DAY 1 Saturday March 23, 2019 Ballarat
On arrival at Melbourne Airport we will be met by our private coach and drive to Ballarat. A welcome dinner is included this evening for tour members to get to know one another. Tony Fawcett will outline the activities and program of the tour.
DAY 2 Sunday March 24, 2019 Ballarat
This morning we visit David Glenn’s garden, Lambley, situated around an old farmhouse in the hot dry windswept plains of the Central Victorian Goldfields. It features frost-hardy plants requiring very little watering. The extensive organic vegie garden has trial gardens for vegetables and flowers. In the afternoon we visit the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, started in 1858 and covering an area of forty hectares divided into three distinct zones with a central area preserving the “Gardenesque” style of the Victorian pleasure garden. Located on the western shore of picturesque Lake Wendouree, a highlight of the gardens is the conservatory, full of spectacular begonias. In the later afternoon we’ll have free time to enjoy Ballarat’s ornate architecture, fine regional art gallery and coffee shops. Tony will meet those wishing to dine with the group.
DAY 3 Monday March 25, 2019 Ballarat
This morning our garden visit is to Stonefields, Paul Bangay’s spectacular garden developed using knowledge gained during more than twenty years designing gardens all around the world. This garden is one of the many highlights of our tour and includes stone paths that meander through garden rooms that open out to a spectacular country view. We travel to Daylesford for free time for lunch and to explore Daylesford’s array of boutique shops. We continue our travels to visit Frogmore Gardens. Sixteen years ago, Zena Bethell and Jack Marshall bought eight acres near Trentham, turning three hectares into a stunning garden and nursery specializing in flowering perennials for the herbaceous border and drought tolerant prairie style gardens. This evening Tony will meet those wishing to dine with the group.
DAY 4 Tuesday March 26, 2019 Melbourne
This morning we return to Melbourne first stopping at the Fitzroy Gardens where we will see the Conservatory. We continue to the Melbourne Botanic gardens which covers thirty six hectares. We will visit Guilfoyle’s Volcano. Built in 1876 as a water storage for the gardens, it was recently restored as part of a landscape development project. It has commanding views of the city and showcases low water use plants. Boardwalks and a viewing platform give visitors an opportunity to explore this remarkable feature of Melbourne Botanic Gardens. We will continue on to the Observatory with time to walk with Tony to see the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden and the Shrine of Remembrance. We will have free time for lunch at the Jardin Tan café. You may wander around the gardens or continue on the coach with a drop off in the centre of Melbourne. The afternoon is free for sightseeing or shopping.
DAY 5 Wednesday March 27, 2019 Melbourne
Today we visit the 24th Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, the biggest and best show of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and ranked in the top five flower shows in the world. Floral displays fill the world heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and the surrounding Carlton Gardens. Around the building are landscape displays created by some of Australia’s most talented landscape designers. Tony will give those interested a tour of the display gardens – pointing out elements used by the designers that we can incorporate in our own backyards. While keen gardeners will want to spend all day at the show, others may also take time to visit the adjacent Melbourne Museum.
DAY 6 Thursday March 28, 2019 Melbourne
Today we travel through the picturesque countryside on the Mornington Peninsula to visit some of the best gardens in Australia. We first visit The Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne. Tony will take us on an exploration of the spectacular landscape which has a dramatic red sand garden, rock pool waterways, eucalypt walk and exhibition gardens all featuring Australian plants. We continue to Heronswood Gardens, home of Diggers Seeds. We will have lunch at the Fork to Fork restaurant, where the vegetables and fruits served are heirloom selections picked straight from the gardens. This is followed by a tour of Diggers, which has Australia’s largest range of heirloom vegetables, cottage and fruit plants for sale. We continue to the Garden Vineyard, featured in Monte Don’s Around the World in 80 Gardens. We return to Melbourne and Tony will meet those wishing to dine as a group to recommend a restaurant.
DAY 7 Friday March 29, 2019 Melbourne
Today we travel to the Dandenong Ranges to visit two of Tony’s favourite gardens. We first visit Cloudehill where a maze of stone walls and jewel like garden rooms are set within woodlands of historic cool climate trees. We will have an included lunch here as the food is as good as the gorgeous views. This afternoon we travel the short distance to the home garden of Phillip Johnson. Phillip’s spectacular design for Fleming’s Nurseries won Best Garden in Show at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2013. His gorgeous home garden has a sustainable billabong that doubles as a chemical free swimming pool. Beautifully positioned walkways meander through the garden featuring many indigenous plants. We return to Melbourne for a farewell dinner on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. The historic tram will drive us around the city where we can admire Melbourne’s quaint streets while enjoying a fine meal with drinks included.
DAY 8 Saturday March 30, 2019 Departure
The morning is free for individual activity. We travel to the airport in the early afternoon for a flight home and the tour concludes.