By Peter Douglas
The Dandenong Ranges is set to wave farewell to the name National Rhododendron Garden, instead welcoming in the iconic garden’s new title – Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden.
The name change aims to recognise the evolution of the much-loved garden into significant botanic collection of cool-climate plants.
The announcement comes after a community consultation period was conducted throughout May to June this year.
The decision came down to a suggested pair of options, with the eventual winner decided over the name Olinda Botanic Garden.
Member for Monbulk, James Merlino, in May this year announced the garden was to undergo a name change and be formally gazetted as a botanic garden by Parks Victoria.
The name change recognises the significance of the extensive plant collections at the garden and enhances the Dandenong Ranges’ reputation as one of Victoria’s great garden destinations.
In total, 246 responses were received about determining a new name via surveys, emails or in person through a public submission form.
Parks Victoria area chief ranger, Terrence Moon, said the public had been forthcoming in providing input on the decision.
“We’re really pleased with the public response and the choice of the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden as the preferred new name,” he said.
“The name ‘Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden’ recognises the significance of the extensive plant collections at the National Rhododendron Garden and positions the park as the premier cool-climate public garden.
“The chosen name will definitely help strengthen the Dandenong Ranges’ reputation as a premier destination for gardens of significance in Victoria.”
Mr Moon said the public feedback results were positive, with 97 per cent supporting the garden to include the word ‘botanic’, and 45 per cent of votes citing the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden as the most popular choice.
Parks Victoria has previously noted the garden is more diverse than the current name suggests.
In addition to rhododendrons, the garden boasts a large collection of rare and exotic plants, including magnolias, camellias, proteas and cherry trees.
It also features a collection of Southern Chinese plants, an alpine plant collection and examples of one of the world’s oldest and rarest trees – the Wollemi pine.
*Do you agree? Is the name change a winner for the region? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.