Caelum, Macedon
December 9, 2019

Yesterday, Sunday 8 December, I had the pleasure of visiting two Macedon gardens which were open as part of the Open Gardens Victoria program. The two early summer gardens were a delight on a hot, sunny day when the light was so bright it almost hurt the eyes.

This was the first time I had visited gardens on the slopes of Mount Macedon which is famous for its gardens especially in autumn.

It was a challenge taking photographs because of the harsh light but I managed to take quite a few.

The first garden I visited was Caelum (Latin for Heaven).

The garden was so inviting because of its cool, shady areas. I took the photograph of the vegetable garden from the shelter of a spreading oak and found I was sharing the shade with something else whilst resting under another shady tree.

The herb garden is located in a sunny area near the vegetable patch. I enjoyed sitting on the low retaining wall and running my fingers through the rosemary.

A native garden has been established under these huge eucalypts.

Given Macedon’s high rainfall, I was surprised by the abundance of succulents.

They occupied large swathes of garden bed, pots and were tucked into nooks and crannies.

All kinds of elements work together to create interest in the garden: different shapes and textures of foliage……..

………..coloured foliage………

………..pops of bright, floral colour………..

 

……..and characters such as these.

This Mock Orange has it all: varigated foliage, fragrance and beautiful flowers.

 

 

 

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.

Hourigans, Kyneton
September 15, 2019

Today, Sunday, was the final day of the 2019 Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival. Open gardens are one of the attractions of the festival so a garden loving friend and I headed off to visit two of the gardens.

The first garden we visited was Hourigans located on the edge of town next to the busy Calder Freeway.  The property had formerly been part of a farm and the backyard is dominated by two enormous, old conifers.

The back yard also has this tall, beautifully arranged wood pile. Perhaps the old conifers were the source of some of the wood.

I was fascinated by the colours and texture of the logs.

I wondered if the logs provide habitat for insects and other creepy crawlies.

I think old farms provided these decorative elements.

 

What to do with old terracotta pots!

 

Daffodils and tulips provide bright splashes of colour.

 

Botanic Gardens and Garden for the Future, Bendigo
August 4, 2019

Whilst I am familiar with Rosalind Park and Lake Weeroona, I had never visited Bendigo’s Botanic Gardens until recently. I took advantage of another fine day to visit on Monday, 22nd July.

Established in 1857, the gardens are typical of the Victorian and Edwardian eras with expansive green lawns and mature trees. I was tickled to see decorative cabbages being used as a ‘floral’ display.

I took these photos of plantings around a covered walkway.

There is nothing showy about woodbine but the plant is perfect for winter because of its deliciously perfumed, small creamy flowers which attract insects and birds.

The decorative flowering quinces bring welcome winter colour.

We have now crossed into the Garden for the Future. This new garden which is an extension of the Botanic Gardens opened in 2018. The garden is still settling in.

The flowers of these plants are striking in their form and colour.

I look forward to returning to observe the gardens at different times of the year.

Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show 2019
July 21, 2019

The annual Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show is being held this weekend – 19 to 21 July.

Some friends and I took advantage of Saturday’s unusually fine July weather to enjoy the Show.

My friends wandered off to explore the woolcraft displays of fleeces, yarns and woollen clothing whilst I made a beeline for the sheep pavilions.

I don’t know how cattle fit into the theme of sheep and wool but there was plenty to admire about these fine beasts.

I was particularly taken by the curls on the forehead of this bull.

 

The Angora goats modelling mohair in its raw state were nearer the mark.

 

Now for some sheep. This ewe was busy tending to her lambs.

 

Elsewhere, there was plenty of judging action.

It is important that your sheep has a good stance.

Now, hold your head up so you look your best for the judge. You’re next.’

This judge was impressed with this ewe in the coloured class.

He examined her from top to bottom.

In awarding the sheep first prize, he declared that she had a good carcass, an even wool cover and was heavily pregnant – everything a ewe should be at this time of year.

Maldon Cemetery
June 16, 2019

Recently, I was standing at a lookout known as the Rock of Ages in the Nuggetty Ranges when I saw that Maldon’s cemetery lay at my feet. This provided the inspiration to visit the cemetery this sunny, Sunday afternoon.

Here is the view looking up to the Nuggetty Range.

Whilst I was admiring the view across to Mt. Tarrengower, I noticed a brick tower in the distance so I made my way across.

