Ormiston house is a very fine example of a colonial garden estate set up for the acclimatisation and testing of commercial crops. Captain Hope was a lover of plants and flowers and a writer in the Brisbane Courier (1888) said of him: ‘it was not in his nature to erect a building and not surround it with a garden’. The gardens were developed to a very high standard, Hope having imported thousands pounds worth of shrubs and plants from overseas; the house was surrounded with roses, azaleas, camellias, magnolias and hibiscus. He imported £2,000 worth of azaleas alone, many of which were later stolen. A large fountain occupied a position in the front of the house and amongst the shrubs and flowers were placed examples of statuary much in favour in that period. Many specimen trees were planted throughout the property, and a broad avenue of palms and one of bunya pines were planted. A magnificent Quadrangulata is situated close to the Southern side of the house, one of only two that exist in Australia.
Hope used a style of irrigation which was thought to be the first of its type in the colony. It consisted of wells, a windmill and perforated pipes.
By the time the property was purchased by the Carmelite Order, the fountain and much of the statuary had been sold off or stolen, and many of the removable plants had also been stolen. By the 1950’s, the property was a wilderness of lantana, bougainvillea and weeds; the house was in a bad state, half covered with lantana and saplings growing through the floorboards. The large specimen trees and a few smaller ones were all that remained.