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Garden Design

Dalvui – a garden of inspiration

Alison Aplin

Alison Aplin

November 7, 2012

My husband David and I decided to visit the Dalvui garden in Noorat recently, open as part of Open Gardens Australia. What a wonderful treat it was for us both. Covering nearly 8 acres, the garden is nestled in the southern foothills of Mt Noorat. In 1898 Wiliam Guilfoyle was commissioned to advise on the layout and planning of the garden.

Variation in foliage colours adds to interest

Superb layout and plant selection in considerable summer shade

Since then, Dalvui has changed hands numerous times over the years, but it appears that there has been a deep respect for the backbone of the garden as there are still many of the original trees in existence. There have been some changes, as in the new driveway which is now better placed for convenience which has led to new plantings in the area. But these plantings are all totally in keeping with the history of the place; one could assume that they were part of the original plan.

The original garden encompassed 5 acres; more recently 2.5 acres have been added. The surrounding acreage is now a cattle property having previously been used as both dairy and a sheep stud, with the size of the land being reduced over the years.



Natives and exotics have been mixed, the native plants being mostly in the form of large eucalypts. There was what I thought may be a magnificent Angophora floribunda towering over the entrance to the garden. And then one walked through a birch-lined driveway with glimpses visible on either side of what lay beyond these avenue trees.

Many different rooms feature such an assortment of lush plants that one could only drool with envy at the heart of such a great garden – the soil. Mt Noorat is a now extinct volcano so the soil at the base is as rich as you can get. And it is so visible in the health and vigour of the plants. Of course, even with such a wonderful base to work with, good plant selection is also critical, and this has been so professionally managed.

There are many different areas to enjoy. A series of ponds cascade into each other, herbacious borders with a path through the centre, formal hedging with a pavillion and shaded garden beds all with soft colouring – there are no harsh colours to be seen anywhere. As a lover of colour, I found this garden a very restful and contemplative place with its subdued colour palette.


Dalvui is a credit to all concerned. It is obviously a labour of love and deserving of the accolades given to it. I will let the photos speak for the beauty of the garden.




Dalvui will open again – visit the Open Gardens Australia website or use their handy app.


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Julie Thomson
11 years ago

A beautiful trip through a magnificent garden. Thank you Alison. Those muted shades and grand shady canopies and neat, trimmed borders are truly restful on the eye and spirit , aren’t they? Not a garden I could ever have, but such a treasure to visit and savour and contemplate the beautiful art of nature. Wonderful pictures and written with obvious love.

11 years ago

I agree Julie – it is not a garden that I would ever have but my admiration for the current and former owners to have developed and nurtured such a beautiful garden is high. Well worth a visit if you are ever in the neighbourhood.