Visit the gardens, taste the food, be inspired.
105 Latrobe Parade,
Dromana, VIC 3936.
Ph: 03 5984 7321
Melways ref: 159 C9.
Just 70 minutes from Melbourne.
Free for Diggers Club members,
$10 per adult. Children under 16 free.
Garden and nursery open every day 9-5.
Closed Dec 24-26th Dec and Good Friday. Open from 1pm on ANZAC Day
About the garden
Heronswood is the home of The Diggers Club. The garden is a living catalogue of the evergreen fruits and vegetables described in our catalogues and books. We have the largest collection of fruit and vegetables for gardeners and our garden is the first in Australia to be certified organic.
At Heronswood, we have five separate vegetable gardens and it is within these gardens we have rescued the best heirloom vegetables. The garden has extensive plantings of flowers, including perennial borders, dry climate and cottage, annual gardens.
“Listed in the Oxford Companion to Gardens as one of only four Victorian gardens, alongside the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, Mawallock and Ripponlea.
A feature of our garden is the integration of vegetables and flowers with fruits and herbs. This inter-planting prevents the build up of pest problems, because we have simulated natural plant diversity; we never spray because we don't need to. If you come and visit Heronswood don't be intimidated by the standard of gardening, our gardens are managed with a staff of three. Considering the area is equivalent to 25 house blocks, this equates to only five hours work each week for the typical gardener. To live in a beautiful garden and be self-sufficient is a wonderful reward for so little effort.
Heronswood is one of the four Victorian gardens listed in the Oxford Companion to Gardens alongside the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, Mawallock and Ripponlea which is testament to its standing in the horticultural community.
The first law professor at Melbourne University, William Hearn, employed Edward Latrobe Bateman to design Heronswood house in 1866. The property's name was probably derived from Hearn's family motto, the heron seeks the height, or his family crest, on a mount vert, a heron. Or it could be a contraction of 'Hearn's wood'.
Justice Higgins, a Federal Attorney General, was the third owner. He was actively involved in civic organizations and in 1907 wrote the “Harvester Judgement” which ensured that all Australian workers received a fair and reasonable wage.
The architectural style of the house has been called Gothic Revival. It is made from coursed, squared granite blocks quarried from Arthur's Seat. The windows, doors and corners are dressed with limestone from the southern end of the peninsula. It features many medieval-inspired elements such as the bell-cast roofs covered in Welsh slate, pointed lancet windows and buttressing on the front porch. This is in sharp contrast to the elegant symmetry of the neoclassical style seen in buildings like Werribee Park (1876). Each room of Heronswood has its own high-pitched roof, lending the house the imposing air of a castle. But it was conceived primarily as a family home and inside it is quite intimate.