Cloudehill gardens will inspire, delight, and capture the imagination of nearly everyone that steps through the gate.
These formal gardens look sensational at the moment with large bursts of bright summer flowers on display, but come mid-late autumn the level of magnificence goes up another level, when the colours of the trees explode into various shades of reds, yellows and oranges.
There's nothing I love more than taking the kids for a day trip to the Dandenong Ranges for a picnic and a stroll through the gardens, especially when the autumn trees are at their finest, or in spring, when the bulbs are blooming and the azaleas and rhododendrons have masses of pretty flowers.
Walking through the formal gardens at Cloudehill is a delight that even our children enjoy. We find 'secret paths' that zigzag through the forest at the bottom of the garden; they play 'group leader' following directions on the map given out at the entrance, and are always on the lookout for what's ready to pick in the kitchen garden.
Cloudehill has a long gardening history that started way back in 1917 when Ted Woolrich established one of the Dandenong Ranges first nurseries on the site. Now, the nursery and garden is operated by the Diggers group, and the garden is in magnificent form.
Although there is an entry fee for non-Diggers members, I tend to think of the $10 entry fee as a donation towards putting another plant in this stunning garden for everyone else to enjoy.
A 12 month membership however gets you free entry to all of the Diggers gardens (Heronswood, St Earth and Cloudehill), as well as seven gardening magazines, discounts on plants, seedlings and other products along with member only offers on plants and bulbs for $49.
If you haven't visited Cloudehill yet, then I recommend you put it on your list of gardens to visit next time you're in the Dandenong Ranges.
Open: Everyday 9am-5pm (except 24-26th Dec & Good Friday)
Phone: 03 97510584
Website:www.cloudehill.com.au Address: 89 Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda.
Garden entry: Free for Diggers members, $10 non-members, free for children under 16yo.