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Garden Photo of the Day

Australian Treasures

Nicholas gardens

Frank Greenhalgh shares the story of cool temperate public gardens near Melbourne, Australia.

"As a passionate gardener, I appreciate the historical and botanical significance of four gardens in the cool temperate rainforest of the Dandenong mountain range on the doorstep of Melbourne, Australia.  The gardens are known as the National Rhododendron, Nicholas, Tindale, and Pirianda Gardens.  The story of these gardens goes back to the early part of last century, and involves the owners collecting trees and shrubs from around the world and integrating them with tall native mountain ash, grey gum trees, and shady understory plants such as tree ferns.  The exotic plants include rhododendrons, azaleas, Japanese maples, flowering cherries, conifers, beeches, magnolias, camellias, and dogwoods etc. They flourished in the rich volcanic soils (acidic) in this environment.

Each garden has different landscapes and features, but all showcase cool climate exotic plants; many of which are rare and endangered.  I hope that this post is of interest to others and increases awareness of these unique gardens, which the owners bequeathed to the public of the State of Victoria." 

Further information on the gardens is available via the following link:
http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/634296/stories-of-the-gardens.pdf

Have a garden you'd like to share? Email 5-10 photos and a brief story about your garden to GPOD@taunton.com. Please include where you are located!

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Nicholas Gardens

Nicholas Gardens (Image 2)

Pirianda garden

Pirianda garden (Image 2)

Rhodo gardens

Rhodo gardens (Image 2)

Rhodo gardens (Image 3)

Rhodo gardens (Image 4) 

Rhodo gardens (Image 5)

Tindale garden

Tindale garden (Image

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Comments

  1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

    I have been reflecting on previous posts on the GPOD blog, and the general lack of people in the photos. Gardens are for people and their enjoyment. Although readers of the posts cannot experience all the senses associated with being in the gardens, I believe that seeing people in garden photos adds another dimension and more interest to posts.

    I'm an outsider and 'Johnny-come-lately' to GPOD and I don't want to rock the boat. However, there may well be value in a person (e.g. the gardener concerned) or people (e.g. in the gazebo at Pirianda garden above) being included in at least one of the 10 photos for each post. What do fellow GPOD contributors think?

    1. User avater
      meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

      I certainly know what you mean, Frank, and agree that seeing the interested and happy faces of visitors or the gardener himself/herself at work or rest is always welcome. I think most of us gpod-ers suffer from proud parent syndrome and our gardens are our babies at this point in our lives. We tend to want to showcase the plants we are nurturing and lavishing love on. Maybe we should all go out and buy selfie sticks so we can at least include ourselves now and then in some pictures.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

        Selfie sticks or get our partners to work, Michaele. Let's see the response of others, but I might communicate with Alexandra (new manager of the GPOD account) and see if the guidelines for GPOD could encourage more people in pics. i.e. a policy position. A step too far do you think?

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/14/2016

          Policy position? I don't think so. It is 'Garden Photo of the Day'!
          :) Encouraging the inclusion of some people for scale or to see the gardener: good idea!
          It's great to see human beings in some photos, especially if it is the gardener in it's native habitat...I remember a particularly marvelous post from a woman in Africa-sorry I've forgotten her name and county-and she included a stunning picture of herself wearing a traditional outfit that was a great sensation.
          Here's a photo of a certain gardener in Ohio (who is not as old as he looks!) photobombing a plant portrait for a sense of scale.

          1. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

            Hmm, I hit refresh several times but the referenced photo isn't showing up. Give it another go so we can share a smile. I had Darwin take a picture of me earlier this morning in the spirit of Frank's encouraging us to show people in our gardens. I am definitely in my natural element since I have a favorite weeding tool in hand.

          2. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

            Nice try anyway Michaele. You will have to save it until your next slide show/post on your garden i.e. as it expands into the old 'horse paddock'.

          3. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/14/2016

            So funny that now I come back and see that the photo has disappeared. You've actually seen the photo: me and the tall lily Golden Splendor. I'm going to upload it again to see if it shows up and stays. Frank seems to have seen it.

          4. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

            Hey Tim - absolutely great to see a pic of you. I rest my case!

          5. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

            Well, yay, Disqus got over its hissy fit and the picture is now viewable. You know how awestruck I am by that tower of golden lilies. Are they powerfully fragrant as well as beautiful.

