The Potager, Chewton

September 30, 2016 - 5 Responses

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Last Sunday, the 25th of September, was the final day for the HEDGE open gardens this year. One of the gardens I visited, was The Potager. Just beyond the swimming pool is an enclosed garden of narrow, curving, stone edged beds………

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……..where herbs, vegetables, self seeding annuals and perennials rub shoulders with each other.

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Globe artichokes are a garden favourite in this district as they grow so well. People grow them for their foliage, edible chokes or stunning purple flowers.

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In another area of the garden, it was blossom heaven.

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Euphorbias are another garden favourite in this district. They are tough, come in a variety of forms and have distinctive lime green heads.

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Guildford Banjo Jamboree

September 22, 2016 - 7 Responses

The Thirteenth Guildford Banjo Jamboree has come and gone. The Jamboree went ahead last weekend as Guildford was not swept away by a flooding Loddon River.

Whilst the banjo is the star of the Jamboree, it shares the stage with other instruments typical of traditional American string bands so there were guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, double basses and fiddles aplenty.

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The midday parade and banjo photo shoot under Guildford’s iconic Big Tree was a very relaxed affair.

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Mmmm, not sure why there was a camel in attendance.

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Some people were dressed to be noticed.

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Anybody could get in on the act.

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Gradually, the casual strumming became playing in unison and voices were raised in song.

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The Jamboree is an opportunity for local organisations to raise much needed funds. The Guildford Primary School was offering tempting treats for afternoon tea on Saturday, whilst the Guildford unit of the Country Fire Authority was busy feeding people all weekend. They need a new fire truck.

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This man was demonstrating his cigar box guitars whilst his friend was playing a more conventional instrument.

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There was music here in the Guildford Public Hall……

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……. and here in the Guildford Music Hall, Australia’s oldest surviving music hall……….

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……..There was plenty of action in the beer garden…….

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……and on the street.

I’ll be back next year.

Flooding Rains

September 14, 2016 - 16 Responses

‘I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains.’

Dorothea Mackellar

(1885 – 1968)

Right now, Castlemaine is receiving the flooding rains.

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This is a vine draped shelter in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens in autumn 2015.

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Steady rain over the past two days has resulted in Barkers Creek overflowing into Lake Johanna, the ornamental lake in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, which in turn has merged with Barkers Creek.

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Because of drought, Barkers Creek was the occasional water hole until winter rains began to fall this year. Today it is unrecognisable as the happily gurgling creek of recent weeks. The sound of the rushing flood filled the air.

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Curious spectators enjoyed the novelty of paddling in the expanded Lake Johanna.

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Familiar, often walked paths are now waterways.

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It was along this path that I drew a picture earlier this year.

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In October, my tai chi class will return on Monday mornings to this group of trees for our weekly sessions.

Wellanbah, Campbells Creek

September 6, 2016 - 2 Responses

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It is early spring and the open gardens season is kicking off. Locally, HEDGE (Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm) gardens are opening on Sundays during September.

I visited two gardens on Sunday, the 4th of September.

It was a grey, chill day as well as being Fathers Day and I had Wellanbah to myself. One of the owners expressed reservations about being open so early before the colourful spring flowers bloom.

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But is it interesting seeing gardens at different times of the year. The deciduous trees were still in their winter aspect. I was intrigued by the rows of seed pods on this tree.  However, the euphorbias were showing off their new, lime green flowers.

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The owners had planted pencil pines to create strong vertical shapes. Wellanbah is the only garden I have visited where woodbines are featured with multiple plantings. Woodbines are as tough as boots. Their sweetly perfumed flowers attract bees and honey eaters at a time when nectar can be scarce.

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In my last post, I wrote hellebores were a rarity in local gardens. I was delighted to see this one happily blooming.

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Succulents here ……….

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……….. succulents there.

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This is one way to build a low, stone wall.

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Nearby Campbells Creek has a significant effect on Wellanbah. The garden enjoys deep, good quality soil and temperatures of minus 6 degrees celsius on frosty mornings.

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Hellebores

August 30, 2016 - 11 Responses

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Aaaaaaaagh!!!!! What do I do when the photographs for the post I had planned for today don’t turn out? I dig into my archives.

This pastel drawing of hellebores is the final of the series featuring my former garden in Ferntree Gully. I drew the picture in August 2009. I greatly admired the quiet and subtle beauty of these flowers.

Hellebores like growing in dappled shade and seem to prefer a climate which is wetter than here in Castlemaine. Whilst I see them growing in gardens in the Macedon Ranges, I rarely see them growing locally.

