Melbourne Garden DesignFest


Dianne Bellamy did a stellar job of organising our trip to the Melbourne Garden DesignFest this year. We had a larger group than usual, 20 altogether including 7 Australians (8 on one day) who had opted to join our minibus. On Saturday we visited gardens in the Eastern and Northeastern suburbs and on Sunday we headed down the Mornington Peninsula to see 3 large country gardens designed by Robert Boyle (photo is of Aylward Farm and Ocean Eight Winery on Tucks Rd). Those who hadn't seen Rick Eckersley's retreat at Flinders had that as an alternative option. On the way back we managed to squeeze in three more city gardens in the Bayside Southeastern suburbs ending on a high note after a mad dash just on closing time in a slightly surreal garden by Don Thomson, complete with white cranes and even a large rabbit made of polystyrene - we were entranced. We rounded off the evening in Gaby Slade's highly individual garden designed by Andrew Plymin, whose own garden we have seen in the past. Gaby was one of our party, organising our food each day from her favourite cafe and her home is wonderfully quirky and original. We await its appearance in a design magazine in the New Year, when we will be able to share it with you all.

On Monday after the DesignFest, a small group were able to take advantage of retired architects, Anne and Berry King's kind invitation to visit their rammed earth home 'Black Lake' at Scotsburn, west of Melbourne near the old gold mining town of Ballarat. Featuring a 10-acre dam, they have opted for swathes of low maintenance plants to complement the environment and location. They had even arranged for us to visit several other properties in the area - ranging from massed formal plantings to a delightfully eclectic regenerating paradise for animal and bird life.