Urrbrae House Historic Precinct Gardens
The gardens of the Urrbrae House Historic Precinct are being redeveloped into one of Adelaide's most innovative, distinctive and beautiful gardens reflecting the history and heritage of the people who lived and worked at the site.
The curtilage of the Urrbrae House Historic Precinct has been delineated by the original home paddock including the residence coach house and stables, battery house, surrounding gardens, orchard and tennis court.
The History of the Gardens
In Peter Waite’s time, the Urrbrae House gardens included a Croquet Lawn, located west of the main house. This lawn was probably also used as an outdoor entertainment area, particularly for Adelaide Hunt Club functions.
There was a Lavender Walk which may have been planted by Eva Waite and a Rose Arbour with timber posts and metal tube work which was covered with pale double yellow roses. The Rose Arbour would have stretched from the house to Claremont Avenue.
Located on grounds, there was a Tennis Court, a Tennis Court Walk and adjacent a Tennis Pavilion with its own fully equipped kitchen.
The original gardens also included a Wild Garden, Eva’s Garden and an Orchard with over one hundred trees. In the photo of Dorothy, Peter Waite's only grandchild C.1907 (photo right) the Arbor entrance to Eva's Garden can be seen.
Roses linked the gardens throughout, transforming it from a fairly conventional Victorian design, to a more romantic cohesive garden.
The garden had formal lines contrary to the innovative “Arts and Crafts” style which is displayed within the house, and was largely separated from the house by the driveway and hedge.
As the major living spaces are almost all above the garden level, it was probably intended that the garden be viewed from above, perhaps from the veranda.
Innovation and creation
The current gardens have been designed to be innovative and aim to incorporate Peter Waite’s interest in the arts and new innovations. The overall plan is to have a number of linked “garden rooms” expressing the cultural, historical and social essence of Urrbrae House Historic Precinct and the people who lived and worked here.
Community consultation has always been important in the development of new gardens. This has also included input from staff and students of the Waite Research Campus, local residents, Friends and volunteers and special interest gardening groups.
The Twentieth Century Rose Garden comprises over 200 species and varieties tracing the history and development of roses from each decade of the twentieth century.
The Sensory Garden was completed in 1998, and features plants to stimulate the senses. A panel of ceramic tiles by artists Bryan Woodcroft, Tingey and Andrew Noble reflect a sense of humour and sense of adventure.
The Garden of Discovery incorporates a Science Discovery Trail which features a series of inlaid paths and outdoor bookworks celebrating 75 years of scientific research at the Waite Institute culminating in a beautiful statue of Ceres' the goddess of Agriculture sculpted by Meliesa Judge.
The newest addition to the Gardens is The Labyrinth created by the Director of the Arboretum Jennifer Gardner, constructed on the site of the original tennis court..
Outdoor Sculpture is featured throughout both the Urrbrae House Gardens and The Waite Arboretum. The Mallee section of the Arboretum, formerly the orchard provides an ideal natural setting for artistic expression. Sculptures by Greg Johns and Silvio Apponyi in the Mallee section pay special tribute to Peter Waite, a benefactor of great generosity and foresight, and also make reference to elements in the Australian landscape. Other works in the Arboretum of special interest include 'Floating Figure' by Greg Johns,'Waterbirds' by Meliesa Judge and 'Owl Pole' by Will Kuiper.
Special thanks must be made to all Sponsors and volunteers for their wonderful support and hardwork.
For more information or if you would like to volunteer in the gardens, please contact Jennifer Gardner.
Phone: 8313 7405.