Designing for survival - a garden for the future

A 3.5-hectare garden designed to respond to the challenges of climate change recently opened to the public in the Australian city of Bendigo.  Designed by landscape architects and urban designers Taylor Cullity Lethlean, the Bendigo Garden for the Future is an addition to Bendigo’s historic botanic garden precinct.

In order to ensure the garden’s survival, it has been planted for both today’s climate and the predicted future climate of Bendigo as it experiences global warming.  Inspiration was taken from countries in South America and the Middle East with temperatures and rainfall similar to that  forecast for Bendigo in the future. It is hoped that this will also educate and encourage visitors to incorporate climate-appropriate plants into their own gardens.

 The Bendigo Garden for the Future is designed to weather climate change. 

The Bendigo Garden for the Future is designed to weather climate change. 

The layout of the park was inspired by Bendigo’s natural geological patterns, and circular lawns reference the site’s Gold Rush history by imitating the effect on the landscape of the ‘puddling’ extraction technique.

The Bendigo Garden of the Future consists of three separate areas arranged into an oval promenade. The “International Biome” includes imported species from North and South America, the Middle East, India and the Mediterranean, while the “Australian Biome” uses Australian plants that can thrive in Bendigo’s climate. Finally, the “Fun and Fantasy Lawn” combines native and international species in “weird and wonderful ways”, demonstrating to visitors that they can have both in their own gardens as well.

 The garden's designers hope users will draw inspiration for their own gardens.

The garden's designers hope users will draw inspiration for their own gardens.

Peter Elliot Architecture and Urban Design have designed a lime-green pavilion at the southern end of the garden to provide shelter and amenities, as well as a place to stage community events.

The majority of the plants in the newly-opened park will grow slowly -Taylor Cullity Lethlean’s design intent may not become fully apparent for years, and the garden will not reach maturity for 30-40 years.

 The Bendigo Garden for the Future won't reach maturity for up to 40 years. 

The Bendigo Garden for the Future won't reach maturity for up to 40 years. 

Taylor Cullity Lethlean’s director, Lisa Howard, explains that “as landscape architects, we have an opportunity to communicate important environmental messages through high quality and memorable design. We wanted to create a diversity of plant genera, species and forms that come together in a way that is attractive and interesting, but organised in a strong framework that allows for research and testing.”

The Bendigo Garden for the Future has been designed for longevity. Its creators have planned realistically for what the next few decades will look like, and adjusted their vision accordingly.

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The designers say they had an opportunity to impart a strong environmental message.