By now you’re probably familiar with the name of the botanical garden on the outskirts of Melbourne’s Fitzroy Hills: Florentine Gardens.
It’s been open for over 100 years, but it was only recently that we were given the chance to see what it looked like from the inside.
The botanical area is located on the south side of the hill and has a large collection of plants and animals.
Its also a major tourist attraction for tourists from across the country and beyond.
When the Victorian Government bought the estate in the mid-1980s, it made a big commitment to make it a national park.
But despite this, it took a decade to make any real progress.
The Florentines had a difficult time finding funding for a new site and they struggled to attract tourists, leading to the end of their long and successful garden life.
But in 2013, the Florentino Gardens Foundation took the baton, and was able to get the land re-leased and developed.
And now that it’s reopened, it’s a beautiful place to visit.
The garden itself has been a long time in the making, but in the early days it was very well preserved and tended by a local gardener, Michael Phelan.
“I was a gardener in the 1930s, I grew roses and lilies for my grandfather,” he said.
After Michael retired in the 1990s, the gardens estate was sold to the City of Melbourne in 2001.
When we arrived, we were immediately told that the site was not yet complete, and the site is now a protected area.
But with the city having been asked to help fund the redevelopment, the city has stepped up and now the entire area is being redeveloped.
“It’s been redeveloped to the extent that the gardens are now fully accessible to people and a new walkway is being built,” Mr Phelant said.
“There’s also an old wooden bridge that connects the site to the other buildings on the hill.”
So what does it take to make a garden in Melbourne’s inner city so unique?
You have to get creativeAnd when it comes to creating a garden you need to be careful not to replicate other gardens that are already well-established.
Florentines gardens are all about creating a sense of community.
Mr Phelon said the site needs to feel welcoming and welcoming makes it a great place to grow your own food and provide a safe environment for people.
“I’m going to be using a lot of native plants that are in the area, so I’m going into the garden to plant my own seeds and the trees are going to give me the ability to get a variety of things,” he explained.
For Mr Phellan, this is an exciting opportunity to grow new food, so he’ll be using his own herbs, wild flowers and herbs that he grew himself to create some of the most beautiful and unusual flowers you’ll see anywhere.
“The flowers are going in and out and I’ll be watering them with my own water,” he laughed.
We went to Florentin Gardens and saw a collection of species that would be hard to find anywhere else.
“They’ve got the little bluebells, they’ve got a variety and a variety.
They’ve got lilies, they’re all wild.
I’m hoping to plant some of those wild plants as well, and I think it’s going to provide a lovely environment for my friends and the garden will provide them with a place to spend their days.”
What do you think?
Have you been to FloreNTis gardens?
Let us know in the comments section below.