Strolling around Panorama Garden Estate it’s hard to believe the property was originally a cattle property – home to green pastures and a tin shed.
After purchasing the land Nick Smith thought he would like to “build some gardens” . Little did he know where that plan would lead.
Today, 20 years later, the 22 hectare Panorama Gardens on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula features 10 hectares of 19 distinct garden areas. There are over 20,000 plants and more than 8000 tonnes of rock.
Nick imagined and created each garden area over time.
“Even before I finished the last garden pictures of a new area would come into my mind,” he explained.
“I then built the new garden from those pictures; I’ve never worked from a written plan.”
As a result there are gardens of all shapes and sizes with an equally varied selection of plants. There are roses, vegetables, bushes and trees of all sorts.
Some of the garden areas are smallish, while others required major works. The 1.6 hectare crater garden, for example, features more than 3,000 tonnes of rock. A fern garden, complete with a stream, was another major undertaking. Over 2000 ferns have been introduced to create a Rainforest environment.
A number of attractive statues are scattered around the property and more are on their way.
The property is also a wildlife refuge and as such is home to kangaroos, including rare albinos and wallabies. A few other paddocks are used for grazing cattle. Other farm wildlife includes geese, ducks, alpacas, a pig and sheep.
Nick’s partner Annemaree knows all the animals by name, having hand reared a number including a very hungry lamb! As she explains Nick looks after the flora, while she tends to the fauna.
That’s one of the joys of a visit to Panorama Gardens – it’s more than just impressive, picturesque gardens. It’s Nick and Annemaree’s home – they do most of the gardening and maintenance as well as looking after the livestock.
They take time to sit on the many seats around the property and appreciate the gardens and the magnificent views over Bass Strait and Port Philip Bay, just as their visitors are welcome to do.
At this stage Panorama Gardens is only accessible via an organised tour as it doesn’t have a permit for car access. However work is underway to change this and anyone interested in visiting should register via the website. At the same time the tour currently on offer provides a great introduction to the Mornington Peninsula.Departing from Melbourne it includes up to three hours at the gardens, wine tasting at a local winery, lunch and a visit to Flinders township and Sunny Ridge Strawberry farm.
Jenny Burns attended Panorama Garden Estate as a guest of the property.
Visit travelswithjb/gardens for more reviews and stories about gardens.