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  • Melbourne

The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden

The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Gardens is a garden in which children are encouraged to express themselves creatively by using their imagination and getting their hands dirty. The garden provides the opportunity for children and parents to play and discover the delight of plants in the natural world. Innovative education and visitor programs are constantly being developed for and delivered at the Children's Garden. With such a variety of plants to spark a child’s interest, their understanding is being fostered of the connections between plants, food and culture .


10am - Sunset, Wednesday to Sunday (Mondays, Tuesdays in term time – booked schools use only)
10am - Sunset, seven days per week during Victorian State School holidays
10am – Sunset all public holidays

*Mondays, Tuesdays in term time – booked schools use only
Each year the Children’s Garden takes a break in winter for regular maintenance and restoration for eight weeks following the end of July school holidays. Please check with the Visitor Centre for exact dates.

Best Viewed

  • Spring, Summer, Autumn


Correa glabra Evergreen flowering shrub, dark green foliage, elliptic (narrow oval) leaves, flowers pale green to green and pink or red.

Miscanthus sinensis Arching, graceful grass that forms dense clumps, can grow to over 1.5 metres high.  Various cultivars with attractive variegation exist.

Salvia elegans Ruby red flowers on tall stems, attractive  pineapple-scented  ovate leaves covered with fine hairs, grows to around 1.0 metre high.

Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Melbourne Gardens.

Key Plants

Banksia spinulosa Hairpin Banksia

This Banksia is native to Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Its height ranges from 1 – 3 meters with yellow or orange flower spikes up to 450 mm long. Parts of its flowers are hooked, hence its common name ‘Hairpin Banksia’. Banksia spinulosa is a reliable garden plant in a wide range of areas.

Brachychiton rupestris Queensland Bottle Tree

The Queensland Bottle Tree can reach 20 meters tall with a canopy of 12 meters wide. It is found in Queensland and New South Wales. Aboriginals carved holes into the bark to create reservoirs to hold water that the tree stores between the bark and trunk. They also use the seeds, roots, stems and bark as sources of food.

Corymbia ficifolia ‘Summertime’ – Red Flowering Gum

This is a grafted Red Flowering Gum Tree growing 9 meters tall and 4 meters wide. This tree has spectacular red flowers in Summer. It has dense green foliage with a smooth slender trunk. It is a feature tree and likes well drained soils in full sun.

Ginkgo biloba Maidenhair Tree

Native to East China, Ginkgo are very large deciduous trees reaching heights of 20–35 meters. Ginkgo are very long-lived with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old.
In autumn the leaves turn a bright yellow. The fan-shaped leaves resemble those of the Maidenhair fern giving rise to their common name.

Leptospermum laevigatum Coast Teatree

Coastal Teatree is a tall, bushy shrub growing up to 6 meters tall. Its leaves are grey-green. Its flowers are white to 1.5 cm in diameter occurring in spring or early summer. It is found in the coastal dunes of NSW, Vic, Tas and SA. It is a very hardy plant forming a good screen in most conditions.

Melaleuca quinqenervia Broad Leaved Paperbark

This paperbark is native to the East coast of New South Wales and Queensland. Often found along watercourses or in swamp conditions it grows 12 - 25 meters tall. The bark develops a multi-layered papery habit and can be easily peeled off. The flowers are short creamy white bottlebrush spikes occurring in autumn.

Prunus × yedoensis 'Yoshino Cherry'

This beautiful flowering cherry has white to pink flowers which occur in early spring before the leaves develop. Yoshino Cherry grows quickly to 6 meters but can grow to 12 meters with a spread of 10 meters when mature.

Curator Notes

  • The Kitchen Garden is living proof that a garden can thrive using sound organic garden principals.
  • Most of the grasses are ’cut back’ back annually toward the end of autumn to encourage healthy compact new growth over winter.
  • Vertical trellis and espalier has been used to optimize space to grow vines and fruiting trees.


  • 2002 - Planning for The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden began.
  • 2002 - Plant species lists developed.
  • 2002 - Nursery began propagating and sourcing stock.
  • 2004 - The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden was officially opened on 23th October.
  • 2005 - Tree Tower and Activity Shelter installed.