The 160-year-old Sale Botanic Gardens sits adjacent to the Lake Guthridge Parklands and contains beautiful gardens, grassed areas, paved walking areas, a playground (including flying fox), undercover picnic areas, sculptures, sensory garden, elm forest and the Lakeside Entertainment and Arts Facility (LEAF).
The Gardens originated in 1860 when approximately 20 hectares of land was set aside as a Botanic Garden. Twenty-four years later, additional swampy land, now Lake Guthridge, was included in the site.
Over the ensuing years, the site has endured many incursions and changes, including use as a golf course and appropriation of various sections for sporting activities and more recently, showcase site demonstrating best practice Integrated Water Management.
The management of the Gardens is guided by the Sale Botanic Gardens Management Plan. The Friends of the Sale Botanical Gardens play an active role in looking after the gardens.
As a true Botanic Garden, the Gardens contain a number of plant collections showcasing a broad range of species. These collections include:
A unique and special feature of Sale Botanic Gardens is the magical Elm Forest. The forest has developed from suckers of an original Ulmus procera (English Elm).
This forest only came about because the site was included in a much larger ‘Fauna Park’, hence the area was not mown (or the suckers grazed), this allowed the elm suckers to develop into trees and the area a ‘forest’.
The Elm Forest dates back to 1881 as the offspring to original 1881 plantings which contained a variety of exotic trees such as Oaks, Silky Oaks, Olives and Honeylocusts.
Stark branches in the winter, cool, shady and mysterious over summer and a carpet of bright golden leaves in the autumn, the Elm Forest has developed into a beautiful area within the botanic gardens.
The Jolly Swagman sculpture, by local artist John Brady in 2005, was carved from an original oak tree and is a significant feature of the walk.
The Clivia planted around the sculpture were sourced from Ripponlea House, Melbourne, and are an older style plant, with narrower leaves and simple flowers than the more modern forms.
The Sensory Garden was designed by Catherine Drew, in the year 2000, and is focused on horticultural therapy. Constructed as part of a ‘Work for the Dole’ scheme, it is a focal point for the Friends Group and owes much to Joanne Bourke, a passionate local horticulturalist and founding member of the Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens.
Designed to stimulate the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) it is a safe and tactile environment, especially for people with children and disabilities.
The raised garden beds provide opportunities for those in wheelchairs to experience hands-on gardening, with residents from nearby aged care facilities, and carers, occasionally enjoying this area with the Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens. With assistance in maintenance by The Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens, the Sensory Garden provides a varied range of colours, textures, fragrances/scents, as well as seasonal interest.
The Garden for Life is an exciting new contemporary space that showcases the myriad of ways plants support life and how we interact and use them. Water plays a key role in the garden design, with a zero-depth water play space incorporating water jets where children can play and appreciate the link water has with plants.
It was officially opened March 2020 and supported by funds from the John Leslie Foundation and the Latrobe Valley Authority.
The Seed Garden project is a new addition to the Sale Botanical Gardens precinct. SEED is an inclusive community space where people can come together to learn new skills and enjoy many health and wellbeing benefits of growing delicious healthy vegetables.
The Seed Garden was an initiative of the Sale Rotary Club. For further information and to secure your plot visit Seed Community Garden website page.
The Lakeside Entertainment and Arts Facility (LEAF) sits within a natural amphitheatre of the gardens and is adjacent to Lake Guthridge. It was designed as an outdoor performing arts space, using a leaf motif and blends harmoniously into the surrounding environment. The LLEAF was built in 2010 from Council funding and a generous grant from the State Government and local philanthropist Mr John Leslie OAM.
The facility is regularly used to hold community events including Australia Day Celebrations, The Sale Music Festival, Carols by Candlelight, the Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens Summer Singalong, as well as numerous weddings and other community events. It has also been used for commercial events, such as A Mid Summers Night Dream by the Australian Shakespeare Theatre Company.