Green thumbs on high: gardens on the roof and champion tree climbers at Burnley Open Day

For the first time Australia’s largest research green roof will be open to the public at the University of Melbourne’s Burnley Campus Open Day this Sunday 14 July. Hundreds of gardeners, families and horticultural students will visit the campus to explore the roof and learn more about this and other types of sustainable gardening including vegetable rain gardens.

Other free family activities include garden treasure hunts and crafts for kids and a tree climbing exhibition from Burnley alumnus and Australian tree climbing champion Grant Cody. Tree climbing is a skill needed for tree pruning, tree removal and aerial tree inspections. Introductory classes are held in the Associate Degree in Urban Horticulture.

Gardeners can also have their questions answered and hone their skills at celebrity gardening forums, plant identification, pruning and willow sculpture workshops.

The Open Day is an annual event organised by The University of Melbourne and The Friends of Burnley Gardens, and offers enthusiasts an opportunity to find out how to turn their interest in gardening into a horticultural career, or just brush up their knowledge.

The activities are set in over nine hectares of heritage-listed gardens at the Burnley campus, which visitors are also welcome to explore.

The Burnley campus is renowned for teaching and research in environmental and ornamental horticulture. The grounds began operating as a learning centre at the forefront of horticultural education in 1891. Students can study single subjects like ’Social and Therapeutic Horticulture’, ’Buildings to Beans: Food in Cities’, ’Plants and the Urban Environment’ and ’Plants and Design’ to the ’Master of Urban Horticulture’.

Horticultural course advice and tours will run throughout the day, presented by current students and lecturers. Open Day program:

Key Open Day activities and times include:
Green roof tours throughout the day
11.00 Treasure hunt
12.00 Tree climbing demonstration with Grant Cody, Australian tree climbing champion
12.30 Garden craft for kids
1.15 Gardeners forum: questions and answers with celebrity gardeners including Carolyn Blackman, Michele Adler, Millie Ross and Graham Morisson
2.00 Plant identification with the Burnley Plant Guide App