Ballarat in Spring 2016

Ballarat GARDENS IN SPRING Weekend

Renowned historic properties feature in this year’s Ballarat Gardens in Spring Festival
11th – 13th November 2016

As an umbrella event of the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, and a much recognised event in Ballarat’s tourism calendar, Ballarat Gardens in Spring is celebrating its 9th annual festival.

On the weekend of 12th and 13th November four private gardens will be open to the public. Three of the gardens are situated in historic central Ballarat area around Lake Wendouree and the other a short distance west of Ballarat in Carngham.

The Ballarat properties feature the iconic Bishop’s Palace in Sturt Street and the Hotham Street property ‘Elsinore’, dating back to the late 1800s, once owned by famous war hero Pompey Elliott. The third is a more recent 1920s house with restored garden in a double block in Sturt Street. It was a recent finalist in the City of Ballarat Heritage Awards.

According to Helen Todd of Ballarat Gardens in Spring, these 3 properties all have new owners who are passionate in maintaining the heritage aspects of their homes and gardens as well as sensitively transforming them to fit a more modern lifestyle. “These heritage gardens will be sure to give gardeners ideas for their own gardens as well as inspire them by seeing beautiful mature trees at their peak”, she said.

Just 20 minutes drive from Ballarat is the Carngham garden. The spectacular views to Lake Burrumbeet and the Great Dividing Range, combined with stands of cypresses and pines and a dam, set this garden apart from the Ballarat open gardens.

Friday 11th November is the popular Speakers Forum Luncheon held at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. With speakers including an award winning garden photographer, garden designer/ plantsman and a well known Melbourne horticultural expert, the day provides a great way to meet fellow gardeners and learn of new gardening trends and landscaping ideas.

Ballarat Gardens in Spring is a not-for-profit event to showcase and promote horticulture, gardening and gardens within the district and to raise funds for the Botanical Gardens, particularly the new Fernery Project.



Visit four open gardens with a local guide. Tour starts at the Ballarat Railway Station for passengers arriving on the 11.02am train from Melbourne and will return for the 4.19pm departure.

$25 per person includes garden entry and bus tour.
The coach will stop in Ballarat’s city centre for guests to purchase lunch.
Online bookings available.



Christine and Rob Selkirk’s garden is comprised of two blocks of land, one being the old grass tennis court and the other the house block. As featured in House and Garden magazine in 2015 the garden is a harmonious composition between the house and its garden.


This unique gothic bluestone building was constructed in 1877 for the first Bishop of Ballarat as the Roman Catholic Church headquarters and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. With many magnificent architectural features, including the elaborate entrance gates, bluestone arch in the rear garden and stately cast iron-work, the 11 acres has numerous mature trees and shrubs and expansive lawn areas. The current owners moved in to the Bishop’s Palace in 2015, and have been busy maintaining the grounds whilst putting their personal touch on the garden with floral beds and additional plantings.


An intriguing, stately and historical residence which once extended

through to Lake Wendouree providing a rich resource for the growing of produce for the kitchen table of the main house. Originally owned by JJ Fitzgerald in the mid-1850s and then occupied by Major General Pompey Elliott, Ballarat’s war hero and later by Sir Henry Winneke QC, Governor of Victoria. The current owners, Samantha and Greg McIntosh are passionate about history, heritage, restoration and gardening as can be seen in the painstaking works undertaken over the last 2 years.


The garden at Yoothamurra was first established by John and Bobbie Hurley in 1956. Stands of cypress and pine were planted to protect the home paddock and young deciduous and native trees from the ravages of the Western District winds. Their daughter, Susan and her husband Edward Coleridge moved to Yoothamurra in 1996 and since then, the front garden has moved beyond the cypress windbreak into the adjoining paddock. Stone walls, boulders and a garden dam extend views into the surrounding landscape toward Lake Burrumbeet and the wind farm decorated Great Dividing Range.


For full details, please visit the website Ballarat Open Gardens

Download Brochure (pdf format) here.

Speaker's Luncheon

Friday, 11 November, 10am to 3:30pm
Venue: The Robert Clark Centre – Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Tickets From 1 September [registration includes a delicious lunch with wine catered by our local food hero, Peter Ford]. 

We are very excited to announce our Guest Speakers for 2016 Speakers Luncheon:


Simon Rickard
Simon Rickard is a passionate gardener and plantsman. He was head gardener at the Diggers Club until 2009, before collaborating with restaurateur Annie Smithers to establish her kitchen garden.

He currently runs his own garden design and consultancy business, and works as a garden communicator, writing books, giving workshops and leading garden tours for Botanica World Discoveries. Simon has a parallel career in music, playing principal baroque bassoon with Pinchgut Opera, the Australian Haydn Ensemble, and his renaissance curtal consort, Unholy Rackett.



Karen Sutherland

Karen Sutherland was born in country Victoria to a family of farmers and gardeners. Growing her own food from a young age, she has a lifetime of experience in horticulture, with the last 8 years focusing on edible and useful plants.

Trained at Melbourne Zoological Gardens and Burnley Horticultural College and a Permaculture Design Certificate with Bill Mollison, she continues to learn from her own ‘garden laboratory’ in inner Melbourne, with over 200 edible and useful plants. Her garden is open each year to the public as part of Open Gardens Victoria and is frequently featured on TV and in various publications.

Her business, Edible Eden Design, specialises in gardens for schools and communities as well as home gardens. She writes for Organic Gardener and Green Magazine, is a regular guest on radio and teaches from home and in the community about edible gardening, bush foods and sustainable gardening generally. Karen is passionate about gardens that connect us with nature and each other.



Claire Takacs

Claire Takacs is an international award winning Australian freelance photographer who has specialised in photographing gardens and landscapes throughout the world for over the past ten years. She divides her time between Australia, Europe and the US. Beauty and nature are a great inspiration, as she attempts to capture the essence and beauty of the gardens she photographs, particularly while working with light. Claire studied both science and photography in Melbourne, Australia. She won the Inaugural International Garden Photographer of the Year Award in 2008 and each year has continued to be recognised in the industry for her work. Most recently Claire won the IGPOTY European Garden Photography award in 2016.

Her work features regularly in magazines internationally, particularly in the UK, US and Australia. Magazines she works regularly with include: Gardens Illustrated, Garden Design, House & Garden, Homes & Gardens, The Garden, Country Style and Morning Calm, She has contributed to several books, including The Gardener's Garden, by Phaidon and is now working on further book projects for future release.


Gardens in Print at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute

The Ballaarat Mechanics Institute will be displaying rare items from their heritage collection during the weekend. They will showcase plant specimens from the 1870s, collected by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller.
117 Stuart Street
(03) 5331 3042
Special opening hours: 10am to 4pm (Sat / Sun)