The Australian Garden greets visitors with red sands and circular plantings, a nod to the drier regions of the country.
Almost 2 KM* off the main road, past the “Stop for bandicoots” sign and on the site of a former sand mine is the award winning, world class Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne. RBG Cranbourne is located about 45 minutes outside of the city of Melbourne. This spectacular garden has 15 hectares of cultivated garden and 350 hectares of bushland.
*(Fellows are now following the metric system)
RBG Cranbourne is a fairly new garden, open to the public in 1970. The stunning Australian Garden represents the native flora and fauna of all 86 of the continent’s bio-zones. Fellows were shown around the Australian Garden by Jo Fyfe, Visitor Programs Coordinator.
Jo Fyfe, Visitor Programs Coordinator, enhances guest experience through story-telling which she hopes will spark a love of horticulture for all who visit.
The garden design reflects the dry nature of much of the continent and tells the story of how water moves through the environment. Many gardens center on a lake, an open, peaceful area against which the different colors and textures of the garden stand out. A focal point of RBG Cranbourne is the Red Sand Garden, a representation of the dry and largely uninhabited center of Australia. The sand garden is surrounded by over two dozen differently themed gardens, such as the Weird and Wonderful Garden, the Seaside Garden, and the Greening Cities Garden.
Plantings and ephemeral wetlands sculptures in the Red Sand Garden
The Home Garden shows visitors how to use native Australian plants in any kind of landscape
A section of the beautiful River Walk is open to the public as a wading pool
There are layers upon layers of interpretive meanings built into the garden design. Signage, guided tours, and the website illuminate parts of the story, but guests can visit countless times and learn something new with each visit.
Fellows then enjoyed a tour of the bushland and picnic areas surrounding it by Ollie and Dave from Cranbourne’s Natural Lands Management team.
A walk in the bush
Ollie and Dave show us sand pads used for invasive animal control and tracking
The Fellows met with Jo Fyfe and Sharon Willoughby, Manager of Public Programs, in the afternoon to discuss the goals and challenges Cranbourne is facing as it grows and matures as an organization. A warm thank you to Jo, Ollie, Sharon and Dave for sharing their time and expertise on an equally warm day!