News & Events

Garden master plan on the way

February 20, 2017


Horticulturalists from Melbourne’s renowned Botanic Gardens have been part of the early stages of a Master Plan development for OCAV’s Rushall Park village gardens.  Garden staff visited Rushall Park gardens late last year, inspecting many of the 1154 roses and trees of significance and providing advice on the master plan which will lay down the vision for the garden for the next decade or longer.


Several of OCAV’s village gardens are coming under the microscope this year in a bid to ensure the gardens are maintained and improved. An audit of Leith Park’s 400 native trees in St Helena will be done and the building of a large edible garden at Euroa’s Currie Park village is almost finished and ready for autumn planting.


“Gardens form an integral part of the safe, peaceful environment The Old Colonists’ Association provides to our residents across all four of our estates,” said Damian Pennington, OCAV’s Property Manager.


“Our four villages have gardens and trees and we need to maintain them, but we also want to keep improving them, particularly as we head towards our 150th celebrations in 2019. At the same time we have to consider sustainability, chemical use and water conservation.”


“Like every organisation, we are constrained by budgets and staff capacity so that’s why planning long-term is so important.”


Damian hopes the Rushall Park garden master plan will be completed by the end of the year. There are currently two full-time gardeners at Rushall Park, Marika Pedrioli and Dave Murphy and a volunteer, Danny Wychowanko who works 16 hours a week.


The Rushall Park garden master plan will include:


·       A profile of all trees, their species, age, size, condition, risk profile and water needs


·       Annual planting schedule


·       A register of all roses


·       Environmental management plan


·       Water conservation plans and challenges


Another important aspect of the plan will be a guide for residents, stipulating what plants can and cannot be planted, what areas are available for residents to plant in and what fertilizers/chemicals are allowed.


“This will form part of the information pack that residents receive when they come to live at Rushall Park. We are confident that existing residents will want to help achieve the highest standard of gardens. A lot of residents love their gardens and will value having a guide so that they know where and what they can plant,” Damian said.


Rushall Park includes some significant trees including a magnificent

Magnolia Grandiflora, which is at least 80 years old; two Firewheel

(Stenocarpus sinuatus) trees, a Queensland tree variety rarely seen this far south and a huge 100-year-old Peppercorn tree at the Rushall Station corner of the village, with a hollow which is also home to a bee hive.


An edible garden has been established at Currie Park, OCAV’s Euroa village, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the John T Reid Charitable Trusts.


The 6m by 6m garden includes:


·       Nine garden beds raised up to waist height to prevent residents’ stooping or bending unnecessarily.


·       Shade and shelter to ensure residents can garden in all seasons.


·       A watering system.


·       A range of nutritious herbs, fruits and vegetables for residents in independent living units to cook with in their own kitchens, and for the caterers who prepare meals for our assisted living residents to use too.


·       Plants with sensory properties such as bright and textured foliage or distinctive scents for residents with dementia to enjoy.


Damian said residents had participated in every stage of the garden’s development and were keen to start growing vegetables. Residents’ meetings will incorporate a garden committee update as a regular agenda item.


A major garden project has also begun at Leith Park, the almost three hectare village at St Helena, which is home to about 400 trees, mostly natives. An arborist will carry out the survey, which will profile and assess each tree.


“We will look at the tree, how old it is, what condition it is in and whether it presents any risk in terms of its health,” Damian said.

The apartments are beautiful, with lovely, open and bright rooms, and a balcony for growing plants in pots. I am starting to make my apartment into a home.

– Catherine, Leith Park

Enquire today about securing a position at one of Melbourne's longest established and highly reputable independent living estates.

Enquire Now