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Guildford Cemetery

August 21, 2016 - 8 Responses

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The purpose of my visit to the Guildford cemetery on a gorgeous August day last Tuesday was to photograph some of the graves belonging to Swiss Italian families. I had been to the cemetery with Katie a couple of times before. Katie waited expectantly at the gate – this place means rabbit hunting!

Swiss Italian families settled the region around Daylesford, Yandoit and Guildford in the 1800s. They farmed the land, built houses and outbuildings from the local stone and each family had their own recipe for making bull boars – a dense meaty, herby, garlicy sausage.

 

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Some of the graves are tucked away in the far corner of the cemetery.

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This family was dogged by tragedy.

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DSCN5010This woman was kept busy raising three families in her lifetime.

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A number of graves bear the name Delmenico……..

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and Passalaqua.

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The Barassi family produced one of Guildford’s most famous identities.

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I moved on to other graves. This new grave pays homage to the role of Australian Rules Football in this person’s life. Josie Connell was a Western Bulldogs supporter.

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The violets growing on this grave scented the warm air.

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This headstone brought back memories of my Aunt Anne. Guildford Gus was one of her favourite hosts on local community radio.

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At the main intersection in Guildford, Ron Barassi, Australian Rules Football legend, gazes across to……..

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…………Guildford’s only remaining hotel.

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The Gold Coast

August 14, 2016 - 9 Responses

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I am guessing that not many posts about the Gold Coast commence with a photograph of the bronze head of this man, Peter J. Lacey, who was an Australian Surf Life Saving Champion from 1963 to 1984 and also, a Gold Coast business pioneer whose interests included real estate and development. This man encapsulates two main aspects of the Gold Coast – beach culture and a love of high rise apartments.

The Gold Coast which stretches south of Brisbane in Queensland to the New South Wales border is one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations. Early in August, I visited family who now live there having moved from Castlemaine to be closer to their daughter and medical facilities.

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In September 2015, I was holidaying in the historic fishing village of Port Fairy – what a contrast to the bustling, high rise, urban development of the Gold Coast!

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I admired these sculptures in the Broadwater parklands. The seagull kept an eye on me but had no intention of moving from its vantage point.

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I sent a text to my cousin saying I would meet her near the big horse in Victoria Park, Broadbeach.

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My cousin took me to the botanic gardens where my aunt volunteers. I liked the mosaic highlights on this statue.

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I loved this mosaic panel at the centre of the sensory garden.

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My cousin also took me on a day trip to O’Reillys in Lamington National Park. The sculpture commemorates the rescue of the survivors of an aeroplane crash by Bernard O’Reilly in February 1937.

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This photograph gives an idea of the subtropical rainforest which Bernard O’ Reilly and other rescuers had to navigate to reach the site of the plane crash.

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Alpacas are irresistible. My cousin’s children relished the opportunity to feed them.

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The alpacas had this magnificent view whilst they munched.

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I couldn’t ignore this dramatic skyscape dwarfing the high rise.

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Unexpected Bounty

July 25, 2016 - 8 Responses

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This is another drawing inspired by my old garden in Ferntree Gully. I finished the drawing on the 8th of July 2009.

I regarded the broken branch from the big banksia (Banksia marginata or Silver Banksia) as an unintended and unexpected gift. Perhaps a possum had been too heavy for the branch which snapped under its weight.

I loved the contrast between the dull green upper sides of the leaves and the white (silver) undersides. The immature flowers were challenging to draw.

The picture captures the happiness and energy I felt at that time.

Sadly, my favourite tree in the garden was cut down by the new owners.

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Amelia Jane

July 14, 2016 - 14 Responses

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Now for something a bit different……….My niece, Gemma, commissions me from time to time to make some object on her wish list. In 2015 it was a Minion Beanie, this year, an Amelia Jane doll.

When I received the commission, I had no idea who Amelia Jane was. It turns out Amelia Jane is the primary character in a series of Enid Blyton books in Gemma’s possession. Gemma and I spent some time examining the changes to Amelia Jane’s appearance over the decades since the books were originally published and Gemma provided me with her preferences……..and this is the result.

I was enormously relieved and pleased that Gemma was very happy with her custom made Amelia Jane……especially after the blood, sweat and tears (not to mention profanities) that went into her creation.

Amelia Jane was concocted from the blending and adapting of free crochet patterns I found on the Ravelry website.

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Winter Chill

July 3, 2016 - 12 Responses

This is what greeted me when a frigid day was followed by an even more frigid night resulting in a heavy frost the next morning. I am accustomed to finding ice on the windscreen of my car, but this was the first time the crystals formed patterns.  It was such a novelty, I took the photographs to record the event.

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Katie took refuge in a warm bed.

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