Open Gardens Victoria is delighted to be launching a new era of garden openings in Victoria at inspirational Musk Cottage.
The launch is designed as a family affair with door prizes, activities for children, food and coffee carts, local wines and plants for sale. We encourage you to explore, linger and enjoy.
Celebrations will spread across the weekend. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday as the first visitors arrive at 10.00am and on the Sunday at 12.00 noon Professor Tim Entwisle, Director and CEO of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens will formally launch Open Gardens Victoria. Some 27 years after the first open garden scheme was launched in Victoria, the wheel has turned full circle and Victoria once again has its own state-based program.
Rick Eckersley has been a longtime supporter of the open gardens scheme. Indeed, some garden visitors will remember this garden as part of a special twilight opening in 2012.
It is fascinating to see just how much the garden has developed since then. Musk Cottage has been a pet project of Rick Eckersley and the Eckersley Garden Architecture design Team for the past 7 years. The ten-acre property was purchased in 2008 with the intention of creating a different approach to garden making in Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.
The plan was to ignore the latest fashion trends and to create something uniquely Australian. Strong, tough and sustainable.
The palette of plants is not restricted to native, or indigenous. Rather, they have been selected for whether they will grow well in the particular conditions of the Musk Cottage grounds. Plants from around the world have been knitted together to create a rich textural landscape of imaginative combinations. Visitors will find a geometric grid of rugged black trunked Iron Barks under planted by wave pruned Tuscany Privet; lime green bracts of a Linden Tree reflected by a bold sweep of lime-green Lomandra. A boardwalk winds around a wetlands area.
Colours in bark and leaves as well as flowers meld the garden together. Greys, olive greens, browns and brindles make up the base colours and it is these which give the garden its unmistakably Australia flavour.
As with any experimental garden, there have been successes and failures. Construction of this non-irrigated garden began at the peak of Victoria's drought and relied on mulching and the toughness of its plants. When the drought eventually broke some plantings in poorly drained areas failed. The wetland area was created to take advantage of the additional water supply, though this year, once again, water is scarce. Thankfully the successes have far out-weighed the failures and Musk Cottage stands as a testament to low maintenance, sustainable gardening.