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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Stannus

I H(e)art This Conservatory!

When seeking garden design inspiration, sometimes the best place to look is indoors.

Heading into town the other weekend, we were driving past City Park when I asked my partner to stop. There was a place I wanted to see that I had not visited for a while. Living on a bush block has its advantages, i.e. tranquillity, beauty, clean air and so on. However, sometimes I just want to see what else is out there in the big wide world. Well at least in the rest of Tasmania! ;)

The John Hart Conservatory is a fairly unassuming building in the centre of City Park in Launceston constructed in 1932. Conservatories typically play an important role in botanical education, conservation, display and scientific research. Some conservatories are similar to zoos, in that botanists propagate rare and endangered plant species in them as a zoo-keeper would protect endangered animals in their facilities. The John Hart Conservatory is what I consider to be a display conservatory, affording locals and other visitors with an opportunity to view plants that they do not necessarily grow in their own gardens ... yet?

John Hart Conservatory in City Park, Launceston
If visiting City Park in Launceston, take the time to check out the John Hart Conservatory

The current display is full of vibrant, colourful textured foliage, with a few floral displays thrown in for good measure. After viewing this display for the first time, the word 'texture' just kept leaping into my head.

Indoor plant display at John Hart Conservatory, Launceston
Texture and layers abound in this display

The horticulturist behind this display considered all planes when considering the layout, with hanging baskets very much a feature here. However, the centre of the conservatory is devoid of plants, perhaps my only 'criticism' of this design. Whilst voids in design can allow for light to enter spaces, I think a central feature display may have provided more mass in this instance.

A multitude of Coleus varieties provided foliage colour.

The displays laid out along the perimeters of this space though were lush and vibrant.

A man looks at the plants on display in the John Hart Conservatory in Launceston
Ludovic admiring the displays

Cordylines added texture and a different dimension.

Hanging baskets reminded us that we should always look up!

Dichondra 'Silver Falls' in a hanging basket in the John Hart Conservatory in Launceston
Dichondra 'Silver Falls' drapes from above

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these photos. I have been a little slow to 'put pen to paper' so to speak recently. I highly encourage you to visit the closest conservatory to you to see what you can find growing there. Most likely that conservatory will be located in a botanic garden. Click here for a list of botanic gardens in Australia to find one near you.

A bientôt!


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