The Head Gardener's choice...
Gardens stand for the history and culture of a society. To know a society's gardens is to understand that society. Tasmanian gardens have not been constructed by Government largesse, or by millionaires making a statement. They are very largely the work of ordinary people with extraordinary vision and energy. When you visit Tasmania, you must see these gardens (as well as Inverawe, of course!):
Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. Set in a rounded valley in the hills behind Burnie on Tasmania's north coast, Emu Valley is a world class Rhododendron garden, built and maintained by a not for profit group of enthusiasts. The boldness and scope of the vision together with the elan with which it is being delivered will blow your sox off.
The Tasmanian Arboretum, Eugenana. The Arboretum is in a wide valley at Eugenana in the hills behind Devonport in northern Tasmania. A lake focusses the landscape and there are a good many walks - you can walk as little or as far as you wish. The Arboretum is run by a not for profit volunteer organisation. You will be drawn to this arboretum - how can a committee of volunteers,working in their spare time, achieve such a wonderful outcome?
Kaydale Lodge. Nestled in the hills behind Tasmania's north coast, Kaydale is on the road to Leven Canyon. The alpine rockery, complete with waterfall, is one of the best garden experiences in Australia and easily world class. This is an absolutely stunning garden designed, constructed and maintained by a visionary family.
Clarendon. Imagine that sometime around 1800 you're a small child in the old country, peering through the iron bars that surround the park of a great house, knowing you can never aspire to such things. Then you find yourself in Van Diemen's Land, transported as a felon perhaps, or with the army, and suddenly it's all possible. The great house can be yours. Clarendon and houses like it were created from that imagined memory. Stand on the front lawn, legs slightly apart, hands on hips, and imagine you are that person.
Port Arthur Historic Site. Find the Government Gardens at Port Arthur. Suppose you are here 160 years ago. You're an officer's wife dressed in your Sunday best, or an officer, and it is in this garden you stroll on Sunday afternoons. Only people of the right class were admitted to this garden - nice people, like us. Similar gardens were in most major British cities. Here, at Port Arthur, the furthermost corner of Empire, surrounded by convicted felons, you are keeping up appearances.
For further information on all of Tasmania's great gardens, try Blooming Tasmania.