The following itinerary describes a range of gardens which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but most require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure in 2018. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches & evening meals indicated in the detailed itinerary: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meals.
Ballarat - 3 nights
Day 1: Saturday 17 March, Arrive Melbourne – Ballarat
- Coach journey from Melbourne airport to Ballarat
- Cameron House – a florist’s garden, Golden Point
- 2-Course Welcome Dinner in the L’Orangerie, Craig’s Royal Hotel
- Evening: White Night Festival, Ballarat
Meeting Point: Tullamarine Airport, Terminal 1, Ground Floor Arrivals Hall, at the Gloria Jeans Coffee Shop.
Our private coach collects us at Melbourne airport and drives to Ballarat, a city with ornate architecture built during the prosperous days of the 1850s gold rush. First we visit Cameron House, a quirky home garden created by Greg Block, an ex-florist with a passion for form, texture and shape. Recycled garden materials including fronds and branches have been transformed into beautiful sculptures which enhance a garden overflowing with potted plants including a big collection of ferns, bonsai and topiary.
We drive to the historic Craig’s Royal Hotel, a grand boutique hotel, dating to the gold rush which will be our home for three nights.
Tonight we enjoy a 2-course welcome dinner at the L’Orangerie, a private function room at the Craig’s Royal Hotel. After dinner you may wish to take a leisurely walk through the streets of Ballarat to enjoy the White Nights Festival. (Overnight Craig’s Royal Hotel, Ballarat) D
Day 2: Sunday 18 March, Ballarat – Ascot – Creswick – Clunes – Coghills Creek – Ballarat
- Begonia extravaganza at Robert Clark Conservatory
- Lambley Nursery, the garden of horticulturalist David Glenn, Ascot
- Pub lunch in historic Creswick
- Free time in Goldfields streetscape of Clunes
- Wine tasting at Eastern Peake Winery
We’ll walk through colourful bedding displays and beneath mature trees in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens to visit the spectacular autumn begonia display in the Robert Clark Conservatory. The showcase includes large flowered tuberous begonias in pots and pendulous varieties in baskets with perfect blooms in a rainbow of colours and forms.
We transfer to Lambley Nursery in Ascot, home of horticulturalist David Glen and his wife the artist Criss Canning. Their gardens have been created around an old farmhouse. David has learnt to work with Ballarat’s harsh climate and has transformed barren paddocks into a beautifully designed space overflowing with colour and structure. In autumn the spectacular display gardens which feature many salvias and dahlias are looking spectacular. The striking dry garden, which is watered no more than four times a year, will supply inspiration to those gardening with limited water. David is a plant breeder and his best known release is Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ and he also trials flowers, fruits and vegetables which are on display in his bountiful and beautiful edible garden.
From Ascot we travel to Creswick for a light lunch at The American Hotel. There will also be some time at leisure for a short stroll up and down the town’s historic streets.
In the afternoon we travel to Clunes which has streetscapes straight out of a colonial history book. The picturesque and laid-back town is the most original and intact gold town in Australia and we have free time to appreciate the well-preserved 19th-century architecture.
Our last stop is to Eastern Peake Winery for wine tasting. Set on a small plateau at Coghills Creek the boutique winery, which was established in 1983, has the granite outcrop of Mt Bolton as its dramatic backdrop. (Overnight Craig’s Royal Hotel, Ballarat) BL
Day 3: Monday 19 March, Ballarat – Denver – Daylesford – Trentham – Ballarat
The day is spent in the country and our first stop is the home of celebrity designer Paul Bangay, widely regarded as the foremost garden designer in Australia. For more than 25 years he has created timeless and elegant designs around the world. He will take us through his own spectacular rural garden called Stonefields and will talk to us about the process of design as he shows us through the garden’s series of elegant and formal garden rooms. They include an entry court, front courtyard with water rill, burgundy rose garden, white garden with formal pond, apple walk, mirror image back garden overlooking the countryside and relaxed woodland garden.
Next we visit the charming spa town of Daylesford and have time to wander the picturesque streets lined with boutique shops and find a café for lunch.
In the afternoon we journey onto Frogmore Gardens which started in 2002 when florist Zena Bethell and horticulturalist Jack Marshall bought eight acres of land near Trentham. Three hectares adjoining the Wombat State Forest have been transformed into a spectacular garden and Jack will explain the ideas behind his plant combinations as he takes us on a tour to see beds overflowing with dramatic perennials and annuals in dramatic, colour-themed wide herbaceous borders. He also has a passion for grasses which move theatrically in the breeze in the drought tolerant, prairie-style gardens with a forest backdrop. (Overnight Craig’s Royal Hotel, Ballarat) B
Melbourne - 3 nights
Day 4: Tuesday 20 March, Ballarat – Macedon Ranges – Melbourne
- Morning tea and tour of Tugurium, home garden of former Gardening Australia host Stephen Ryan
- Bolobek, a historic garden with designer flair
- Lunch in the gardens of Bolobek
- Alton Gardens Hill Station, home of historic trees
We leave Melbourne for the green heart of the Macedon Ranges to visit the home garden of raconteur, rare plant collector, nurseryman and ASA garden leader Stephan Ryan. Stephen will show us through his 25 year-old home garden which includes a woodland area beneath a Eucalypt canopy, orchard with circular lawn, vegetable garden, perennial border and pond.
