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Fern Gully project update

Progress continues on the redevelopment of Fern Gully, with all three sections of new steel boardwalks and bridges now complete.

All the major steel elements have been installed and finishing touches are currently being applied to bridge timbers, handrails, grating, and seating.

Asphalting and culvert works will begin in early February and the Horticulture team will begin planting, mulching and irrigation works in late March ahead of the scheduled opening in April.

The planting phase will see over 2,000 plants added to the area including 1,500 ferns such as Doodia aspera, Asplenium bulbiferum, Asplenium oblongifolium (native to New Zealand), Microsorum pustulatum subsp. pustulatum, and Woodwardia unigemmata (native to South East Asia). These plants have been selected for their suitability to the area, elegant foliage, and hardiness.

The Horticulture team will be assisted by generous donors and supporters of the project - including the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Inc., members of the Director’s Circle, and private donors and supporters - for several special ‘thank you’ planting days in April.

Project Manager James Robinson explains that the mass planting, combined with the flowing streams, will add a new dimension to the area.

“Once they’re established, the new plants will almost hide the boardwalk and it will look and feel as though you’re floating on the canopy,” he said.

“The rustic timber seats are a great addition - we’ve not had seating in Fern Gully before – and relaxing to the sounds of the bubbling stream below the bridges is just magic.”

The two central paths in Fern Gully, which run from east to west, remain open to visitors so be sure to stop by on your next visit to Melbourne Gardens.

Additional donations are being sought for Stages 2 and 3 of the project which include the restoration of the Fern Gully Rest House and development of a health and wellbeing garden. If you’d like to assist, please contact the Development branch on (03) 9252 2383.