Open Gardens – The Dower House, Melbourne

Early spring flowers – snowdrops, winter aconite, hellebores, tiny iris, daphne filling the garden with its scent, witch hazel, snowdrops, crocus, cyclamen, gleaming skimmia berries, sweet-smelling sarcococca and winter clematis are some of the plants that float across my vision as I think of our Dower House garden in Melbourne in late winter.

We last welcomed visitors in February 2020 before we knew anything of the virus which was to sweep the globe: that weekend the garden had to close halfway through the weekend because of a storm. This February we do hope we can welcome guests – at the time of writing we can do so but with considerable restrictions.  The garden WILL BE OPEN from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm both Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th February BUT ONLY FOR PEOPLE LIVING LOCALLY – national covid guidelines allow for only local exercise and this falls into that remit.

To meet Covid restrictions and for all our safety, EVERY TICKET MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE ONLINE.  Click here to visit the booking page at NGS.   There will be no tickets sold on the day. Numbers will be controlled so that everyone can remain at a safe distance. Exit from the garden will be by a different way from the entry. Covid travel restrictions applicable on the day will, of course, have to be adhered to, but in any case, I should remind potential visitors that there is no parking at or near the Dower House.

Tickets are £4 adult, children free, dogs on leads.  For anyone who really cannot go online, please telephone Griselda Kerr on 07799883777 to enquire about the availability of time slots and payment. The Dower House is located at the west end of the large Parish Church in Church Square at the bottom of Church Street.

Every penny of the proceeds from opening the garden will go to the National Gardens Scheme which supports so many people in need – in particular cancer charities that have struggled so much to raise funds during this terrible pandemic. There will be an honesty box for plant sales and this money too will all go to the NGS.


In view of the heightened concerns about the Coronavirus, the NGS has agreed with garden owners that all openings planned for January will be either cancelled or postponed. The position relating to later dates will be reviewed on 25 January 2021. The NGS update page can be found here.

Griselda is author of The Apprehensive Gardener, her now widely reviewed book about the care and management of plants in the garden. A Dutch translation of the book is to be published this year.

Griselda Kerr
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Griselda Kerr

If not in her Melbourne garden, author Griselda is probably designing, judging, writing or talking about gardening.

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