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Colors aplenty in these country gardens
Shorter days, cooler weather, and before we know it, Autumn has arrived with leaves moving through spectrums of colour, before falling to form a patchworked groundcover. If this isn't your garden, yet you want to see a garden like this, then why not drop in to an open garden that is part of Open Gardens Australia. Open Gardens Australia, for the very last time, have arranged for 14 gardens across Victoria to be open during this coming autumn.
Seaview is a beautiful country garden designed to maximise spectacular views of Corio Bay and the You Yangs. The garden features deep garden beds with lovely plant combinations, and a mixed shrubbery interlaced with textural perennials is a plantlover's delight.
Arundel (7-8 March) 478 Ryrie St, East Geelong
This romantic garden is a hidden treasure just two kilometres from the city centre of Geelong. A beautiful Golden Elm and other mature trees give dappled shade to a series of rooms filled with perennials, hardy Mediterranean species, grasses, an abundant vegetable bed and a young orchard.
La Dolce Vita (14-15 March) 252 O'Brien Rd, Ancona
La Dolce Vita is an elegant and self-sufficient garden showcasing what can be achieved on a low budget by propagating plants and utilising local materials for construction. The white crocus walk is a highlight in early Autumn.
A Mediterranean-style garden combining the decorative and the productive features vegetables and fruits interlaced with flowers and herbs. A small olive grove, long arbour of Shiraz grapes, Italian water features and a Tuscan-inspired wood oven round out an exceptionally beautiful and sustainable garden.
An oasis of green in the midst of wheat farming country, the garden is a mix of native and exotic trees, many with pastoral views. Massed roses and salvias are colourful highlights and appear alongside lush box hedges, a summerhouse, a small goldfish pond and rustic sculptures.
Southernby Park (4-5 April) 599 Slate Quarry Rd, Meredith
This waterwise garden has succulents, natives, roses, bulbs, bamboos and other hardy species in a cottage-style garden beneath deciduous trees. Themed areas include aloes, silver-blue foliage and colour co-ordinated plantings with many plants having been salvaged or given by friends.
Back Lake (4-5 April) 264 Wiggins Rd, Scotsburn
A rammed earth house is perfectly sited to overlook the central feature of the garden which is a stunning lake. Local volcanic rock used for drystone walls and at the entrance is very effective, as is the simple bold scale of the garden with its wonderful swathes of repeat plantings.
This magnificent formal garden has been beautifully sited to enjoy spectacular views. Broad terraces feature architectural focal points and manicured hedges enclosing massed roses and perennials. A central path ends in a place for quiet reflection and enjoyment of the view.
La Serre (18-19 April) 41 Barretts Rd, Langwarrin South
Large sculptures and strong architectural statements anchor diverse plantings of excellent drought-tolerant species. Mature eucalypts, golden elm, oak and liquid amber shelter deep borders of echiums, melianthus and grasses which have been framed by massed succulents.
An amphitheatre design provides vistas of the contrasting foliage shapes, colours, tones and textures in this expansive informal garden. Numerous paths meander past a diverse range of exotic and native trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and succulents with numerous rare, interesting and unique specimens.
A remarkable garden displaying a deep knowledge of how to grow plants outside their natural climatic zones. At its heart is a huge organic vegetable garden which includes over 100 fruit trees. Fifty varieties of palms coupled with rare and endangered plants from all over the world make for a great garden.
A thoughtful planting design maximises vistas throughout this young garden. A sunken circular lawn is embraced by shrubs, conifers and deciduous trees including many unusual maples providing glorious autumn colour. Hundreds of native shrubs, especially grevilleas, provide food for birds and bees.
A long driveway of mature trees and post-and-rail fences leads into a magnificent garden of stately trees. Several acres of green lawns weave around glorious trees and shrubs underplanted with perennials and groundcovers. Birches, maples, dogwoods and beeches all provide exceptional autumn colour.
Cruden Farm (10 May) Cranhaven Rd, Langwarrin
The renowned garden of the late Dame Elisabeth Murdoch in all its magnificent autumnal splendour will be open on Mothers Day. Dame Elisabeth came to Cruden Farm many years ago, and her legacy remains with this majestic garden. Beautiful herbaceous borders, the famous avenue of lemon-scented gums, shrub walks, tree-shaded lawns and the landscaped lake are all harmoniously blended with the surrounding countryside.
All gardens are open from 10am to 430pm and have a token entrance fee of $8 to $10 to help cover costs, with the exception of Cruden Farm which is $15. 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.