The official launch for the Ballarat Botanical Gardens new Fernery Redevelopment will be held on Friday 4 March at 5pm at the Robert Clark Horticultural Centre.

Organised by the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens together with the City of Ballarat, it will give invited guests a chance to see and hear about this significant development while enjoying savouries and drinks informally in the Gardens.

For 131 years, a fernery featuring a unique structure and botanic collection stood at the southern end of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. With continued exposure to all weather, the structure deteriorated and was closed in early 2013.

With the tremendous support from the City of Ballarat with a $1.4 million grant, a tender process for the new development undertaken, a fundraising campaign is now underway.

According to Elizabeth Gilfillan, the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Redevelopment Convener, this new development will really broaden the focus of the Botanical Gardens to highlight sustainability, increased awareness of the environment and education of how important gardens and living plants and trees are to our health and wellbeing.

“The project with help from a tourism perspective as well”, she said. “Garden tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism activities in the world. At a recent conference in Australia, Andrew Benfield, chair of the International Garden Tourism Association, noted that in the US, gardens attract more visitors than Disneyland worldwide. Garden tourists are also interested in the food, heritage and culture of the area”.

Andrew Laidlaw of Laidlaw & Laidlaw Design has been appointed as the landscape architect and his plan and vision will be on display at the launch. “Fernery structures on a very grand scale were common in 18th century gardens and Ballarat Botanical Gardens is fortunate to be one of the few which will revive this tradition. These structures were not just about housing plants, they were about providing an overall experience for the visitors. Often the structures were architecturally exciting and a strong focal point in the landscape. Together the architecture and plants created the experience. We are very honoured to be part of the redevelopment of Ballarat’s Fernery and believe we can create a wild and inspiring space which excites people of all walks of life about plants,” Andrew said.

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Trust Fund is now undertaking a public fundraising campaign, with tax deductible donations from individuals and organisations welcome.

Prepared and released by:
Wendy Taylor
Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ph: 0407 554 306