Located on Hacketts Road, Olinda is the quiet and unassuming Pirianda Gardens. We have not visited this site before and had not even heard of it, even though we must have driven past this road 100s of times before. It is right near the RJ Hamer Arboretum, which is the easy way in on this dirt track. We accessed it via the 4WD Drive end of the track, I guess it’s this access that keeps many people away. It is a lovely little spot and much quieter than other gardens in the Dandenongs, it must have been truly spectacular a few weeks ago in full Autumn Colour.
At the turn of the century, the original forest at Pirianda was selected for settlement, with the exception of tree ferns and Blackwood in the fern gully, it was almost totally cleared. In 1911 the property was purchased by Mr Thomas Crook who planted several exotic trees including hybrid rhododendrons and seven Copper Beech situated on the slope below the present house site. Later the land was sub-divided and leased for carrot and potato production.
Harvey and Gillian Ansell bought Pirianda in 1959. By this time the property consisted of 23 acres. A further 5 acres were added some years later. The Ansell family gradually removed bracken and blackberries so that work could begin on the garden. With a great deal of imagination and hard work, the aim of a perfect balance between exotic plantings and beautiful native rainforest species, became a reality. On their annual overseas holidays the Ansells always sought out new and unusual plants which they imported and displayed at Pirianda. The Aboriginal word Pirianda is believed to mean “sufficient” or “enough”. This garden treasure was generously donated to the State Government of Victoria in 1977. Parks Victoria commenced management of Pirianda Garden in 1995.
~ Parks Victoria
It was quite late in the day when we arrived and already getting a little chilly, dog walkers everywhere, this little patch of the Dandenongs seems to be only visited by a few locals, I have no idea why we have never visited before and we must come back again.
So many strange and exotic plants, sadly we are too late and many have lost all their leaves. We always seem to be travelling at the height of Autumn in Victoria, and continually seem to miss it. But we take what we can get, and Pirianda Garden was lovely, there does not seem to be a lake or creek as some of the other gardens have, but still a very pretty spot.