Sedums
March 7, 2020

The sedums in my back garden are at their best at present.

 

 

The flower heads are alive with bees, flies, butterflies and other small creatures.

I am having fun spotting the different visitors.

Simple pleasures.

Pomegranate Disappointment
February 16, 2020

I like pomegranate trees.

There is lots to recommend them. They are will suited to Castlemaine’s climate with fine specimens in the district. In spring, the leaves have red tips and in autumn, they turn yellow before falling. Pomegranates have wonderful red flowers which turn into the most decorative of fruits.

About four to five years ago, I planted a pomegranate in my back garden and I waited. In 2018, it produced one flower which turned into one fruit. Last spring/early summer the tree produced many flowers and I have been observing, with great pleasure,  the transformation of the flowers into fruit.

My friend, Lana, was waiting with anticipation for the fruit to ripen as she uses pomegranates in her meals. But, we were doomed to disappointment.

Late last week, the gusting winds which accompany thunderstorms broke the fruiting stem away at the base. This morning, I have had the unhappy task of cutting up the damaged part of the tree.

I am hoping the damage will heal and the tree will live.

I will continue to admire the flowers and fruit in jars until they wither.

It is said gardening is character building.

Smoke Haze, Castlemaine 15/01/2020
January 14, 2020

This morning, I awoke to the strong smell of smoke in the house.

I took Katie for a walk early at around 6.00am, Castlemaine was shrouded in smoke haze as thick as fog.

This smoke from the fires in east Gippsland and the alpine north east of Victoria has been drifting around here for the last couple of days, but this is the heaviest it has been so far.

The poor air quality is impacting on the health of people. People are being encouraged to stay indoors and to limit physical activity.

These photographs were taken in my street.

The view to Kalimna Point.

The tower of the post office looms out of the haze.

The rising sun shines orange through the smoke.

Trees – Avenues
January 6, 2020

In recent weeks it has been too hot to be outside after 9.30 am. When I get up, I take Katie for a walk, water and work in the garden until the temperature becomes too uncomfortable for outside activity, then retreat to the cool of the indoors.

So this has been a good opportunity to review my photos. I have decided to publish a short series of posts featuring trees.

This post features avenues of trees.

The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens has avenues of oaks which provide cool, shady walks in summer.

These photos were taken in autumn.

This avenue provides structure and shade in a garden at Lambley Nursery near Creswick.

This avenue leads walkers and motorists up the winding driveway of the Daylesford Botanical Gardens on Wombat Hill.

The avenue of peppercorns at Plaistow near Newstead leads the eye out beyond the gate to paddocks and Joyces Creek.

River Red Gums enhance a walk along Broken Creek in Numurkah.

Temperatures have been cooler over the past two days with Castlemaine being shrouded in a smoke haze today. Smoke from bushfires is reaching New Zealand.

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.

The Nesting Project
March 17, 2019

Festival mania is hitting Castlemaine with the Fringe Festival kicking off Friday, 15 March and the Castlemaine State Festival commencing Friday, 22 March. The town will be abuzz until Sunday, 31 March after which we will need multiple cups of tea/coffee/something stronger and a good long rest.

I entered into the spirit of things by participating in the community art project, ‘Nesting’, at The Mill yesterday, Saturday.

The artist co-ordinating the project had constructed the frame for a giant nest from the wheel rims of bicycles. Local community groups and members of the public were invited to help weave the nest from materials provided or from objects they brought along.

The nest was tipped on its side so it was easier to weave.

 

I am holding a felted scarf and looking up at the nest. I am explaining why I am contributing the scarf to the nest.

 

Here I am weaving the scarf into the nest.

Job done!

My Castlemaine Garden
October 17, 2018

I have been working in my garden in Castlemaine for five and a half years.

It is a small garden but it keeps me busy. I call myself a chaotic gardener – things happen when they happen. I rarely keep up with the weeding.

The photographs in this post have been taken over a number of years.

When I first arrived here, there were a number of roses both in the front and back gardens. Whilst I admire roses, I have reduced their numbers over time. My goal is to create a garden which will be easy for me to manage as I get older. Roses are hardy but they are also high maintenance.

I have found new homes for the roses I have removed. This rose found a new home with one of my sisters.

Succulents are a feature of my garden both in the ground and in pots. Provided I keep the frost tender ones under cover, they are easy to care for. I have come to appreciate their many different forms.

Bulbs do well as they can handle frosty, cold ground and tolerate dry conditions.

Iris provide a colourful spring show and can easily be dug up and moved around.

Euphorbias, gazanias and other daisies are bullet proof in Castlemaine’s harsh conditions. The euphorbias and gazanias happily self seed around the garden.

Poppies have made a home in my back garden where they self seed and emerge again each spring together with an abundance of weeds.

 

 

Merson, Castlemaine
October 8, 2018

Sunday was the last day I could visit another garden of the HEDGE. I chose to visit Merson, a small town garden.

Apparently, this is Castlemaine’s first street library. At the Castlemaine railway station there is a similar scheme, Rolling Stock, a book shelf where people can leave books and magazines for travellers to read on their journey. Despite the rise of screen based technology, books and a love of books live on.

 

In the front garden, the quince flowers and the fragrant, yellow blooms of this shrub captured my attention.

 

The borage was filled with the humming of bees.

The back garden has been thoughtfully planned with winding gravel paths……

……. and curving shapes.

Here is one of the three wicking beds which form the productive garden.

This bowl and bird bath are simple ways to provide water features.

Garden art provides added interest and colour.

Blossom and Poppies
October 1, 2018

In the Castlemaine Botanical gardens there is a tree whose appearance for most of the year is nondescript. You would pass it with barely a second glance.

But for a short period in spring, it is a picture of blossom filled magnificence. The north facing branches cascade earthwards creating a bewitching veil of blooms.

 

The tree has no label so I don’t know the species. The buds are a deep pink and the flowers are white tinged with pink.

Bees love it.

I look forward to the flowering of this tree each year.

Near the entrance to the gardens is this flower bed. I like it when it is planted with iceland poppies. I am not a big fan of the summer planting of petunias – urk!

I like the form…….

……..the texture and ……..

………the colours of the flowers.

Poverty Gully Garden, Castlemaine
September 24, 2018

Today was perfect for visiting an open garden.

Gardens of the HEDGE (Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm) have six gardens open during the period 22nd September until 7th October.

Poverty Gully Garden is in an attractive bushland setting on the edge of Castlemaine. The gardener has successfully created a garden where the challenges include poor soil, drought, severe frosts and wild life which likes to drop in for a snack. Kangaroos, wallabies, possums and hares are common on the bushland property.

If you look beyond the potted plants to the low embankment, you will see what passes for soil in Castlemaine. Yet undeterred, local gardeners rise to the challenge of creating diverse and interesting gardens.

Here are some of the views from the garden to the adjoining bushland.

The house, fencing and retaining walls are built of stone.

The gardener said there was a lot of trial and error in finding which plants would survive the demanding conditions. Her garden features plants which are bullet proof.

Native plants are used extensively throughout the garden.

The wattles are in full bloom at present.

Succulents also take pride of place.

The gardener has used succulents decoratively by inserting pieces into these old bed springs and…..

……..creating this wreath.

Pieces which survive until the 7th of October will be planted out into the garden.

Potted plants add interest to the garden as well as ………

……….the colourful mosaic work.

These pebble mosaics add great texture.

This verandah provides the right conditions ………

………for these plants to thrive.

Finally, a get-away for the grandchildren.