The Bushland Garden site is entirely underlain by Jurassic dolerite, an igneous intrusive rock which is abundant in south-east Tasmania and which produces brown clay-rich soils. The Display Gardens occupy about half a hectare, and have been developed on a gentle sunny slope facing SW, below the old quarry. This area was previously occupied by a large rock crusher, and the deep clay soils had been heavily compacted to almost rock hardness. After deep ripping and breaking up, however, and the addition of some sandy topsoil, sheep manure, compost and mulch, plant growth has been excellent for most species.

The Display Gardens were designed by Sib Corbett, who also designed the Tasmanian Section at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. The landscaping features many local rocks and logs, which give a naturalistic setting, and the gardens merge into the surrounding grassy woodland. Fencing has been necessary to keep out the wallabies and rabbits, but we are still looking for a solution to the determined echidnas which regularly manage to burrow under the fence!

Many of the dozen or so informally shaped display beds have been planted to simulate natural plant communities growing on dolerite in the south-east, some typical examples being She-Oak Groves, Native Grasslands, Rocky Dolerite Shrubberies, Dry Hillsides with Hop Bush, Riverine Floras, and Damp Dolerite Shrubberies. Other beds show Flowers of the Buckland-Orford area, Sandstone Floras, Granite Floras, and some of the Rare and Endangered Plants of eastern Tasmania. The Memorial Garden is an area for quiet reflection, and is landscaped with sandstone and some of the friends’ favourite plants. There is also a Frog Pond, with wetland plants - and many cheerful frogs – and several other dams. Overall, there are many hundreds of Tasmanian native plants to be seen and appreciated. The plant communities have explanatory signs, and most of the plants are labelled.  

The Buckland area is in the dry south-east of the state, and has an average annual rainfall (since 2000) of 616 mm, or 24 inches. Summers tend to be hot and dry, and there are frequent frosts during winter, so the plants need to be reasonably hardy.

The first plants go in - 2004 The early growth was encouraging - Jan 2005
The first plants go in - 2004 & The early growth was encouraging – Jan 2005 

The Sandstone Flora bed & Detail from the Granite Bed

The Memorial Garden