A Really BIG Aussie Garden

In 1997, the design for the Australian Garden within the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, in Victoria, won the prestigious Landscape Excellence Award and the Landscape Masterplan Award from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (Vic & Tas). It also won the national Landscape Masterplan Award in 1998, pipping the Olympic Games Masterplan for the award.

Through government funding and philanthropic support, the first eleven hectares of the Garden are almost ready for the official opening on 28 May 2006. Construction on the second and final stage of the Garden, which is about fifteen hectares, will commence later in 2006.

The Garden was designed by the landscape architecture practice of Taylor Cullity Lethlean in collaboration with Australian plants specialist Paul Thompson.

The Australian Garden sets out to display Australian plants in a way that hasn’t been done before. It celebrates the diversity of Australian plants and the different landscapes that support the vegetation. In this regard it is unlike any other Botanic Garden.

We think the design is contemporary and inspiring, and a beautiful representation of the Australian landscape. But you need to make up your own mind!

The major features of the Garden are:

Red Sand Garden – an awe-inspiring interpretation of the desert landscape.

Dry River Bed – symbolises the ephemeral nature of water and the power it has to shape the land.

Arid Garden – Seasonal flower displays will bring colour to the desert landscape.

Exhibition Gardens – five home gardens that highlight ways people can use Australian plants.

Escarpment Wall – a sculptural wall designed by Greg Clark, inspired by red sandstone escarpments.

Ephemeral Lake – a sculptural lake created by Mark Stoner and Edwina Kearney of liquid-shaped ceramic plates.

Each tell a story about the Australian landscape – its surprising beauty, the water cycle, indigenous cultural expressions, and the contemporary and sustainable uses of Australian plants by home gardeners.

We hope the images here inspire you to visit this exceptional Garden. But remember, it is only in its infancy and it’s only half finished. Like any good garden, it needs time to grow. For more detailed information, visit the website:
www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-cranbourne (and they welcome volunteers).

SGA team member Ann Kostos enjoying the Rockpool Waterway beneath the Escarpment Wall.
A drainage swale planted with grass and sedges runs between the roads, collecting and cleaning run-off water for re-use.
The Serpentine Walk leads visitors from the Escarpment Wall to the fossil garden within the Desert Discovery Camp.
The Ephemeral Lake sculpture is one of the first views visitors see as they leave the visitor centre. Low relief, liquid-shaped ceramic plates, textured and glazed. Jill Burness explains that instead of having a lake as a central feature “we’ve used the sand – the desert – as a feature”
The Escarpment Wall sculpture is inspired by the red sandstone escarpments found in places like Uluru and King’s Canyon.
View of the visitor centre from within Australian Garden. The visitor centre was constructed using radial sawn timber and recycled blackwood.
One of the four Exhibition Gardens, designed by various landscape designers.
The ground plane is a rich tapestry of surfaces and plants.
Landscape planner Jill Burness leads the tour. Behind her are interpretive signs showing the masterplan for the Australian Garden.
Mansfield mudstone meticulously positioned to line up with the landscape pattern.
The red desert sand used in the Garden was actually sourced locally at an old quarry but sorry, it’s not available to the public.