12 MUST SEE NURSERIES FOR GARDEN AND PLANT LOVERS
One of my favourite things about living in the hills of the Dandenongs are the amazing plants that grow and thrive here. I feel privileged that I get to photograph families in the forests and gardens of the area and am often asked questions by clients about the flowers, shrubs and trees we see and where they can be purchased. Many of the nurseries here in the Dandenongs are wholesale only and it can be confusing which is why I have compiled this guide to my 12 favourite Dandenongs nurseries that offer retail sales to the public.
1. Paddys Plants
103 Main Road, Monbulk
Open Tuesday-Sunday, closed on Mondays
Paddys Plants is a small family owned nursery that sells to both wholesale and retail customers. Whilst it is compact in size the customer service is outstanding and Matt and his family are always willing to share their knowledge with novices and green thumbs alike. The nursery produces 80,000 plants per year and always has a colourful and cheerful roadside display out front. Paddy's specialise in tough and hardy vibrant cottage garden plants. Their philosophy is to keep it simple and focus on providing quality plants at affordable prices.
365 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras
Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm
Chojo is situated right in the heart of Sassafras, next door to Proserpina Bakehouse and across the road from Tea Leaves and the well known Miss Marples. Chojo truly is a niche nursery specialising in all things bonsai from pots and tools to wire, books and more. For those without the skills or the time to maintain their bonsai Chojo offer pruning, wiring, potting and care of your miniature and pick up and delivery can be arranged across Melbourne. And if you want to learn this art Chojo offer both private and group lessons.
1190-1192 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Kalorama
Open Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday-Sunday 1pm-4pm, closed on Mondays
Karwarra is a 5 acre public garden planted exclusively with native plants. It is owned and operated by Yarra Ranges Council with the support of a 'Friends of Karwarra' group. It is well signed and has a well stocked plant nursery at the entrance.
4. Wishing Well
407 Monbulk Road, Silvan
Open 7 day per week 9am-5pm
Wishing Well is a large nursery on the road between Monbulk and Mount Evelyn, at Silvan. It stocks an incredible range of ceramic pots and indoor plants across a number of igloos and green houses. These offerings make it the perfect place to shop for gift plants. In Autumn its range of maples are impressive and it also offers fruit trees, rhododendrons, azaleas, natives and ferns.
5. Emerald Gardens
77A Emerald-Monbulk Road, Emerald
Open Monday-Friday 9:30am-4:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:30-4pm
Emerald Gardens Nursery is an 8 acre family owned plant farm. Their offerings include maples, ornamental pears, weeping cherries, fruit trees and hedging plants. They also have a wide range of the hills famous azaleas, camellias and conifers as well as seedlings, herbs, grasses, natives and ground covers. Emerald Gardens is one of the most diverse nurseries in the hills.
6. Forest Edge Permaculture
74 Monbulk Road, Kallista
Open Thursday-Sunday 10am-4pm
Forest Edge is situated on the edge of the roundabout at Kallista, right opposite one of my favourite hills stores Epoche. Forest Edge has a range of edible, medicinal and pollinator plants including organically grown vegetable seedlings and other useful plants. The nursery runs workshops on weekends with everything from incense burning to mushroom foraging on offer.
119 York Road, Mount Evelyn
Open 7 days per week 8:30-5pm
Kuranga is one of the larger and more impressive native nurseries in the Dandenongs. It specialises in native plants with the largest range in Australia with 3.500 species being produced. Kuranga supply retail customers along with commercial projects, botanic gardens and zoos. In addition to their native offers Kuranga produce tube stock of indigenous plants from the Greater Melbourne area. WIth a gift store and cafe on site it is amazing how long you can spend here, taking it all in.
8. Diggers at Cloudehill
89 Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda
Open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-5pm
Diggers is the nursery component and garden shop at Cloudehill Gardens which covers 5 acres and is a formal cool climate garden. Diggers offers a range of plants and is best known for its signature heirloom seeds and cottage flowers. Entry to the nursery and shop are free and the garden costs $10 to visit. Also located on site is Seasons Restaurant which is open 7 days per week and offers views over the nursery and gardens.
9. Conifer Gardens
254 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Ferny Creek
Open 7 days per week 9am-4:30pm
In Autumn Conifer Gardens offers one of my favourite collections of plantings on its corner block. As you drive up into the hills, the colours on the corner opposite the national park are simply spectacular. It is a third generation family run nursery offering 600 varieties of conifers, from miniatures to the largest and fastest growing varieties. They also stock maples, magnolias, liliacs, rhododendrons and dogwoods.
10. Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery
271 Mount Moton Road, Belgrave Heights
Open Tuesday 9am-3:30pm, Friday 9am-1pm, Sunday 9am-12pm
Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery is a not for profit community nursery which was founded in 1995. Memberships are available which entitle you to a discount on retail plant prices and members volunteer at the nursery. The nursery stocks a range of indigenous native plants including trees, shrubs, ground covers, ferns and wetland aquatic plants. SDCN also sell plant and weed identification guides and native animal habitat boxes.
138 Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda
Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-5pm, closed on Tuesdays
Gentiana propagate most of their stock on site without the use of chemicals. Gentiana select plants, not for their appearance in the nursery before being sold, but rather for their ability to be robust out of the pot and in your garden. Located just around the corner from the little visited Pirianda Gardens, Gentiana is the nursery for unique species.
12. Newstead Roses
387 Monbulk Road, Monbulk
Open 7 day per week October-March, and Tuesday-Sunday April-September
Another niche nursery Newstead Roses is the largest retailer of garden roses in Melbourne. Owned by a husband and wife team, Henk is a fifth generation rose grower. Newstead currently offer over 350 varietites of roses and being specialised in one species they can provide expert advice and guidance on the care and maintenance of these beauties.
Natives and indigenous plants: start at the southern end of the hills at Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery before heading to Karwarra and then onto Kuranga where you can finish your visit with a cuppa of something to eat at the Paperbark Cafe.
Cottage gardens: start at Cloudehill in Olinda then head just down the road to Gentiana before looping around to Wishing Well and Paddys Plants before finishing at Emerald Gardens.
Specialty plants: begin Kallista's Forest Edge before driving past the famous gardens at Sherbrooke to Conifer Gardens in Ferny Creek before driving up to Chojo at Sassafras where you can grab a bakery treat at Proserpina to fuel you on before heading onto Newstead Roses.
If you have children in tow I suggest checking out these great nature play spots and public gardens, as described through the eyes of my 6 year old daughter and if they still have energy to burn I highly recommend a pitstop at Olinda Playspace.