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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Emu Valley Rhododenendron Garden is a must any time of the year

Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden is promoted as “A Garden for all Seasons”, which means that at whatever time of year you visit, there is something beautiful to see.

There are over 24,000 rhododendrons here, but there is more to see. This is an award winning botanical garden with many different types of plants, in addition to the rhododendrons. The peak flowering season is between September to November and March to May.

Companion trees and plants thrive in the rich volcanic soil. Natural springs form a series of four lakes and waterfalls. Plants for Himalayas, China, Japan and North America grow here, as well as many hybrids.

It is rewarding to see plants from various countries around the world in one place. This 11 ha (24 acre) garden is many different gardens in one. The area is divided into countries of the world, with trees and companion plants well labelled for easy identification.

Structures relating to the country of origin have also been built after suggestions from volunteers. The most popular are the North American and the Japanese gardens. In fact, there are even organised Japanese tea ceremonies held here twice a year.

There are also walking tracks, bridges and gazebos to enjoy.

From the original land, native blackwoods have been left and they form a sheltered environment for other plants. All flowers are grown outside here, with many original species found here. In some countries, original species are not replaced when land clearing occurs. The goal here is to retain these flowers and they have created a plant museum. There are also opportunities for hybridisation.

For anyone not up to the trek around the gardens, or if they want a quicker visit, a mobility assistance service is available for a small fee. I went on one of these golf cart drives and my volunteer driver kept the passengers both entertained and educated with his excellent narration. He was very knowledgeable about the garden and enjoyed the boost in self confidence it gave him when sharing with others.

What did I like most about it… the peacefulness and tranquility. The colours are spectacular, the scents are nature’s perfume. Listening closely I could hear the birds chattering away.

Platypus live here and visitors can almost always see them in the lakes. Echidnas can also be spotted at times. This is a tranquil place, the quiet only broken by the delightful sounds of bird life. It was a joy to see the many Rufus warblers and the vibrant blues of the fairy wrens.

A perfect garden is one that encompasses beauty in every season and this one is perfect.

December, January and February (the summer months), the garden is lush and green.

In March, April and May the autumn colours and an abundance of colourful maples celebrates autumn.

The bare winter trees in June, July and August create a hush as the mist forms over the garden.

Come Spring in September, October and November, the colours abound with great delight and present a visual feast for the eyes.

Most of the maintenance and planting here has been done by volunteers, and there is ALWAYS something for them to do here.

A sculpture festival is held annually, and previous winning designs can be seen nestled amongst the plants in the gardens and grounds.

Man ferns love the trickling water and grow in abundance here. Walking through the ferns, you can feel the temperature drop immediately.

There are less than 100 adult Wollemi pine trees in the world, so it was wonderful to be able to see this healthy and tall adult plant in the garden. This pine was around when the dinosaurs walked the earth, it is one of the world’s rarest and oldest plants.

Surplus plants are available for sale near the car park. It is great that you can see the full sized plants when buying the smaller ones. You know exactly what they will grow to be like.

There is plenty of parking available for motorhomes and caravans.

A tearoom and gift shop is located near the carpark. With large glass windows overlooking one of the gardens lakes, this is a great view when enjoying afternoon tea. The giftshop is full of Australian gifts and souveniers.

I loved the serenity, peacefulness and calm of the gardens and suggest that one visit is never enough!

Situated 8kms from Burnie at 55 Breffny Road, Romaine, the gardens are open 9am – 5pm daily, except Christmas Day and Good Friday. Entry fees apply.

Happy Travels!

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Claudia L.I. Stern
Claudia L.I. Stern
22 Mar 2022

Oh my, I could just live there and never get bored

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