I was privileged to be invited, recently, to photograph the beautiful Telopea Gardens in Emerald. My husband came with me for the visit and we were shown the pathways and encouraged to explore on our own. Which we certainly did! This is a 10 acre property and the owners have been there 40 years. When they first began work it was mainly pine trees and blackberries and a small patch of protea bushes. You wouldn’t know it when you look at the property now.
It took time, but they removed all the pine trees, bar one which is outside the upper gate, plus all the blackberries, and began planting it up with numerous varieties of shrubs and and trees suitable for cut flowers and foliage and this included many varieties of Protea, Leucadendron and Waratahs, for which the botanical name is Telopea, hence the name of the property.
Their funding was limited so in those days most plants were grown from cuttings of the originally purchased stock plants. You can plant up a large property on a budget! Just takes awhile.
They chose to landscape the property and do plantings to give a botanical appearance, rather than orderly rows and it works. It looks great. Larger growing plants have helped to create their own micro-climates so that more tender plants can thrive.
If you stand at the top of the property you can look down on the various layers, almost like an amphitheatre. Those plants on the higher levers have to be hardy as the steep slope faces the full sun and this creates very difficult growing conditions. Plants chosen for the slopes are deliberately low growing plants, to allow for viewing over the whole property. These have included Proteaceae, Cistus, grasses, Ericas, Australian natives as well as succulents and cacti.
Some beds are fully exposed and others have been set up as cooler protected zones – and you can definitely notice the temperature difference as you walk through them.
The original house garden is estimated to have been planted in the 1940’s (like my own home in Selby) and includes things like Birch, Oak, Liquidamber and a giant Redwood. These have been underplanted with an array of rare trees, shrubs and bulbs. Must look a picture in Autumn, as well as Spring.
While Telopea Gardens isn’t a manicured garden, it is a working garden in the cut flower industry and is a garden in progress – as I’m sure all our gardens are. It provides year round interest with flowers, foliage, unique forms, contrasting structures and rare plants that you might not otherwise encounter elsewhere here in the hills. I found the tree below particularly striking, with its reddish coloured trunk, it really stood out.
The owner has a passion for propagating which is a bonus and many of the plants grown at these gardens will be available at their plant stall regularly at the Kallista Market and elsewhere. This includes many rare shrubs, trees, perennials and succulents.
My husband and I noticed that these plants below – some had fine leaves, some had bigger leaves, but are of the same family. Amazing.
Sounds gorgeous doesn’t it? Would you like to visit too? Well, you’re in luck!
The Gardens will be open on 28th, 29th and 30th March, from 10am to 4pm daily. There will be a large selection of plants available for sale, local musicians performing each day and free tea and coffee provided. Garden entry is $10 adults, children free. Proceeds of the gate takings will go to the PAVE Festival being held in Emerald during late March/early April. The address is 80 Beaconsfield-Emerald Rd, Emerald.