The Burnley Campus of the University of Melbourne, formerly Burnley Horticultural College, is a heritage-listed wonderland, known for its 19th century gardens and home to globally recognised modern urban horticultural research. Sandra McMahon's redesign of the plantings fronting Swan Street and in the Colour Spectrum Garden on the rock embankments descending into the Campus, have reinvigorated this high profile site.
Where for many years bamboo ran rampant, stylish plantings of Southern Hemisphere plants - both Australian natives and South African - now create great impact on this high profile site.
All too often we turn to cold climate, northern hemisphere plants for flowering impact in our gardens, forgetting that so many plants of Southern Hemisphere origin are stunning in Winter as well as during other seasons.
Along the Swan Street frontage of the Burnley Campus, Australian native plants such as Westringia varieties, Rhaghodia spinescens and a few tough Mediterranean species are clipped to great effect, forming the structural elements of this garden.
Planted within this structure are Southern Hemisphere flowering plants including numerous Aloe varieties and Kniphofias from Southern Africa, Australian Grevilleas, Alyogynes, Wattles, Correas, Leptospermums among others, which add year-round colour and seasonal change.
On the old rock tiers descending southwards into the Campus itself, is the new COLOUR SPECTRUM GARDEN. Here the plantings, when viewed from below, run from left to right through the colour spectrum: purple, red, orange, yellow, green, blue.
These plantings are designed to be informative to the public, and to provide year-round interest. Colour is not only exhibited in the flowers but also in leaves, berries and other attributes of the plants. (More images to come!)