          6. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/14/2016

            They smelled heavenly. The shorter version (without the reddish outsides) smelled better than the tall ones, although all were from the same bag. For a while there was a wonderful, cloying overlap between the fragrance of these lilies and the lovely fragrance of the huge stand of (also abnormally tall) common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. The lilies are on the front of the wrap around porch; milkweed on the side of the wrap around porch. Oh a hot, humid night you could get knocked over by the scent that hung in the air when stepping onto the porch!

          7. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/15/2016

            I had no idea that milkweed was fragrant. We have some growing naturally in a hay field and I have resisted trying to transplant to a spot in my garden.

          8. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/15/2016

            Very fragrant and very, very aggressive. Runs like crazy. I put up with its aggressive ways for its fragrance and the monarchs.

          9. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

            Thanks Tim - I've got the picture!

          10. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

            I actually didn't have the pic. when I wrote this (I do now). I meant I understand what you are saying. Cheers

            Sorry Tim - this was supposed to go to you!

          11. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/15/2016

            ok!

        2. NCYarden 07/14/2016

          Definitely not a crowd. Plants first and foremost. But inclusion of the passionate laborer I think is a nice attribute. When I first sent in photos of my garden a couple of seasons ago, I was apprehensive about the silly pic Christine snapped of me hugging my Japanese maple, but ultimately included it to give a little sense of who I was, even if it seemed a bit nonsensical, and maybe a little embarrassing. But hey, I love my garden, and hopefully it showed. That is what I would like to see more of.

          1. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

            That was one of my favorite gpod pictures of all time...Christine captured your gardener's persona perfectly.

          2. NCYarden 07/14/2016

            Aww, thanks Michaele.

          3. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

            Great David - more of the gardeners themselves; seems to be good support for this - but not a crowd and a 'policy position'!

  2. user-7007498 07/14/2016

    Frank: Thanks for sharing the photos and the history of those beautiful gardens. I know some day, probably after I retire, I will be making a trek "down there". Your postings over the past year have me craving this even more. I cant get enough, especially the first photo. Thanks for the link.

    As an aside, there is a group of Aussie gardeners spending a month in the States in September. I heard the group is about 35, and they will be touring the mid-Atlantic. They will be in my area for 2 days, and wanted to visit a few private gardens. I am 1 of 5 gardens that they will tour. I can't wait to meet them. I am sure after talking with them, I will want to visit your part of the world even more.

    Oh, and adding people is quite appropriate and welcome, at least to me. Sometimes we get so focused on individual plants or small groupings, that we forget that a big part of gardening is to connect people with plants and nature, which has many health benefits. I enjoy seeing people in the gardens.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Good on you Kev., 'cobber' - We (the royal 'we') would love to host you down under! The Aussie group is very lucky to be able to visit your garden in September. I'm sure that they will be captivated by your enthusiasm for and knowledge of gardens. I'm also sure that you will all speak the same garden language, although if there are some 'old codgers' in the mix they will be able to help you understand Aussie slang. Please let me know how the visit is received etc.

  3. user-3565112 07/14/2016

    Thank you Frank for the beautiful photos showing scenes I did not expect to see. I've always thought of Australia as being hot, dry & arid. I got this impression from h.s. geography & a few books and movies thru the years. The photo with the mountains in the background & the people enjoying a break in the gazebo are outstanding. For me this post was educational & I enjoyed the heck out of it. Good luck, Joe

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Hi there Joe - Really glad you enjoyed the heck out of the post and found it educational. Yes you are right - Australia is a very dry continent, but it is wetter in the mountain range along the eastern seaboard. The average rainfall for these gardens is around 40 inches. The rainfall drops off very rapidly as you move inland (i.e. a rain shadow). It is nice to have that diversity in climates and associated vegetation etc.

      1. user-3565112 07/14/2016

        Frank, A little personal story involving that gazebo roof construction & ta U.S. Marine who was nursed back to health by your countrymen. I was a sheet metal apprentice in 1961 & worked with him covering a clock tower roof with copper very similar in design to that one. I have many fond memories of working with him ( for nearly 11 years ) and your post this morning brought them back. Thank you , Joe

        1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

          Glad it brought back some nice memories Joe. Bet the clock tower copper roof looked a million dollars due to your work!

