Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Garden

Bee and I stumbled across this gem by chance.

We came out of our hibernation mode today and decided to venture out for a change of scenery.

I picked up a brochure of Mount Dandenong from the pile of visitor pamphlets lying on the floor of my bedroom, "This!"

Only because it was the nearest tourisy place I could find, and the brochure was on top of the pile. Haha.

We stepped out of the house at 2pm and were almost immediately put off by the weather. It was grey and gloomy, cold and wet, rainy and windy. What a shitty combo huh? Winter was just around the corner and it couldn't wait to show its true colours.

I wore my Paul Frank Julius monkey ears hoodie for the first time. It was a gift from Bee. He thought it was uber cute and couldn't stop playing with the monkey ears, then he said, "You look more like a little mouse, darling."

Geez, thanks! *Rolls eyes*

Alfred Nicolas Memorial Garden was only supposed to be a quick stop on our way to lunch, but we were instantly captured by its beauty the moment we laid eyes on the exquisite garden and forgot all about our growling stomachs.

Originally the grounds of Burnham Beeches, the country mansion of Alfred Nicholas, co-founder of Aspro formula and Nicholas Pharmaceutical Company, this 13-hectares site is now open daily for public. Story has it that a Scammel 3-ton truck, along with 150 trees, was imported from England in 1933 (during the Great Depression!) for Mr Nicholas to drive around the streets of Melbourne, buying mature European specimens from local residents and transporting them back to the garden. Such lavish display of the owner's vast wealth and his enthusiasm for landscaping.

Today, the garden still hints at an affluent past as part of the Burnham Beeches estate. The main walking trail takes you beneath a canopy of shady old trees and leads down a terraced slope to the ornamental lake.

A sigh escaped our lips when we saw the picturesque lake and quaint boathouse. Nothing prepared us for the jaw-dropping autumn foliage surrounding the lake. The richness of the colours on nature's palate was simply stunning!

The colourful foliage

Nature's palate of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens

The timber bridge festooned with wisteria

Bee and I both fell in love with the little island on the lake interconnected by wooden bridges, it was breathtakingly beautiful! Especially when the sun rays shone through the golden leaves onto the lawn of the islet, and the whole garden was so serene and calm.

It would have been the perfect venue for a small intimate garden wedding in autumn. To get married under the deciduous trees dotted around the lake and witnessed by closest family and friends, how romantic.

The picturesque island on the lake

Isn't that gorgeous?!

Gingko tree by the water

Golden leaves scattered over the surface of the lake

The boathouse was situated at the furthest corner of the garden. Its uniqueness made it a favourite subject for many photographers. In fact, a picture of the boathouse was on the cover of the visitor brochure for Mount Dandenong that we had in our hands.

Boathouse in the corner

Closer view of the boathouse

And an even closer view

After leaving the garden, we had a late lunch at the oh-so-famous Miss Marples Tea Room.

The service and ambience was great as usual, but Bee and I were too busy stuffing food into our mouths since we were among the last few customers in the restaurant. I had their popular Devonshire tea and scones; while Bee opted for the traditional English cottage beef pie. The Belgian waffles we had as dessert was sensational, though it could've been even better if we had time to slowly appreciate it.

English cottage pie (picture taken from the tea room's website)

My Devonshire tea and scones with jam and clotted cream

The yummy Belgian waffles with ice-cream and cream

Miss Marples Tea Room

A closer look

A sweet little garden and an old-styled afternoon tea, this was a great day.

4 left a petal:

cc said...

I can feel the serenity! Beautiful place!

MisSmall said...

Cc: Yeah the garden was so tranquil and stunning in autumn! Can't wait to see how it'd look like in spring! :)

hyperX said...

Where is this place? I wish to bring my girlfriend over there. Looks familiar, is it in Malaysia? (doesn't looks like)

MisSmall said...

HyperX: Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden is located at the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne. Sherbrooke, to be exact. If you click on the link in my post, it should take you to its website which has more details.