Stephen will spend the day with the group showcasing the gardens of Macedon.
We’ll meet Bridget Robertson who bought Bolobek, a historic working cattle property, with husband Hugh in 2006. This garden was laid out in the early 1900s and today demonstrates how a creative design style can be overlaid on an earlier garden landscape. Bolobek is on the Victorian Heritage Register because of the quality of its design, artistry and plantings. Bridget will share stories of the people that made the garden and we’ll admire its geometric design which focuses on attractive bark, soft green foliage and white flowers.
Following a light lunch at Bolobek, Stephen will lead us on a tour of Alton Gardens, an Australian terraced hill station around an 1870s home with an amazing collection of 600 trees, 24 of them on the National Trust Register of Significant Trees.
In the late afternoon we transfer to the Rydges Hotel in Melbourne, our home for three nights. (Overnight Rydges Melbourne) BL
Day 5: Wednesday 21 March, Melbourne
It’s a ten minute stroll from our hotel to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show, the biggest and best in the Southern Hemisphere and we’ll get there for 9am when the gates open. The show is ranked in the top ten flower shows in the world and floral displays fill the world heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building.
Deryn will be joined by ASA garden leader Sabrina Hahn, best known as ABC Perth garden talkback presenter and for her weekly chat with Trevor Chappell on ABC Radio Overnights. Deryn and Sabrina will ensure you get the most from the show and will take ASA clients on a tour of the landscape displays which are created by some of Australia’s most talented landscape designers. They will introduce clients to the designers who will tell the group about the philosophy behind their designs and Deryn and Sabrina will highlight elements that we can incorporate in our own backyards. (Overnight Rydges Melbourne) B
Day 6: Thursday 22 March, Melbourne – Yarra Valley – Melbourne
- Guided tour and morning tea at Dame Nelly Melba’s home, Coombe Estate
- Lunch and garden tour of Alowyn Gardens by its owner, John Van de Linde, Yarra Glen
- Visit to Lubra Bend with designer Phillip Johnson, Yarra Glen
We spend the day in the Yarra Valley, beginning with a visit to Coombe Estate. In 1909, after twenty years singing around the world, Dame Nellie Melba created a home and seven acre garden that has been preserved in its original state. Our guided tour of Coombe Estate will take in the Italianate garden and pool, French style rose garden, English herbaceous border, Australian garden and kitchen garden, all surrounded by a 10-metre high hedge, running 700 metres around the garden’s perimeter that was recorded in paintings by Hans Heysen in 1914.
We’ll also hear about the creation of a garden from bare paddocks by owner, John Van de Linde from Alowyn Gardens. After three years clearing blackberry from paddocks and improving the soil the first tree was planted in 1999. The four acre gardens are designed along strong symmetrical lines and include a perennial border, a silver birch forest, edible garden, and a formal parterre garden leading through to a series of small courtyards and display gardens.
We spend the afternoon with Phillip Johnson, the only Australian designer to win a gold medal and a ‘Best In Show’ award for his landscape display at the Chelsea Garden Show. At Lubra Bend, Phillip has created sprawling wetlands from a dry garden by capturing water to sustain a network of billabongs which cascade down to the Yarra River. Land was recontoured and boulders selected and positioned by hand to create natural sculptures. Phillip will explain how the garden was created. (Overnight Rydges Melbourne) BL
Flinders - 2 nights
Day 7: Friday 23 March, Melbourne – Olinda – Cranbourne – Flinders
- Vaughn Greenhill takes us though designer Phillip Johnson’s natural billabong garden
- Jeremy Francis’ Cloudehill, a masterpiece garden in Olinda
- Homely lunch at Seasons Restaurant
- Designer Jim Fogarty gives us a tour of The Australian Garden at Cranbourne
We meet Vaughn Greenhill today as he takes us through the home garden that Phillip Johnson created at Olinda which inspired his award-winning Chelsea garden in 2013 for Flemings Nurseries. His gorgeous garden has a sustainable billabong, surrounded by tree ferns, that doubles as a chemical free swimming pool. It has a waterfall, spa and is surrounded by garden featuring many indigenous plants.
Just down the road is Cloudehill where a maze of stone walls and jewel-like garden rooms are set within woodlands of historic cool climate trees. Over the last 25 years Jeremy Francis has created a garden on deep volcanic loam and a rainfall of 1.25 metres a year on a site that was formerly a cut flower nursery. Jeremy is a master gardener with an exquisite eye for detail and design. He will guide us to areas looking their best in autumn, including the tranquil water garden, the warm coloured perennial borders and two of Australia’s best Japanese maples. Keep an eye out for the detailed paving, few gardens do it as well as Cloudehill.
We’ll enjoy an old-fashioned, tasty lunch in Seasons Restaurant which has windows overlooking the gorgeous Cloudehill gardens.
