Ballarat GARDENS IN SPRING Weekend


24 to 26 October 2014


We are again delighted to present an outstanding program for our 7th annual Ballarat Gardens in Spring. The program offers an exciting array of activities for garden lovers providing an opportunity to experience the practical and aesthetic principles of gardening and horticulture. Tickets are now available for our popular Speakers Luncheon held in our beautiful Botanical Gardens, with this year’s theme being ‘Earth’s Bounty’. We have an exciting and informative line up of presentations.  As in previous years, we are again excited to share local open gardens. This is a great opportunity to meet the owners and glean some local knowledge and take home a few ideas. Indulge your senses by taking advantage of the program and associated events and appreciate beautiful Ballarat this Spring – the true garden city.   Enjoy!


Wendy Taylor, Helen Todd, Kylie Blake  & Elizabeth Gilfillan.
Ballarat Gardens in Spring 2014

Open Gardens


All gardens open Saturday & Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Admission:  $5 per garden
Download directions to the 5 open gardens here (pdf)



Special Guided Coach Tour 
Sunday 26 October.
Visit five open gardens with a local guide. Tour starts at the Ballarat train station for passengers arriving on the 11am train from Melbourne and will return for the 4.10pm departure.
$25 per person – gardens entry and bus tour.
Bus tour proceeds subject to numbers.
Kindly sponsored by Ballarat regional tourism.
Bookings and prepayment essential.  Phone: 0407 554 306 or get your registration form by dowloading the brochure.



267 Mahars Road, Leigh Creek
Manna Garden sits high atop a hill overlooking a broad sweep of the Central Highlands where it is subject to harsh climatic conditions including heat, snow and very strong winds. The garden of about 0.4ha is divided into a set of exciting spaces, designed with an artist’s eye, that flow one to another. sculptures, pools and found objects complement the plants and spaces. Features include a bank of cascading rosemary, a Japanese inspired space of hedging, rocks and pools, a grove of silver birches over a mound of moss strewn rocks, a tuscan inspired courtyard, a succulent garden and a long corridor of hedging and rocks overlooked by the 150 year old manna gum. The plant selection is varied and has adapted well to the climate. Manna Garden also has a large and productive vegetable  garden, orchard and berry patch.



114 Silverwattle Drive, Invernay

This garden of 5 acres began in 1981 as a house surrounded by small paddocks to accommodate goats and children’s ponies. The garden featured native trees and a suggestion of a cottage garden. When the nest emptied it enabled time and energy to be spent creating a garden that would offer views from every window of the house and create an exotic garden in a bush setting supporting native wildlife. The house now includes decks to provide a visual transition into the garden and capitalise on a sloping site with a view to the south-west. For each of the last fifteen years changes have been made to develop the connection between house, garden and the bush. The result is open lawns with numerous young exotic park trees overlooking an acre of water framed by willows and native  trees as well as a gazebo and folly. Retaining walls with framed steps between areas have been used to extend the house into the garden, as well as create rooms that invite you to walk and explore. An orchard and vegetable garden with chooks and greenhouse behind a conifer hedge are accessed through one of two arbours on opposite sides of the garden.  There are walks that allow you to step out of the ornamental garden into wholly native areas and places to sit and enjoy the birdsong  and changing light.



136 Silverwattle Drive, Invermay

A celebration of Australian flora and fauna, this garden that was once infested with gorse and blackberries has been transformed into a habitat for wildlife. The 7 acre garden was established 13 years ago and is shared with donkeys, goats and chickens. Plantings near  the house are a mix of native and exotic drought tolerant species that create relaxed form and structure. The creek and gully have been planted exclusively with local indigenous plants and trees attracting numerous species of native birds and animals. The edible garden featuring berries, citrus, fruit, vegetables and herbs is split between the vegetable/chicken area and the courtyard, with the Hen House featuring in the ABC book, ‘The Contented Chook’. Levels and terracing create many beautiful spaces to relax, hide, picnic, entertain, play and just be. 



2881 Old Melbourne Road, Dunnstown

Built in 1898, the Olive Branch Hotel is home to Wendy and John who have lived here for over 30 years raising their two sons. Situated on 6  acres, the rich volcanic soil provides the optimum environment to grow organic raspberries and lemons which the Taylors nurture for Victorian restaurants and organic retail outlets. Starting out with bare paddocks; windbreaks, feature trees and both ornamental and produce gardens have been established creating a romantic, meandering sanctuary akin to the English design style. Evolved over time, structure and form, colour and contrast has been developed with exotic mature trees, cold climate treasures, old fashioned must  haves, with many plants being gifts and cuttings from friends. Living  the ‘good life’ the kitchen garden, hen house and large hot-house provides an abundance of seasonal fruit, vegetables, eggs, flowers and fresh air!



185 Dunnstown Yendon Road, Dunnstown

The borrowed landscape of the surrounding paddocks, dams and vistas is captured from our lovely new garden. For the past 2½ years the wonderful project of planning and planting has been a labour of love for all involved. The aged cypress pines provided a framework to the 1870 Victorian cottage, which has been lovingly restored - the garden and cottage now complementing each other beautifully. There is a lovely sense of place in our garden. The summer house, meat house, garden arbour and obelisks provide structure in a built form to the garden. Aged red brick and gravel paths link these elements. Peonies, hellebores, correas, roses and hydrangeas combine with continuous plantings of Portuguese laurels, Lonicera and Privet. We  have also planted many trees, including Peppercorns, Poplars, Maples  and Oaks. The Oak lawn, avenue of Crab apples and Lavender walk sit comfortably with the vegetable garden where cattle once grazed.  It is a joy to share this garden with others.





Speaker's Luncheon


Friday, 24th October ~ 10am to 3.30pm
Venue: The Robert Clark Centre – Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Tickets $65.00 [includes delicious lunch with wine prepared by Peter Ford]



Marcus Ryan – is the recently appointed Plant Manager of the Diggers  Club, working from both Heronswood and St Earth, responsible for  trialling and assessing new varieties. He also operates his own design  business, Red Fox Gardens. Previously, Marcus managed the nursery  operations and catalogues for Lambley Nursery, specialising in dry tolerant, Mediterranean plants. This extensive role invigorated a  passion for sensible gardening, using beautiful drought hardy plantings  tolerant of our sun scorched climate. A recent recipient of a Churchill  Fellowship, Marcus has travelled extensively throughout southern Europe to study plant selection and cultivation of Mediterranean plant species. 


Marcelle Nankervis – A qualiἀed horticulturist, Marcelle currently  works in the horticultural media with a long standing association with  many gardening magazines and television. As a freelance writer, Marcelle has also published three books, the last, Seasons in my Kitchen  Garden being a personal story of her move to a hobby farm, and her  change to a life of ethical farming and sustainability. A practicing permaculturist, Marcelle and her family live off the land they tend and embrace many “old school” methods for preserving their crops and maximising their paddock to plate harvest.


Charlotte Thodey – Charlotte Thodey is well known for her bold  renderings of fruit and vegetables in still life paintings. She has exhibited  her work in Australia, New Zealand and Chateau de Villandry, France.  Charlotte painted 6 seasonal posters for the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens and 3 posters for the Historic Houses Trust Kitchen Garden  Festival at Vaucluse House and teaches at Sydney Botanic Gardens and  Sturt Summer school. Her illustrated talk will reveal, through an artist’s  eye, how she sees the inἀnite variety and beauty in the plant kingdom.


Ballarat in Spring Brochure




Download the 2014 Ballarat Gardens in Spring Brochure
Brochure art paintings by Charlotte Thodey -