Lying between Gardens House and the Ornamental Lake, the Perennial Border is a modern take on the old English cottage garden. A half-moon path sweeps the visitor along a sumptuous display of colour, form and texture, with plants selected so that the display shifts in hue and focus from season to season. From a distance, this glorious span catches the eye, and up close the finer details of these wonderful specimens invites unhurried inspection.
The Collection is important as it:
- Demonstrates a range of perennial plants that display colour, form and texture through foliage and flowering for a sustained display period.
- Highlights a diversity of perennial species suited to Melbourne's current and predicted future climate.
- Uses large and repeated drifts of plants to demonstrate the design concepts of scale and rhythm and provide an ornamental foreground for the historical Gardens House.
Eucomis comosa (Purple Form)
Soft Leaved Yucca
Dargan Hill Monarch
<em>Eucomis comosa</em> (Purple Form)
A beautiful perennial both for its foliage and flowers, it is endemic to the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Emerging from a large bulb, the broad, purple tinged pineapple-like leaves are accompanied by a striking tall flower spike in mid to late summer with a distinctive scent.
Notes from the Curator
Taking care of the Perennial Collection is very rewarding. The seasonality of the plants is a real highlight. From the new shoots and Salvia blooms that emerge in spring, to the bold warm flower colours displayed in summer, when the border is at its peak, through to the more structural appearance in autumn as perennial grasses mature and their feathery foliage is particularly attractive.
With the display continually changing, repeat visits at different times of the year are recommended! Keep an eye out for new species as we regularly update the planting palette. This year Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthus sp.) are being trialled as a distinctively Australian if somewhat unconventional element in the border. As a curator most of the hard work occurs in winter when many plants are cut down, tidied up and regularly divided to maintain vigour and generate new plants.