Thursday, April 25, 2024

Ballarat unveils new botanical gardens growth

City of Ballarat Council has reopened the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery following the completion of significant landscaping works.

Mayor, Des Hudson and Member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison, joined the Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens and the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation on the first day of the Ballarat Begonia Festival to mark the official opening of the landscaping project.

The Mayor said the fernery is now a spectacular gallery for hundreds of ferns, including a large Elk Horn fern, and plant chandeliers.

“As one of a few examples in this state of a grand Victorian plant house, the fernery is an exceptional experience that is sure to delight visitors and residents to our spectacular Ballarat Botanical Gardens for many generations to come,” he said.

“The fernery is now testament to Ballarat’s standing as a unique garden destination thanks to an incredible partnership with the State Government, Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens and the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation.”

The landscaping features a new entrance to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens from Wendouree Parade, as part of a fernery forecourt designed around the Claxton Fountain.

Inspired by 19th Century garden design, the forecourt features paving patterned in the shape of fern frond leaves with timber and bluestone seats.

Landscaping at the rear of the structure connects the fernery and the rest of the gardens.

Andrea Proctor Landscapes completed the landscaping designs and AQL Landscape Design delivered the landscaping.

The delivery of the fernery project was funded by the City of Ballarat ($340,000), the State Government ($150,000 from Growing Victoria’s Botanic Gardens Grant Program), the Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens ($200,000) and Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation ($50,000).

The fernery is one of only a few examples in the state of a grand Victorian plant house. The steel framed replica of the original 1884 Gothic-inspired fernery entrance was completed in 2021.

Ms Addison said the Ballarat Botanical Gardens was a much-loved community asset.  

“The new fernery will be another drawcard for locals and visitors to enjoy,” she said.

Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens Immediate Past President, Terry O’Brien said the fernery was a significant addition to the gardens to be enjoyed and celebrated.

“Anyone who has bought the plants on sale by the Friends have contributed to the funds built up over time to allow the Friends to make a sizeable contribution of $200,000 to the fernery,” he said.  

“This fernery achieved by partnerships is part of the continuing story of progress to make our Ballarat Botanical Gardens an outstanding one.  

“The gardens draw visitors to Ballarat and the Ballarat community is well connected to it in so many different ways and take pride in this Ballarat icon.”

Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation Chairman, Mark Schultz said the Foundation was delighted to support the project with a $50,000 contribution.  

“The Foundation was pleased to be able to contribute to this project and bring to life this iconic building within our world class Botanical Gardens,” he said.

“The Foundation provides an opportunity for the citizens of Ballarat to make a contribution (tax deductible) to ongoing maintenance and development of our gardens for the enjoyment of everyone in our community.” 

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