St Erth Garden – Part 1

Saturday was a great day for a morning trip, and both Kim and I had been looking forward to getting out of the house all week. I was in the mind that I didn’t really care how long it took to get there and how many stops we needed to make, we were going to make it with minimal fuss and pain.

The trip was a lot shorter than we thought, and was only about 30 km from home. Blackwood, where the St Erth Garden is situated, is in the centre of the Wombat State Forest, and is in a very beautiful part of the country. The forest had been burnt out about 5-6 years ago, but even though the tree trunks were black, most had grown back, but what amazed us the most was that there was not many ferns or undergrowth that had grown back. Maybe that is a good thing?

Anyway, when we arrived, we pulled up next to an elderly couple who asked us if we were going on the hike. We looked at each other, and I replied that we were just going to have a look at the garden. Apparently, there was a group hike organised for the John Chan track into the forest. I don’t think that Kim, Ben and I would have made it to the first kilometre, let alone the entire hike. We all walked away from the car park and this is the first thing we saw (other than the hikers).

Absolutely beautiful. All that waste to the bottom left was picked up about 10 minutes later by one of the gardeners. As we proceeded to the entrance, we passed some plant tables that Kim whisked me past.
There were about 5 rows of seedling tables from ornamental, natives, to fruit and vegetables. I could have spent just an hour looking at all that stuff before we even went into the garden!
We entered via the little miners cottage that serves as the store and main entrance to the rest of the garden. The staff were friendly and I showed my Diggers members card and coughed up the $10 for Kim. Ben got in for free. We received a map to the grounds, and departed via this lovely doorway.
Down the path and around to the right, at the bottom of the steps to the espalier fruit tree garden we spied this sundial.
It was about half an hour fast, but how can you change it. Ha.
Up more steps and this is what we saw. Fruit trees by the dozen, all espaliered to fit in as many as possible in a small space.

This one is a Cox Orange Pippin. I have one of these in my front yard orchard. Here is a shot of me attempting to suck in my belly in front of a pear tree!

After walking up each row, and trying to avoid all the kangaroo poo, we got to the veggie patches that were all covered with netting. I think the native wildlife might like to have a nibble on their greens, so they have to protect them. But on the way there were moss covered trees.

There were daffodils,

and other flowers that Kim just had to stop and take pictures of. I don’t blame her, they were nice.

So, back to the veggie patches. Here they are finally. Well composted with a rich home made compost and well mulched beds, and paths ready for the soon to be warmer weather.

Garlic in the first bed (mine are bigger!),

curly kale in the second bed (I think),

broad beans in the third, both crimson and aquadulce.

Then a nice patch of garlic chives, which I sampled. Very garlicy! The last row had salad greens, lettuce, mustard greens, mizuna and some rainbow chard.

That was the end of the well protected veggie patch. Up the hill now to the berry patch.

Raspberry canes, still dormant,

juniper berries,

There were many others, but right at the very end was the rhubarb. Kim and I both started to think of apple and rhubarb crumble, and will plant some next chance we get.

That was basically the end of the edible garden, except for some herbs, but because these photos are taking forever to upload on this slow collection, I will show two more photos, and do a part 2 tomorrow.

This massive tree dominated the edible section of the garden with its delicate pink blossom. It was captivating.

And, alas, we stumbled upon Bill and Ben’s final resting place among the succulents. It looked like a nasty accident. I do hope it was painless.

I will finish off part two tomorrow evening. Thanks to Kim for the wonderful photos. Stay tuned!


  1. says

    @ Anke. It was a breath of fresh air to be out of the house.

    @ Belinda. It is such a beautiful part of Victoria. The spring festival is on there in two weekends, but it cost $55 for a lunch and a chat by David Holmgren, which might be worth it! And thanks for the tip on the greens. I really had no idea what it was. I might give it a go next year but only 1 or 2 plants. The kids definitely wouldn’t eat it.

    @ Aimee. Yes, and wait until I post the rest of the pictures. It was good to be able to get about a little better!

    @ Chookie, It is a shame that there are not Diggers centres in other states. There should be, just to show members what type of plants grow best in which climate.


  2. says

    I am so jealous — I have Diggers membership too, but I’m a bit far away to visit their gardens! I’ve grown the Red Mustard — it’s a tough and beautiful plant in a winter vegie patch, but its culinary uses are a bit limited (especially with younger kids in the household).

  3. says

    Wow what a lovely park. Thanks for the photos. I’m glad you had a nice day there and are feeling well enough to get out and amble about.

  4. says

    Hi Gav,

    I love St Erth too, it really is a wonderful place to visit. I generally go up there at least once a year, generally in March (cause that’s my birthday and I am allowed to make outrageous claim to my husband’s time that day)

    Just in case you are interested that second bed that you said you thought was kale is actually a Leaf Mustard variety called Giant Red. If you had picked some leaf and tasted it you would have become a whole lot more aware of your tongue in a very short time. Personally I love the stuff but first time tasters often get a rather large shock at it’s level of assertiveness.

    Kind Regards

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