Archive for the ‘Open Gardens’ Category

Autumn Retrospective
May 20, 2020

It is nearing the end of the autumn months and normally at this time of year I would have published some posts on autumn gardens I had visited. But with the corona virus pandemic, not this year – sigh!

So, I am taking solace in this retrospective.

Whilst I tend to associate autumn with the colours of deciduous trees, other plants also make a splash with colour. These grasses are a feature at Frogmore gardens and nursery near Blackwood.

There is an abundance of fruit and acorns.

Colourful berries are a delight.

Ornamental grapevines strut their stuff.

Belleville in Dunolly has an impressive grapevine tunnel.

These autumn tones adorn Mica Grange – one of my favourite gardens.

Vaughan Springs and……

Castlemaine’s Botanical gardens attract many visitors on fine autumn days.

Last Saturday, the lawns were filled with families (in groups of 10 or less) enjoying the freedom to gather in parks and gardens to soak up the sun. I am sure the children were disappointed the playground is still closed – bad corona virus!

I hope that in spring restrictions will have lifted to the extent that there will be open gardens again.  I am looking forward to exploring new gardens and revisiting favourites.

Tugurium, Macedon
December 19, 2019

Tugurium was the second garden I visited in Macedon on Sunday, 8 December.

It is the garden of Stephen Ryan, well known nurseryman, plant collector, author and media personality.

The site of the original garden is a property which had been burnt out by the Ash Wednesday bush fires in 1983. The garden has expanded over the years as adjoining parcels of land have been purchased.

The garden is packed with the rare plants Stephen loves. On a hot summer’s day, it is a cool oasis.

There is a great variety of foliage.

There are dramatic shapes………

………..and coloured foliage.

 

Interesting tree trunks……..

………..spent flower heads………

……..and berries add to the experience of the garden.

Water adds another dimension with its sounds and coolness.

Don’t you love it when you upload your carefully composed image to find there is half a human in the background?

There were flowers to admire as well.

 

 

This one resembled a giant dandelion.

There were some good old bog standard flowers I recognised.

This rose was sweetly perfumed.

 

 

The clematis were stunning.

Finally, a bit of whimsy. Among the many examples of bamboo in the garden is this species which dies down each year. The new growth is coming up among the old stems which have been painted bright red.

Caelum, Macedon
December 9, 2019

Yesterday, Sunday 8 December, I had the pleasure of visiting two Macedon gardens which were open as part of the Open Gardens Victoria program. The two early summer gardens were a delight on a hot, sunny day when the light was so bright it almost hurt the eyes.

This was the first time I had visited gardens on the slopes of Mount Macedon which is famous for its gardens especially in autumn.

It was a challenge taking photographs because of the harsh light but I managed to take quite a few.

The first garden I visited was Caelum (Latin for Heaven).

The garden was so inviting because of its cool, shady areas. I took the photograph of the vegetable garden from the shelter of a spreading oak and found I was sharing the shade with something else whilst resting under another shady tree.

The herb garden is located in a sunny area near the vegetable patch. I enjoyed sitting on the low retaining wall and running my fingers through the rosemary.

A native garden has been established under these huge eucalypts.

Given Macedon’s high rainfall, I was surprised by the abundance of succulents.

They occupied large swathes of garden bed, pots and were tucked into nooks and crannies.

All kinds of elements work together to create interest in the garden: different shapes and textures of foliage……..

………..coloured foliage………

………..pops of bright, floral colour………..

 

……..and characters such as these.

This Mock Orange has it all: varigated foliage, fragrance and beautiful flowers.

 

 

 

Ophir Cottage, Creswick
November 23, 2019

I had been looking forward to Creswick’s Garden Lovers Weekend since 2018 when I missed out on going that year.

I enjoy the trip across to Creswick, seeing gardens in a different climatic zone and the local garden club sells tough plants at very affordable prices.

Creswick is in the Central Highlands close to Ballarat so it shares a gold mining history.

My friend and I visited the town garden, Ophir Cottage. The gardeners have very idiosyncratic tastes and have filled their garden with novelties and quirky garden rooms.

 

A small, oriental garden room is in development. The cumquat tree plays a major role in the setting.

If you like cactus and succulents, the cactus courtyard with its swimming pool could be for you.

My friend and I enjoyed the drama of the setting – there was a definite ‘wow’ factor.

 

The gardeners love concrete filling the garden with fountains, towers, paving and walls.

