Autumn Retrospective
May 20, 2020

It is nearing the end of the autumn months and normally at this time of year I would have published some posts on autumn gardens I had visited. But with the corona virus pandemic, not this year – sigh!

So, I am taking solace in this retrospective.

Whilst I tend to associate autumn with the colours of deciduous trees, other plants also make a splash with colour. These grasses are a feature at Frogmore gardens and nursery near Blackwood.

There is an abundance of fruit and acorns.

Colourful berries are a delight.

Ornamental grapevines strut their stuff.

Belleville in Dunolly has an impressive grapevine tunnel.

These autumn tones adorn Mica Grange – one of my favourite gardens.

Vaughan Springs and……

Castlemaine’s Botanical gardens attract many visitors on fine autumn days.

Last Saturday, the lawns were filled with families (in groups of 10 or less) enjoying the freedom to gather in parks and gardens to soak up the sun. I am sure the children were disappointed the playground is still closed – bad corona virus!

I hope that in spring restrictions will have lifted to the extent that there will be open gardens again.  I am looking forward to exploring new gardens and revisiting favourites.

Trees – Close Up
January 23, 2020

When I first thought about creating this post, I had lichens and bark on my mind; but then I thought about shadows and leaves and fruit, berries and flowers. So…..this post became longer with each new addition.

These are some of the lichens.

Here the shadows are mixing it with the lichens.

A tree needs bark.

I restricted the number of photos of leaves with autumn colour to two as I realised things were going to get out of hand. One day I will publish a post focusing on autumn leaves.

Pink peppercorn berries. The peppercorns are currently flowering and the bees are loving it.

Fruit can be very photogenic.

These flowers belong to a tall callistemon which grew in my backyard in Ferntree Gully. The tree was cut down together with all the other trees by the developer who purchased the property.

Spring blossoms are irresistible.

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.

Plaistow Homestead – again
November 13, 2019

A friend and I visited Plaistow Homestead on Sunday, 3 November. I had previously visited the garden in early November 2014. With a cooler, wetter spring the garden looked quite different to my first visit when October had been hot and dry. The garden was lusher and flowers still blooming.

These lily pad bird baths are very attractive.

The back garden had a massed display of iris and poppies.

The thorns of this climbing rose were mixing it with the fiercesome thorns of a large cactus.

The property boasts a picturesque outlook down to Joyce’s Creek.

Here is the contrast between 2019 and 2014.

 

Zen Memorial Garden, Kyneton
September 22, 2019

Zen Memorial Garden was the second garden my friend and I visited on Sunday, 15 September, the last day of the 2019 Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival.

It is a large, rambling, country garden named in honour of the family’s daughter, Zen.

The garden is sheltered from Kyneton’s biting, cold winds by hedges and trees.

Some of the trees which have died have been repurposed.

 

 

 

Insect hotels are popping up in gardens to encourage beneficial insects to take up residence.

You never know what may be lurking in a pond.

 

 

 

Zen Memorial Garden is part of a hobby farm whose residents include alpacas.

When they had satisfied their curiosity, their attention wandered elsewhere.

So my friend, Katie and I moved on to be the centre of attention for this trio.

Katie was exploring the property with us at the invitation of the owner.

The cattle are able to admire the view across the Upper Coliban Reservoir which provides drinking water for Castlemaine and Bendigo.

My friend and I completed our visit with purchases from the plant stall.

Muckleford Roses
February 5, 2019

I visited Forest Edge during the 2018 Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens with my friend, Jenny.

After picking Jenny up from the Castlemaine station, we drove to Muckleford where we picnicked in the garden of Forest Edge.  As we ate, we were thrilled by the blue wrens (Superb Fairywrens) hopping around on the picnic table and nearby.

After lunch, we got down to the serious business of enjoying the pleasures of my favourite garden. We took heaps of photographs as we moved around the garden at a leisurely pace.

On the day, the roses were particularly fine so this post is devoted to them.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mica Grange Flowers
January 12, 2019

I have made several visits to Mica Grange since I moved to Castlemaine almost 6 years ago.

Mica Grange is a large country garden perched on the slopes of Mt. Alexander overlooking the Sutton Grange Valley.

I have always enjoyed the sculpture exhibitions, the panoramic views, Bede’s productive garden, Mary’s food and the flowers.

Here are some of my favourite photos of the flowers of Mica Grange. Some were taken on my most recent visit in November 2018 and others from earlier visits.

 

It is hard to ignore the proteas when they are in flower. Of the open gardens I have visited, Mica Grange has the most extensive collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with many other open gardens in this district, roses abound. When they are in flower, what’s not to like?

Roses may need pruning, dead heading and protection from pests and diseases, but they are remarkably hardy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also Australian native flowering shrubs and trees.

There is plenty to delight the eye at Mica Grange.

Lixouri, Barkers Creek
November 29, 2018

 

Lixouri was the third garden I visited during the 2018 Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens. 

Lixouri is very popular with garden festival enthusiasts.

It consists of terraces leading down to a small lake fringed with iris.

There is an adjoining olive grove.

Roses line the fence which divides the garden from the olive grove.

 

The terraces are edged by dry stone walls.

There are many plants typical of Central Victorian gardens to admire.

The vegetable garden had been given over to poppies which I enjoyed.

Cherbern Park, Metcalfe
November 19, 2018

Cherbern Park in Metcalfe is a funny, quirky garden which has been developed around the former headmaster’s residence. Metcalfe school itself was transported to Taradale Primary School where it now serves as an art room. The only substantial public building remaining in Metcalfe is the former town hall.

Cherbern Park was the second garden my friend and I visited on Sunday, the 4th of November.

The garden is adorned with a variety of garden implements, ………

…….. bits of farming equipment…….

…….and discarded domestic items.

The garden ornaments belonged to the gardener’s grandmother. Enevea, the black swan tyre planter is for you. There is also a white swan tyre planter – definitely a throw back to yesteryear.

Don’t throw away your old, broken or cracked terracotta pots, use them creatively as planters for succulents.

At the rear of the property is the old, school pine plantation.

The owners have converted the area into a play ground for their grandchildren. It comes with the suspended, old doors, giant pencils and these two tractors fashioned from tyres, old kindergarten chairs and rubbish bin lids for steering wheels. There is also a small trampoline and tree house.

 

 

On the day, there were plenty of pink flowering plants……..

 

 

 

………as well as other flowering delights…….

……….including this Bridal Veil or Weeping broom…………

 

……….iris which are a staple of many Central Victorian gardens………

………and this interesting looking flower.

We really enjoyed our visit to this garden. The gardener who remained stationed in the plant sales area said she could hear us happily chatting and laughing as we drifted around the garden. And we didn’t go away empty handed…there’s nothing like a good plant stall!

 

Granite Garden, Harcourt North
November 6, 2018

Yippee! It is the Castlemaine & District Festival of Gardens this year. The festival is running from 3 to 11 November 2018. With twenty two gardens to choose from, there is something for anyone who is even vaguely interested in gardens.

On Sunday, a friend and I visited two gardens which were new to us.

The first garden we visited was Granite Garden situated in North Harcourt on the lower slopes of Mount Alexander.

 

There are views over a vineyard and orchards.

At the rear of the house, the garden slopes upwards.  The garden is packed with trees and shrubs.

The air was heavy with the perfume of flowering citrus.

I admired the healthy and flourishing lemon trees. They must enjoy the granitic soil and the higher slopes.

It is a pity I won’t be around when the figs are ready for eating.

The property is situated near an old granite quarry. Perhaps the stone for the steps and garden edging came from there.

Shady areas have been created under the canopy of trees.

I used to grow Green Goddess in my garden in Ferntree Gully.

The purple spires of the echium are striking. I would love to grow an echium in my garden but the plant needs more space than I can provide.

Two examples of native plantings are these grevilleas and ……..

……..this leptospermum or teatree.

I was very taken by these red leaves and red seed capsules.

This new garden bed is enhanced by a simple decorative element. Bamboo garden stakes of various lengths have been spray painted and grouped together.

I am pondering whether I can use this idea in my garden.

My friend and I were able to fully absorb the peace of the garden as we sat on a garden bench and enjoyed our picnic lunch.

It is a pity my photographs can’t capture the variety of bird calls or the flash of New Holland honey eaters as they darted among the shrubs.