Gallery of Gardens @ The National Arboretum

2 April 2017

The official opening of the first four of the Gallery of Gardens at the National Arboretum is a significant  and beautiful addition to this glorious place where for future generations there will be places to reflect and marvel at the intent and generosity of so many who’ve invested in these gardens.

With funding by the ACT Government and the support of Canberrans the Gallery of Gardens will eventually be a mosaic that edges the amphitheatre and will provide places for celebration, contemplation, enjoyment of the designs, the stories and the plants from our region.

And for the occasion Canberra turned on a magnificent April morning, clear skies plenty of sunshine, a soft zephyr to keep the kites aloft in the amphitheatre and a diverse gathering of people there to see the realisation of years of planning and fundraising.

The Open Gardens Australia Celebration Garden was designed by Neil Hobbs with Patron of the organisation Tamie Fraser on hand to toast the event that reflects on the 27 year history of the scheme that had Australians meandering and enjoying many home gardens of all types around the country. Funded by Open Gardens Australia it is a gift to the Arboretum.

The Labyrinth Garden is another Neil Hobbs design by his company Harris Hobbs Landscapes and is based on the Notre-Dame Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth in France with an 18.2m, 11 circuit concrete labyrinth of medieval design, an ancient pattern used for reflection and renewal. A walking mediation to be enjoyed at your own pace and for all reasons, it is a gift from Amelda and Glenn Keys.  It will be surrounded by the ACT’s floral emblem the Royal Bluebell, shrubs and trees and ground cover, and will provide a unique place for finding your inner quiet and a metaphor for life’s journey.

The AIDS Garden of Reflection reminds us of the impact of HIV and AIDS over the last 30 plus years and brings together families and friends who have lost loved ones, are living with AIDS and the involvement of the AIDS Action Council whose patron John Mackay has supported this initiative. The opening was celebrated with a moving performance of the Cold Play song ‘Fix You’ by the Gay and Lesbian Qwire and lots of emotion for friends gone but never forgotten.

The last official opening celebrates our local Ngunawal people and their dreamtime story of Mununja the butterfly with a design that reflects the geometric scales of the butterfly wings in particular local butterflies, the Orchard swallowtail and the Common crow found along the east coast of Australia. Donated by the Mackay and Waldren families, they all gathered to be part of this significant gift that is for the families a proud addition to the Arboretum and for the grandchildren a place to bring their families to remember how generous their families have been to so much of Canberra’s growing history at the Arboretum.