Gardens of the Mornington Peninsula
I just spent a lovely few days on the Mornington Peninsula and had the chance to visit the first Victorian garden opening for the winter season of the Australian Open Gardens Scheme: Illyarrie at Balnarring. This garden is extremely interesting as it consists entirely of Australian plants, mostly from Western Australia! In the cool lush environment of the Mornington Peninsula some of them look quite different: much greener and softer. Many of the plants flower at different times too, for example some Leschenaultias were flowering and the owner said they will flower from now until Christmas. In Perth they flower for few weeks in early spring. I was especially inspired by (and envious of) the lovely pot displays and the huge clumps of native orchids.
On the second day it poured with rain, a great opportunity to visit the Peninsula Hot Springs, which are wonderfully landscaped with Australian plants but still look very Japanese in the mist. Our last day was spent at Heronswood, the home of the Diggers Club, and always a joy to visit. The café was warm and inviting on a cold day but the sun came out for a while between morning coffee and lunch, allowing a leisurely stroll in the gardens. The Diggers Club promotes sustainable organic gardening and heirloom varieties. The vegetable parterre is always picturesque as are the espaliered fruit trees and the kitchen garden. In the medicinal garden for the first time I saw a Mandrake plant flowering. The root has traditionally been used in medicines and magic rituals but I didn’t realise the flower is so attractive (photo below). The nursery was brimming with rare and desirable plants, most of which can be bought on line from Western Australia. The plants and seeds are mailed but need to go through quarantine so unfortunately I was not able to buy anything from the nursery!
- Inspirational pots at Illyarrie
- Vegetable parterre at Heronswood
- A most unusual Cestrum
- Mandrake flowering