When Melbourne bestows you perfect blue skies and glorious summer sunshine, there is no better opportunity to dust off the picnic basket, fill it with delicious treats, and pack your Mum in the car for an adventure somewhere lovely to enjoy the weather and beautiful surroundings.
My Mum and her husband are relocating to the Gold Coast in Queensland very soon, so I wanted to squeeze in one last Mother / Daughter date before she follows the sun northward. I wanted the location to be a surprise and only divulged the necessary information, such as pack a hat and wear flat shoes. The secret location was the stunning Werribee Mansion, an Italianate pastoral home built in 1877, located just 30 minutes north of the city.
Right next door to the mansion is the Victoria State Rose Garden, a beautiful place to visit before or after. The garden is home to over 5000 roses, set over five hectares. Melbourne is famous for having erratic weather and showcasing four seasons in one day. There were plenty of roses still in bloom, but many had been battered by the sun, wind and heavy rain that came during summer this year. Nevertheless, the garden still offered a vast display of vibrant colours and absolutely heavenly fragrance. The garden is maintained by 100 passionate volunteers who lovingly give their time and effort, some of whom have shown their dedication to the gardens for over 25 years. You can physically see that the gardens are tended to with such love, as there is barely a petal out of place in the whole grounds.
I was amazed by the different varieties of roses – from European Rambling Roses, to Tudor Roses bred in England, Peony Roses from America, English garden roses, and hybrid creations. The grace and elegance of the rose is eternal and will always symbolise the purest love and beauty in my eyes.
After meandering through the rose gardens and watching blue wrens dart from tree to tree, we made our way to the mansion for a picnic lunch. I got up early to buy our picnic treats from our local gourmet market, the contents ranged from fresh strawberries, french cheese with quince paste from Maggie Beer’s garden, egg sandwiches, vegetables with hummus, all washed down with organic strawberry Kombucha. The picnic was delicious, but when my Mum and I get together we spend most of our time talking and a vast majority of the food returned home uneaten. That is what picnicking is all about though, the company always comes first.