Archive for November, 2014

Crimson Glow
November 30, 2014



Beautiful crimson callistemons decorated the tables at Newstead Community Lunch recently.

Callistemons which are native to Australia, are popular in gardens, parks and street plantings. They range in size from shrubs to small trees. Some callistemons have a weeping habit. The distinctive bottlebrush flowers are usually variations of red, scarlet or crimson but other colours including cream, pink and green are available. These hardy plants will tolerate a variety of conditions from the banks of creeks to the parched streets of Central Victoria.

With the added bonus of attracting honey eaters and bees when in flower, callistemons are winners.


Elysium – Taradale
November 17, 2014


 I am not interested in tuning into the horse racing of Melbourne Cup Day so I spent Tuesday, the 4th of November doing something I really like – visiting two open gardens in the nearby township of Taradale. These gardens were open as part of the Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens.

‘Elysium’ was the garden I visited in the morning and is the subject of this post.

The property is situated in the heart of the township and is bordered by the fences of neighbouring properties and a sheep paddock.

The garden has two distinct sections – a new section developed over the past 16 months with a moon gate as the back drop and an older established section which has a large pond.

The owner has created a no dig garden where plants have been planted into raised garden beds which are heavily mulched. Many of the trees have been planted as more mature specimens.


 A view across the new garden to the moon gate and……


 looking back through the moon gate to the new garden.


Colour in the new garden.




 The pond is a dominant feature of the older garden.


 This comical emu is placed in one of the densely planted beds of the older garden. Shady deciduous trees provide dappled light for hellebores which had finished flowering and the peonies which had just begun flowering or were still in bud. Hellebores and peonies are a rare sight in Castlemaine whose climate is not well suited to these plants.




 Lots more colour in the older section of the garden.











A deciduous tree clad in its fresh spring leaves.

Plaistow Homestead – Joyces Creek
November 10, 2014




Yippeee! It’s been Festival of Gardens time in Castlemaine and district from the 1st to the 9th of November. So there’ll be a few posts devoted to the gardens I visited over the next few weeks.

The Festival is held every two years. Twenty two gardens were listed in the official program and six gardens in the HEDGE – Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm – program. Yes, even a Garden Festival has a fringe.

I visited Plaistow, one of the HEDGE gardens, on Saturday, the 8th of November on a windy, hot day perfect for wandering around a property which has shady verandahs and trees.

This heritage listed property was settled in the early 1840s before the madness of the gold rushes. There is a rambling garden created for the pleasure of the owners and to supply the kitchen with fruit and vegetables.

I visited the garden about a month too late as the spring flowers had died, shrivelled or gone to seed. So I needed to focus on features other than a spring floral display.



How many of us have one of these parked on our verandahs?



 A sunny courtyard provides a sheltered retreat.





An avenue of old peppercorn trees leads down to the creek and the paddocks.




This is what lies beyond the garden fence.




 I think this is the oldest olive tree I have seen with its spreading branches and gnarled trunk.









Spring Abundance
November 3, 2014



Posies of spring flowers were recently used to decorate the tables at Newstead community lunch.

As I made this drawing, I was reminded of the old tradition of making Tussie Mussies. These small bouquets of fragrant herbs and flowers have been used in various forms since Medieval times. Initially, tussie mussies were pinned to a person’s clothing or worn in the hair to mask body odour or unpleasant smells in the street.

In the 1800s, tussie mussies became popular as gifts, especially between lovers. The posy was a coded message where each flower had a special meaning as listed in the directories of flower meanings published during this period. Often the flowers were placed inside a doily or special cone shaped metal vase. As the flowers could have more than one meaning, it was prudent to accompany the tussie mussie with a card listing the intended meaning of the flowers.

This particular posy included:

cornflowers – delicacy or single blessedness

geranium – comfort

lavender – devotion, virtue or distrust

marigold – desire for riches or despair

pink rose – friendship, love, beauty or success.


For me, these flowers symbolised the hope and abundance spring brings.