  4. user-7007816 07/14/2016

    Frank,
    The garden makes me want to get on a plane and visit. Beautiful.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Hello Dale - I'm pleased that it has had that effect on you. If you get a chance Dale do come on down and enjoy a wide range of gardens across the country. The company is OK too! Cheers

  5. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

    I really enjoyed your pictures from today, Frank. I suppose most of the images I might conjure up that represent Australia are based on scenes from movies and I'm embarrassed to admit that means bush country, aboriginal people, koalas, kangaroos and the amazing looking Sydney Opera House. I have probably pained you mightily with that list of cliches.
    I will definitely click the link you provided and read more. My husband and I love garden structures so my laptop is already dizzy from being spun around so I could show him the gorgeous gazebo (several times), the magnificent stone column and gate , and that handsome hunk of rock. Thanks.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Greetings Michaele - I hope that "Ginger Rogers' also didn't get too dizzy moving around (in joke folks!) - You haven't 'pained' me at all, but rather reinforced the need for us to better sell/promote ourselves and our wide range of landscapes, flora and gardens etc. GPOD is my vehicle to attempt to change the impressions you guys have of Oz. At the same time, I'm learning heaps about your gardens etc. in North America. Seems like a mutual admiration club. By the way Michaele, did you google the acronym I sent you yesterday?

      FYI, that large rock is a fulcrum sculpture, which rotates using a hand placed in the hole.

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

        Yes, I did sneak a peek at what the internet consensus is on PMSL... ha, since I'm such a delicate flower, I will stick with our American ROFL. :)

        1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

          ROFL is much more lady-like 'Ginger Rogers'! Never mind the crude Aussies.

  6. wGardens 07/14/2016

    Wonderful photos! Love the Rhodo garden especially. That fourth image... wowser! And oh! That gazebo... awesome! And a gorgeous gate.... what a treat to see these gardens. Thanks for the info on the fulcrum sculpture. An interesting and educational post!!! It would be a splendid place to visit.....Thank you for sharing!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Thanks for your kind comments Margaret. Nice to know that you considered it to be educational. FYI, the National Rhododendron Garden holds the the largest collection of rhododendrons in the southern hemisphere. The garden has 15,000 rhodo. plants, including Vireya rhodos. (a generally not well known member of the genus). They came from the cool mountainous areas of the tropical areas in SE Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/14/2016

    What a treat today, Frank. Thanks for sending in this great photos. I've always been a fan of Australian flora and fauna, and I love seeing some exotics in the mix. Those tree ferns are amazing. Everything looks so enjoyable. I think one would need to stay a year to see each garden in every season.
    Although I am plant-crazed, that stone fulcrum sculpture has won my heart today! Love it!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Thanks a lot Tim. You are correct, as usual - the gardens change greatly during the seasons. So the upshot is, why not come down and stay 12 months and check the gardens and us out?

  8. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

    I am sharing this photo of me that I had my husband take a couple hours ago since, further down in the comments, Frank suggested it would be nice to see human activity in our gardens. This is me in a regular chore of attacking my weeds with a favorite tool, a hori hori knife. Let's see if I can get the photo to load.

    Well, well...seems like the internet gods decided to spare you all of seeing me wielding my hori hori knife. The picturing was showing for a little while but now it has disappeared.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Good on you Michaele for getting into the spirit of things, and contributing to the 'market research'. Pity the photo. wasn't accepted because of its size. We would have loved to see you in action - and also your weapon.

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

        I wonder if the discussion site is just having an attack of contrariness. I made sure the picture was of an acceptable size...1.3 MB. I thought the rule in the comments section was that it had to be under 2 MB. Ahh well...might be just as well. I might have struck some as downright scary looking.
        I bought my hori hori on Amazon and it's brand is Sensei. It is so sturdy and I wanted one that had a single point for its tip as opposed to a snake forked tongue look.

        1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

          Still interested to see that pic. down the track, 'Ginger'!

          1. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

            Give the site a refresh and let me know if I have shown up... weapon in hand!

      2. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 07/14/2016

        Maybe I'll try again since Tim's picture showed up. Here it goes...

        1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

          Hey Michaele it came through. Great to see you, sunnies and weapon too! And let's not forget the garden. Thanks for persisting. Love the bird box!

        2. eddireid 07/14/2016

          Very pretty - you and the garden! I like to see role, too. Love Tim and the lily! This is fun.

        3. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/14/2016

          Oh my gosh! Love it. You may have just given a new meaning Loree Bohl's blog title: Danger Garden!

          1. User avater
            meander1 (Michaele ) 07/15/2016

            I'm a force to be reckoned with. I think we've both joked about getting in touch with our inner Edward Scissorhands.

