Since the birth of our granddaughter last year, we have frequently travelled to Melbourne to visit our daughter and family.
In late November, we took a slightly different route to Melbourne, and spent a few days in the beautiful Mornington Peninsula.
On a sunny, almost perfect day, we visited a wonderful property called Heronswood at Dromana.
This historic property was established in 1864, and the Gothic Revival house was built in 1874.
Dromana is a very scenic part of the world, but the wind and weather can be wild and unpredictable. A tough climate to establish such a beautiful garden.
William Moat was originally employed to develop spacious lawns and gardens, and large trees were planted to serve as wind breaks. Some of these trees survive to protect the garden today.
Clive and Penny Blazey bought Heronswood in 1983, raising a family there while using the garden as a testing ground for new plant species and dedicated to preserving heirloom varieties for the business they established called the Diggers Club.
Like many gardeners all over Australia, Paul and I have benefited from being members of the Diggers Club, getting new seeds, plants and bulbs by mail order, and reading their excellent quarterly magazine.
The garden is layered on a fairly steep slope, and is directly above the beach where the explorer, Captain Matthew Flinders, landed on 27th April 1802.
The garden path winds gently between each part of the garden, showcasing the planting over the years.
It has evolved into a summer garden of perennials and subtropical fruits, shaded by lush mature trees..
It is inspiring to know that these colourful perennials can withstand heat of 40 degrees (Celsius)104 (Fahrenheit)
We had, quite by accident, chosen a day when the crew from the ABC series Gardening Australia were filming in the gardens. They all looked relaxed, friendly, and professional, and we chatted to Jane and complimented her on the program.
This section of the garden highlights the versatility of subtropical fruits in all climates…(who knew bananas could grow this far south?)
The Diggers best selections are combined with hot coloured (red, yellow and orange) dahlias, to contrast with the lush green foliage.
Hidden away amongst the grasses and foliage we could hear frogs before we came to a small bridge and pond ….a great breeding ground for them in this lush garden.
This plant, with multiple blue flowers was a ”one stop shop” for many bees.
Clive and Penny Blazey have been amazing custodians of this property for years. Clive is an advisor for the Seed Saver Exchange in Iowa, USA, which was established around the same time as the Digger’s Club in Australia.
The Digger’s Club has over 75 000 members, and the Blazey family give away a percentage of their profits each year. Penny is involved in many charities, both in Australia and abroad.
In 2011 the Blazey’s gifted ownership of The Digger’s Club and the gardens of Heronswood and St Erth (near Daylesford) to the Diggers Garden and Environmental Trust.
Clive and Penny succeeded in developing a wonderful collection of unusual perennial plants with open pollinated seeds to provide what they called
”…the gardener’s inheritance seeds you save, sow and share forever…”
After enjoying this lovely garden, the last words come from Clive Blazey ….
“”I’m obsessed with living plants. Gardening connects you to biology, archaeology and the environment. It’s a fascinating pursuit.”
Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved