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

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Scotsman’s Hill, Kyneton
April 26, 2018

Scotsman’s Hill was the second garden in Kyneton my friend and I visited on Sunday, the 8th of April. Scotsman’s Hill is situated on the crest of the hill so there are extensive views to admire…………..

……….across the town,……

………. to distant Mount Macedon………..

………….and the nearby racecourse.

An old hawthorn hedge marks the boundary of part of the property.

These decorative panels were made by Tait Decorative Iron, a Castlemaine company.

The owners of the property also enjoy garden sculpture.

The little, grinning dog sitting on the deck among the potted plants caught my eye. I must keep an eye out for one of these.

The sloping land adjacent to the house is filled with plants.

I was attracted to this succulent with its striking leaves.

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.

Beautiful Mica Grange in Autumn 2018
April 9, 2018

We had glorious weather for Easter and Easter Sunday, when I visited Mica Grange with a friend, was no exception.

People who have read my posts over an extended period know I keep returning to Mica Grange because of their garden art and sculpture exhibitions. The setting for these exhibitions is a beautiful garden with extensive views over the Sutton Grange valley.

Sitting on the deck enjoying a light lunch (and yummy cake) and admiring the view is one of  life’s little pleasures.


Michael Parker’s sculpture was my favourite this time round.

Michael does beautiful work. He is a Daylesford artist and has his own gallery and studio.


This giant eucalypt blossom was attention grabbing.


 

These easy care chooks have great appeal. No need to worry about foxes.


There were plenty of rose blooms to enjoy especially if pink is your colour.


The blossoms of this eucalyptus were a magnet for bees.

I was delighted to see this protea flowering. Usually proteas are in full swing in spring.

 

I took home a snail just like this. No need to worry about it snacking on any tender greens.

 

The Shattered Windows
March 30, 2018

One of my regular walks is in the grounds of the former senior campus of the Castlemaine Secondary College.

In the period leading up to the school’s relocation to another site, the grounds were increasingly unloved as only essential maintenance was being performed.

Whilst the Castlemaine Secondary College continues to use part of the campus, the buildings and grounds are becoming increasingly dilapidated as they continue to be neglected and are the target of vandals.

I have begun taking photographs of the site as a creative project.

I was taking photographs of this window when I noticed a bee sitting motionless in the middle of the cracked glass…….

 

………..so I took a closer look.

When the sun was shining, the cracks and holes in these windows cast the most marvelous shadows on the drawn blinds.

To my eyes, the spidery shadows were like the fine lines of etchings.

I was fascinated.

I think I am being influenced by the work of photographers who can see the magical in the most ordinary of things.

 

Castlemaine Cemetery
March 23, 2018

In a previous post, I documented the Chinese section of the Castlemaine cemetery. This post takes a wander around other sections of the cemetery. The photographs were taken over a period of around 18 months.

Embedded in an embankment of the cemetery driveway are these broken pieces of headstone.

I like how they have weathered, blending in with the stony embankment.

The decorative elements are still visible.

The elaborate carving on this headstone is eye catching.

Here are three generations of women whose lives had been cut short.

How on earth did a grand daughter of Robert Burns end up in the gold fields of Castlemaine?

The ashes of my Aunt Anne are interred in a horseshoe shaped garden bed. In the spring of 2016, the roses were particularly fine.

 

 

 

 

This man’s dog continues to keep him company.

Among the eucalyptus trees, the graves are marked by natural stone memorials.

In rural communities, the volunteer firefighters are held in high regard. The captain of the Campbell’s Creek fire brigade died on active duty.

With a timber memorial at her head, this eleven year old girl continues to receive the love of her grieving family.

My Evolving Garden
March 6, 2018

In April, I will have lived in Castlemaine for 5 years. During that time, I have been creating a potted garden on my front verandah. My house faces north which means it gets plenty of light especially in winter when the sun is low enough for the light to stream in.

This (above) is how one end of the verandah looked about four years ago and this (below) is how it looks now.

 

The verandah is great for frost tender plants especially frost tender succulents. The burnt leaves belong to a bromeliad which I needed to move from the edge of the verandah to the back where it will be nice and warm in winter.

I have an old, wooden step ladder leaning against the wall. The steps are shelves for smaller pots.

 

 

 

A large, shallow, terracotta bowl contains cones, seed pods, shells and rocks. Overwrought in Blampied made the small crab and large spider.

The garden extends to the window sill where there are cacti, succulents, feathers and rocks.

 

 

 

 

Stone Cottage, Specimen Gully, Barkers Creek
February 22, 2018

This is my interpretation of the stone cottage near the place in Specimen Gully where gold was first discovered in the Mount Alexander district.

I found making this charcoal drawing quite challenging as the cottage wouldn’t fit on the A4 page. I also found depicting the texture of the stonewalls difficult.

I found my eye kept being drawn to the trees which surrounded the cottage so I paid a bit of attention to them.

 

 

 

Specimen Gully, Barkers Creek
February 16, 2018

The discovery of gold in 1851 resulted in the gold rush to the Mount Alexander gold fields.

This cairn was erected near the site of the discovery of gold by three shepherds and a bullock driver. Specimen Gully was on land owned by Dr. William Barker who ran sheep on a large property since the early 1840s.

On the site is an old, crumbling cottage which was once the home of the John Worley mentioned on the plaque.

Bella Donna lilies dot the goldfields where there were once gardens. There are a number of these hardy survivors around the cottage. As you can see, neither rich garden soil nor regular watering are required for showy blooms.

The cottage and the cairn were built of locally mined slate. The cottage was extended at least once.

These ‘looking through’ shots are for you, Enivea.

Australia Day 2018
January 26, 2018

Today I participated in local Australia Day festivities.

Australia Day is celebrated on the 26th of January as Australia’s National Day. It marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. The fleet of 11 British ships with their cargo of convicts who had been sentenced for their crimes to transportation landed at Port Jackson, New South Wales where a settlement was established at Sydney Cove.

Currently the day is celebrated with community and family events, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies.

However, the date of Australia’s national day is not without its controversy. For a proportion of indigenous Australians and their supporters the 26th of January is a day of mourning and is referred to as Invasion Day or Survival Day. So in addition to celebrations, there are protests and marches in the capital cities.

The choice of the 26th of January as Australia’s national day is becoming increasingly controversial with some municipal councils now refusing to organise celebrations or conduct citizenship ceremonies on that day much to the displeasure of the Federal Government.

However, the Shires of Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges do celebrate Australia Day and actively seek to include local indigenous people in the day.

 

A friend and I set off for Malmsbury for breakfast organised by a local community organisation.

The atmosphere in the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens was very relaxed.

 

Andy Rigby and Pollie Christie provided the musical entertainment.

 

A novel car sticker spotted in the carpark.

We moved on to Victory Park, Castlemaine for lunch and joined the queue.

Here are some stragglers being served by members of the Castlemaine Football Netball Club.

 

My friend, Marie, is relaxing after cooking lunch with other members of the local Lion’s club. They catered for 700 people.

George and Eliza were deep in conversation by the fruit stand.

The event is supported by Nalderun, the Upper Loddon Indigenous group. Vic Say, a leader of the local Reconciliation group, was helping out at the stand.

Eliza Tree, a local artist, and her dog were enjoying the day.

And here am I decked out in a T shirt with a design by an aboriginal artist and my wombat earrings.