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Tasmania has more than its fair share of fine gardens. Libby Cameron takes us for an armchair ride.

With its mostly gentle, cool climate, Tasmania is a perfect place to indulge in the exquisite pleasure of early spring around the month of October. I have been lucky to have travelled to Tassie at most times of the year, and each season has its gardening thrills, but spring beguiles me... You can lose yourself in the extraordinary beauty of so many gardens, where trees are donning their mantles of green, that fresh, gorgeous renewal of life. In addition, Tassie is the best place in all of Australia to enjoy rare spring bulbs, and treasures from exotic places, as well as many Australian native beauties.

Spring show-offs

A visit to Table Cape on Bass Strait is sure to thrill – Van Diemen’s Bulbs have tulips in so many gorgeous colours growing right across the flat top of this amazing landform, with the lighthouse adding a unique backdrop to your photos. It’s Keukenhof without the long plane trip! Heading inland, more spring treasures are revealed.

Rare and delicate bulbs feature in the gardens at Kaydale (pictured top right, bottom left), lovingly tended by sisters, Lesley and Amarlie Crowdon. Here in spring, one encounters da—odils, trilliums, and a whole meadow of gorgeous fritillarias, a perfect wisteria arbour, and a pear walk of 27 espaliered trees that will be a mass of delicately perfumed blossom. Japanese maples, 75 of them, are at their delicate best right now in the woodland their parents created when they established the garden.

Rhododendrons are another spring show-o— – no more so than at the Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. This natural amphitheatre is a perfect place for the huge collection of rhododendrons of all colours and sizes to thrive under the care of a team of volunteers, and early spring is the best time to visit for the extraordinary show of flowers. It’s not only the rhododendrons that excite me, but also the delicate cherry blossom growing beside the lake they call The Sea of Japan. Of course, there is a Japanese tea house and bridge to enhance the mood!

The flowers may take the limelight in spring but the trees in Tassie gardens add to that beauty in their own way. South of Hobart, in the Huon Valley, I love to visit Crawleighwood Garden, where trees are the hero plants. Pav and Penny have turned three hectares of paddock into a wonderful garden and arboretum. When I visit, I rush to see the Huon Pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) and the small, pleated leaves appearing on their deciduous native beech trees, Nothofagus gunnii. Then to run my hands over the copper coloured, papery bark of their Tibetan Cherry (Prunus serrula). Their Japanese maples are especially beautiful, with their delicate filigree leaves that look so fragile.

After so many exotic treasures, it’s a joy to stop in at Inverawe Native Garden to take in the beauty of Australian native plants in early {feature} spring. If you’re lucky, it will be a good year for waratahs, and for the dainty mountain laurel (Anopterus glandulosus). While wandering through Bill and Margaret Chestnut’s large estate, enjoying the beautiful waterside location, you are bound to encounter a number of small native animals, and birds a’plenty, who come here to feast on the seeds and nectar that the plants provide.

Ross Garden Tours offers a "Tasmania in Springtime" tour. If you want to join the tour, please call the office on 1300 233 200 or go online.


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