The teapot wall combines the gardeners’ love of concrete and kitsch.

There is a ledge for all kinds of teapots no matter how pretty or ugly.

Some of the rooms were shady whilst others bathed in light.

Plaistow Homestead – again
November 13, 2019

A friend and I visited Plaistow Homestead on Sunday, 3 November. I had previously visited the garden in early November 2014. With a cooler, wetter spring the garden looked quite different to my first visit when October had been hot and dry. The garden was lusher and flowers still blooming.

These lily pad bird baths are very attractive.

The back garden had a massed display of iris and poppies.

The thorns of this climbing rose were mixing it with the fiercesome thorns of a large cactus.

The property boasts a picturesque outlook down to Joyce’s Creek.

Here is the contrast between 2019 and 2014.

 

Zen Memorial Garden, Kyneton
September 22, 2019

Zen Memorial Garden was the second garden my friend and I visited on Sunday, 15 September, the last day of the 2019 Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival.

It is a large, rambling, country garden named in honour of the family’s daughter, Zen.

The garden is sheltered from Kyneton’s biting, cold winds by hedges and trees.

Some of the trees which have died have been repurposed.

 

 

 

Insect hotels are popping up in gardens to encourage beneficial insects to take up residence.

You never know what may be lurking in a pond.

 

 

 

Zen Memorial Garden is part of a hobby farm whose residents include alpacas.

When they had satisfied their curiosity, their attention wandered elsewhere.

So my friend, Katie and I moved on to be the centre of attention for this trio.

Katie was exploring the property with us at the invitation of the owner.

The cattle are able to admire the view across the Upper Coliban Reservoir which provides drinking water for Castlemaine and Bendigo.

My friend and I completed our visit with purchases from the plant stall.

Hourigans, Kyneton
September 15, 2019

Today, Sunday, was the final day of the 2019 Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival. Open gardens are one of the attractions of the festival so a garden loving friend and I headed off to visit two of the gardens.

The first garden we visited was Hourigans located on the edge of town next to the busy Calder Freeway.  The property had formerly been part of a farm and the backyard is dominated by two enormous, old conifers.

The back yard also has this tall, beautifully arranged wood pile. Perhaps the old conifers were the source of some of the wood.

I was fascinated by the colours and texture of the logs.

I wondered if the logs provide habitat for insects and other creepy crawlies.

I think old farms provided these decorative elements.

 

What to do with old terracotta pots!

 

Daffodils and tulips provide bright splashes of colour.

 

Muckleford Roses
February 5, 2019

I visited Forest Edge during the 2018 Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens with my friend, Jenny.

After picking Jenny up from the Castlemaine station, we drove to Muckleford where we picnicked in the garden of Forest Edge.  As we ate, we were thrilled by the blue wrens (Superb Fairywrens) hopping around on the picnic table and nearby.

After lunch, we got down to the serious business of enjoying the pleasures of my favourite garden. We took heaps of photographs as we moved around the garden at a leisurely pace.

On the day, the roses were particularly fine so this post is devoted to them.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mica Grange Flowers
January 12, 2019

I have made several visits to Mica Grange since I moved to Castlemaine almost 6 years ago.

Mica Grange is a large country garden perched on the slopes of Mt. Alexander overlooking the Sutton Grange Valley.

I have always enjoyed the sculpture exhibitions, the panoramic views, Bede’s productive garden, Mary’s food and the flowers.

Here are some of my favourite photos of the flowers of Mica Grange. Some were taken on my most recent visit in November 2018 and others from earlier visits.

 

It is hard to ignore the proteas when they are in flower. Of the open gardens I have visited, Mica Grange has the most extensive collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with many other open gardens in this district, roses abound. When they are in flower, what’s not to like?

Roses may need pruning, dead heading and protection from pests and diseases, but they are remarkably hardy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also Australian native flowering shrubs and trees.

There is plenty to delight the eye at Mica Grange.

Lixouri, Barkers Creek
November 29, 2018

 

Lixouri was the third garden I visited during the 2018 Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens. 

Lixouri is very popular with garden festival enthusiasts.

It consists of terraces leading down to a small lake fringed with iris.

There is an adjoining olive grove.

Roses line the fence which divides the garden from the olive grove.

 

The terraces are edged by dry stone walls.

There are many plants typical of Central Victorian gardens to admire.

The vegetable garden had been given over to poppies which I enjoyed.