The opening of stage two sees the completion of over 20 years' planning, construction and planting and completes the vision for this bold and contemporary garden.
Designed by landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean, in conjunction with Paul Thompson, the Australian Garden reveals and celebrates the beauty and diversity of Australian plants and inspires visitors to use native plants in their home gardens.
Since its opening the Australian Garden has attracted not only thousands of visitors but also a number of awards, highlighted in 2011 by a gold medal awarded to the Royal Botanic Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London for a display based on the Australian Garden.
The first stage of the Australian Garden opened in 2006 and has since welcomed 426,819 visitors. The permanent removal of entry fees from 1 July 2011 saw a record 114,328 visitors experience the Australian Garden in 2011-12.
The second stage includes 11 new precincts, 70,000 plants, 1,012 plant species, a visitor kiosk and café, and a dedicated space for community events.
With the second stage extending the Australian Garden to an impressive 15 hectares in size, a new Garden Explorer tour mini-bus will be available for visitors from 22 October.
Some of the major features of stage two include:
- The Ian Potter Lakeside Precinct, a purpose-built community space for events such as festivals, outdoor cinema, and markets.
- The Weird and Wonderful Garden, home to many of the stranger forms of Australian flora such as the iconic Brachychiton (Queensland Bottle Tree), Doryanthes (Gymea Lily) and Xanthorrhoea (Grass Tree).
- River Walk, a broad promenade and amphitheatre with stunning views and a designated area for school groups, recitals and outdoor lectures.
- Northern Display Gardens, a gallery of five themed display gardens which will feature gardening demonstrations and information about how to incorporate Australian native flora in urban residential gardens.
The opening weekend of fun and free celebrations will begin on Saturday 20 October with ‘Gardeners Day’, while Sunday 21 October is ‘Family Day’. Full details about the opening weekend will be available on the Gardens’ website from 10 September.
The Australian Garden is located in the heart of the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, a 50-minute scenic drive from Melbourne’s CBD. The Gardens is open daily (except Christmas Day) from 9am to 5pm. Entry is free.
For further information, visit the Royal Botanic Gardens website at www.rbg.vic.gov.au/australian-garden, contact the Visitor Centre on (03) 5990 2200, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.