Serenity, Newstead
November 27, 2016

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The Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens was a very busy week. During the week, I visited two open gardens in Newstead – Lacey’s which I posted a few weeks ago and Serenity.

Serenity is right in the heart of the township. It presents a modest frontage, but there is more to Serenity than initially meets the eye. The property extends way back behind the house. As we stood in the back yard, one local remarked she had walked past the property many times and had no idea how big it actually is.

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The garden is heavily planted with members of the daisy clan – reliable performers in Newstead’s tough climate.

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I admired the effect of blue, white and green in this planting.

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I don’t often see foxgloves. There was quite a show in this garden.

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The owners clearly like lots of colour in their garden.

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The owners have added decorative elements to add interest.

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They clearly want to sit and enjoy the garden.

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This garden retreat at the rear of the property is still a work in progress. The interior is not quite finished but the verandah is a joy to behold. It is so inviting.

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Lacey’s, Newstead
November 3, 2016

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The Castlemaine and District 14th Biennial Festival of Gardens is being held this week and I’ve been overdosing on flowers. Lacey’s in Newstead which I visited on Sunday, the 30th of October, was a feast of blooms due to the good rains we have enjoyed this year.

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Iris were definitely the stars of the show.

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There is much to amuse and delight in this garden. Jennifer Lacey is a creative spirit and the garden reflects this.

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I was very impressed with the collection of objects used to decorate the water tank.

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Barry Lacey teaches Tai Chi and the garden reflects his interest in the orient including bonsai.

 

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Many roses are still in bud due to cooler temperatures this spring. However, some were happily blooming on Sunday.

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Some people might regard this poultry flock as ideal – no need to feed or protect from predators. The down side is – no eggs.

Joyces Park, Newstead
May 30, 2016

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For this post, I am featuring another open garden I visited in spring last year. Joyces Park is one of the Gardens of the Hedge (Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm) which were open for viewing from October, the 31st to November, the 8th 2015.

Joyces Park is a working farm. Farming implements and other bits and pieces gathered over the generations have found their way into the garden.

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Tough, hardy plants which are drought and frost tolerant are a feature of this garden.

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There were beautiful blooms to enjoy.

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I liked the humorous touches. Perhaps a stray Yeti had wandered into the garden.

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Giant Sunflower Garden
May 5, 2015

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The entrance to the garden

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The sunflowers stand tall and proud.

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The garden is full of colourful flowers.

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Giant insects fly and crawl about.

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There are birds watching over the garden.

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The Giant Sunflower Garden was created by the students of  Newstead Primary School under the guidance of Karen Pierce, a local artist. The birds were painted by an artist exhibiting as part of the Spadeworks exhibition in the Newstead Community Centre. The school children’s art and the exhibition were part of the 2015 Castlemaine State Festival  held from the 13th to the 22nd of March.

 

Art comes to Newstead Community Lunch
February 22, 2015

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From time to time, the Newstead Community Lunch is graced by artist, Susan Denyer.

Sue loves creating ephemeral art using natural materials from Bacchus Marsh where she lives, and Tasmania. She also uses recycled materials from opportunity shops (charity or thrift shops) and garage sales.

Sue spends the morning creating marvellous centre pieces for each table which she photographs.

The diners can spend time over lunch admiring each piece. Diners may enjoy handling or playing with objects which means some of the pieces will be in a state of disarray by the end of the lunch.

After the diners have departed, Sue packs it all up.

Sue’s art is ephemeral because it does not last – it is short lived. Other examples of ephemeral art are chalk art, sand and ice sculptures and sand mandalas.

If you want to know more about Sue’s art, you can email her: gypsy@iprimus.com.au.

These centre pieces were created a couple of Wednesdays ago. My personal favourite is the one with the blue whale in the centre. Perhaps you have a favourite also.

PS: The photographs in this post were taken by Susan Denyer.

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Some pieces incorporate hand made paper. I am glad Sue likes beach washed glass.

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A fly continues its spiritual journey moving from the heart of the spiral.

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Crimson Glow
November 30, 2014

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Beautiful crimson callistemons decorated the tables at Newstead Community Lunch recently.

Callistemons which are native to Australia, are popular in gardens, parks and street plantings. They range in size from shrubs to small trees. Some callistemons have a weeping habit. The distinctive bottlebrush flowers are usually variations of red, scarlet or crimson but other colours including cream, pink and green are available. These hardy plants will tolerate a variety of conditions from the banks of creeks to the parched streets of Central Victoria.

