Summer Productive Garden Series—Three Yarra Ranges Gardens Opening for Open Gardens Victoria

Homegrown fruit and veggie lovers are in for a Sunday treat, with the chance to visit three different and inspiring productive home gardens opening in the Yarra Ranges Shire with Open Gardens Victoria on the 4 February 2024.

These three gardens provide an opportunity to learn from experienced home produce gardeners and gain insights into the many aspects and challenges of food growing and production in the suburban environment.

First stop, Buttenshaw Farm in Montrose—a highly aspirational three-quarter-acre organic and permaculture micro-seed farm garden at the base of the Dandenong Ranges. Natalie and Mark Buttenshaw’s magical garden is just seven years old and bursting with fruit and nut trees (pecans, walnuts, macadamias, almonds, chestnuts, 25 different heirloom apples, avocados, and a myriad of different citrus trees) alongside raised vegetable beds filled with a collection of rare and heirloom varieties and herbs and interspersed with colourful flower plantings.

“We are growing the things you won’t find on supermarket shelves, unusual varieties, and making sure that the seeds live on and are available for home gardeners,” says Natalie.

Just 10 minutes away in Mooroolbark, you’ll find Instagram-famous veggie gardener Tim Johnston‘s The Aussie Veggie Patch. Tim’s 800m2 chemical-free garden demonstrates the wide variety of produce that can be grown on a standard suburban block while also providing space for bees, chickens, a children’s play area, and a lawn to run around on.

“The best place to get the freshest produce is from your own garden,” says Tim. “And I am passionate about helping people grow their own food so that they can share in the joy.”

Using his front garden for more permanent plantings, such as blueberries, and a wide range of fruit trees, Tim’s chooks also enjoy this space, free-ranging by day. The backyard has a bee hive, raised beds, and an in-ground veggie garden that provides an abundance of seasonal vegetables in a relatively small space. Tim follows organic processes and enjoys experimenting with companion planting to get the best results from his garden.

The final stop is The Haven, just 3 minutes down the road in Mooroolbark. Owner Jessica Peeler has a background in horticulture, with a particular interest in growing unusual edible plants and plants that attract wildlife. Proving that size doesn’t matter when it comes to growing your own food, this small (200m2) productive garden demonstrates great diversity, focusing on growing in pots and containers, which is a great workaround for renters.

An undercover area includes native edibles such as river mint, lemon myrtle, cinnamon myrtle, and native ginger. While the main vegetable growing area is small, with a few raised beds and lots of pots, the upper level of the garden is home to an experimental ‘food forest’ (and two chooks). Jess has constructed garden beds around the fruit trees and planted perennial edibles such as taro, pineapple sage, red-veined sorrel, asparagus, and rhubarb. The gaps between are filled with annual crops as well as flowers that attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

“I enjoy using this area to experiment with different species and to learn which plants grow well together. I often throw seeds around and just see what happens,” says Jessica.

Natalie Buttenshaw from Buttenshaw Farm is available for interview. Nat is a sustainable home gardener, growing her passion into a productive garden and small backyard seed farm focussed on heirloom veggies. She is passionate about sustainability and reducing food miles and uses her social media platform @buttenshawbackyardfarm (46k followers) – to educate people on the importance of their surrounding ecosystem and insect diversity. Natalie posts tips, tricks and informative short videos to make growing your own food easy for everyone. She has also been featured on Gardening Australia.

All three productive gardens are located on the lands of the Wurundjeri people. Open Gardens Victoria wish to acknowledge the Traditional custodians and we pay respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.


  • Buttenshaw Farm
    27 Heathfield Road
    Montrose VIC 3765
  • The Aussie Veggie Patch
    49 Lancaster Road
    Mooroolbark VIC 3138
  • The Haven
    1 Haven Court
    Mooroolbark VIC 3138

OPEN: Sunday 4 February (one day only) 10am – 4.30pm

TICKETS: Adults $10, Students $6 (with ID card), under 18 free (per garden) Or visit all three gardens on same day for $20

  • Buttenshaw Farm – Tickets at the gate or via TryBooking
  • The Aussie Veggie Patch – Tickets at the gate or via Trybooking
  • The Haven – Tickets at the gate or via Trybooking

For more information about open gardens and events, visit: 

Open Gardens Victoria (OGV) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation that promotes the benefits of gardens and gardening for all Victorians. We assist garden owners to open their private gardens to the public and organise gardening and horticulturally themed events. Our activities are funded by ticket sales, and each year a portion of our surplus is applied to grants under our Giving Program for horticultural projects in the fields of education, wellness, innovation, community and sustainability.

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