An Evening at Historic ‘Chesterfield’, Geelong

Join landscape designer Stephen Read and owner Mary-Jane Walker for an evening in the grand dining room at ‘Chesterfield‘, one of Geelong’s oldest surviving Georgian homes and surrounded by a beautiful garden. Held as part of Garden DesignFest 2016, the Chesterfield soirée includes a talk by Stephen and Mary-Jane about the historic property. From 5.30 to 7.30pm, Saturday 19 November 2016 at 221 Nobel Street Newtown. Tickets available through Eventbrite.

Hear Mary-Jane describe the history of Chesterfield and how it was saved from the developer’s bulldozer and new life given to this old Georgian gem. Stephen will talk about ‘Reflections on Sense of Place and Purpose‘, discussing why landscape and garden designers need to be present, and take time to tap into what makes a place unique.

Chesterfield‘ is also open during the day from 10am-5pm on 19 and 20 November 2016 as part of Melbourne’s Garden DesignFest. More info on Garden DesignFest here

Perennials at Chesterfield garden, Geelong. Design Stephen Read Landscape Design
Perennials at Chesterfield garden, Geelong. Design Stephen Read Landscape Design

Botanic and Rare Plant Fair

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Diggers Club present a new opportunity to purchase rare and unusual plants, all in one place on one weekend, in spring, directly from growers. Plus 3 expert panel talks each day featuring well-known gardening personalities such as Tim Entwisle, Michael McCoy, Teena Crawford, Jim Fogarty, Jane Edmanson, Clive Blazey, Millie Ross, Andrew Laidlaw and Rodger Elliot.

Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 October, 10am – 4pm, Observatory Precinct, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Melbourne Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne Vic 3004. Entry $10 Adult (Under 16 years free), $30 Panel discussions & behind the scenes tours (Pre-booking essential)

Botanical Art Workshop

Botanical art workshop with Mali Moir in 3 sessions: 21 September, 19 October and 16 November 2016. Mali is an accomplished botanical artist and graduate of Burnley.
After horticulture, Mali studied botanical art and went on to work as the botanical illustrator at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. She now exhibits her work and runs botanical art classes. She can cater for all levels of expertise, from the … “I really can’t draw” to “I just need some help with this”. Medium – water colour pencils.

10am – 12.30pm each session. Total for 3 sessions $180, members $150. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL. Go to

The Art of Botanical Illustration

Presented by the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, this is our thirteenth famous biennial exhibition. It is Australia’s premier selected exhibition of botanical works – 175 stunning paintings and drawings by 98 local, interstate and overseas artists. This year, in addition to conventional botanical illustration, we have encouraged artists to go outside the traditional botanical illustration terms of reference and produce some innovative works of art. Not to be missed!
FREE ENTRY, open daily 10am-4pm.
Domain House Gallery
Dallas Brooks Drive, Melbourne, Victoria 3142 Australia

Terrariums with Style

Workshop at Burnley College in Melbourne on how to create a terrarium with terrarium expert Sascha Andrusiak. Take home a terrarium you’ve made. An ideal Christmas gift!

Saturday 8 October 2016, 10am-1pm. $65 members, $85 non-members. Includes terrarium and plants and morning tea. Bring sharp, clean secateurs and wear closed shoes. Bookings and prepayment essential

Burnley Bees and Backyard Honey

Learn how to cultivate your own bee hive from apiarist Peter Dyer of Backyard Honey. Peter helps city dwellers with the necessary equipment and skills to host a bee hive in your backyard and harvest your own honey. Friends of Burnley Gardens. Burnley Campus MB11 (Main Building), 500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond. Wednesday 14 September 2016, 7pm for 7.30pm start. Bookings essential ph 03 90356861 or contact Andrew Smith

Gardens as Therapy

Join Churchill Fellowship winner and ABC 2012 ‘Gardener of the Year’ Steven Wells on this ‘world tour’ of healthcare gardens in the UK, USA and Singapore.
Steven has successfully combined his nursing and horticulture careers to be working as a horticultural therapist, nurse and the Gardens Project Officer at Austin Health in Melbourne. He has established the horticultural therapy program and designed and implemented the sensory and healing gardens at Austin Health’s Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre.

Tuesday 13 September at 6.30pm, Mueller Hall, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. $20, Friends $15. Bookings essential.

Australian Conifers, Casuarinas, Bonsai + more

Broaden your knowledge and outlook about our ‘other’, fantastic Aussie trees! Dr Roger Spencer will lead us into the world of the non-flowering Australian Tree Gymnosperms such as Agathis, Araucarias, Athrotaxis, Callitris, Largostrobus, Phyllocladus, Podocarpus, Prumnopitys and Wollemia. The renowned Dr Greg Moore will cover aspects of urban tree planting, Kevin Ritchie from the Victorian Native Bonsai Club will speak about ‘Penjing’ with Australian trees, Rodger Elliot will be covering Casuarinas and their allies including the beautiful ‘Daintree Pine’, Rodger & Gwen Elliot will show how shrubs might become small trees and John Thompson will tell how these plants have been utilised and the inspiration for a whole range of other uses over time.

