Hidden Autumn Gem

With Autumn truly upon us and winter fast approaching I had the urge to immerse myself in all the glory of those striking autumnal colours.  So we headed to the Dandenong Ranges on a cold Sunday morning with a tip from Scott to visit the Pirianda Gardens in Olinda.  With the sun peaking through the clouds we discovered a garden treasure and we had it all to ourselves.

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The garden sits on a slope with magnificent views to the forest and ranges beyond. The slope is traversed by an intricate network of paths and dry stone walls. The gardens contain a large collection of exotic plants which are botanically rare in Australia. These exotics blend harmoniously with native ferns, impressive blackwoods and mountain ash trees.

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A lovely house made of local stone and mountain ash wood panelling sits halfway down the slope, nestled in a charming rock garden. The house was built by the Ansells, who purchased the property in 1959 and named it Pirianda. Each autumn they planted the garden with new tress and shrubs from all parts of the world.

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On my way home I thought how lucky we are to have these garden landscapes only an hour from the Melbourne CBD, free for all to wander through at leisure and at any time of the year.  In this age of marketing and consumership it is a special thing to be able to walk through a garden undisturbed by others and free of tea rooms and souvenir shops and an even more comforting thought to know it will remain like this for generations to come. A true testament to the sustainability of gardens.