The garden as seen today results from Dr. James Broadbent’s horticultural knowledge and his analysis of the detailed research by Mrs. Jessie Serle; the compilation by Adshead & McQuie of information in surveyor’s field notebooks from 1894 and 1911; archaeology by Maddy Atkinson and family photographs belonging to Fripp family descendants.Dr. Broadbent’s research confirmed the original outlines of garden beds and the location of the summer house, pergola and fernery. Only one plant is thought to have survived from Greenlaw’s time: a now coppiced fig tree adjacent to the retaining wall near the northwest corner of Villa Alba.
The rebuilding and planting of the landscape, using material selected by Dr. Broadbent from 19th century nurserymen’s catalogues and other records, was carried out by Eagles Contracting. The public also generously helped with sourcing hard-to-find plants. The discovery of an original wooden garden tile resulted in the reproduction of sufficient tiles to edge the garden beds. This project was generously supported by members of the public who purchased tiles for placement in Villa Alba’s garden.
As the garden continues to grow and take on the form of its predecessor in the late 19th century, it provides an elegant setting appropriate to this significant building and is a fitting reminder of the great contribution of Sir Rupert Hamer to the cultural life of Victoria.
A DVD produced by the ABC tells the story of the re-interpretation of the garden and can be viewed by visitors to Villa Alba.