The Garden of St. Erth, Blackwood

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Last Friday, the 2nd of October, I took advantage of the fine holiday weather to visit the Garden of St. Erth, Blackwood in the Great Dividing Range.

The present garden has been established around an old stone cottage built in the 1860s by Matthew Rogers, a Cornish stonemason, who came to the goldfields at Mt. Blackwood in 1854. Matthew Rogers named the cottage ‘St. Erth’ after his birthplace in Cornwall.

The two and a half hectare garden began to be developed in 1967 and is currently owned by the Diggers Garden and Environment Trust.

The garden is surrounded by the Wombat State Forest in a cool, wet climate. Plants flower later than in Castlemaine. The wisteria climbing over the cottage was still in bud whilst the wisterias in Castlemaine are in full, magnificent bloom.

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The garden features areas devoted to exotic trees and plants.

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The garden also features Australian native plants and drought tolerant plants.

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Wombats at work. Wombats like to mark their territory by leaving their droppings on logs and rocks. They also dig in the ground for edible roots.

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This is a fine specimen of a Cherry Ballart (Exocarpus cupressi formis). This Australian native small tree is found in local bushland. The Cherry Ballart is semi parasitic on the roots of other trees especially eucalypts. The maturing tree doesn’t adversely affect its host as it becomes self sufficient.

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The bees were having a field day.

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The blossoms on the fruit trees were brimming with bees which politely flew to one side whilst I took these photographs.

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I hadn’t seen this method of protecting vegetables before. The frames were constructed of garden stakes slotted into metal brackets then draped with netting.

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4 Responses

  1. What beautiful flora, Margaret! It’s such a beautiful place. Wombats leave territorial scat in a similar manner that foxes do. And I wonder if the wildlife netting works there? Here the netting is a nightmare, often catching more birds that end up dying or becoming mutilated by trying to escape. It’s very disturbing to find a dangling leg in the netting or discover a bird that perished in the hea unable to escape. I no longer use wildlife netting. Most of the time I incorporate plants that I know deter insects and hope they fend off birds as well. The rest I just share… there is usually plenty for everyone!

    • Hi Lori, I was interested to read of your experiences with netting.

      When I visit country gardens many of the vegetable patches, berry canes and fruit trees are protected in some way.

      I haven’t heard people talk about the netting causing harm to birds or possums. Perhaps that is something I could ask about.

  2. Hi Margaret,
    What a lovely stone cottage and I enjoyed all the beautiful flower shots and the information about wombats too. I once planned to grow wisterias at the place we lived in the outback but my goat ate the plants that the mail truck left outside my house gate. She pulled every single plant out of its pots before I could get to them! She also chewed through the cardboard boxes containing apples that he’d delivered. Thank you for the very enjoyable tour again. 🙂

    • Oh, Jane! The perils of Outback living!!! My brother who lives in suburban Melbourne has a wisteria which is slowly taking over the back of his double storey house. It is in the process of destroying the pergola which used to provide support and has reached the upper decking.
      I am glad you enjoyed the pictorial tour of the Garden of St. Erth.

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