When we publish articles, we figure we’re inspiring people to experience what we write about. The article submitted by guest author Margaret Morgan about an alternate route from Hobart to the east coast certainly had the desired effect on us here at Think Tasmania. We made plans to visit the Tasmanian Bushland Garden near Buckland, and we were very impressed.

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Waterfall & Frog Pond

Waterfall: Tasmanian Bushland Garden

Tasmanian Bushland Garden: New Discovery

We weren’t aware the Tasmanian Bushland Garden even existed before Margaret made mention of it. We’d driven that section of the Tasman Highway, about 50kms north east of Hobart, many times. It was time to right the oversight, and we made tracks towards Orford with the kids, the dog and a picnic basket.

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Tasman Highway, Buckland

Tasmanian Bushland Garden: Buckland

Dogs are accepted at the regional botanical gardens, if they are controlled on a lead. They are not permitted on the walking tracks where they may disturb native wildlife; just within the confines of the quarry. That’s where you’ll find picnic tables, a sandpit stocked with toys for the kids and clean public toilets.

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Sandpit

Sandpit for kids: Buckland

Regional Botanical Gardens: Sculptures

Hundreds of native plants are featured within the regional botanical gardens. They have been “arranged in natural communities, include rare and endangered plants, sandstone and granite floras, Tasmanian wattles and Epacris species.” For the non-gardeners among you (as am I), Epacris is another term for native shrubs with pretty white, red or purple blossoms that may resemble heaths or coarse grasses. Hopefully I’ve translated that correctly.

The sculptures scattered around the Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are nothing short of brilliant. The works made from recycled materials range from tiny native hens, to a very large and impressive dinosaur. Brian, the so-called Allosaur, was made by artist James Hanslow. Visitors can adopt him for their own garden… assuming they can afford the $25,000 price tag!

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Brian, the Allosaur

James Hanslow: sculptor, Brian the Allosaur

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Sculpture Notes

Notes accompany the sculptures

Switched-On Sydney Swans

The site is open every day during daylight hours, and located right next to the Pulchella Nursery. As Margaret suggested there would be, volunteers were on hand to take questions at the garden. They were kept busy with the occupants of several hire cars, in Tasmania to “cheer, cheer the red and the white” of the Sydney Swans at Blundstone Arena in Bellerive against the North Melbourne Kangaroos.

Even interstate visitors in Tassie for the footy knew about this place before we did. Or maybe they also read the article by Margaret Morgan from Sheoaks on Freycinet B&B. Lots of Think Tasmania readers have been rightly complimentary about her work and have thanked us for publishing the detailed information.

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Picnic Tables

Picnic tables: Tasmanian Bushland Garden

Future Sculpture Trails

Apparently, if you choose the right time to visit the Tasmanian Bushland Garden, you will see even more sculptures than we did. Their second sculpture trail concluded in January 2013, with many of the works since sold or collected by their makers. Some do remain, either for sale or as part of the permanent collection.

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - The Block Family

Sculptures: Tasmanian Bushland Garden

The Block Family by Damon Wills is one such permanent exhibit. “Mrs Block is perfect, as mothers are. Mr Block has a slightly off-centre head, like many fathers…” Love it! My personal favourite though, was another sculpture in the permanent collection by James Hanslow. Based on the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle, the magnificent creature was constructed from recycled metals and is valued at $5,500. Another sculpture trail will commence in October this year.

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Eagle Sculpture

Wedge-Tailed Eagle sculpture: Tasmanian Bushland Garden

Tasmanian Tigers and Dinosaurs

Our very brave dog was quite pleased to meet up with a Tasmanian Tiger (also by James Hanslow and valued at $7,000). She wasn’t too scared to confront the dinosaur either, watching on as the kids posed for photographs and examined the sharp teeth of Brian the Allosaur.

Our kids are way too grown-up these days to appreciate a sandpit; but once upon a time we’d have really loved that sort of inclusion at a rest stop. They were keen to check out the frog pond, the waterfall, the plants and all the sculptures. They also knew we had a picnic packed in the car, and who doesn’t love eating outdoors on a beautiful day?

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Tasmanian Tiger

Replica Tasmanian Tiger among native plants

The Sydney Swans fans were certainly well-equipped for their picnic. They had blankets, several thermos flasks and baskets filled with an assortment of Tasmanian goodies. As they spread out their bounty, we admired the quarry and learned about the makings of the Tasmanian Bushland Garden.

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - Quarry, near Buckland

Quarry site: botanical gardens, Buckland Tasmania

Prime Movers Graham and Ingrid Roberts

Graham and Ingrid Roberts are credited with being the “prime movers” behind the ambitious project to build the regional botanical gardens. Clearly, the couple also had a good support team on board with their plan to showcase native plants from south east Tasmania. There’s a very good display showing the progress from the site selection in 1999 through to the grand public opening in April 2010.

Tasmanian Bushland Garden - The Making Of

The making of Tasmanian Bushland Garden

We’ll have more still to share from our very own day-trip-drive from Hobart to the east coast. Admittedly, we only made it as far as Orford, but that leaves so much more to discover another day. And we’re pretty excited to still be learning about such great new places to write about. We have so much material to work with; even though we ONLY think all things Tasmanian.

The Tasmanian Bushland Garden is open every day, and entry is free. Financial support is welcome in the form of donations from visitors or annual membership ($30/family). Function bookings for weddings and parties are welcome at the regional botanical gardens by appointment. Phone (03) 6239 1688 or 0447 668 813 for more information.

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Map: Tasmanian Bushland Garden, Buckland

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