|A disused quarry provides a home for the Tasmanian Bushland Garden near Buckland|
Getting to the Tasmanian Bushland Gardens takes longer – around 55 minutes from Hobart via the A3 according to my GPS - and much longer if you stop to pick your own strawberries as I did, but entry is free and it’s a lovely rest stop if you happen to be heading up or down the East Coast.
Officially opened in 2010 and set in a former quarry this 20 hectare garden was established by volunteers aided by donations from various organisations, to preserve typical East Coast species. Much of the original vegetation has already been lost due to clearing, grazing, forestry activity and other forms of "progress."
|I especially liked that plants were not shown in isolation but together with other species with which they commonly occur|
Although I had probably missed the peak flowering season, this garden was nicely laid out according to different kinds of plant communities – e.g. those which grow on granite, those which grow on sandstone, the grasslands, the marshes and so on, just as you might find them in nature. There is also a bush tucker section and one devoted to Tasmania’s rare and endemic species of which around 30 are critically endangered. The idea is to show people how attractive our native flora can be so that should conservation in their natural habitat fail – through fire, development, global warming or some other catastrophe, some may yet survive in dispersed locations such as domestic gardens.
|A young girl studies the pond life at the base of a waterfall|
|The Gondwana connection is highlighted by the presence of this dinosaur. The dolerite stones behind it are 170 million years old and, though found in Antarctica and South Africa, they are not found in mainland Australia|
There are information panels about the plants - on the history of the gardens, and on the geology, dotted around the walls of the shelter and on the garden beds themselves. As with Inverawe, some sculptures also adorn this garden, but here the use of recycled materials and subtle weathering allows them to blend in more easily. Other amenities include seating, a children’s playground, two ponds, toilets and a barbecue. It also has walks and a memorial garden dedicated to those who have contributed to our knowledge and appreciation of native plants. It is an altogether pleasant and peaceful place and the fact that it has a wider purpose and embodies a spirit of community, adds to its appeal.
|A Tasmanian tiger lurks near the Playground|