Tempting Hints of Spring
August 13, 2017

It is August and it is still winter. We have had some bitterly cold weather this past week – bitterly cold by our standards that is! However, August has also been tempting us with some early spring days when it is warm enough to shed a layer or two.

Today was one such day. Katie and I went for a long walk this morning in the bush where we were able to admire the bright yellow wattle in full bloom.

This afternoon when I was doing some house cleaning – eeekkk!, I was attracted by the sight of sunshine streaming in through the north facing window of my bedroom and the pattern of light and shadow created on objects and the wall.

 

Today was a good day.

Advertisements

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.

Collage inspired by Minna
February 19, 2017

dscn5691

 

The Castlemaine Art Museum is currently holding an exhibition of the work of the young artist, Minna Gilligan.

Minna creates her work using mixed media including collage. She likes painting a background of bright colours then applying images cut from magazines from the 60s and 70s. The originals can be the size of an A4 page. Some are then supersized by being digitally printed onto much larger pieces of fabric.

Her work was exhibited in a room where the walls had been painted bright pink, red and orange. The effect was eye popping.

Minna’s exhibition inspired me to create two small collages. This is the first one I finished. I have added stickers and images cut from magazines to a printed background which was the front cover of a magazine.

I have yet to complete the other collage.

Two Castlemaine Town Gardens
February 5, 2017

Amners Garden and Serendipity are two Castlemaine town gardens I visited in Spring of 2016.

Amners is a large garden on a slope leading down to Campbell’s Creek whilst Serendipity is small and compact.

dscn5317

Amners has a large productive and ornamental garden where permaculture principles are implemented.

For special interest groups, Jo Amner conducts tours of the garden and demonstrates how to propagate plants from cuttings.

dscn5309

 

dscn5310

 

dscn5308

 

dscn5314

 

dscn4454

dscn4449

dscn4458

dscn4459

dscn5334

With Serendipity, Heather demonstrates how to make maximum use of a small site of 420 square metres.

dscn5330

Plants are packed in and the illusion of space created by the use of mirrors.

dscn5329

dscn5322

dscn5319

dscn5327

Vegetables are grown outside the front fence on the nature strip. A wire compost bin sits at the end of the vegetable bed.

dscn5324

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.

DSCN3794

This is a vine draped shelter in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens in autumn 2015.

This is the same shelter this morning, Wednesday, the 14th of September 2016.dscn5241

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.

dscn5212

dscn5237

dscn5214

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.

dscn5229

dscn5235

Curious spectators enjoyed the novelty of paddling in the expanded Lake Johanna.

dscn5231

dscn5224

dscn5245

dscn5239

Familiar, often walked paths are now waterways.

dscn5233

dscn5250

dscn5252

It was along this path that I drew a picture earlier this year.

dscn5234

dscn5249

In October, my tai chi class will return on Monday mornings to this group of trees for our weekly sessions.

Wellanbah, Campbells Creek
September 6, 2016

DSCN5103

It is early spring and the open gardens season is kicking off. Locally, HEDGE (Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm) gardens are opening on Sundays during September.

I visited two gardens on Sunday, the 4th of September.

It was a grey, chill day as well as being Fathers Day and I had Wellanbah to myself. One of the owners expressed reservations about being open so early before the colourful spring flowers bloom.

DSCN5077

But is it interesting seeing gardens at different times of the year. The deciduous trees were still in their winter aspect. I was intrigued by the rows of seed pods on this tree.  However, the euphorbias were showing off their new, lime green flowers.

DSCN5079

 

DSCN5092

The owners had planted pencil pines to create strong vertical shapes. Wellanbah is the only garden I have visited where woodbines are featured with multiple plantings. Woodbines are as tough as boots. Their sweetly perfumed flowers attract bees and honey eaters at a time when nectar can be scarce.

DSCN5100

 

DSCN5091

In my last post, I wrote hellebores were a rarity in local gardens. I was delighted to see this one happily blooming.

DSCN5090

 

DSCN5095

Succulents here ……….

DSCN5096

……….. succulents there.

DSCN5081

 

DSCN5098

This is one way to build a low, stone wall.

DSCN5085

Nearby Campbells Creek has a significant effect on Wellanbah. The garden enjoys deep, good quality soil and temperatures of minus 6 degrees celsius on frosty mornings.

DSCN5086

Winter Chill
July 3, 2016

This is what greeted me when a frigid day was followed by an even more frigid night resulting in a heavy frost the next morning. I am accustomed to finding ice on the windscreen of my car, but this was the first time the crystals formed patterns.  It was such a novelty, I took the photographs to record the event.

DSCN4926

 

DSCN4927

 

DSCN4932

Katie took refuge in a warm bed.

DSCN4923

Autumnal Oaks
June 17, 2016

DSCN4919

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.

DSCN4920

The Eureka Reef
August 19, 2015

DSCN3948

 

The Eureka Reef site is near Chewton. The site forms part of the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. Here a range of quartz and alluvial gold mines operated from the mid 1850s to the 1950s.

DSCN3958

 

DSCN3991

 There are deep vertical shafts. A concrete slab covers the shaft in the car park. Visitors can gaze into the inky blackness through an observation hole.

DSCN4006

 

DSCN3994

 Gold bearing quartz was ripped from the hill leaving a deep chasm.

DSCN3996

 

DSCN4000

If you want a closer look, check out this video on You Tube:

DSCN3957

There are hand dug water races. Water races were used in sluicing operations to wash through layers of gravel to extract gold.

DSCN4003

 

DSCN3961

 There are bits of buildings here and bits of buildings there.

DSCN3965

 

DSCN4007

 

DSCN4009

 

DSCN3971

 

DSCN3973

Cyanide tanks were used to extract gold from tailings in the 1930s.

DSCN3975

 

DSCN3981

Instead of a vertical chimney, miners built a Cornish chimney which follows the slope of a hill.  A fire heated water which created steam which drove the batteries which crushed the quartz to extract the gold……..the noise must have been horrendous!

DSCN3983

Nothing in here!

DSCN3985

 The chimney is beautifully and expertly made.

DSCN3987

DSCN3990

The top of the chimney is at the top of the slope.

DSCN3989

Hollyhocks
August 9, 2015

DSCN3452

 

DSCN3451

Cheerfully assembled,

Silken petals glimmering in the early morning sun,

At home on waste ground

Sustained only by meagre offerings from summer’s skies

and Roo Poo.

DSCN3454

 

DSCN3462

 

DSCN3464

 

DSCN3456

 

DSCN3460

 

This group of hollyhocks growing on a hillside near the old Castlemaine tip are a surprising sight. Perhaps they are the remnants of an old garden. I took these photographs in early 2015.

DSCN4014