Notable Garden FeaturesNotable features of the heritage gardens at Woodlands Homestead include:
- The two large magnolias in the courtyard, planted by the Greenes in the 1840s, are among the oldest exotic trees in the state of Victoria. The third smaller magnolia was grown from tissue culture taken from a third original 1840s magnolia which was diseased and removed in the 1990s.
- The large pines, peppercorns and Moreton Bay fig trees, planted during the Crokers’ ownership (1889–1917) to shelter and beautify the homestead. The hardy cacti and aloes also date back to that period.
- Developments during the Chaffey period (1917–1936): privet hedges, the Canary Island date palm, lilacs, jasmine and pittosporum.
- Restoration of roses and other flowering plants to the oval bed in the driveway and flower beds around the south corner of the house, and the restoration of gravel paths began in the 1980s. This restoration has continued since then especially over the last 5 years with the assistance of Tom Baker and a team of other enthusiastic volunteers, community participants and City of Hume workers. The aim is to continue to restore the garden to its 1920s configuration.
Garden DevelopmentThe Greene’s are known to have planted vines, fruit trees and vegetables, but had neither the time nor the water supply to maintain an extensive ornamental garden. In these early years there were more eucalypts and other indigenous trees around the homestead than today.
Later in the century, landscaping with tall exotic trees became popular. William Croker’s plantings of pines and other trees reflect this simple and gracious colonial style. He also had the courtyard paved, the aviary built and the gravel paths laid around the house.
The Chaffey’s added flower beds, flowering shrubs and trees, and planted a privet hedge.
The garden was generally unchanged or neglected over the forty years prior to the property being acquired as parklands in the 1970s. However, many plants survived and form the basis of the present garden.