mayday hills yellow

Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 October, 2014
10:00am – 5:00pm

See all six gardens for $20 (payable at any participating garden) – with the Beechworth gardens donating all proceeds to Oxfam. The Stanley gardens are donating all proceeds to the Stanley community-managed post office and heritage-listed athenæum.

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1. Robert Cowell’s Garden
14 Fletcher Road, Beechworth

PLANTING began in this garden in October 2009. The design philosophy is one of grids and strong lines following the house design. I wanted to keep the plant palate to a handful of species.

I feel that the garden respects space amongst the plantings. Buxus sempervirens balls that I’ve had in authentic French Anduze pots for more than 14 years also have influenced the design with balls of box flowing through the garden. This year is the process of introducing colour with iris, tulip and geranium high on the list. The views into Beechworth and rural landscape beyond are also important.

The house was built in a factory in six weeks and trucked to the site. It has been a joy to live in: facing north, it is highly energy efficient and loads of natural light change how you live.

Directions: 1.3km south of Beechworth post office, off Buckland (Myrtleford) Road.

2. Bernard Bolan’s Garden
2 Scott Street, Newtown, Beechworth

I CAME to the garden 12 years ago. It consisted of lovely old Hills’ red gum woodland and a sloping empty paddock with good views, about 1.6 hectares in all. I started by trying – and hopefully succeeding – to disprove that ‘You can’t grow things under gum trees’. There are rhododendron, camellia, azalea, maple and many semi-shade perennials thriving beneath the eucalypt canopy.

Up across the hill the aim was to have many different trees in a parkland-style setting. I planted oaks, cedars, elms and a number of rare trees – Emmenopterys henryi is young but doing well. Favourites are two giant redwoods – Sequoiadendron – one of which the nursery didn’t want to sell because the top had been snapped off. Old romantic, I felt sorry for it and gave it a home. Within three years it had completely rebuilt itself and is taller than its nearby sibling.

With the trees underway, I then started delving among the rocky hillside for deeper soil areas and panted many shrubs and perennials that had been my life in my previous quarter-acre block in Sydney (Wahroonga). In recent years I am moving away a little from having an endless collection of unusual plants to seeing the landscaping delight of having massed plantings and, for example, jolly Kniphofia ‘Winter Cheer’ pokers singing out from all unlikely corners of the hill.

Directions: In Beechworth, off Wangaratta Road (C315) west of Newtown bridge and Malakoff Road.

3. Wallasey-Beaumaris
Peter Kenyon & Jamie Kronborg
11 Weir Lane, Beechworth

A GARDEN has been cultivated here since the early 1860s. Shrubs of old, simple-petal sweetbriar roses still flower in a row a short distance from where stands our much extended house – at heart a miner’s cottage. These old arching canes mark the edge of a track that miners, horses, carts and cattle began to make about 150 years ago. Three Mile Creek, just below the garden, was a major gold find and worked until the late 1920s.

The garden – within a hill paddock that features spectacular but senescent Eucalyptus nicholii and E. microcarpa – has been richly planted over one hectare by earlier stewards. It includes numerous camellia, viburnum – including a six-metre-tall V. macrocephalum – an old perry pear, manchurian pear alley, weeping cherry, amelanchier, birch, arbutus, clematis, black sea laurel and diverse bulbs. We have this year planted a new orchard of apples, stonefruit, cherries and berries.

Directions: 4km south of Beechworth off Buckland (Myrtleford) Road (C524) and Library Road. This garden was one of the first in the-then Victoria Gardens’ Scheme in 1988-89. It has not been open for 25 years.

4. Planetrees
Genevieve Milham
819 Stanley Road, Stanley

SET on a little more than two hectares in Stanley, Planetrees’ garden has been created in six years on depleted land that was a timber milling site for a century. The garden is now an oasis of more than 350 established trees, including olive, birch, oak and dogwood, large perennial gardens, a fruit orchard, large vegetable garden and a natural swimming pool.

This ambitious project is the result of a master plan that has guided the creation of this serene and romantic setting for a Tuscan-style residence and a timber and earth lodge that now operates as a guest-house and green retreat.

Overall the style of the garden is French. It is structured as a series of rooms connected by long hedged walks stepping down the site. Sculptures, fountains, pergolas and other features encourage exploration. Plantings are rich and varied – planned to provide an exotic sequence of character and colour throughout the seasons. The natural pool is a park in itself with lilies, frogs and dragonflies.

Directions: In Stanley, 9km south-east of Beechworth on Beechworth-Stanley Road (C525).

5. Nine Mile Garden
Chris Dormer & Andrew Box
55-61 Mount Stanley Road, Stanley

SLOPING down to Nine Mile Creek, this is an extensive cool climate woodland garden centered on four massive hazelnut trees and an original miner’s cottage from the 1850s.

A formal kitchen garden of herbs and vegetables greets the visitor on entry and beyond the cottage and hothouse is an orchard with a berry and small fruit and vegetable garden.

Deciduous trees are a strong feature of the garden, under-planted with shrubs, bulbs and plants for dry shade. There are seats and artist-designed and -made sculptures to be found in different areas of the garden. Beyond the gate you can explore the creek, with plantings of local and exotic trees, and walk the labyrinth.

Directions: In Stanley, 9km south-east of Beechworth (C525), then take from the village heart the Mount Stanley Road (left-hand fork) for 500 metres.

6. Out of Town Nursery & Humming Garden
Tina Fraser & Gavin Doherty
980 Beechworth-Chiltern Road, Beechworth

HUMMING Garden is a rambling and relaxed 1.6-hectare country garden developed during the past 30 years.

We have an unusual collection of exotic and native drought-tolerant and frost-hardy plants in many ‘rooms’ with bold colours and unique design ideas. Of interest in late spring are aquilegias, iris, lilies, crinum, roses, clematis, kniphofias, salvias, flowering shrubs, ground covers, climbers and succulents. And there are birds, birds and birds! The garden is home to Beechworth’s only propagating nursery and a diverse selection of plants. For information see

Directions: 11.2km nor’ north west of Beechworth off Beechworth-Chiltern Road (C377).

NOTE: Mayday Hills, Beechworth
GARDENERS and visitors are encouraged to see the extensive, freely-open gardens surrounding Mayday Hills’ former lunatic asylum in Beechworth for its rare and extraordinary trees, including mature oaks, maples and Victoria’s largest trunk-circumference Araucaria bidwillii. The National Trust (Victoria) in March 2014 listed 62 trees and tree groups at Mayday Hills for their significance to the state and to the North East.