Friends' Craft Groups at the Cottage in the Gardens

  • The Friends' Craft Groups welcome visitors to their meeting days

  • New members, especially beginners, are especially welcome to join a group

  • Visitors and non-members are all welcome to come and watch

  • To take part in a craft group you need to be a member of the Friends
  • Join the Friends to become involved

  • see below for information about the groups and their meeting and demonstration days

  • Friends are reminded that Plant Craft Cottage has an extensive reference library on plant crafts.

          Friends' Craft Cottage, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens, H Gate

Time:             10.30 am - 2 pm - Dates for each group listed below
Cost:              Free entry. Come along.    
Bookings:      Bookings are not required    
Enquiries:     (03) 9650 6398

Craft Groups at the Cottage
(Adobe PDF File)

Basketry Craft Group

This Craft Group meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. The Group investigates the use of plant material, Australian and introduced, to make a wide range of baskets. Techniques range from traditional stitching and weaving to free form construction with vines and creepers. In recent times the Group has made basketry items from corn husks, pine needles, vine prunings and red dogwood, and experimented with dyeing basketry materials.
The Basketry Group continues to have strong representation with 14 members coming to both the August and September meetings. We welcomed two new members in September: Janene Webb and Michaela Hill, bringing the total Basketry Group number to 21. In September we were gifted with a delightful day, so we set up out the front of the Cottage and had some fun making Christmas wreaths from the red-stemmed Dogwood. The wreaths are now hanging up under the back veranda to dry and we may embellish some of these, prior to their going into the Cottage Shop for sale.  Others made god’s eyes and continued with existing projects and enjoyed the sunshine. 
We had a request from the Garden Group for a small barrier to go behind the fuchsia, so I had a crack at making a rather rustic sculpture in-situ from the Dogwood. There’s plenty of Dogwood left and I’m hoping that we can make some more sculptures for the Cottage garden soon.
The Children’s workshop held on Friday 5th October was run by Margaret Allen and myself. We had 11 enthusiastic children who had great fun making their corn dollies. Every dolly was different. Margaret’s dyed corn was a terrific hit and used to great effect for skirts and shawls.
The Basketry Group spent the day with the Basketmakers of Victoria at their cottage in Burwood for our October meeting. Our last meeting in November will be used to finish off projects. We will also have a Basketry Group break-up lunch.
Lydia Beshara – Co-ordinator


Read more about

Garden Secrets for Basket-Makers

Basketry Views

Meetings/Demonstrations:     19 December 2018, 20 February, 20 March 2019

Natural Dye Group

This Group meets on the 1st Wednesday of the month. The Group works with natural dyes and researches their preparation and use in the dying of cotton, silk and other natural fibres. The dyes are extracted from the leaves, flowers, fruit, stems and roots of plants. Some of the dyes used have been madder, logwood, camomile, eucalyptus, thryptomeme, correa and indigo. The Group also uses the Shibori technique to pattern cloth. A reference collection has been established and is stored in the von Mueller Resource Centre. Read more about plants used...

The November Dye meeting will be spent refreshing some of our dyed silk scarves, and dyeing some more.  We will be using Marigold flowers, madder root and Indigo as dyestuffs.  We shall also discuss future dyeing of Australian pure wool skeins.   Some of the stronger colours disappear from the basket very quickly - for example ‘orange’ from Eucalypt leaves.

In December we will be dyeing with indigo, (this is our annual treat to ourselves) before enjoying a shared lunch.

Meetings/Demonstrations:   6 February, 6 March 2019

Working with Fibre Craft Group

This Craft Group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. The Group specialises in the use of the plant fibre fabrics and threads cotton, linen and jute. They study ancient crafts, as well as traditional and modern ones. They use the skills with a view to their appreciation in everyday use. In 2016 we spent a number of meetings on 'scrumbling' or free form knitting. Read more about this ....

We are continuing to work on knitted and crocheted string bags and have collected quite a few different patterns. The string bag is again popular with the declining use of plastic bags. There were many different techniques used in the past and it would be interesting to revive some of them, perhaps knotting or macrame!

Meetings/Demonstrations:      12 February, 12 March 2019

The Knitting and Crochet Group 

We invite you to join our friendly group of knitters. Our first project was to knit/crochet a Poppy and contribute to the Remembrance Day Poppy Appeal 2018. Future projects include knitted fruit and veg. or your own special project. All welcome, Join the Friends to take part in the activity.

 3rd Tuesday of the month from 10.30 am  - 12.30 pm
Plant Craft Cottage, RBGV, Melbourne Gardens, near H Gate
Materials:  BYO wool, crochet hook/knitting needles
Tea and coffee provided.

