Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens
I always crave being outside. I need to go out and walk everyday, to try and take in as much beauty as possible else I get pretty bad cabin fever. There were some really pretty front gardens around where we lived in Coburg but sometimes I craved a little more splendour. Living in Melbourne I found the easiest place for me to access that feeling of “the Sublime” that the Romantics were such big fans of was to go to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
I love visiting botanic gardens. It’s always fascinating to me to see how they push the limits of what can be grown within a climate zone, especially if you take into account microclimates. The Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens grows plants from a wide range of countries such as their California garden, Southern China and New Caledonia to name just a few.
Josh and I both agreed that our favourite part of the garden is Guilfoyle’s Volcano. The “volcano” is an arid garden of cacti and succulents that grow up the sides of a large mound. In the centre of the mound is a huge pond. This pond helps to cycle water through the whole botanic gardens and uses the permaculture design approach of keeping your water as high up in the landscape as possible, using gravity to feed it down.
On our most recent visit Josh and I really nerded out in the rose garden section as we saw some of the roses that had been favoured by Empress Joséphine Bonaparte at her mansion Malmaison. We recently learnt about her impressive rose collection and the illustrations of it made by Pierre-Joseph Redoute while watching Monty Don’s French Gardens on Netflix (We really are plant nerds, what can I say?).
Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens have the added benefit of being dog friendly for well behaved dogs on leash. It’s such a relaxing place to walk Ada and with so much of the garden being shaded or on lawns it’s a great place to walk on a warm day without having to worry about her burning her feet on concrete.
The gardens offer so many activities throughout the year. There have been live theatre productions, moonlight cinemas, natural dye exhibitions and even garden tours for dog appropriate plants. In addition to all the activities there is also a cafe that offers a delicious Devonshire tea overlooking the main pond.
There is always something new to discover at the gardens. I realised on writing this that I’d never seen the herb gardens so I’ll be squeezing that in before we leave this week. If you’re looking for somewhere to find peace, relaxation and inspiration in Melbourne, the Royal Botanic Gardens are definitely the place to go.