In order to truly appreciate Buda’s garden an acceptance of the local conditions and climate of this region need to be understood.
The Buda garden is not a ‘display garden’ as such, designed for year round flowers and lush surrounds – that would be unrealistic and impractical here in Central Victoria.
This garden has its value in the fact that it has survived virtually intact as a wonderful example of a late nineteenth/early twentieth century suburban garden, which was developed and tended for the most part by one family over 118 years.
It is a reflection of the Leviny family’s aspirations, creative influences, the fashions of the times in which they lived, and their changing lifestyle throughout those years from 1863 to 1981.
The idea is to preserve and maintain the garden as much as possible as it was left by the family, keeping the crucial elements of the garden intact and renewing the old plantings with their own progeny as much as possible in order to retain its authenticity – A huge challenge considering gardens are a living entity, constantly growing, dying and changing.
We hope that you will respect and enjoy the seasonal changes that bring:
- the fabulous foliage colours during the warm, balmy days of autumn
- the grandeur of plant structure and garden layouts exposed by the chill of winter
- the hope of new life with the flush of bulbs and colour in the crispness of spring
- and the relief of shady places to sit and ponder the end of the growing season and plant dormancy period in the heat of summer
- Castlemaine is located 118 kilometres north of Melbourne at an altitude of 300 metres above sea level
- The seasons are typical of inland Australia: hot and dry in summer; cold and sometimes wet, with frosty nights with sunny days also prevalent in winter. (Note: the annual rainfall of 611 millilitres has been much lower in recent years)
- The landscape consists generally of underlying sandstone reefs and rock with a thin topsoil of gravel and clay and a soil ph of 6.5. (This is partly due to the degradation caused by the alluvial goldmining that took place here in the 1850s)
Buda provides a typical example of the challenges of gardening in Central Victoria.
What makes Buda’s garden unique
A Statement of Significance for the garden at Buda was includedin the Buda Conservation Analysis and Policies report undertaken by Nigel Lewis and Associates in 1988.
The garden and grounds at Buda are significant:
- as one of the most significant large nineteenth or early twentieth century suburban gardens surviving in Victoria;
- for the compartmentalised nature of the layout and relative intactness of those constituent elements from periods which contribute to the overall significance of the property;
- for the survival of two highly significant garden buildings (viz. aviary and former tennis pavilion) and a range of other structures and hard landscape elements;
- for the manner in which it reflects the lifestyle and creative aspirations of the two generations of owners;
- for the manner in which it evokes qualities particularly associated with the provincial towns and cities in Victoria’s central goldfields area.
The challenges of maintaining the garden at Buda
Poor soils combined with a harsh climate of extremes in temperature and long periods without rain have shaped the region’s gardening traditions.
Maintaining the 1.2 hectare garden at Buda, for its historical significance as well as for the education and enjoyment of those who visit, comes with challenges. Our part-time Garden Curator, Jill Hildebrandt, is assisted by a dedicated team of volunteers. Jill works to a comprehensive annual maintenance plan adhering to heritage guidelines and best horticultural practice to retain the historic features and significance of the garden.
As well as general maintenance, conservation and rejuvenation projects are ongoing in the garden with the occasional unforeseen incidents occurring. Seeking grants and sponsorship or fundraising to undertake urgent and special conservation projects is another important additional task. This may lead to some maintenance jobs in the garden having to be rescheduled on the priorities list.
We hope that you will understand and respect that as an organisation reliant mostly on volunteers
We do not always have the resources to fully maintain all areas of the garden year-round.
For further information on the history and issues surrounding the garden, please see our publication Buda Garden by Peter Cuffley available from the Buda Giftshop.
The Buda nursery has its origins as a stock of replacement plants all grown from seeds, cuttings, bulbs, corms or tubers collected from our historic garden.