Dandenong Ranges Botanical Gardens aka National Rhododendron Gardens covers 103 acres in size and contains wide range of cool climate plants along with 30,000 Rhododendron and Azalea. The garden boasts of 5km of sealed walking paths with picnic tables and seats throughout the garden making it perfect for a family picnic. The garden is long and narrow with unusual and rarer plants; some of them even find their place in endangered plants list.
The Kurume Bowl of the Azalea plants make a beautiful flower bed in spring, which is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. There is a light flowering in the Autumn – winter when the leaves take on colourful tint of scarlet and bronze. During Spring coloured blooms of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, cherries and daffodils makes it a beautiful scenery to watch.
The lake in the garden which was built in 1969 gets filled with several springs along the Lyrebird creek. Due to the all year round supply of fresh water, the water in the lake is clear and clean. Spring and autumn are the best time to see the lake as it creates a perfect scenery with the reflection of spring flowers or autumn foliage.
The stone bridge and the rock garden
A small volunteer group of ladies began building the Stone bridge shown in the above image in the 1960’s and it was progressing very slowly. That was when men decided to take it over and finished off the job quickly. The rock garden was originally where the locals dumped their rubbish. Because of the amount of the rock and the steepness it was made into a rock garden.
Mountain Ash trees
Mountain Ash trees are usually found in high rain fall deep soil areas in cooler climates. A majority of the Mountain Ash trees in the garden were burned to ground in the 1962 bush fires. Most of the Mountain ash trees in the garden are grown since then. Mountain Ash is the tallest flowering plant on earth, second only to the Californian Red wood.
The Australian Rhododendron Society was formed in Victoria in 1960 with an objective of encouraging interest in and gathering information about the genus Rhododendron, its species and hybrids. In the same year it petitioned the Government for land to establish a garden dedicated to Rhododendron. The Dandenong ranges climate is usually five degrees cooler than Melbourne and receives two to three time the average rainfall. This unique climate and the rich clay acidic soil support a large range of plants suited to cooler wetter conditions including plants that originate from Europe, America and Asia.
Then Premier of Victoria Sir Henry Bolt sanctioned hundred acres of state Government land to the society to provide a year around tourist attraction and a fire break for the township of Olinda. The gardens were created to showcase Rhododendron species and hybrids. Every part of Rhododendron plant is toxic when digested and can cause low blood pressure.
In 1996, Parks Victoria took over the management of the gardens
Address: Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, Olinda VIC 3788
Open from 10.00am to 5.00pm daily (last entry 4.30pm) except Christmas Day.
Entrance to the garden is free.
Dogs and Pets are not permitted.
For conducting Wedding ceremonies or for taking wedding photography in the gardens,
Contact Parks Victoria by email GardensWeddingsBookings@parks.vic.gov.au or ring for further information on (03) 8427 2087.
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