Thursday, March 20, 2014

Garden visit to Coolart wetlands and homestead Mornington Peninsula Australia

 Coolart wetlands & homestead in the summer

Early this year I was lucky enough to take holidays at a small beach side town called Somers on the Mornington Peninsula. I've visited Somers several times in the past and on the drive into town always saw a sign labelled 'Coolart wetlands'. I used to think it was purely a nature reserve of sorts so I was pleasantly surprised to find an attractive and large garden there when I visited this year.

Coolart homestead and wetlands started out as a pastoral lease for the Meyrick brothers in 1839 (I wonder if that is the reason that a nearby town is called Merricks?). In 1895 it was purchased by Frederick  Grimwade for use as both farmland and a country retreat. In 1937 it was purchased by Tom Luxton and it was he who persuaded the state government to declare the estate a wildlife sanctuary. It was also at this time the garden was developed and many of the plantings still survive to this day. The state government took over management of the estate in 1996.

The gardens surrounding the impressively large manor contain several well established exotic trees. There are also several herbaceous borders, a rose garden and lots of hedging. The wetlands area is home to lots of wetland birds and there is also a woodland area that is home to the local Koalas. The interior of the house when I visited was very rundown. I could only get into a few rooms as all of the upstairs section was closed due to plaster falling from the ceiling and walls. There is also a herb garden and orchard on the estate. Entry is free and If you are in the area I would definitely recommend a visit. 

The large manor house in all its glory.

Orchard near the entrance

Fast growing wisteria crawling all over an archway.

View of the front lawn

One of the herbaceous beds. 

Good old dahlias in flower. 

A nice little pond area with bridge. An original small building in the background.

 The herb garden looked a bit dry. Then again it was summer so it was to be expected.

A European beech tree.

A golden ash tree. One of many exotics planted by the Luxtons.

Close up of lovely gingko biloba leaves.

The gingko in its entirety. Quite a large specimen.

Some sort of cedar tree.

Canna indica

Muehlenbeckia hedging. So popular in Melbourne.

Classic box hedging.

It was a really hot day when I was there. Shady areas like this were a godsend.

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