Tasmanian Bushland Garden and Labour of Love: Open!!

Imagine a perfect day on Tasmania’s beautiful east coast and be jealous because you missed a fantastic occasion. I am certain everyone who came and

Our regional botanical garden

Our regional botanical garden

walked in the gardens and around the bush block, chatted with friends, bought plants and heard the tales of the labour of love that this represents went home feeling that they had witnessed something very special. I had such a profoundly good feeling about it all. But all is not lost because you can share it when you visit Tasmania’s Bushland Garden next door to the Pulchella nursery on the Tasman Highway just south of Orford. The garden features a dolerite hill, a permanent creek, a variety of communities of woodland and grassland flora and a former bluestone quarry. It has wallabies, pademelons, wombats, echidnas and lots of birds and frogs. The planted beds (0.5 hectares) are in natural plant communities such as she oak groves, grasslands, rocky dolerite shrubberies, wet gully floras, sandstone heath, granite heath etc.

Mayor, Bertrand Cadart

Mayor, Bertrand Cadart and frog

How all this came to be is such an inspiring story, it deserves telling. It is a classic case of Margaret Mead’s belief , “Never believe that a small group of committed people cannot change the world, it is the only thing that ever has.” It is a tribute to volunteerism and to commitment to a better world.

Ten years ago a group of about 20-30 people who love Tasmanian plants joined forces to bring to fruition a vision of establishing a regional botanic garden showcasing South Eastern Tasmanian plants. Graham Roberts and his wife Ingrid had seen such gardens on their travels interstate and enthused about setting up one here to give people a place to enjoy our fascinating and diverse flora. I am always

Sculpture in the gardens

Sculpture in the gardens

loathe to mention names because inevitably you leave someone out and end up insulting people who have devoted themselves to the task at hand but on this occasion I am going to name names as it would be wrong not to give credit even at the risk of leaving someone special out. That is the advantage of a blog. I can add another comment later to set the record straight so please feel free to write about others who must be mentioned.

A crowd gathered

A crowd gathered

Tasmania's Bushland Garden

Tasmania's Bushland Garden

Christine with Graham Roberts, Keith Corbett and Sib Corbett

Officially opened: Christine with Graham Roberts, Keith Corbett and Sib Corbett

So big cheers to the Roberts, Keith and Sib Corbett, Les and Helen Payne, David and Trauti Reynolds, Alan Gardner, Jeanette and Don Closs, Sue Meech, Shirley Fish, Ted Milne, and Joyce Batchelor. You are our local heroes, a small group of volunteers who had no land, no grants, nothing but a love of our flora, some very useful skills and expertise and a willingness to work and make things happen and you did.

Pulchella Nursery's Les Payne

Pulchella Nursery's Les Payne

Every third Sunday for ten years they worked on the block. Others joined in with earth moving equipment to help clean up the quarry site and turn it into an amphitheatre that I hope will be graced by our own Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra one day.(Time for us all to start lobbying Nicholas Heyward). Les Payne of Pulchella nursery donated all of the plants, and the magnificent new steel gates were crafted by Graham Roberts from a design by Sue Meech. The Australian Plants Society, Tas Branch members are both supporters and volunteers. Over the years some of the dedicated few died and so there are quiet reflective spaces in which to remember them.

Glad Dodson

Glad Dodson

It was very moving indeed to see Glad Dodson, now 90 years old able to be at the opening as she donated the money to buy the 20 hectare bush block which now forms the garden but which then was a sheep run. How generous is that? What a wonderful legacy to leave for future generations. How many of us have the foresight to leave something behind that gives everyone living now and yet to be born an insight into the endemic species that give colour and texture to the landscape so central to our identity and which provides habitat to our birds, animals and reptiles so quickly being lost. The garden features an example of Tasmania’s rarest plant found only recently in the Hazards and other disappearing species like the South Esk pine. Wouldn’t it be great if Tasmanians got behind growing South Esk pines instead of exotics..think about it before you decide to opt for an exotic conifer.

Sib Corbett

Sib Corbett

7 thoughts on “Tasmanian Bushland Garden and Labour of Love: Open!!

  1. Christine,
    Your blogg really hits the spot. I have written an article on the opening cermony and it does not do justice to this wonderful place when I read your article. I was there with you on Sunday and fully enjoyed my day (even though my little red MG broke down and had to be towed back home) Yours words as usual inspired me and many others.
    Our NHW group are members of TBG as are the council and I am proud to be associated with both.
    Once again thank you for your attendance and great words.
    Mick Fama, councillor.

  2. Thanks so much for being there Christine, for honouring what these people have done, and for celebrating their vision. For my own part, I’m really proud of my Mum and Dad!

    Sonia Anderson (nee Roberts)

  3. Itwas a great day, thanks Chrisitne for your kind words and recognising voluntry labour.

    The main drivers of this amazing feat did not get the recogintion for a number of things; as THEY were the speakers, organisers and very modest!

    A VERY SMALL band of people, have put a HUGE amount of thier OWN resourses, time, extreme hard labour and amazing expertise and knowledge of conatcts and how to negotiate and ‘beg’! They have been the small committee and workers for 10 years, all now ‘mature’ age. With tons of energy and enthusiasm.
    All hail the Corbetts, Roberts, Reynolds and Paynes
    just amazing! The reason this has all come together.
    Joyce & Ted very new memebers labourers

    • Dear Joyce,
      Yes I have told many people since about the incredible commitment of these few and of the satisfaction they must now feel having seen the project through to opening day. It is up to all of us now to make sure that it goes from strength to strength.
      cheers C

  4. We stopped at the garden in mid-November, as we were driving from Port Arthur to Bicheno.

    What a pleasure, with so much in bloom, and such care to labelling. I hope it gets more publicity, because anyone interested in gardening and native flora should take the time to walk through.

    Folks seldom appreciate their native flora, but yours has so much to offer. (It’s all exotic to us, from the east coast of the USA).

    Congratulations to all who worked to bring this garden to life.

    Larry Hurley
    Behnke Nurseries, Maryland USA

  5. We came past the garden by chance, in late January, and I was blown away finding a regional garden ‘in the middle of nowhere’, established by volunteers.

    Everything you may want to see was there: quite a variety of labelled native plants; a waterfall which knows when to start and stop (when you let it know that you are there); a pond with waterplants; a beautifully placed and spaced memorial garden to provide an opportunity to reflect on those who were important in the history of the garden; two walks to allow you to stay just a bit longer around the area and enable you to see the surroundings of the garden; a place to sit down and collect your thoughts – and possibly make some notes; and probably more.

    I take off my hat for all of you who have made this possible, those with the vision, those with resources to buy, and those with labour who have contributed. It was one of the highlights of our 17 days in Tasmania.

    Thank you so much.

    Els Wynen

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