Just as I thought, it was a Chinese oven or burning tower used in Chinese funeral ceremonies. I was disappointed that all evidence of Chinese burials had disappeared unlike the Castlemaine cemetery.

The oven is listed by the National Trust which helps to ensure its preservation.

Locally, the main evidence of the Chinese presence on the goldfields is in the cemeteries as joss houses or temples were demolished years ago.

 

I like the memorials descendants have erected to their pioneering ancestors.

 

This headstone of an Irish family features a harp which I haven’t seen before.

The old sexton’s cottage stands at the entrance to the cemetery.

Roadside Stalls
May 3, 2019

One of the features of country life I enjoy are the roadside stalls and the variety of produce available.

I have no doubt the stalls provide a valued income to the people who set them up.

I keep an eye out for stalls selling manure as I like to make horse poo tea as a liquid fertiliser for my pot plants.

This one is at Muckleford.

I can’t believe there are people so miserable and mean that they refuse to pay $3.00 for a bag of poo which somebody has collected by hand from a paddock.

 

This stall at Newlyn is upmarket.

The farmer is doing a good job promoting his potatoes to passing motorists.

Other potato stalls in the district between Newlyn and Ballarat are much simpler affairs.

 

Honey for sale in a quiet street in Fryerstown.

 

I like to stop at this seasonal stall in the farming district of Dean on the road between Newlyn and Ballarat.

 

The jams and preserves make great gifts.

 

I poke my nose into Trish’s Gate in Guildford quite often to see what is available. There are always plants. Sometimes there are eggs or vegetables.

 

Roadside stalls appeal to the hunter gatherer in me.

The photographs were taken over months as stalls can be seasonal or out of stock.

The Lost and Rare Trades Fair, Kyneton
March 9, 2019

The Labour Day long weekend is a busy time in the Macedon Ranges and Central Victoria. Barkers Creek has its Apple Fest, Taradale its Food and Wine Festival and Kyneton has the hugely popular Lost and Rare Trades Fair.

The Lost Trades Fair, as it is more commonly known, is held on the Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend. Over 100 makers and artisans demonstrate and display their work to those visiting the fair.

My friend and I crossed this event off our wish list when we visited the fair for the first time today, Saturday 9 March 2019. Whilst my friend wandered off to pursue her interests, I proceeded at a more leisurely pace visiting a few of the displays and taking photographs……….so this is just a sample of what was on offer today.

 

There were horses to go with the horse drawn carriages. As you can see, there were people happy to make a fuss of them.

 

Graeme and Pam McDiarmid make mechanical organs. This one was only finished yesterday.

Pam made the hurdy gurdy she is playing. It has a beautifully carved neck.

My friend and I saw Graeme and Pam perform on their instruments at a concert in Chewton a couple of years ago.

Marcus is a local who lives in Newstead. Previously, I knew him as a maker of marionettes. Today I learnt he also makes violins.

 

At 93 years of age, this man is still making musical instruments from Australian timbers.

I really enjoyed watching people demonstrating their craft and talking about what they do…………

The blacksmiths………..

 

……… the printer……..

 

………….. the leather garment tailor……………

………..The Artful Bodger who make chairs from green timber………

……….the upholsterer working on a set of chairs for a client………

 

……………….the spinner demonstrating her craft on an early model spinning wheel……..

………….and the felters.

I have done some felting in the past so I was interested in the demonstrations and discussions about felting.

 

Olivia is carving a fish.

In the background is an example of the rocking horses she makes.

Suit of armour, any one?

 

The armourer was happy to answer the kids’ questions about the helmet he is making.

 

There was a lot of interest in the finished wares of the artisan who made spoons with horn handles.

It was delightful to sit in the shade of the big oak trees and be entertained by Vargos who play gypsy, Hungarian and Romanian music.

More Sculptures at Hanging Rock Winery
February 24, 2019

I spent additional time with a couple of the exhibits at Art in the Vines, Hanging Rock Winery.

From the distance, Onyx 1 & 2 looked nondescript but closer up, the more I looked the more I saw as the subtleties of the works and the beauty of the stone revealed themselves.

In places, the onyx had been polished…………

 

………….and incised.

 

 

There were these gorgeous ripples of colour.

 

If you like rocks, there was plenty to like. The exterior surface of the rocks was full of character with different textures.

 

 

This metal sculpture resembled an elegantly folded piece of origami.

I had fun moving around the sculpture to admire different folds and vistas.