Eden Gardens is a HUGE garden centre located on the edge of the lush Lane Cove National Park in North Ryde. For someone who loves eating, gardening and shopping for gardening "stuff" Eden Gardens in is the perfect place to while away a few hours on a lazy summer afternoon.
Before we get down to the business of gardening "stuff" The Boy and I make a pitstop at Dragonfly Cafe...a large cafe inside Eden Gardens that has a lovely view over the gardens.
It's a super HOT day and I can't face anything other than a salad - and their "Spring Salad" ($24.00) is just the business. My salad is a refreshing mix of watermelon, feta, mint and baby spinach that is topped with poached prawns and drizzled with balsamic. At $24 it's not cheap but it sure is tasty - I've made this at home (sans prawns) a few times since as I just loved it so much.
The Boy is tougher than me in hot weather and goes for the hearty sounding Char Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($22.00). Again I don't think this meal is cheap (this isn't really the place to come for a "cheap" cafe feed) but he's pretty happy with what he's got. There are a few cheaper options on the menu but most things are upwards of $20.
After lunch we go for a wander through the gardens - a series of large landscaped spaces that offer a nice relaxing respite from our hectic city lives. You can even pre-order a picnic basket from the cafe to eat in the gardens which I think is a lovely idea...and the garden is also home to a few chickens.
The Boy heads back to the office (I'm was on holidays so could do whatever I wanted - what a glorious feeling!) so I spend a little while checking out the seedlings on offer. I normally grow things from seed (as it's a more cost effective way of growing your own produce) but I was VERY tempted to go home with a chilli plant as well as this amazing smelling Chocolate Mint that smelt just like an afterdinner mint when you rubbed it between your fingers. I think it would make a really nice iced tea.
Eden Gardens also has a good range of seeds on offer. I'm thinking of growing some capsicum soon and was quite taken with their multi-coloured capsicum seeds - they'd made such a colourful looking salad. There are also lots of garden furniture type stuff for sale as well as pillows, rugs, outdoor picnic ware, nic-nacs and the like...but if you can't eat it it's not going on my balcony.
Eden Gardens and Dragonfly Cafe can be found at Corner Lane Cove and Fontenoy Roads, North Ryde. Phone them on 9491 9900.