Cork Oak, Castlemaine Botanical Gardens
June 15, 2017

An April day with a wafting warm breeze as I sat under this cork oak, Quercus suber, drawing and just enjoying the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens.

Katie snuffled around nearby, vigorously digging a small scrape in the grass from time to time.

Katie and I weren’t the only ones taking in the delights of the gardens during the school holidays at the end of first term. The gardens were well populated with cyclists, dog walkers and adults strolling with children. There was plenty of activity in the playground and Barbeque area as well.

It was a good day to relax and just be.

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St. John’s Anglican Church, Chewton
June 2, 2017

St. John’s is the only remaining church in Chewton still used as a place of worship. It is part of the Anglican Parish of Castlemaine. It is typical of a small country church.

Nothing fancy, as the stone slab for a back step demonstrates.

The church is set on a hill among gum trees and overlooks the township.

I like the coloured glass windows which give me the feeling of being inside a jewel box.

I like watching the play of light as the sun streams through the windows when…..

 

 

…………I attend the concerts held in the church in the afternoon of the last Sunday of the month during autumn and winter.

The concerts are informal affairs with local singers, poets and musicians donating their talents to help raise funds for the maintenance of the church.

The Castlemaine district is home to a wealth of makers of stringed and wind instruments. Here Michael Sweeney is about to play his lute. People with a keen eye will note that Michael who is left handed, has made a left handed lute.

Dave De Hugard is a well known folklorist and musician who has been collecting and researching Australian bush dance tunes for years. He is playing Australian old time dance tunes on his piano accordion and concertina.

Solway Nutting is playing Bach with her husband on violin and friend on keyboards in harpsichord mode.

With afternoon tea provided, the concerts are a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Frogmore Revisited 2017
April 14, 2017

We have been having gorgeous autumn weather in Castlemaine recently – mild temperatures, warm sunshine and calm days. It was even gorgeous on the Great Dividing Range on Wednesday the 12th of April when a friend and I visited Frogmore Nursery and Gardens near Newbury.

The nursery specialises in rare and unusual bulbs and perennials. The gardens are bliss for flower lovers with an abundance of flowering plants suited to a cool, moist climate and rich volcanic soils. They are only open to the public for a few days in autumn.

I last visited Frogmore in 2014 so I was interested to see how the gardens looked on my second visit.

Zinnias are rarely seen in gardens.

 

Frogmore’s owner was grateful for the fine day as it had been raining since the weekend. He was worried the blooms would begin to rot if they couldn’t dry out.

 

 

 

 

There are lovely views across the garden to the Wombat Forest.

 

 

Some shrubs were in full autumn finery.

 

Shiny, red berries glowed like jewels in the autumn  sunshine.

 

The prairie garden was looking particularly splendid. Only a few days  before in driving rain and winds, the grasses were lying flat. On Wednesday, they were looking their best.

 

 

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Frogmore again. It is quite different from other open gardens I visit in Central Victoria. The prairie garden is unique for this area.

 

 

 

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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The Colours of Autumn at Mica Grange
April 11, 2016

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Hey, Ho! It was a beautiful autumn day, perfect for another visit to Mica Grange on Sunday, the 3rd of April to view the latest sculpture exhibition. However, in this post, I am concentrating on the garden. Whilst I have now made a number of visits to Mica Grange, there are new things to photograph as it is a garden which keeps on giving.

It was very pleasant wandering around the garden unescorted by the flies which were so abundant in spring.

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There are new objects to attract attention as the owners add to their own collection of garden art.

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The peppers created quite a show in the vegetable garden.

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The native bees were loving this flowering eucalypt.

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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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An Autumn Afternoon in Vaughan
May 14, 2015

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 The last few days have been very wintry – cold, grey with fitful sun and biting winds.

So, I am cheering myself up with publishing this post about a visit to Vaughan on a beautiful, warm autumn day on Friday, the 1st of May.

The township of Vaughan is situated on the junction of the Loddon River and Fryers Creek which have carved a narrow, steep valley.

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 The bush at the top of the valley.

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Looking across the valley to the rocky slope opposite.

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 The Vaughan Springs Reserve lies at the bottom of the valley. The mineral springs have attracted day visitors for many years. The reserve has seen better days when it was more popular with visitors but the giant slide has been maintained and the plantings of exotic trees supplemented with newer plantings.

The trees glowed with autumn colour in the bright sun.

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 I didn’t have time to draw that afternoon so I picked some leaves and made this pastel drawing  later.

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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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Mica Grange In Spring
December 23, 2014

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 This was my second visit to Mica Grange in Sutton Grange this year. I visited in autumn and now in spring on the 9th of November.

The spring experience was quite different to the first visit – there was a new sculpture exhibition and the spring flowers were blooming.

If you look at the photographs in autumn, you will see how dry the country was whilst in spring, the ground was carpeted with green.

I have decided to publish two posts on the spring visit – this one featuring the new sculpture exhibition and the second, the flowers.

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 Wire wrens hop about in Bede’s vegetable patch.

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I tried to be creative with some of my photographs.

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Mica Grange provides a grand setting for the sculptures.

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 These ceramic poles with their whimsical figures attracted my admiration.

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I think this group would need to be purchased as a set as they represent the scattering of dandelion fluff.