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Tasmania – Gardens to visit

11 December 2011 No Comment

Gardens to visit in Tasmania - HobartTasmania has a lot to offer the gardening enthusiast. The cool temperate climate and distinct seasons provide a wide variety of gardens you can experience on your visit.

Even the first European explorers tested Tasmania’s potential for growing food. Captain William Bligh was reportedly responsible for planting Tasmania’s first apple tree. At Recherche Bay in the lower Huon district, the expedition party of French explorer Bruny D’Entrecasteaux established a vegetable garden in 1792.

Tasmania is also home to many rare and interesting native plants. I used to think orchids came from the tropics, until I went on a bushwalk with a local retired academic who pointed out several tiny Tasmanian orchids. These are best seen in October and November, but you’ll need a keen eye or a local expert to help.

However, there are many beautiful plants and gardens you can discover for yourself. Pick up a ‘Blooming Tasmania’ guide from the tourist information office or the airport, hire a car and plan your garden tour of the southernmost state.

A few ideas to get you started:

Inverawe Native Garden
Located in Margate, less than 20 minutes drive from Hobart and directly behind the famous Margate Train, Inverawe is a great example of sustainable gardening. In just 10 years, the owners transformed this piece of land overlooking the water into a paradise of native plants and birdlife. You can take a guided or self-guided tour any day between 1 September and the end of May each year.

Open Garden Scheme
There is a private garden open almost every weekend somewhere in Tasmania. You’ll find a calendar of these and other special gardening events like workshops and displays on the scheme’s national website. These are rare glimpses into some of the most beautiful gardens and worth taking the time and effort to get to.

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
The beautiful parklands and tall trees of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart overlook the Derwent River.

If you have been hiking in Tasmania and you’d like to identify some of the plants you saw in the wild, check out the extensive Tasmanian native plant collection, which includes many rare and threatened species.

As well as the plant collections, there is a working display garden called ‘The Vegie Patch’. It uses a six-bed crop rotation system and organic principles that could be applied in any backyard. You can learn how to make compost and the best way to grow your own vegetables. The site regularly hosts the ABC’s popular Gardening Australia program and their celebrity gardeners.

If you are energetic you can walk there – it’s about 2km from the centre of Hobart – otherwise, there’s plenty of parking. Restaurant and kiosk open most days.

Susan Moore lives in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. She shares a glimpse of daily life in Tasmania, as written by a “blow in” from the mainland, on her fascinating site Houn View. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive her regular articles.

 Image:  J.G. via Flickr

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