With the added bonus of attracting honey eaters and bees when in flower, callistemons are winners.

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Plaistow Homestead – Joyces Creek
November 10, 2014

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Yippeee! It’s been Festival of Gardens time in Castlemaine and district from the 1st to the 9th of November. So there’ll be a few posts devoted to the gardens I visited over the next few weeks.

The Festival is held every two years. Twenty two gardens were listed in the official program and six gardens in the HEDGE – Horticultural Endeavours Demonstrating Gardening Enthusiasm – program. Yes, even a Garden Festival has a fringe.

I visited Plaistow, one of the HEDGE gardens, on Saturday, the 8th of November on a windy, hot day perfect for wandering around a property which has shady verandahs and trees.

This heritage listed property was settled in the early 1840s before the madness of the gold rushes. There is a rambling garden created for the pleasure of the owners and to supply the kitchen with fruit and vegetables.

I visited the garden about a month too late as the spring flowers had died, shrivelled or gone to seed. So I needed to focus on features other than a spring floral display.

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How many of us have one of these parked on our verandahs?

 

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 A sunny courtyard provides a sheltered retreat.

 

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An avenue of old peppercorn trees leads down to the creek and the paddocks.

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This is what lies beyond the garden fence.

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 I think this is the oldest olive tree I have seen with its spreading branches and gnarled trunk.

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Spring Abundance
November 3, 2014

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Posies of spring flowers were recently used to decorate the tables at Newstead community lunch.

As I made this drawing, I was reminded of the old tradition of making Tussie Mussies. These small bouquets of fragrant herbs and flowers have been used in various forms since Medieval times. Initially, tussie mussies were pinned to a person’s clothing or worn in the hair to mask body odour or unpleasant smells in the street.

In the 1800s, tussie mussies became popular as gifts, especially between lovers. The posy was a coded message where each flower had a special meaning as listed in the directories of flower meanings published during this period. Often the flowers were placed inside a doily or special cone shaped metal vase. As the flowers could have more than one meaning, it was prudent to accompany the tussie mussie with a card listing the intended meaning of the flowers.

This particular posy included:

cornflowers – delicacy or single blessedness

geranium – comfort

lavender – devotion, virtue or distrust

marigold – desire for riches or despair

pink rose – friendship, love, beauty or success.

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For me, these flowers symbolised the hope and abundance spring brings.

Volcano Chasing
September 20, 2014

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 This collage was inspired by the excursion to view some of the local extinct volcanoes. It is a work of the imagination and was fun to make.

As  part of the Newstead ‘Words in Winter Celebration’ held during August, I joined an eager band of explorers to learn more about the volcanic history of our region.

With the guidance of seismologist, Gary Gibson, we learnt about the Muckleford Fault which accounts for the earthquakes in the region, the interplate volcanoes which dot the area between Campbell Town and Smeaton and the local deep lead mines.

The volcanoes which were the objects of our attention were active millions of years before the existence of modern human beings. Mt. Franklin, near Daylesford, is a mere pup at around 10,000 years old. It erupted within the memory of modern human beings with local indigenous people having an oral history of sisters hurling rocks at each other.

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The open air learning centre

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Gazing across the paddocks

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There ‘s one –

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And there’s another. These green, cloud patterned hills are the volcanoes of ages past.

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This being central Victoria, there had to be gold mines somewhere. Those pesky volcanoes spewed out lava which flowed across the gold bearing valleys which meant deep shafts had to be dug through the layer of basalt to reach the riches below. Great hills of spoil dot the landscape marking the sites of the now abandoned mines.

Winter Beauty
July 27, 2014

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Sprays of wattle and eucalyptus were used to decorate the tables at the Newstead  community lunch recently.

The lunch which is prepared by volunteers, is open to all members of the community.

Once a week people from Newstead and the surrounding district come together to eat a two course vegetarian meal, socialise and exchange news.

As a volunteer, I find it very satisfying to stand in the kitchen and look across the contented diners out through the large windows of the community centre to the elm trees in the street.

If you are in Newstead on a Wednesday at 12.30pm and you can smell the aromas of cooking wafting out of the community centre, come on in!

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