The wonderful Kaydale Lodge is situated on the road to Leven Canyon in Gunns Plains, in the north west region of Tasmania. The Lodge and Gardens are owned and operated by Kay and Robert Crowden and their daughters Lesley and Amarlie. In 1979 on their 70-hectare farming property, Kay and Robert built Kaydale Lodge as a private guesthouse and restaurant, one of the very first B&B accommodation places in Tasmania.
Gunns Plains: Kaydale Lodge
In the very early stages of garden development the family had to overcome many difficulties including native animals and farm stock invading the newly planted gardens, as well as a very basic water supply, which meant the use of buckets to water the plants and lots of trips backwards and forwards.
Over many years of hard work the family have dug, planted and designed everything in this two-hectare garden. Constructing a garden 550 metres above sea level would have been too much of a challenge for most people. But not for this family whose love of gardening never stopped them creating their dream. It is still a work in progress as more seeds, plants and bulbs are added each year. For such keen gardeners, it’s hard to resist the temptation of adding new and interesting plants.
Spring at Kaydale Lodge is a colourful surprise of different flowering bulbs including the rare Fritillaria, which take over four years to flower, as well as Trilliums and Erythroniums. Over 1800 different varieties of Daffodils are bursting with colour and every spring over 1,000 bunches of Daffodils are given to visitors to take home and enjoy. Spring begins a little slower here (around three weeks later than on the coast). Plants usually start bursting into colour around late September.
Summer brings the warmer weather and with it comes the display of beautiful Peonies, which are breathtaking. They flower profusely from mid November until Christmas. The Waratahs are in bloom and the Rockery is looking lovely with pretty flowering plants growing in and out of the rocks. There’s a large waterfall flowing through the middle, which adds to the peace and tranquility of this area. It’s a nice place to sit and contemplate the beauty of it all.
Autumn is full of dazzling colour with the gorgeous leaves of over 200 Maples; and Birch trees in shades of yellow, orange and red. Walking along the paths amongst the colours of fallen autumn leaves is a delight. Kaydale Lodge has one of Tasmania’s best private collections of deciduous trees. Also flowering at this time of the year are the Cyclamens, Crocus and Nerines.
Winter puts on an enchanting show with Kaydale Lodge receiving four or five snowfalls every winter, which generally last for a couple of days. If you think nothing grows during this season you’d be wrong! The Hellebores flower from August through to September, and the Galanthus or Snowdrops flower July to August.
Kay & Robert Crowden: Garden Zones
There are a series of different areas to explore and enjoy in the gardens including the Woodland Garden, Wisteria Pavilion, the Pear Walk (which features 27 pear trees espaliered over a curved frame), Bulb Rockery, Vegetable Gardens, Zen Garden, Fernery, Rockery, Memorial Garden and the Thyme Lawn and Fritillaria Lawn.
Kaydale Lodge: Country House Accommodation
These impressive gardens are a real credit to the Crowden family who have put so much time and hard work into them over the years. The family enjoy sharing their experience and knowledge with visitors and are only too happy to help with any questions you may have about their garden or gardening in general.
Not only are these gardens charming enough to entice you to visit, you can also stay for the night and experience luxury country house accommodation. There’s homemade morning and afternoon teas and light lunches available as well.
Kaydale Lodge is located at 250 Loongana Road Nietta, a 30-minute drive inland from Ulverstone. Just follow the Leven Canyon signs. For more information phone (03) 6429 1293 or visit the very informative website. Please also note: some of these photos were supplied by the owners of Kaydale Lodge for use with this article. The images highlight the transformation of the gardens between seasons in Tasmania.
Michelle Kneipp Pegler writes a blog called Leven River Farm about the ups and downs of her Good Life and occasional forays delving into the lessons of the past.