Dates:    19 March 2019

Paper Group

The Group experiments with plant fibres and recycled paper to make handmade paper and sculptural forms. In recent times they have made plant fibre papers using New Zealand flax, tried various ways of decorating paper, both commercial and handmade, and investigated different types of bookbinding.

Read more about the Paper Group......

Meetings/Demonstrations:    the Paper Group is hoping to meet on the 4th Wednesday of the month please phone Jean on 8588 1824 if you are interested.

Plant Card Group

This Group meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month. The Group presses flowers, leaves, grasses, weeds and even seaweed and uses them creatively to decorate home-made and commercial cards and bookmarks. They specialise in landscapes and creatures, and seasonal themes. 

As Melbourne was caught up in ‘Royal Fever’ on our October meeting day, we were unable to have our usual coffee, talk and card making.
However, in November we will once more meet to keep our card production in sufficient supply to last over the Christmas season.  As we often have ‘Christmas Cards’ left over, we may confine ourselves to just the quality cards we produce all year.

Meetings/Demonstrations:    13 December 2018, 21 February, 21 March 2019

Pot Pourri Group

This Group meets on the 2nd Friday of the month. The Group dries, strips and mixes herbs, spices, fragrant barks, leaves and flowers to make perfumed mixes having a variety of uses. Some of the items they make include both moist and dry pot pourri, pomanders, drawer sachets and insect repellents. They are also experienced in sand-drying flowers to retain their shape and colour. Moist Pot Pourri Sachets and Heather's small jars of Moist Pot Pourri are popular items in the Shop.

With a view to everyone putting away their winter woollies, we have made sure that there are enough wheat bags left for sale. Also, with the arrival of roses, we have stocked up on Starter Kits so that everyone can use them to create their own Moist Pot Pourri.

With Christmas gifts needed there should be plenty of Drawer Sachets and in November we will make more bags of bay leaves for the Christmas cooking.
A volunteer from Friends’ Office recently visited the Cottage to photograph our wares for inclusion in Botanic News. I tried to make sure she included some of our more colourful articles. 

Meetings/Demonstrations:     8 February, 8 March 2019

Cottage Craft Shop 

The cottage crafters produce a wide variety plant craft items and other material for sale in the Craft Shop in the Cottage. Some of the items produced include kitchen herbal wreaths, scrapbooking kits, flower holders, garden tool holders, rosemary salt, cushions and a wide assortment of bags.

Take the opportunity to visit the Cottage Craft Shop full of hand made gifts. Hand dyed items, beautiful cards, Friends' calendars and cards, and festive themed gifts. Parking available on Alexandra Avenue and enter the Royal Botanic Gardens via H Gate.  The Craft Cottage is open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 3 pm and the 3rd Sunday each month

Meetings/Demonstrations:    Visitors and volunteers most welcome - please come to the shop in the cottage during opening hours.

Cottage Garden Group

This Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month. The Group maintains the Cottage garden with advice and assistance from the staff of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Plants suitable for use by the Craft Groups can be found in the cottage garden. To join this group please contact the Friends' office.

Spring has well and truly sprung at the Plant Craft Cottage and the garden is blooming brightly.  The early weeks of the new season brought forth jonquils and daffodils together with rosemary, hellebores, wallflower, Philotheca (Eriostemon) and the first of the arcotis, then came freesias and Spanish Bluebells, Clivias, white daisies, pelargoniums, lavender and Centradenia.  As some of these begin to fade they have been followed by Ajuga, Aristea, Bartlettina, Cistus, Cercis, Echium, Gladiolus carneus, Iris confusa, Kowhai, Jacobean Lily, perennial stock, statice, Vinca, the white lilac and more!  In recent weeks Purple Flag Iris, together with a few white ones and some two-tone versions, have been flowering especially enthusiastically and one wonders what it is about this particular Spring which has made them bloom so well.
As well as the usual maintenance tasks which we tackle on our gardening days, work has been undertaken in the top east corner of the garden to clear out old material and rejuvenate this area in general.  Likewise the garden below the bank, bordering the path to the shed has been revitalised.  Some Clivias which were moved to this area in June have settled in very happily and are already flowering well.
In August we were delighted to welcome Francisca Alliende to the Garden Group.  Francisca, who is a Landscape Architect by profession, has very quickly become a regular and valued member of the team.

Two Special Interest Groups focus on the day-to-day activities of the Cottage.

House Group

This Group is responsible for household duties at the Cottage.

Roster Group  

The members of this important Group are the hosts in the Cottage each day it is open. They introduce our local, interstate and overseas visitors to the history of the Cottage and the range of plant related crafts practised.
Location Map
(Adobe PDF File)