Ambling Through The Chewton Bush

February 16, 2021 - 6 Responses

These photographs give some idea why the hills surrounding Castlemaine and Chewton were never used for grazing.

Early this morning, Katie and I went for an amble along bush tracks popular with locals who live in or near Henry Street which gives access to the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park.

As is common in this area, we were often walking on bare rock.

Katie and I were walking through Box- Ironbark Forest. During the goldrush period, the bushland was stripped of timber which was used for mining, gold extraction processess, building and domestic purposes. Once mining operations ceased and people left the area, the bush was left to regenerate. These multi trunked trees have regrown from the old stumps.

The colours of the bush glowed in the early morning light.

The Cherry Ballart with its dark green colouring stands out in the bush.

Artificial water holes such as this one provide valuable habitat and water for native fauna.

I kept an eye out for small details such as this giant spider web and lichen encrusted rock.

This is the entry way to a disused mine.

I admired the pink colouring in one of the embankments.

I was very lucky to see this black and orange wasp entering its nest.

When the wasp emerged again, I moved out of the way as it took to the air. I was hoping I hadn’t annoyed it.

Big, dark, scary hole. I have never been tempted to ignore the sign and venture in.

This must surely be the last of this season’s Hyacinth Orchids. It is growing directly out of the rubble at the mine’s entrance.

This is the final photograph from my morning’s walk. A small eucalypt is growing defiantly in the ground previously stripped bare by humans.

Poverty Gully Race

February 10, 2021 - 9 Responses

Katie and I like to amble beside sections of the Poverty Gully Race.

The now disused races or hand dug channels carried water to the settlements and mining sites of this district.

The track along the race is quite popular with both walkers and mountain bikers. I remember my first encounter with a mountain biker. I was puzzled that anyone would want to cycle down the particularly steep and rough section I was traveling along at the time, especially as I use a hiking stick to help keep me upright when walking in the bush.

Sections of the track give views across Castlemaine, Chewton and the surrounding hills. Mount Alexander with the towers on its summit is featured in the last photograph.

Heritage Tree

January 21, 2021 - 7 Responses

The Stone Pines in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens have distinctive flat tops.

This particular specimen is on the Register of Significant Trees of Victoria.

There are a number of trees in the gardens which are also listed on the Register of Significant Trees – not all are as magnificent as this tree.

The bark of the tree is full of character.

Gazing Up

January 13, 2021 - 6 Responses

It was gorgeous this morning beside Lake Joanna with the mist rising from the water.

The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens were quite busy with joggers, walkers and dogs wanting to avoid the forecast higher temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius.

This is the tree I gazed up into this morning. There are small cones developing on its branches.

This conifer has branches running up the length of its trunk.

When I could look up no more, I photographed the bark. Can you see the caterpillar?

Tute’s Cottage, Castlemaine

January 8, 2021 - 6 Responses

Tute’s Cottage is the last gold rush stone cottage to be occupied under a Miner’s Right in Castlemaine.

From 1855, gold miners became entitled to a portion of land for a house and garden under the terms of the Miner’s Right. The cottage was lived in from the time of its construction in about 1860 to 1996 shortly before the death of its last occupant.

Tute’s Cottage is in my neighbourhood and I often pass it on my walks. I took these photographs on two different days at different times of the year.

The cottage offers basic shelter by today’s standards.

Grapes are ripening on the old vine.

Beside the cottage is a productive garden tended by householders in Greenhill Avenue.

I like to spend time looking over the fence down into the garden. Frames made from prunings have been recently constructed.

I tried to grow nasturtiums this season without success so I was envious of these beauties smiling in the early morning sun.

Looking into the Canopy

January 2, 2021 - 8 Responses

For a while now I have been gazing thoughtfully up into the canopies of the large conifers in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens. I have been admiring the tracery of the branches and the pineneedles silhouetted against the sky.

Although the sky was rather dull this morning, I decided to trial photographing this tree.

I found it was difficult to completely exclude the foliage of a neighbouring tree.

I ended the photographic session with a detail of the bark of the conifer.

I will take more photographs of other trees when the sky is bluer.

Yellow is for Optimism

December 31, 2020 - 10 Responses

Due to a range of distractions I have not posted this month but in the final hours of 2020, I wanted to mark the year’s passing on a note of optimism. I have raided my archives for photos featuring the colour yellow: symbol of hope and good cheer.

Festivals are cheerful events. There was plenty of yellow at the Guildford Banjo Jamboree and the Bendigo Easter Festival in past years.

Yes, there is plenty of yellow in the plant world. Those plants with yellow flowers which bloom in the grey of winter bring cheer to a drab world.

This sculpture represents a Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine which was declared extinct in 1936. For me, it represents the ultimate in optimism as reports of sightings of this animal in the wild persist. Perhaps one day there will be documentary evidence of its continued existence.

Whilst I have no doubt that COVID-19 will be with us for some time to come, I am hopeful that in 2021, we will begin to see the back of it. Keep safe.

At Home With Iris

November 30, 2020 - 10 Responses

Iris season has well and truly passed.

I was happy to photograph these beauties which adorned my back garden this spring.

The flowering stalks are now bare waiting for me to cut them back .

Floral Forest Edge

November 18, 2020 - 8 Responses

Forest Edge was the second garden I visited during ‘Cup Week’. Forest Edge and Mica Grange are my favourite open gardens to visit and I was very lucky they were open during this year of COVID-19 restrictions.

Forest Edge, in spring, is all about flowers –

 – which is great from my point of view as I love flower gardens.

Forest Edge has special significance for me because I associate the garden with my Auntie Anne who also loved this garden.

I am thrilled when I am able to photograph flowers with their insect admirers.

At Forest Edge good use is made of succulents and……

……there is a large, productive garden.

There are plenty of garden art chooks and ducks as well as the real thing.

Mica Grange during COVID-19

November 8, 2020 - 11 Responses

In this year when we have not been  able to attend events since March, I was delighted – ecstatic – to learn that five gardens were open during ‘Cup Week’.  Yes, the Melbourne Cup and the other spring carnival races ran but in empty race courses. Without the crowds, I struggle to see the point.

The Festival of Gardens had been cancelled but five property owners put up their hands to share their gardens with regional garden enthusiasts hungry for their fix of garden delights.

I was very happy to visit my two favourite gardens – Mica Grange and Forest Edge.

Mica Grange was pretty as a picture on Sunday, 1 November.

There weren’t as many sculptures as in previous years but there was garden art aplenty.

These would have to be among the last blossom trees to flower this spring.

I was very happy to capture the blossoms whilst they were still at their showy best.


Below the blossom trees, a dog watches over its flock.

I particularly admired these magpie sculptures.

This hare also had at least one admirer. I saw it being carried off by its new owner.

In the background, you can see the timber ‘stepping stones’ which are a new feature in the garden.

I watched with amusement as children and adults tested their balancing skills.

These roses are a joy.

Finally, a photograph of a rose being mobbed by bees.

I am very grateful to Bede and Mary for opening their garden again this year. I am also grateful to their team of assistants who attend to the myriad of tasks which makes the opening possible.

The garden is open each weekend until 29 November.