Archive for the ‘Historic gardens’ Category

Celebrating The Second Last Day Of Winter
August 30, 2019

I woke up this morning to a frost and a clear blue sky. The warming sun soon melted the ice and it was clear this second last day of winter was going to be glorious.

The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens was the place to revel in the delights of the day.

The gardens were dog city as people walked their canine friends, strolled with their human friends and families, cycled, jogged and lounged whilst soaking up the rays.

Katie and I shared lunch and afterwards, I took these photographs as Katie sniffed about.

The willows are resplendent in their new, lacy, green leaves.

 

There is a scattering of daffodils and drifts of limey yellow euphorbias.

Blossom trees are hard to resist.

 

This is the time of year for bright, yellow, wattle flowers.

It will be a while yet before the wisteria is ready to bloom.

Today was perfect to be in the botanical gardens.

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The First Day of Winter 2018
June 2, 2018

It was the first day of winter, the 1st of June, and a perfect day to visit the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens to take photographs.

The early morning frost had melted by 10.00am and the day was bright and clear. The sky an intense blue, the shadows the right length, the willows, elms and oaks clad in gold and russet and ……. there was a work crew in full throttle, vehicles on the grass, men wearing High Vis, chain saws whirring and whining, ride on mowers manicuring the grass. Ah well, best get on with it.

Firstly, a few views around Lake Joanna which looked gorgeous having recovered from a long bout of algal bloom which had turned the lake pea green.

 

 

Then time to take a walk along my favourite part of the gardens – the walk along Barkers Creek where the path is lined with oaks.

The low slung sun shining through the gold foliage created a magical light.

I passed under the branches of the BIG OAK which was planted in 1863 to celebrate the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The BIG OAK is the oldest planting in the gardens. It shelters the play ground. My house could easily fit under its canopy.

 

This is an old postcard of the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens in its heyday. Today, the garden happily exists without the cannon.

Flooding Rains
September 14, 2016

‘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.

Autumnal Oaks
June 17, 2016

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This week I had the opportunity to draw this picture in soft pastel. I had been waiting for weeks for the oaks in one of my favourite sections of Castlemaine’s Botanical Gardens to reach the peak of their autumnal glory.

It is early winter and the oaks are among the last of the deciduous trees to acquire their autumn colour. It was fine, but chilly, when I commenced the drawing on Monday morning, but Wednesday morning was just glorious. There were plenty of people out walking – many with their grandchildren or dogs. Nearby, a small group was practising Qi Gong.

Crimson rosellas, Australian magpies and Bronzewing pigeons enjoyed the bounty offered in the gardens that morning.

This picture gives me a lot of pleasure. I hope you enjoy it too.

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Malmsbury Botanic Gardens
May 6, 2016

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Malmsbury Botanic Gardens are often a welcome stop for Katie and I on our travels to and from Melbourne. We like to spend time in the Pinetum at the end of the gardens near the viaduct. Recently, I visited Malmsbury to make this charcoal drawing of the pine trees. I like the textures of the bark and the shapes of the trunks.

Malmsbury Botanic Gardens, established in 1863, are one of Victoria’s earliest regional botanic gardens. Its main features are an ornamental lake and mature trees, mainly exotics.

A Pinetum is a plantation of pine trees or other conifers planted for scientific or ornamental purposes.

Ode to Autumn
May 23, 2015

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 The colours and fruits of autumn have captured my attention over the past few months when this series of photographs was taken.

I was hobbling around as I recovered from a leg injury which meant my ability to walk any great distance was impaired… so I carried my camera and Katie learnt patience as we proceeded on our gentle walks.

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 None of the trees and plants featured in this post are native to Australia. Their origins are in other parts of the world. Some have been carefully planted whilst others have escaped and settled where conditions have suited them.

Australian trees are generally evergreen shedding their leaves throughout the year. More leaves are shed during summer or times of drought to conserve water.

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I revelled in the intense, bright colours of foliage.

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Autumn is the season of fruitfulness for a variety of plants.

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The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens in its autumn mood.

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Daylesford Botanic Gardens on Wombat Hill
April 20, 2015

 

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It was an absolutely delightful autumn day when I visited Daylesford Botanic Gardens on Friday, the 10th of April.

It was the last day of the term school holidays and the majority of visitors were puffing up the look out tower to take in the views of the town and surrounding countryside.

The shape and steepness of Wombat Hill suggest it is of volcanic origin but neither the brochure about the gardens nor a cursory scan of google gave any information about the hill’s origins.

I spent a lazy day wandering around the garden taking photographs, lunching among the tomatoes of the cafe’s kitchen garden and drawing.

 

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 Katie and I had our feet firmly on the ground as we admired the views.

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 The glowing, dappled light shining through the leaves of the elm drive was bewitching.

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This is a sight I am unlikely to see in Castlemaine – a holly tree full of berries. Hollies grow well in Daylesford with its cold, damp climate.

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Plaistow Homestead – Joyces Creek
November 10, 2014

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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.

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

 

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 A sunny courtyard provides a sheltered retreat.

 

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

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This is what lies beyond the garden fence.

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

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Buda – Historic House and Garden in Castlemaine
September 14, 2014

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Today, Sunday the 14th of September, my friend, Jennie and I visited Buda, Castlemaine’s  grand property featuring a large house and extensive garden.

Buda was purchased by Ernest Leviny, a Hungarian silversmith and jeweller in 1863. He moved into the house with his second wife, Bertha, in 1864. The couple had 10 children and Buda remained the family’s home until 1981 when Hilda, the last surviving daughter, died at 98 years of age. The house was extensively renovated between 1890 and 1900 during which time it was given the name of  Buda. The property is now in community ownership being part of the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum.

I am going to feature Buda in two posts, this first post features the garden.

The garden of 1.2 hectares was developed to reflect the tastes and interests of the family. Earnest Leviny was a member of the Mount Alexander (Castlemaine) Horticulture and Agricultural Society and was eager to acquire the plants of interest to collectors in the Victorian era. Whilst the family employed a team of gardeners, they were also hands on gardeners themselves. Hilda was still working in the garden in her 90s.

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As adults, the Leviny daughters were keen followers of the arts and crafts movement. This sun dial and fountain were made by Dorothy who specialised in metal and enamel work.

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The garden was altered to meet the changing needs of the family. The fountain and pond are part of a garden built to replace the tennis court. The old tennis pavilion now sits in a garden setting.

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Yes, that’s me.