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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spring roses, lavender and marriage proposals in bloom at Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens


Taking time to smell the roses at Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens

October and November herald an explosion of colour and fragrance at Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens on the Mornington Peninsula, where lavender is being harvested and 1200 roses in the world’s first circular rose maze are bursting into bloom.

The maze has nearly 230 varieties of old-fashioned roses, all chosen for their colour and perfume, and many hundreds more are found throughout the 25 acres of gardens. (Fifty informative signs throughout the maze won’t tell you how to get out, but they will tell you a great deal about the botanical, historical and literary links of roses.)

The roses bloom right through to autumn, and the 6000 lavender plants of the lavender labyrinth are a year-round spectacle of blue, mauve, pink, white and green flowers. Harvesting of different varieties takes place four times annually, but there is always new colour on show.

Long a popular venue for weddings, Ashcombe Maze is now attracting a steady stream of romantics who want to propose in a beautiful setting. They can arrange exclusive use of a garden area outside normal opening hours, and Ashcombe management can suggest a number of ruses to ensure a man’s intended has absolutely no idea of his intentions.

The gardens are now open from 8am to 5pm daily, with delicious breakfasts served until 11am. The licensed café specialises in house-made dishes for breakfast, lunch and snacks, including freshly baked lavender scones, lavender icecream and lavender tea blends.

Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens is a member of the Mornington Peninsula Attractions Pass, which includes seven of the Peninsula’s top destinations. Costing $63 for adults and $45 for children, the pass delivers more than $100 of value and provides entry plus bonus offers at Ashcombe Maze, Cape Schanck Lighthouse, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park and Peninsula Hot Springs. Searoad Ferries, Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm and Box Stallion Winery all have a special 10% discount offer for pass holders.

The Attractions Pass is transferrable, valid for three months and can be purchased online at www.emmp.net.au, at Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens, Cape Schanck Lighthouse, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, Peninsula Hot Springs and selected outlets on the Mornington Peninsula.

The Mornington Peninsula is just an hour’s easy drive from Melbourne or, for those travelling to or from the west of Melbourne or western Victoria, the ferry crossing from Queenscliff to Sorrento is only 40 minutes. Alternatively, take a return ferry trip from Sorrento to Queenscliff and enjoy the spectacular bay experience. 

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