Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

This post should possibly be titled ‘A Short visit to a Native Australian Botanic Garden’ because the day did not turn out quite as planned, but never mind, there is still something to share.

My daughter gazing across the 'ephemeral lake' in 2006. This arid 'red dirt' scene was made to evoke central Australia. Not a typical Victorian landscape!

We are very fortunate in Victoria to have had a new addition to the Royal Botanical Gardens in recent years. The new addition is at Cranbourne on Melbourne’s South Eastern outskirts. What makes these gardens special is that they consist only of native species.

Grass Trees 2006

The gardens opened in 2006 and our little family visited soon after the opening. All but the last photo here are from 2006 (click on any to enlarge). Note the blue sky.

Today we returned to see what had changed and to hopefully get some ideas for developing a garden of  bird attracting species of our own.

Today’s visit was cut short. We had headed off on a sunny warm afternoon  for the hour and a half trip toward Melbourne without checking the weather. It is unusual for us to head out without having some idea of the forecast, but there you go, it happens.

Sculpted creek bed with space for future garden development at rear 2006

By the time we had reached the gate of the garden the clouds had rolled across the blue sky. After a very belated check of the weather radar on D’s phone it was clear a storm front was rolling in. Oh. After a quick conference we decided we had come this far, we might as well have a look and we could beat a hasty retreat to the café if need be and pop back out when the storm passed. After all, it’s only a bit of rain isn’t it?!

Reflection from sculpture 2006

Ha! This was a storm to be reckoned with and we were soon heading for the car and home. At one stage we drove through an area that looked like it had been snowing. Further investigation revealed hail the size of large marbles. In the end we were just happy to get home safe and sound.

March 2010. The start of the storm...looking tame at this point!

So, although I had plans of sharing with you a whole series of posts focusing on different native species, the trip resulted only in a few hurried snaps as the sky darkened and the wind began to whip up. But I did manage to snap a few interesting plants and I’ll be back tomorrow to share them!

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Comments on: "A Native Australian Botanic Garden" (8)

  1. Sounds like quite a storm. I look forward to seeing the rest of your pictures.

    • Hello Deborah, it sure was and still is! Lightning and thunder rumbled about all night and it’s still raining 20 hours later. More storm activity and flash flooding is predicted for today. It’s good to get the rain, but it’s arriving in a little too much of a hurry!

  2. That really was a big storm. I bet you’ll never head out for trip to the botanic garden without checking the weather radar again! I love the photograph above with the reflection on the sculpture, it’s beautiful. I look forward to seeing your pictures tomorrow!

    • Hello CV, yes, you are right there – it certainly made for a memorable trip 😀 Thank you for your lovely comment about the photo of the sculpture, I meant to get another photo of it in a different ‘mood’ today, but we didn’t get that far!

  3. That shot of the beginning of the storm looks pretty ominous, and I’m just glad y’all made it back through the hail. Yikes!

    You’ll have to explain what an “ephemeral lake” is for me, Heidi. I’m afraid I don’t know, although I’m guessing it’s a lake that disappears in a dry bout?

  4. Hi Meredith, you should have seen the looks on our faces when we first came across all the drifts of hail. It really did look like snow. Not a typical scene here, particularly not for March! We were very lucky that we didn’t have to drive through it when it was falling.
    You are spot on about the ephemeral lake, they tend to be dry beds most of the time and only fill in a ‘big wet’. Lake Eyre http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/lake-eyre.html#cr is one of the best known Australian ephemeral lakes, but it is a salt pan rather than red dirt dry lake. I think even the landscaped one at Cranbourne will be full of water right now!

  5. This is one Botanic Garden I’ve wanted to visit ever since it opened … it’s design has always intrigued me. Hopefully … I’ll get to see it soon but in the meantime I’ll be looking out for your next post.

    • Hi Bernie, it is certainly well worth the visit, but if you can put off coming all that way until late 2011 or even 2012 that would be better. The garden is essentially only half finished with major earthworks for the second half underway at present. I’ll post some pics of that aspect of the garden later today too.

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