Cross-pollination in the gardens

NickRush 3

“Everybody loves to look out their office window and see a bit of colour.”

So says Nick Rush, a horticulturist who usually works on the sprawling gardens of Government House but is helping maintain the Parliament House gardens for a fortnight as part of a secondment.

“It’s a great opportunity to broaden the relationship between the two teams,” he says.

Being able to provide “that bit of colour” and connecting parliament’s members and staff both to tranquil outdoor space and to the changing seasons is one of the things that makes working on the gardens worthwhile for Nick.

He says the special demands of both gardens are similar.

“You’ve got to work with the events that are happening around you. You need to exercise your judgement as to when to get out the heavy equipment and make some noise and when you should just fade into the background,” he says.

But while Government House is secluded in Kings Domain, he says parliament’s gardens feel more closely integrated with Melbourne.

“You really feel part of the city. You can see the church spires and hear the bells and the trams rattling past.”

On the other hand, the size of the Government House gardens gives them one definite advantage.

“We have a full kitchen garden, orchards and bee hives that give it a real farm life feel,” says Nick.

“The preserves and honeys that come from the garden also make great gifts for the many visitors we have.”


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