In the afternoon we travel to Cranbourne where award-winning Melbourne designer Jim Fogarty, who is also a leader for ASA, takes us on a private tour of the multi-award winning Australian Garden that was designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean with Paul Thompson. The garden shows the dramatic variety of Australian plants in an inspiring and immersive display of flora, landscapes, art and architecture. Set over 15 hectares the garden follows the journey of water from the arid inland landscapes of central Australia, along dry river beds and down mighty rivers to the coastal fringes of the continent.
Our tour will take in the dramatic red sand garden, rock pool waterways, Eucalypt walk and exhibition gardens all featuring Australian plants and Jim will use his designer eye to explain the design concept and plantings.
We drive to the Flinders Hotel, home for the next two nights. (Overnight Flinders Hotel) BLD
Day 8: Saturday 24 March, Flinders – Sorrento – Moorooduc – Flinders
Designer Fiona Brockhoff’s Sorrento garden called Karkalla, is more than 20 years old and showcases the importance of creating gardens in sympathy with the local environment. It is influential and much admired for the way it embraces its coastal location, modern aesthetic and sculptural use of Australian plants.
We continue to Moorooduc to visit the Garden Vineyard which features in Monte Don’s book and television program Around the World in 80 Gardens. Architects Sue McFall and her husband Darryl are the owners of one of Australia’s finest gardens. It was created in 1986 with many European plants but the plant palate has changed to suit our drying climate. There are several European-style rooms including a memorable silver garden, walled courtyard, a big perennial border and a formal area flanked by lilly pillys. The terrace overlooks a lawn that rolls down to a garden with only Australian plants and the adjoining lawns lead to a display of maples in the glorious red foliage of autumn.
Designer Rick Eckersley’s sustainable garden, Musk Cottage, is on a ten acre block and was purchased to showcase a different way of creating gardens on the Mornington Peninsula. It combines Australian plants with others that suit a low maintenance, no-water garden. He describes it as a ‘multicultural melting pot’ of plants and wants the garden to look like it might have occurred naturally. Boggy areas have been transformed into a wetland in a 12-year old garden that continues to evolve and mature.
Jim Fogarty welcomes us to his beach house in Flinders and is joined by Charles Solomon from Garawana Creative. Jim will talk about how the design was inspired by indigenous shapes of moving water and waterholes and will address the design challenges, including a small budget and a site that floods each winter.
Jim and Charles will explain some of the indigenous uses of the key plants in the garden. (Overnight Flinders Hotel) BL
Melbourne - 1 night
Day 9: Sunday 25 March, Flinders – Main Ridge – Red Hill South – Langwarrin – Melbourne
- Private Garden of Karen Wood and Alex Sloan designed by Paul Bangay, Main Ridge
- ‘Bollitree’ – Private garden of Andrew Bennett & Fiona Murdoch designed by Paul Bangay, Red Hill South
- Tour of Cruden Farm with garden manager Michael Morrison, Langwarrin
- Farewell dinner at Bamboo House, Chinatown, Melbourne
This morning we visit two private gardens designed by Paul Bangay. The first garden, in Main Ridge, is a relatively new garden, while the second one in Red Hill South, is a well-established garden, superbly maintained and is featured in Paul’s book Paul Bangay’s Country Gardens.
We travel to one of Australia’s best known gardens, Cruden Farm, which was given to the late Dame Elisabeth Murdoch in 1928 as a wedding present from her husband Sir Keith Murdoch. She cherished the farm at Langwarrin throughout her long life and created a fine garden with garden manager, Michael Morrison, who will lead us on a garden tour. We’ll take a stroll to the lake and walk through herbaceous borders, the picking garden, shrub walks and famous avenue of lemon scented gums that lead to the house.
We have a farewell banquet dinner tonight in a private dining room at Bamboo House. This Melbourne institution is the premier destination for fine Northern Chinese and Cantonese cuisine. (Overnight Rydges Melbourne) BLD
Day 10: Monday 26 March, Depart Melbourne
- Inner-city Glen Iris garden with designer Jim Fogarty
- Fiona Brockhoff’s city garden
- Light Lunch at private residence with courtyard design by John Patrick
- Transfer to Melbourne Airport
This morning we learn more about the process of garden design when we reconnect with ASA leader Jim Fogarty who will take us through a private garden he designed in Glen Iris.
Jim will take us through the owner’s design brief and explain how he came up with an attractive and traditional design that followed the owner’s instructions. They did not want a garden full of hedges like most gardens in their suburb and asked him to retain some of the mature trees, connect the front porch with the garden and reduced areas of red brick paving. We’ll get to see the results!
Fiona Brockhoff’s city garden which was built by her partner David Swann, is a small, leafy design in Toorak. Its three spaces include a gravel entry courtyard, a leafy side passageway and a rear courtyard. Timber screens on the home provide a simple backdrop to the garden which has a raised concrete tank swimming pool. It’s unusual plant palette includes striking plant combinations featuring big leafed plants like elephant’s ears, angel’s trumpets, castor oil plants and giant bird of paradise.
Following our visit, we enjoy a light lunch at a private home. The Victorian Terrace features a small courtyard designed by John Patrick. In the early afternoon we shall transfer to the airport. B