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Maranoa Gardens, located adjacent to Beckett Park at the end of Parring Road, Balwyn has been influenced by many forces since its creation. This beautiful garden was designed as a botanical display of Australian plants, exhibiting plants in a range of habitat styles, to demonstrate the flora of Melbourne and other regions.
Maranoa Gardens was created when John Watson purchased 3.5 acres in 1901 and began his quest to establish a wildflower garden. He planted a diverse range of Australian and New Zealand native trees and shrubs which was an uncommon practice in the early 20th century when garden design was strongly influenced by European trends.
The former City of Camberwell purchased the garden in 1920 and continued planting Australian natives, while gradually removing all non-native plants.
In September 1926, Maranoa Gardens was formally opened to the public. The keen interest of early pioneers in Australian plants such as Charles French, Ernest Lord, Arthur Swaby, Ivo Hammet and Frederick Chapman helped to establish Maranoa Gardens as one of the oldest and largest displays of Australian plants in Victoria.
In 1962, the original gardens were doubled in size, by expanding east into Beckett Park. The variegated Lophostemon located near the Beckett Park gates was planted to mark the extension.
Development of the gardens has been ongoing but the intent of the garden has not altered. Maranoa Gardens continues to provide an extensive native botanic collection to acquaint visitors with the value of Australian vegetation.
Maranoa Gardens strives to maintain the highest quality, environmentally sustainable landscape practices possible and is designed and managed to:
- minimise the use of water
- minimise the use of harmful chemicals
- enhance the opportunity for biodiversity
- avoid the disruption of natural systems
- avoid the use of locally invasive plants.
Maranoa Gardens is designed around a main circuit path that leads visitors through a number of zones. Each zone represents communities of plants that are associated with a particular combination of geology, land form, soil and climate. Individual displays are designed using a variety of soil types, mulches, irrigation and existing tree canopy to create a microclimate where plants from other climatic conditions will survive.
Zones represented include:
- cottage garden
- dry sclerophyll forest
- arid zone
- temperate woodland/heathland
- Indigenous display.
A brief description of each zone is provided on signs located around the garden to help you interpret and enjoy your visit.
Within the garden, individual plants are labelled to assist you to identify those that you might like to investigate further.
The gardens are open:
- Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 4pm
- Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 12 noon to 5pm; but closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.