  9. NCYarden 07/14/2016

    Frank, thanks for a view from the other side. Wonderful shots of the parks. How nice such places exist and are maintained for all to enjoy, local or visitor. Thanks to you, I at least get to be the virtual traveler today. I really like the Rhodo pond view through the cascading branches. I got to say, I could really use that giant stone balancing act in my garden...I have room. Thanks again for sharing...hope to see it in person before long.
    -David-

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Thanks for your comments David. The Rhodo. pond view is also my favourite of the pics. Cheers

  10. user-4691082 07/14/2016

    Wow, Frank, I am just getting in on the fun today! The first picture makes me think Jurrassic park was filmed there! All beautiful pics, and I agree with all of the people today about having preconceived ideas about "Oz", as you call it!!!!! I also echo Micheales comment about the hori hori knife( now that's a knife). Quick, what movie is that line from? Thanks, Frank for a lot of fun. Ps- is that your wife who is turned toward you? She's a cutie!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      'Crocodile Dundee' Rhonda. Thanks for your comments. I don't know whether 'That's a horti horti knife' because the pic. didn't come through! - pity. The lady turning around is cute, but not my wife. I have just tried to send a pic., but suffered the same fate as Michaele. Watch this space in the future!

    2. eddireid 07/14/2016

      I have something similar and that knife is the best tool ever! I guard it jealously. Mine cost about $40 and is worth every cent.




  11. eddireid 07/14/2016

    Frank, these photographs of the wonderful gardens are a treat. As many others have said, our impressions of Australia is missing so much of its beauty. My favorite is also the rhododendrons through the weeping branches - a beautiful shot. And the mountains! Glorious. Thank you so much for sharing everything here and for being such a good Sport.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/14/2016

      Appreciate your kind comments, Eddie, and I'm glad that you enjoyed the post.

  12. Cenepk10 07/15/2016

    Gorgeous. Looks like Georgia, USA - in the spring.....

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/15/2016

      Hi Cenepk10 - I'm not familiar with the climate and flora in Georgia, but the ave. spring day temperature in the Dandenong Ranges would be around 20 degrees C (you can do the conversion to F). There are a lot of stone fruit trees grown in Georgia if I'm not mistaken, so it must be cold enough during winter for vernalisation (i.e. chill factor) for bud development etc. It does get cold in the hills here - we received snow the other day (doesn't happen very frequently).

      1. Cenepk10 07/15/2016

        Average yearly temp in Georgia is 16.111 C Seldom gets very cold here for move than a few days.

  13. Cenepk10 07/15/2016

    Exept for that 1st pic... Looks like Florida... If you squint. Very lovely.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/15/2016

      Florida would be far more humid than the weather in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia. Thanks for your comments. Cheers

  14. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 07/15/2016

    Hi Frank, sorry for the late post but just wanted to acknowledge your lovely photos and got held up by summer travel. Just wondering when your Rhodos ( Rhodies here) actually bloom. Is it now or in September/ October? You are lucky to have so many beautiful public gardens in Melbourne. Love the tree ferns. I think that we could grow them here in Western WA but they're not very available at our nurseries. Everytime you post I feel that we're going to need another trip to Australia. Cheers, Linda.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/15/2016

      Hello there Linda - Thanks for making the effort to comment, and for your kind words about my posts. It is very much appreciated. Yes the Rhodies flower in spring here (Sept - Nov). Let me know if you are coming back here and we can make sure you have a good time. Victoria was previously widely known as the garden State of Australia, but for political reasons (beyond me) governments of different persuasions have let this slogan disappear. Nevertheless, the gardens are still there and gardening is a major recreation here. You are correct - plenty of lovely public and private gardens to visit. Cheers, Frank

  15. krissgandier 07/16/2016

    Hi Frank. I just finished my own garden tour on July 11th for our local Hort. club and was busy for weeks transplanting, spreading mulch and weeding, and we are now off to Algonquin for a 5 day canoe trip. Love your pictures. The Rhodo pics #3 and #4 remind me of scenes from Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island British Columbia, in Canada. The giant rock pic with the hole, (which looks like it's hollow inside) I thought might be a giant prehistoric egg of some sorts. The first pic does look rather Jurassic indeed. I really need to catch up with all the Fine Gardening posts and would like to soon post some pics of my own gardens. What with all my activities and harvesting wild edible plants and fungi, the summer is always so time consumming. I've attached 3 recent pics of my garden for your enjoyment. Hopefully they will show up somewhere in this post????

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/24/2016

      Hello there Kriss - Sorry for the late reply (just returned from O/S). Sounds like you have been busy getting ready for the tour of your garden and with your mycology exploits etc. Looking forward to seeing the GPOD post of your garden. Cheers, Frank
      PS - your pics didn't come through!

  16. PerenniallyCrazy 07/16/2016

    Thanks for sharing these Frank. Stunning! Hope I can visit someday.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 07/24/2016

      Greetings Perennially Crazy - Hope you can make it, Cherry!

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