The garden setting at the Holy Cross Centre provides a tranquil environment which is ideal for quite reflection and moderate exercise.
The Holy Cross Centre is located on the site of a former apple and pear orchard and today there are still some remnants of its past domain.
The early orchardists in the Templestowe and surrounding areas planted Cypress Pine trees to act as wind breaks for their orchards and several pine trees still remain on the property’s Eastern and Western boundaries.
The front garden closest to the Chapel and the Monastery’s main entrance mainly consists of traditional plants e.g. magnolias, camellias, azaleas and roses. When in bloom, the two mature magnolia trees are a major feature of the front garden.
Front Garden – Main Lawn
A semi-circle of roses, with camellia bushes at the mid-point, is at the edge of the main lawn closer to the main entrance. There are three (3) trees planted in the main lawn, a weeping cherry, a prunus (within a circular garden bed) and a wattle.
Front Garden – Chapel Lawn
The Chapel lawn has standard roses planted in it and the garden bed along the wall of the Chapel consists of a daisy bush, camellia bushes, small bush rosesand lilies.
The Chapel lawn is separated from a larger garden bed by a hedge of lavender.
Front Garden – Dining Room Lawn
The Dining Room lawn features several mature trees which include a She-oak and a large eucalypt (gum). The garden bed along the dining room wall stretches from the main entrance and includes the 2nd mature magnolia tree and a number of smaller shrubs.
Community Entrance/Kitchen Lawns
There is lawn on either side of the path that leads from the Community carpark driveway to the Community Entrance. The lawns contain a number of rose bushes and a lemon tree is planted in the lawn on the kitchen and laundry side of the path.
The rear of the Holy Cross Centre opens up to a large expanse of lawn and gardens over three levels. Garden beds which stretch the length of the buildings on the upper level are separated from the lawn area by an aggregate concrete path which allows easy access in all weather conditions. A number of seats are placed on the lawn areas in the rear gardens.
Rear Gardens – Upper Level
A cluster of bush roses feature prominently in the garden beds closer to the BBQ and covered outdoor dining and entertainment area.
Rear Gardens – Upper Level Continued
An island garden bed is situated in the upper level lawn and its trees, which include a golden ash, a honey locust, a eucalypt (gum) and a claret ash provide shade in the warmer months for those occupying the seats that are placed around the garden bed’s perimeter.
Rear Gardens – St. Gabriel’s Shrine
The St Gabriel’s Shrine, which is placed at one end of the upper level garden, is available for outdoor religious services or can be used by discussion groups.
Rear Gardens – Middle Level
The main feature of the middle level of the rear gardens is a large expanse of lawn with a ring of mature trees at its perimeter.
Rear Gardens – Labyrinth
A Labyrinth is currently being constructed on a disused tennis court at the Smiths Road or Western boundary of the rear garden. The Labyrinth will provide visitors to the Holy Cross Centre with a further opportunity for quite reflection.
Rear Gardens – Lower Levels
The lower levels of the rear gardens are ideal for gentle walks.
Stations of the Cross follow the lower edge of the slope from the middle level area.
Water for the garden areas at the Holy Cross Centre is supplied from a dam which is set in an enclosure at the North Eastern corner of the lower level.
Note: The dam is off limits to visitors to Holy Cross.
Western Side Lawns and Garden
The Western or Smiths Road side of the Holy Cross Centre is where the entrance and carpark for the Retreat Centre is situated. The lawn area contains a number of large mature trees and a row of Manchurian Pear trees runs along the edge of the lawn adjacent the carpark.
A small garden area known as the Peace Garden is nestled at the side of the Chapel on the Smiths Road or Western side of the Holy Cross Centre. The garden is semi-enclosed and is an ideal location for quite reflection.
Serpells Road Frontage
The Holy Cross Centre’s frontage to Serpells is marked with a row of mature Eucalypts (Gums). The garden areas beneath the gums are planted with hedging plants e.g. pittosporum and lily pilly and smaller schrubs e.g. agapanthus.