Contrasting gardens open for weekend

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OPEN for inspection: Gardens at L’Oceane, Rye (above) and Moats Corner, Dromana (below) will be open to the public over the weekend 9 and 10 November. Pictures: Supplied

TWO different Mornington Peninsula gardens will open their gates to the public for one weekend next month.

L’Oceane at Rye contrasts with Moats Corner, garden inland from Dromana that has evolved over the past 70 years.

Open Gardens Victoria chair Liz Fazio describes Moat’s Corner as “a real treat … a six-acre country styled garden with a modern twist”.

“The original garden features winding paths leading to an ornamental lake and various garden rooms, including more than 400 roses,” Ms Fazio said.

“The newly built award-winning residence floats above a contemporary succulent and cacti garden created by Colin Hyett.”

Named after the Moat brothers who settled in Dromana in the 1860s, the garden was established from 1950 by Jean Duncan, who was inspired “from all corners of the world”.

“Today it is a wonderful mix of old and new, with a driveway entrance lined with towering and sculpted Cypress trees planted by the Moat brothers 145 years ago,” Ms Fazio said.

“From here, this happily rambling and dreamy garden leads you via a series of paths that weave under pergolas, arches, arbours and gazebos into fascinating garden rooms – all set around an award-winning architect-designed house which gives the impression it is floating off the ground.”

There is a rose garden, a Japanese-style garden and an ornamental lake fringed with yellow water iris inspired by the gardens of Monet.

Ms Fazio said landscape designer Phillip Withers¬ had brought “new life” to the native garden. Colin Hyett installed the sandy area of garden closer to the house with succulents, cacti and bottle trees.

In contrast, L’Oceane, at Rye is “a tranquil seaside garden gem nestled in the sand dunes”.

“This garden echoes the nearby coastline with twisted trunks of moonah trees and beachy plantings lining sandy paths to outdoor seating,” Ms Fazio said. “Marine artefacts and old pier timbers lend a sense of age and authenticity to this coastal garden.”

The garden is on a 900-square-metre sloping site with unstable sand dunes for “soil – held together by gnarly tea trees”.

“Today, hundreds of local indigenous and native plants have been planted to stabilise the sand and suppress weed growth – but this is far more than a revegetation project,” Ms Fazio said.

“Inspired by walks along the clifftops of Rye back beach, the owners have created sandy winding paths through the now sculptural twisted trunks of the tea trees, mature stands of moonah and sheoaks. Beneath the trees, native grasses contrast against the clipped spheres of coastal rosemary while native creeping pig face cascades over greyed timber retaining walls.

“Old pier timbers are used for relaxed bench seating, up-cycled water tanks are used to store firewood, twisted old shipping ropes line the front retaining walls and old steel is juxtaposed against lush green plants.

“The owners have also blended a number of much-loved European plants such as echiums and clipped teucrium with a few deciduous trees such as ginkgo, claret ash and coral bark maple placed at the back of the property for their autumn foliage.”

Moat’s Corner is at 415 White Hill Road, Dromana and  L’Oceane, 8 Chenier Street, Rye.

Both gardens are open to the public 10am-4.30pm Saturday 9 November and Sunday 10 November.

Refreshments will be available at both gardens, which are a 30-minute drive from each other. Entry to Moats Corner is $10, L’Oceane $8 (under-18 free).

First published in the Mornington News – 5 November 2019

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