Archive for the ‘Productive Gardens’ Category

Belleville, Dunolly
May 14, 2018

Belleville opened its gates and doors to the public on the weekend of 21 – 22 April 2018 as part of the Open Gardens, Victoria autumn season.

Situated in the small goldfields town of Dunolly, the residence was built in the mid 1860s by up and coming young business man, James Bell, who built a successful career in business, banking and local and state politics.

The current owners restored the house and redeveloped the garden in the early 2000s. The new garden is designed to be in harmony with the house, replicating some of the original layout where possible.


The old water cistern has been preserved………

…………and the new shed is built from materials recycled from an earlier shed.

The current owners have established a vegetable garden using wicking beds

………. and these rustic climbing towers for peas.

Fruit trees provide produce and shade on hot days.

Quinces and ………

……….. pomegranates are highly ornamental.

These pots are arranged near the detached building which was formerly the kitchen, bathroom and servants’ quarters. Detached kitchens were common as a safety measure. A fire in the kitchen could be contained and would not endanger the main house.

There are plantings of hardy lavender and perennials around the bird baths.

Unusually, this planter contains thyme another hardy plant.

The pond and covered walkway along this side of the house are cooling in summer.

The long walkway covered in ornamental grape vines is magnificent especially when it is decked with the colours of autumn.


James Bell

Brocklebank, Kyneton
April 21, 2018

On the 8th of April, a friend and I journeyed to Kyneton to see gardens which were open as part of Open Gardens Victoria.

I took photographs in two of the gardens – Brocklebank and Scotsman’s Hill which are both on a hill giving fine views of the Kyneton race track.

This post features Brocklebank, the first of the gardens we visited.


As we puffed up the steep driveway, we stopped to admire the view up the slope. This garden bed is planted with grasses and clipped westringias.

There are clipped westringias throughout the garden

Sculpture enhances the garden or does the garden enhance the sculpture?

I like these distinctive pine cones. I have learnt that, unlike other pine cones, these ones fall apart as they age.

There are many conifers planted in the garden.

These seed heads are interesting and unusual whilst the bright red, winged seed capsules are eye catching.

There is a large vegetable patch. Little cages protect the tender leaves.

The gardener wishing to take a break, can sit in one of these colourful chairs and contemplate the view across the paddock.

Mica Grange Blooms in Spring 2017
December 9, 2017

Mica Grange is a garden which keeps on giving. There is always something to intrigue and delight when it is open in autumn and spring. I last visited on Tuesday, the 7th of November, Melbourne Cup Day.


In Bede’s productive garden, it is amazing what can be grown in old wine barrels.


The blooms of the white waratah were fading, but were still very photogenic.



The proteas were at their peak.





The callistemons were putting on a good show.



And here are a small sample of the roses which were in bloom.

This garden has been developed on the rocky granite slopes of Mount Alexander where the plants are exposed to the full force of the elements……..yet it thrives.

Mossbank Cottage, Castlemaine
November 9, 2017


The garden of Mossbank Cottage opens as part of the Gardens of the HEDGE (Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm).

I first visited Mossbank on the 4th of September 2016 and this year on the 5th of November. I was interested to see the differences in the garden between early and late spring.

The view above was taken  in September 2016. The light was very different ………….


…………… compared with these views on a bright sunny day.

The garden was also much lusher.



The native hibiscus was at its prime in early spring …….

……… with the flowers in their final stages in late spring.


The blooms of the winter flowering grevillea had finished……..

…………..whilst this Australian native was gaudy in magenta.


The fruit trees were busy blossoming in early spring ……….

…………whilst the roses are in full swing two months later.



This is the vegetable patch in 2016.


What a difference longer and warmer days make!



These poppies which were at their best in early spring were shedding their petals when I saw them last Sunday,


whilst this one was pretty as a picture.

Mossbank has bee hives. The warm air was filled with their humming as they foraged……..

here and………

here and ………….

…………. here!

I enjoyed wandering by the pond …….

…….. through the grove of sheoaks………….

……….. and up the stairs to admire the view over the garden.

This figure continues to dream no matter what the time of year.


