The beautiful Carlton Gardens housing both the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum (both worth a visit at any time - more in a future blog!) is a wonderful location for Melbourne's own take on the famed Chelsea Flower Show - all-be-it smaller, less exciting, no Queen or celebrity visits and less sensational exhibits - but some wonderful ideas for the garden!
The gardens are seconded for 4 days in late March (with a week or so either side to set up/knock down) much to the chagrin of the locals who feel very strongly that they should be held anywhere else in Melbourne - just 'not in our backyard'. Yes the southern side of the gardens are closed for the period of the show and the grass suffers with the garden displays, stalls and of course foot traffic. It seems there's always an up and down side to using our public parks.
Visiting last Friday on a truly beautiful 29 degree Autumn day the gardens looked a picture - wonderful trees, a sprinkling of lakes and water gardens, the beautiful Exhibiton Building - personally I couldn't think of a more perfect location so close to the city.
|The Bird's Nest|
My highlights included a cubby house designed by our architect trained Premier - Ted Baillieu. His round cubby 'The Bird's Nest' was covered in twigs which I thought would be a wonderful way to cover an ugly rainwater tank. The cubby's were auctioned during the show for the Charity Kids Under Cover.
My favourite exhibit was a wonderful mud brick replica of a greenhouse in Ladakh - one of the highest and driest places on earth where the temperature can drop to minus 25 degrees in winter. Run by another charity lillefro - their passive solar greenhouses are used to grow fresh vegetables throughout the year. I was pleased to see that it won a medal.
|The mud-brick Ladakh 'solar' vegetable garden|
Inside the magnificent Exhibition Building - in the Great Hall of Flowers - was an array of wonderful flower arrangements - some created by floral art students, many by professionals. The smell of so many blooms under one roof was almost overpowering.
So if you're a garden or flower lover - or even a terrace vegetable grower - base yourself at Bowen Cottage and experience nature at its best!