Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld

One of the perks of my job at the State Library of Victoria (well, think it’s a perk) is that I get to travel to across the state. A few weeks ago I was out west, visiting project sites in Colac and Hamilton. If I’d had my wits about me, I would have taken photos of the Botanic Gardens in Colac, where I had lunch, and the amazing roses blooming all over Hamilton.

It wasn’t until my return journey that I saw a garden so stunning, it reminded me to pull out my phone and take a few photos. My colleagues and I were driving through the town of Dunkeld, just south of the Grampians, and we stopped in the hope of having lunch at the Royal Mail Hotel. We were too early for lunch, but by then I didn’t care – I was too busy gasping at the plants growing outside.

This towering plant – fuzzy green leaves and huge bottlebrush-like stems – is, believe it or not, a grevillea. Grevillea magnifica subspecies magnifica, to be precise – so magnifica they had to say it twice. As soon as I manage to kill something off and create a space in my garden, I’m planting one of these.

It was obvious that the garden was designed by someone with a serious knowledge of Australian native plants. I’ve done a bit of Googling and come up with this blog post which credits Neil Marriott with planning and planting the design. Very, very nice work Neil. And thank you for including plant labels!

I freaked out the girl at reception by asking about the garden, bemused my colleagues by getting seriously excited over a grevillea, and probably caused some concern for hotel guests as I sneaked around having a squiz at the rest of the gardens.

My phone-photos don’t do it justice, but if you find yourself out that way, it’s worth stopping for.

See that little pebbly gap between the plants? That’s a pond. Gorgeous.

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