each day and there'll be tours of revegetation belts along the creek at 1pm and 4pm each day.
Gravel tracks lead through a field of native grasses to an open lawn and shrubs sheltering beneath local stringybarks. Some beautiful stone walls soften the level changes around the house where emu bushes have been clipped into ball shapes, while garden beds are filled with tough Australian natives. This lovely and inspirational garden was recently awarded 'Best Use of Plants in the Landscape' by Landscaping Victoria. A sausage sizzle and some wine tastings will help make this visit in to a pleasant afternoon.
Rose Creek: An Italian Paradise (8 February) 2 Craig St, Keilor East
Six acres of Italian paradise just six kilometres from Melbourne's CBD holds a fascinating and extensive Mediterranean vegetable garden, beehives, an orchard featuring unusual varieties and many citrus trees, a poultry run where the chooks are all known by name, and the Sicilianos' vineyard and olive grove adjoining their garden. While there you can enjoy a lunch of wood-fired pizzas or home-made Italian sausages - and perhaps take home some wine, marinated olives and award-winning olive oils.
Dry climate plantings are the hallmark of an inspiring collection of beautiful foliage plants including eucalypts, succulents, grasses, perennials and shrubs, summer herbaceous borders, and a large grass spiral planted with Calamagrostis. Also a series of mature oaks, beeches and birches are underplanted with shade-tolerant species, vegetables, raspberries and espaliered apples.
The Old Bakehouse (14 15 February) 467 Macclesfield Rd, Macclesfield
A relatively young garden combining ornamental plantings and highly productive areas is fronted by a shrub border at the entrance which leads through to the extensive plantings of grasses, shrubs and summer-flowering perennials. The native garden, orchard, vegetable garden, beehives and chooks with an enclosed berry patch are all surrounded by five acres of indigenous bushland.
The Old Bakehouse
Hoddle Street Community Garden (21 22 February) 253 Hoddle St, Collingwood
A lush urban oasis with a welcoming air, this garden demonstrates how productive gardening incorporating sustainable living practices is possible in a very small space. A large covered pergola creates a social centre for the gardeners, who grow a diverse array of organic vegetables and herbs. An innovative chicken house integrates green waste management. With workshops all weekend, and a BBQ from 10am-2pm each day there is lots to see and do at this garden.
The front of this very well presented garden features box hedging and a wall built by the owner from local volcanic rock. The back garden is lushly planted with beautiful roses spilling over arches and fences, a bonsai collection, wisteria arch, a summerhouse, a large productive vegetable garden and fruit trees.
The Kitchen Garden (21 22 February) 8 Gillman St, Malvern East
The clever design of this small, but beautifully designed, garden integrates a lovely French style potager with outdoor spaces for living and entertaining. A formal geometric vegetable garden, pergola, hazelnut hedge, beds surrounded by woven hurdles, espaliered heritage apples, French pears, greengage, cherry trees and damson plum are all underplanted with edible plants, a number of which are available for sale on the day.
More than 200 edible and useful plants are displayed in this ornamental setting including herbs, vegetables, vines, citrus, fruit and nut trees, South American edible species and Australian bush foods. With aquaponics, a rooftop garden, bees, chickens and interesting nature strip plantings there is plenty to see. In addition there are talks on native herbs, bush foods and perennial vegetables at 11am, 1pm and 3pm each day as well as regular guided tours of garden.
The two January gardens are open from 12 noon to 630pm, while all the February gardens are open from 10am to 430pm. All gardens 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 with effect from 30 June 2015 and hence these will be the last summer gardens on show it is time to get in to these top gardens for a piece of history.