Digital Artist and Creative Writer
Despite the incredible rain that we are currently experiencing in Central Victoria (the most in 30 years) we shouldn’t become complacent as here in generally-low-rainfall-Bendigo it is not that long ago that we were experiencing severe water restrictions.
As such the Water wise Demonstration Garden, which was established in 1993 by the City of Greater Bendigo, with the help of Coliban Water and the Australian Open Garden Scheme is still a valuable resource for people planning gardens.
Now in the height of summer (admittedly a very mild one compared to the last few years) this garden is a colourful relaxing area that shows just what can be achieved with clever plant selection that takes into account the climatic conditions, soil type et al. The garden even includes some of my favourite plants – roses.
“The garden is not watered at all. During the drought we watered occasionally to maintain some plants but that’s all,” explained Anthony Sheean, Senior Environment Officer, City of Greater Bendigo. “Most of the plants growing in the garden are original plantings. We have done some supplementary planting over the years but the trees and large shrubs are all from the first planting. The water tank [which is attached to the roof of the small picnic shelter in the middle of the garden] is approximately 1000L capacity. It demonstrates the value of installing a rain water tank for a supplementary source of water for the garden.
“The roses are older varieties which tend to be very Water wise.
“The garden is 800 square metres in area, the average size of a residential allotment at the time the garden was constructed. It is maintained by the City of Greater Bendigo Parks and Natural Reserves Department”.
While there doesn’t seem to be any signage as to the names of the plants, advice for Water wise plants can be obtained from the publication ‘Smart Gardens for a Dry Climate’ which is available at council offices.
The Water wise Garden can be found at Strathdale Park (South East of Bendigo), McIvor Highway.