Dromana VIC 3936
Ph: 5984 7318
This post is part of my Mornington Peninsula weekend courtesy of Mornington Peninsula Tourism and Q Strategies. Check out the other posts here:
-Red Hill Estate and Max's Restaurant
-Peninsula Hot Springs
-The Long Table
-Red Hill Brewery
-Linden Tree Restaurant and Lindenderry Hotel
I was fortunate enough to be offered an all expenses paid weekend trip to visit the Mornington Peninsula. I occasionally visit the Mornington Peninsula area and really enjoy it, but my visits tend to revolve around the wineries and winery restaurants. I haven't really experienced other aspects of the region. Thanks to Mornington Peninsula Tourism and Q Strategies, I now know of so many more gems in the region and am planning my next trip back to explore more of it. I might even bump into my fellow blogger Michele, who I joined for lunch and dinner and equally enjoyed her trip. Check out her posts on Foxeys Hangout and Green Olive at Red Hill.
My first stop on the weekend was Heronswood Gardens and Cafe. The gardens are part of the Diggers Club and contain a variety of components. The location of Heronswood Gardens is actually the headquarters of the Diggers Club, which is a seed and plant club. It is Australia's oldest seed and plant club, with over 63,000 members worldwide. Members swap and buy seeds, share information, meet up to learn more about plants and receive updates via emails and newsletters. The club was started by Clive and Penny Blazel, who still run it to this day and are still very involved. Clive and Penny's philosophy is about trying to preserve heirloom plants and to grow things organically, as they believe those plants are good for our health. The gardens and it's cafes are all certified organic now. Clive and Penny still live in the house during some parts of the year. The house originally belonged to John Hearne, a Melbourne University lecturer. He really loved Gothic architecture, but believed that it can still be nice to look at. Hence while the house has sharp edges, it's still soft and has a beauty to it. I was told the interior is quite cheesy, with gold wallpaper and corny ornaments, but it was closed at that time. I would love to go back, as I must see the inside of that house.
Nursery manager Kevin generously showed us around the gardens and explained a lot of interesting facts to us. The whole place was just so beautiful, with so many things to look at. The main nursery contained so many wonderful fruit trees (the majority of the plants) and the seeds shelves were so varied. Look at the wonderful varieties of pumpkins that are grown at Heronswood Gardens.
We wandered around the gardens and there were so many distinct beautiful areas. Below you see the Medicinal Garden, where plants are grown to help cure ailments. There are wonderful arches with vines growing on them, and the backyard of the house had an infinity pool where Summer festivals are held.
Parterre gardening is planting gardens in a formal manner. Heronswood use vegetables to show that you can make a good looking space and be able to get produce from it. I also really loved the espaliering, which is where you shape fruit tress onto rows of wire. It's such a great look and apparently is easy to achieve. A wander around the gardens also will open your eyes to so many items that you have never seen. Look at those amazing fluoro silverbeet. They're not rhubarb like I thought. I've also never seen half the fruits in the garden, let alone still on the tree. Look how an avocado grows.
The Heronswood Cafe is a very natural looking place, with a thatched roof and made of neutral coloured material. The herb table outside was such a great idea. You can literally pick your herbs and throw them into your salad. The interior of the cafe keeps the natural look going, with warm wood filling your view. Kevin helped order us a Vegetable Tasting Plate. I started to eat the vegetables and was telling Kevin how delicious it was, which is a rare feat given my dislike of vegetables. I started to ask him what vegetables were on the plate, when he told me it was all beetroot. What the? Beetroot? Aren't they purple? Nope. Beetroot comes in so many varieties and colours. They each had a different flavour and texture. I loved the white and orange one the most, but all were delicious. It was an utter eye-opener that there are so many varieties of vegetables. I must go back to the cafe to try more of their fresh produce, with nearly all of the vegetables coming from the organic garden behind the restaurant. There's certainly no food miles in those foods.
Heronswood Garden and Cafe is such a wonderful and relaxing place that I could have easily spent the whole day. Unfortunately I only had hours so I must go back and slowly wander through the gardens, house, nursery and dine at the cafe. The gardens are open every day of the year, but you definitely have to make a booking for the cafe or you'll be disappointed when you can't get a table. Ask for nursery manager Kevin when you're there and his knowledge and enthusiasm will delight and amaze you.
If after seeing all that amazing fresh produce has made you want some of your own, here's your chance. I'm happy to giveaway a Mornington Peninsula Gourmet $250 Food Hamper.
One Mornington Peninsula Food Hamper
The hamper includes:
*Sunny Ridge Strawberry Jam
*Ashcombe Lavender Honey
*Cazan’s Lime & Date chutney
*Zac and Jack’s kitchen produce beetroot and orange relish
*Four bottles of Mornington Peninsula wine from various wineries
*BBQ spices and aromatics from Mornington Peninsula Gourmet
*A bottle of Mock Red Hill Cider
*A bottle of Red Hill Brewery ale
*Leontyna extra virgin olive oil
Total Value is $250. Thanks to Mornington Peninsula Gourmet for the hamper.
How To Enter
Just leave a plain, funny, serious or wacky comment on this post. A random winner will be picked. I'll give an extra chance to win if you can tell me something interesting about the Mornington Peninsula, either a place, produce, restaurant, accommodation or winery. Check out the Mornington Peninsula website for tips.
Make sure there is a way for me to contact you, either via Twitter, a blog or an email. If you don't want to publish your email in the comments, please email me at ieatblog[at]yahoo[dot]com and let me know which comment was yours.
Conditions of Entry
- Melbourne residents only.
- Over 18 years of age due to the alcohol in the hamper.
- Competition closes Sunday June 5th 10pm AEST.
- The winner will be selected by me and announced on Monday June 6th. The winner will be notified personally.