Australia - Victoria
10 town and country gardens open in Alexandra and District (1.5 hours from Melbourne) over the last weekend of October, when the countryside is at its most beautiful and our town and country gardens are at their best. The Alexandra District is widely known for its ever-changing climate - the cold frosty winters to the dry hot months of summer. This provides a magical, if challenging, environment for local gardeners.

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Alexandra & District Vic, open gardens 2014 mapGarden 1: White Lotus Retreat

Opening for the first time and set in the foothills of the beautiful Yarra Ranges, the gardens at White Lotus Day Spa & Retreat, originally the Old Post Office of Narbethong, are a mix of the old and the new. 


Garden 2: Tarnpirr Farm


Garden 3: Boyce/Slott garden

Our garden has become home to a range of much loved plants to provide colour, memories and food. The front garden which has a westerly aspect and is subject to long hot dry spells over the summer period consists of hardy plants, including a few Olive trees, an espaliered Crab Apple to protect the house from the baking summer sun and various tough perennials. To the south-east we have established a sheltered ‘secret garden’ which contains more delicate species such as Japanese Windflowers, Josterberries and Hydrangeas. 
Overall, our garden has a mix of perennials, natives, deciduous trees and shrubs, with bulbs and fruiting plants dotted throughout; being careful not to block the spectacular views we are so fortunate to have in this region. This mix of vegetation has been successful in encouraging some of our local birds to nest in our garden, to date over 70 different species have been recorded visiting our property. Our aim for our garden is for it to be productive as well as ornamental.


Garden 4: Araluen

Araluen is a small farm that has a rich history. The property’s oaks, maples, walnuts, willows, liquid ambers, ash, poplars and elms create a wonderful English feel. Entering via a winding path through a small gateway beneath a hundred year old Japanese maple, visitors will discover a traditional garden that reflects the desire of the early settlers to recreate an English style oasis! Gravel paths and lawn areas are edged by beds of camellias, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, daphne, violets, forget-me-knots and lambs’ ears. Over the past 6 years, the current owners have expanded the garden beds with additional roses, magnolias, dogwoods, cherries, star jasmine and clematis, bulbs and cottage plants. Arbours, pergolas, seating and bird feeders have also been added to enhance the interest of the garden.


Garden 5: Morning Mist


Garden 6: Lyn and Graham Clifford Garden


Garden 7: Keir and Colin Jones garden


Garden 8: Goodman garden

We moved into the house about 20 years ago and began planting a garden. We found a good selection of conifers at the Molesworth Bazzar one Easter, coming home full of enthusiasm to begin our new garden. These little plants are now the backbone of the garden giving height and strength to the eclectic mix of our many plants collected from friends and shopping sprees.

As you wander around the garden you will see many potted plants filled with these special treasures and you can enjoy different flowering deciduous trees and shrubs at all times of the year. Sitting on the verandah is a special treat where you enjoy the expansive view across the road to Leckie Park, our borrowed landscape. 


Garden 9: Richard and Gillian Steward garden

This is a town garden on a double block that is prone to being waterlogged in the winter months. The soil is acidic with the top three inches being the workable part with a light powdery, when dry subsoil, then it is an orangey-brown clay. The garden beds are all raised and contained within rocks with a mowing strip. I am still adding sharp sand and grit to the top of the soil to prevent crusting which occurs in the summer months.

My aim is to have something of interest in flower every month of the year. I am growing some plants which are more demanding in their requirements. Bulbs have been one of my choices as they can be grown in pockets in the garden which might be too dry for many a perennial or they can be tucked away for a good dry rest when needed. Other plants which I am playing with are Vireya Rhodedendrons grown in containers.

A large proportion of the plants in the garaden have been grown from seed, be they trees, shrubs, perennials, tubers or bulbs. There is a shade section for some seedlings, a small lean-to greenhouse, a vegie patch, berry fruit, and a couple of fruit trees and a small fish pond with bog plants etc. Most of the garden has automatic watering but the few dry areas support native flowers, shrubs and trees.


Garden 10: Ross and Pam Thompson garden

For the past seven years Pamela & Ross Thompson have put their own special features and subtle changes to “Myston” to showcase its beauty as it can be seen today. The home is two storey mud-brick with views of the garden and hills beyond.
and a small replica cottage blends comfortably into the landscape. 

The 3.5 acre garden has over 300 roses, a mixture of English and Australian native trees, and an ornamental pond with three colours of water lilies and iris from Spring to early Summer. Each carefully planned garden area leads to another, with conveniently placed seats to enjoy the view and observe the birdlife. The terraced vegetable garden and small orchard provide for most of the household needs, although in constant competition with the hundreds of birds which have now made “Myston” their home.

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Tickets $4 each garden, or $30 for all gardens.
Available from the Alexandra Information Centre
36 Grant St,
Alexandra, Vic, 3714
Ph: 03 5772 1100