North East Tasmania Garden Lovers Trail
Mara Ponds by Liz Francis:
Mara Ponds is an Open Gardens Australia listed property in Branxholm, in the picturesque North East Tasmania.
Taking its name from the old Golden Mara Gold Mine, Mara Ponds is, according to author Liz Francis, a vision and a lot of love. Her book, Gorgeous Gardens of Tasmania, claims it is the sheer pleasure of seeing the accomadation cottage, hand-built from mud bricks and timber, which sits at the top of the garden. It opens onto a vista of ponds, close to the huge open sky and the constant movement and sound of water. The 16-acre property also features pastureland bordering a forest of giant eucalypts. You may sight our pair of platypuses or our amusing native hens, as well as wallabies and possums. Listen to the amazing echoes of flocks of black cockatoos and kookaburras along with blue wrens and honey eaters. After dark, the garden is alive with night sounds, especially the chorus of frogs.
You are invited to experience the expansive energy of Mara Ponds as a visitor or guest.
On arriving at the Mara Ponds property at Branxholm the visitor has no idea of what to expect. A neat and well kept driveway with its post and rail fence gives no indication whatsoever of the fabulous garden that lies in the valley between the house and the forest of huge eucalypts which form a powerfully impressive grey green backdrop.
A huge lake at the top of the garden is complete with a jetty and ladder, ideal for family swimming or just relaxing with a cool drink and enjoying the view. The lake flows into two smaller ponds on its way down the hillside. Sloping banks are filled with a wide variety of shrubs and flowers and lots of structural plants including cordylines, flaxes and ornamental grasses. There are manferns and huge gunneras, as well as mulched beds with rock edges and pathways encircling the whole garden. Rustic seats are in just the right places under shady trees and close to the trickling water, bits of whimsy hang from trees, and in the sunny centre of it all is a lovely big grassed area.