Garden puts on a show

By Ewen McRae

The Melton Botanic Garden is in full bloom, with spring colours lighting up the popular attraction.

While the garden is a hive of activity all year round, Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden president John Bentley said spring was always a highlight.

“Every time of year is busy for us, but spring is probably when the garden is the showiest,” Mr Bentley said.

“The Southern African garden is pretty spectacular with aloes finishing their winter flowering, so some beautiful colours are there to enjoy.

“And our South Australian garden and West Australian garden is just lovely, as well as all the eucalypts we have around the place.

“We had some people come through recently from Ocean Grove who saw us on Gardening Australia, so we do attract people from right across the state, especially at this time of the year.”

A team of 80 volunteers in the Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden help with the bulk of the work during the year, but more than 300 people from community groups, schools, Scouts and Guides help keep the garden looking fresh.

The Melton gardens have more specialised planting choices compared to other botanic gardens because of a drier climate.

Mr Bentley said they had created garden displays that would be unable to flourish in other wetter parts of the city.

“You’re not just going to see Australian plants you’ll see plants from all over the world here,” he said.

“We get an average of 450mm of rainfall each year, whereas the other side of the city could be double that, so some of the other gardens are quite jealous of what we’re able to grow here.

“Our visitors want to come and see a spectacular dry-land themed garden, and that’s what we give them.”