Glorious Mica Grange in Autumn 2017
April 20, 2017

Castlemaine’s glorious autumn weather continued over Easter and Mica Grange looked at its shiniest best when I visited on Easter Saturday. The country from the slopes of Mt. Alexander down the Sutton Grange Valley was bathed in bright sunshine.

The roses were in fine form.




The rose hips glowed.

There were potted delights.



Deciduous trees were clothed in their autumn glory.


The orchard and tubs growing vegetables were full of abundance.



The sculptures and garden art were delightful.

The autumn sculpture exhibition will feature in my next post about Mica Grange.

Indulgence, Wheatsheaf
November 2, 2015


‘Indulgence’ in the tiny settlement of Wheatsheaf was the second garden I visited on the 30th of August this year during the Gardens of Glenlyon open gardens event.

I am ashamed to admit I ran out of puff touring this extensive garden and didn’t quite make it down to the lake. However, there was plenty to see and appreciate:


Quirky garden art and ornamentation









Very serious vegetable garden protection with fancy doors




Tough shrubs


Early blossoms


And this goose and its companions.

The Garden of St. Erth, Blackwood
October 7, 2015


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.


The garden features areas devoted to exotic trees and plants.














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







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.




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.


The bees were having a field day.


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






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.








Jenny’s Garden, Glenlyon
September 5, 2015


The season for open gardens has commenced again – yay!

The owners of five gardens around Glenlyon opened their gardens to the public on the weekend of the 29th and 30th of August.

Glenlyon is a small township near Daylesford on the Great Dividing Range.

I visited two of the gardens, the first being Jenny’s Garden in the heart of the township.

Be prepared for photographs of daffodils in this and a later post about the second garden I visited.






I was able to admire the structure of the espaliered trees which were still bare of leaves.




Protecting precious seedlings with soft drink bottles.


Does anybody know what this vegetable is? It is the most gorgeous shade of purple and is new to me.






There were swathes of hellebores under the deciduous trees. This is not a sight you would see around Castlemaine where hellebores are planted in small numbers in protected parts of the garden where they receive dappled shade.








Yesterday’s heroes – These seed heads from last season contrast with the new lush green growth.




The fresh colours of new growth are every where.


The Keep – Taradale
February 3, 2015


 The Keep is the final in a series featuring gardens I visited during the Castlemaine and District Garden Festival in November 2014.

I visited The Keep near Taradale for the first time on the 4th of November.

Unlike the gardens which feature floral displays, this country garden focuses on shape, foliage and texture. To fully appreciate this garden, I needed to take time to wander slowly, pause a while and observe. The more I looked the more there was to see. Despite my preference for colour, fragrance and flowers, I loved this garden as was evidenced by the number of photographs I took…… so this post is the first about ‘The Keep’.

And to be different, this first post is about the vegetable garden which is the tidiest, most organised productive garden I have ever seen.


 Inside the green house are vegetables growing in mobile wicking beds.


Most beds are netted to protect the vegetables from marauding wild life from the surrounding bushland.




 A place for everything and everything in its place.


 The berry houses.








 There is a lot of composting going on.


Community Kitchen Garden, Castlemaine
August 12, 2014



The Castlemaine Community Kitchen Garden was launched in December 2013. This new community garden is situated right in the centre of town in a carpark behind the Continuing Education building. The development of the kitchen garden project was supported by local organisations including Continuing Education Inc., the Castlemaine Community House through its Growing Abundance project and health organisations such as The Castlemaine District Community Health Centre.

The purpose of the garden is to encourage people to learn about growing fresh fruit and vegetables. It is the venue for gardening programs and workshops and provides produce for cooking programs.



 Most of the garden consists of raised wicking beds placed directly onto the asphalt surface of the carpark.

If you want to know what a wicking bed is, check this out:

The ABC program ‘Gardening Australia’ also has a segment on wicking beds with Rosie from South Australia.


 There are conventional beds where vegetables have been planted into soil at ground level.


 I like the way the rounded corners of these beds have been formed.








 The garden beds are green with winter vegetables – kale, broad beans, globe artichokes, celery, ruby silver beet and other leafy greens I didn’t recognise.


 This tiny bed at the base of a tree is one of the few devoted to ornamental plants.

There are young fruit trees which are bare sticks at this time of year, a worm farm and a large water tank busy collecting winter rain.