Gisborne Botanical Gardens are located 55km north west of Melbourne CBD in the regional town of Gisborne. Compared to other regional botanical gardens, this is relatively young and displays the characteristics of a regional park rather than a botanic garden. The suggestion to establish nearly 4ha, Gisborne Botanical Gardens were first mooted in 1991. The working group formed by former shire of Gisborne in 1991, choose a New Zealand theme for the gardens; one reason being Gisborne shared a sister city status with New Zealand township of Gisborne. The sister city relationship with Gisborne in Victoria and Gisborne in New Zealand began in 1976. The land was in the possession of Gisborne Shire Council since 1980’s. Works on the site began in 1992 with the creation of two ponds to the south east and south west. A gift of 30 plants from Gisborne City Council in New Zealand was received in 1993, which became the basis of Shire’s collection of New Zealand flora in the gardens. It was officially opened to the public on the 9thNovember 1996 by Dr Philip Moors, then Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
Jackson Creek flows through the gardens, which is a cause for flooding during heavy rainy seasons but contributes to the beauty of the gardens with riparian vegetation. The Friends of the Gisborne Botanic Gardens was formed in late 1994 and come under the umbrella organisation of the Association of Friends of Botanic Gardens (VIC).
By design, the gardens are divided into five zones.
Screening Zone – This area is set aside to create a buffer zone between botanic gardens and neighbouring houses. Screening species area largely selected from New Zealand and European species of woodland trees and Shrubs. This zone also allows to create a microclimate that allows New Zealand species to grow.
Woodland Zone: Sited on areas of imported fill, Woodland Zone contains major collection of Conifers, and broad lead ‘upland and forest’ New Zealand species within the botanic garden. It is planted as areas of ecological association or as plant communities.
Riparian Zone: Jackson Creek passes through the gardens forming a horseshoe bend. Some of the plants from woodland zone are planted here to link the woodland and riparian zone together.
Gondwana Linkages – According to Continental drift theory, about 220 Million years ago, continents were all joined together in one huge land mass called, ‘Pangaea’ . Which later drifted apart to form two super continents named, ‘Laurasia’ and ‘Gondwana’. Gondwana was composed of South America, Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Antarctica, India, Africa, and small part of Asia. Gondwana Linkage area in the Garden is set to grow plants from Gondwana super continent area.
Intensive development areas: Along many of the pathways in the garden are set aside for intensive horticultural development. These areas are reserved to showcase particular types of New Zealand flora.
Address: 6 Aitken St, Gisborne VIC 3437, Australia