Bookings are essential. Members $60 • non-members $75 • students $30
Booking forms: Friends of RBG Cranbourne – Activities .

Burnley Plant Sale

BURNLEY PLANT SALE on Wednesday 17 August 2016 from 12:00 – 3:00 pm. Select from a range of native, exotic and produce plants.
Location – outside the Student Union Building, University of Melbourne Burnley Campus, 500 Yarra Boulevard Richmond. Parking on Yarra Boulevard (Melways Map 45 & X872). Plant list will be available on the website. Payments by cash only. All funds raised go to Burnley Gardens Projects.

South Australia’s landscapes & plants

Talk by Cranbourne Gardens staff members Sturt Gibbs and Trevor Seppings who went of an exploratory trip to South Australia that went as far as Port Augusta. This trip provided them with personal and professional development opportunities, as well as practical insights into the cultivation and environmental tolerance of a range of plant species potentially suited for cultivation in the Australian Garden.

Sturt, Trevor and Cali Salzmann were recipients of a Elisabeth Murdoch Scholarship, made possible by the Maud Gibson Trust which supports activities of the RBG Victoria. Sunday 31 July 2016. Cranbourne Gardens is an easy 1 hour drive south-east of Melbourne. Bookings required – $15 members, $20 adults, $10 students. Email

Autumn leaves and private gardens: AGHS garden tour April 2016

As the coach left the Melbourne Arts Centre the clouds darkened and raindrops spattered on the windscreen, increasing to a deluge as we progressed towards north east Victoria. But we are intrepid gardeners and obsessive garden visitors so we refused to be daunted! Continue reading “Autumn leaves and private gardens: AGHS garden tour April 2016”

Walking in Victoria’s High Country

Garden lovers are nature lovers and one of my favourite pastimes is packing my rucksack and saying goodbye to reality before taking off into the Australian bush on my own for a few days of walking. Midsummer is not a typically popular time for bushwalking in Australia. Summers regularly reach a windy 40 degrees celsius, and avoiding remote bushland on such days is as much about avoiding chafing thighs as it is an act of self preservation. Continue reading “Walking in Victoria’s High Country”

Wonder, delight & mystery: Australian Landscape Conference in review

The 2015 Australian Landscape Conference – held in Melbourne in late September – was a memorable two-day session. More than 600 local and international attendees followed the thought-provoking input of landscape designers drawn from overseas and Australia. Continue reading “Wonder, delight & mystery: Australian Landscape Conference in review”

Review: Garden DesignFest tours

Garden DesignFest has reigned as Australia’s premier open garden style event for a number of years now, since its inception relatively recently in 2004. Biennially and over two days in and around Melbourne, several thousand garden lovers from all around Australia converge to have their garden curiosity taste buds sated as the gates are opened to some of the most creative, elegant, quirky and pampered private gardens that one could ever dream of entering.


Continue reading “Review: Garden DesignFest tours”

La Trobe’s Cottage garden wins award!

The Friends of La Trobe’s Cottage are a band of dedicated volunteers and who entered for the second time into the Victorian Community History Awards in the category Historical Interpretation. This award recognises the unique formats of historical representation through the use of physical exhibitions, artistic interpretation, history walks and tours. And we won which is very exciting for all the volunteers that help at the cottage.

Continue reading “La Trobe’s Cottage garden wins award!”

Garden oddities – floral clocks

One of the horticultural oddities of the last century is the floral clock. Most of us have encountered them from time to time during our travels, often sighted on gentle slopes in manicured public gardens at tourist destinations. Apart from a moment’s thought at the sophistication of the technology and the intricate plantings used by the designers, most of these outdoor landscapes are soon forgotten. Continue reading “Garden oddities – floral clocks”

Captain Cook’s ivy a worthy sailor

“Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.” A quote by Captain James Cook in reference to him digging for potatoes in his garden? Perhaps unlikely, but the great explorer may have had a greener upbringing than his sea blue finale. It wasn’t my sole reason for heading to Melbourne, but along with the restful Fitzroy Gardens, the ever changing observatory and the house and gardens of the Cook family, the area remains a focal point of horticultural attraction in the heart of the Victorian capital. Continue reading “Captain Cook’s ivy a worthy sailor”

Green is the new black in Melbourne

A few months ago I took one of my regular trips down to Melbourne to visit a close girlfriend who lives there. Over the three days I was there, I was struck by how green Melbourne was. Not that it has more parkland that I remembered or that it was mindblowingly sustainable – but that at the moment green seems to be the new black. Terrariums in cafes, rooftop veggie gardens in the city, living cacti necklaces…you name it, it’s there, and accessible for the average tourist. Continue reading “Green is the new black in Melbourne”

Garden DesignFest is Design Feast

I am smugly replete. What an amazing two full-on days of gardens. About 327 gardens all up I think, although maybe that was me feeling a little drunk on the heady elixir of high-quality design. Checking the DesignFest book, I see we made it to 17 of the 26 possible gardens, taking in tiny courtyards, suburban-sized yards and even enormous estates that seemed to roll down the hill with a cornucopia of flowers, paths, pavilions and foliage. Continue reading “Garden DesignFest is Design Feast”