Grand garden to open for final time

November 16, 2023 BY

Natural look: Melrose was previously showcased through Open Gardens Victoria in 2019 and 2020, the latter via an online tour. Photo: SIMON GRIFFITHS

WHETHER you’re a green thumb or not, a prominent garden featured on national screens will be opened to the public this weekend.

As part of her final showing with nonprofit Open Gardens Victoria, designer Deb Hambleton is admitting people to wander through her Malmsbury-based Melrose garden this Saturday and Sunday.

Hambleton bought the property, based around an 1860s bluestone cottage, in 2005, and said the resulting garden defies categorisation.

“There is a strong Mediterranean theme, dry climate plantings, elements of cottage gardens, an extensive use of productive plants in an ornamental context, and a mix of formality and informality,” she said.

“My aim was to create beauty and abundance.”

Hambleton built Melrose up from humble origins, with the garden initially featuring a rose bed, plum and pear trees, and horse paddock.

The property’s courtyard, pergola, and pool have all been integrated into the garden, including an old kitchen cottage which now serves as a gardener’s shed.

The vegetable garden in front of the structure features four beds while the adjoining pathways were made with recycled bricks sourced from the cottage’s original chimney.

“A Barnevelder chicken family now lives here, Anja and Eva, but they have also expanded their territory to include the vegetable garden,” Ms Hambleton said.

“So, a challenge has been working out ways for chickens and vegetables to co-exist, hence cloches and enclosures for the vegetables.”

In keeping with a Mediterranean design, iron windows have been sourced from Turkey while the site’s gravel surfaces has been imported from Tuscany.

Melrose has been showcased on Gardening Australia as well as Better Homes and Gardens.

Products like cloches and potting tables will be for sale during the opening, while staff from Fleurs de Lyonville, and Botanical Treasures will respectively be selling seasonal flowers on Saturday and plants on Sunday.

The garden opening will run from 10am to 4.30pm both days and tickets can be booked at bit.ly/40x5hTL, with prices ranging from $6 student or $10 adult while children under 18 enter free.