Dual open-days at The Quarry Garden last weekend attracted over 150 visitors to a green reformation of an abandoned quarry landscape.
Visitors from afar as Adelaide were granted an autumn afternoon in the stunning garden, which is quickly gaining popularity as one of those unique experiences in the tourist trail between The Twelve Apostles and Warrnambool.
The Quarry Garden is at 694 Hopkins Point Road, outside the town of Allansford and where owner-creator Paul Ryan has made a transformation of the old quarry site in just eight years.
Sustainably greening this landscape is Paul’s driving passion, and the majority of his time is spent working on his project.
“I love every facet of gardening,” Paul said.
“Mum encouraged me to garden when I was young, and it’s just something that stays with you.”
Paul mixes easily with visitors and there was plenty of free advice exchanged on the benefits of planting on limestone, which underpins Paul’s garden.The limestone is topped with a natural layer of clay – of red loam, with shallow and deep pockets which inspires and challenges landscape planning.
“I bring in mulch for the garden and let it sit for about six weeks, while it fills with potash,”
“This time allows the mulch to heat to about 65 degrees which kills off seed germination, before I spread the mulch,”
The mulch Paul uses is green waste from Warrnambool and suits Paul’s preference for sustainable recycling.
A man-made drain, deep in limestone runs alongside the old quarry site, but the garden is watered by a spring-fed dam Paul said.
“Watering is mostly up the top of the garden, for the cooling-down effect.”
Everything in The Quarry Garden has its own rationale and reflects Paul’s holistic philosophy.There is a natural synergy between native plants and the elements used to construct beds and pathways, which each have their own story.
Visitors often bring a picnic rug and relax at The Quarry Garden. Children are encouraged to explore the extensive garden.
Don’t expect glossy tourist pamphlets if you visit – the Quarry Garden is a full-time project where Paul prefers to be, if not on a well-earned surfing break.
Visiting days are not set in stone and word-of-mouth advertising keeps the parking-bays full.
Judging by the weekend’s delighted visitors there will be plenty lining up for the next Quarry Gardens open day.
How to Get There
1. Phone Paul Ryan on 0403 062 121 for open-day dates or guided tours or wait for the bush telegraph.
2.If your heading out of Warrnambool go east over the Hopkins River Bridge, stay on the Hopkins Point Road eastward until you hit the Tooram Road T-intersection ,and you will see the Quarry Garden on your right.
If you are coming from the Great Ocean Road the Quarry Garden is 17.4 km from the Nullawarre Fish and Chip Shop.
3.There is a gate-fee – at this time it is $10.
written by Jenny Williams Fawcett 23rd March 2014