Red sand garden with Eucalypt gardens to the left

Part of stage one, the red sand garden and Eucalypt garden

Stage 2 launch
I was very lucky to get a sneak preview of the second stage of the Australian Garden at Cranbourne Botanic Gardens. Along with other members of the Horticultural Media Association we were taken on a guided tour of these unique and spectacular gardens. The 360 hectare Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne were established in the 1970s and are dedicated to the conservation, display and enjoyment of Australian flora.

Rockpool waterway

The rockpool waterway leads down to the start of Stage Two

Cultivar garden

This garden will showcase new Australian plants

Two thirds of this area is wonderful remnant natural bushland, heathland and wetland with over 140 species of threatened flora and fauna. The first stage of the Australian Garden was completed in 2006. This told the story of the first stages of water’s journey form the desert to the sea and is made up of the red sand garden, rockpool waterway and diversity, water saving, future and home gardens. Also the serpentine path, arid garden, and the Eucalypt walk, comprised of the stringybark, bloodwood, peppermint, box and ironbark gardens. These areas have now really come into their own with dense growth that shows clearly the designers ideas and intentions.

Waratah Braidwood Brialliant

Waratahs in flower in the the Australian Garden

Scribbly path

The scribbly path leads to the Eucalypt walk

Stage two is structurally finished and the bones of the design are very clear, but there is a lot of growing that needs to happen over the next few years before the vision is completely realised. This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t visit now. Entry to the garden is free and all gardeners and anyone who is interested in native plants should visit regularly over the coming years to see the garden develop and the plants grow to the fill the gaps. I know it is obvious, but one of the enchanting things about gardens is the way they are constantly growing and changing.

Part of the view from Howson Hill

Looking our over part of Stage 2 from Howson Hill

Melaleuca spits, looking back towards Howson Hill

One of the new precincts, Melaleuca Spits

There are many new precincts in this visionary garden. The River Walk, Cultivar Garden, Howson Hill, The Arbour Garden (showcasing climbing plants), Melaleuca Spits, Northern Display Gardens, The Gondwana Garden, Lakeside Precinct, Gibson Hill and Weird and Wonderful Garden. There are also spaces for public performance and community events and a new kiosk.

One of the four display gardens

Each display garden provides practical take home ideas for visitors

Part of the Weird and Wonderful garden

Castlemaine stone and water features in the Weird and Wonderul garden

Stage Two will open with a two day celebration on October 20th and 21st. This is the culmination of more than 20 years planning, construction and planting.
October 20th is Gardeners Day and caters for all home gardeners with guided tours. ask it/solve it panel discussions, gardening workshops and demonstrations.
October 21st is Family Day and has events for children of all ages. Ponding and paddling, arts and crafts, making seed bombs and a treasure hunt.
On both days there will be other free activities and entertainment including a gardening expo, native plant sales, a bandicoot activity trail, live music and bush dancing and didgeridoo workshops. For more information about the the Opening Days, Australian Garden and the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens as a whole, go to¬† The Botanic Garden’s Website

Xanthorrea in the Dry garden

The dramatic Xanthorrea in flower