If you thought gardens were only beautifully in bloom during the warmer months, you haven’t experienced the incredibly vibrant cool climate gardens found in The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.
Bundle up and get your camera ready as these glorious winter gardens are just as magnificent in the cooler months as they are in the springtime.
William Ricketts Sanctuary (temporarily closed from storm damage)
The story behind why this garden exists is just as beautiful as the garden itself. Created by William Ricketts, who spent considerable time living with local Aboriginal communities, the sanctuary was a place to retreat and reflect while appreciating nature. It features more than 90 sculptures carved into rock and tree trunks within the grounds depicting the Aboriginal people engaging with the earth in a pure forest setting. It’s tranquil, inspiring and incredibly photogenic.
Karwarra Australian Plant Garden & Nursery
Located in Kalorama, here you’ll find a huge range of landscaped Australian plants that bloom all year round, so there’s something new every time you visit. Karwarra is especially inspirational for those looking to create their own garden using Australian plants as you can take your enthusiasm straight to the nursery.
Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden
Rhododendrons? Check. Azaleas? Check. Camelias, daffodils and cherry blossoms? Check, check and check. A garden that’s a stunner no matter which season you visit? Yep, that’s this one.
R.J. Hamer Arboretum
A kaleidoscope of colours are found here all year round and that’s in addition to the views over the Yarra Valley. Bring a thermos of your favourite hot drink and wander the towering trees. Even in autumn and winter, watching the leaves change into their fiery reds and oranges before the tranquillity of the resting winter of the deciduous trees, is pretty special.
You’ll feel like you’ve wandered into a romantic fairytale when you see the maze of stone walls and woodlands that open up to hidden garden rooms. All year long the gardens here have something magnificent to explore in the 20-some garden compartments tucked among trees that are nearly a century old.
Alfred Nicholas Gardens
Do yourself a favour, wander down Sherbrooke Road to Alfred Nicholas Gardens and bring a camera. This historic garden is iconic for its isolated (and super photogenic) boathouse and surrounding waterfalls.
Just meters from the Alfred Nicholas Gardens is George Tindale Gardens, so if you’re in the region, pop over to this one for some bonus beauty. Leafy and shaded by the enormous Mountain Ash Trees, here you’ll find loads of rare and exotic plants and flowers.
It’s a place where you can bring a hot coffee in those cooler months and stroll down the just-shy-of-a-kilometre walking path to sit, reflect or admire the garden sculptures.