One of the surprises of this trip has been the gardens. Tasmanians are clearly into gardens. Often when we are on the road we pass a stunning example of a domestic garden, a well laid out and lovingly tended riot of colour.
But there are also larger gardens, belonging to institutions or to individuals who have opened them to inform and give pleasure to locals and tourists alike. The very first place we visited in Tasmania, just an hour or so after picking up the car was the excellent Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, which I wrote about at the time and have been described as a national treasure. And the day we left Hobart to go Bruny Island we dropped in on the way at Inverawe Native Gardens, Tasmania’s largest landscaped native garden. Here the owners have created a “sustainable, waterwise, low chemical and low maintenance garden” on a plot of some 22 acres, and have planted over 10,000 Australian native trees and shrubs:
The main reason for visiting Mountain Valley was of course to see the Tasmanian Devils, but as all the action takes place after dark this left the daylight hours to explore the area. During this time we were able to have a look at two other, very different gardens.
The spectacular Kaydale Lodge Gardens, just a few kilometres up the road from Mountain Valley, are set in about 5 acres of grounds:
However unlike Inverawe the focus is European rather than Tasmanian flora. The couple who created the gardens have spent most of their married lives on the project and now, increasingly, their daughters are taking over the mantle. The results are outstanding:
It would be great (though sadly impossible for us) to see the gardens in the different seasons to see what new splendours they have to offer.
The next day we took a longer drive to the Tasmanian Arboretum, which covers around 150 acres and features Tasmanian plants, southern hemisphere conifers and deciduous trees from temperate areas across the world. This volunteer-led project is in its infancy, and it will presumably be many years before the trees reach full maturity. Already, however, it was looking good with some great vistas to be enjoyed around the lake:
As an added bonus, the lake at the Tasmanian Arboretum provided us with good views of two platypus. They were close enough for Julie to get some good shots:
This makes eight platypus we have seen during the trip, which far exceeds my wildest dreams. Despite Susie’s assurances I was afraid I wouldn’t see any so it feels like all my birthdays have come at once. Thanks, Susie!