Our Beautiful Earth: Part Two: Natural History Books : Birds and Butterflies

One of the wonderful benefits of a garden, apart from beautiful flowers and fresh home-grown food, are all its other inhabitants – the interesting insects and spiders, the beautiful butterflies and the amazing bird life! We are always finding something new, both in our garden and our explorations of this beautiful area, which is so rich in natural history! Because the insect world is so vast, we have yet to find a good general guide on Australian insects and possibly never will! I suspect that it is probably easier to research and identify them from internet sites like :

http://anic.ento.csiro.au/insectfamilies/ ;

https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/Collections/ANIC/ID-Resources

http://www.ozanimals.com/australian-insect-index.html    and

https://australianmuseum.net.au/insects .

However, butterflies are a particular love of mine and there are a number of excellent publications!

I have always adored butterflies. They are such fragile ephemeral creatures, yet remarkably tough to survive at all and have such beautiful patterns, both as adults and caterpillars, and interesting life cycles, their emergence from their pupas being quite miraculous! While we have a number of butterflies in our garden here in Candelo, like the majestic Orchard Butterfly, we particularly loved their colourful cousins in Tropical North Queensland, like the iridescent-aqua Ulysses Butterfly, the pursuit of whose image resulted in my daughter falling through old rotten verandah boards and damaging her leg! In 2008, we were lucky enough to visit Iron Range National Park, a biological hotspot, not just for birds, but also butterflies, where we watched butterfly expert and James Cook University lecturer, Peter Valentine, in a crane, netting species in the tops of tall trees, while being kissed on our hands by salt-hungry butterflies – a very special moment! So, we could definitely identify with the author of this book:

An Obsession With Butterflies by Sharman Apt Russell 2003

This paperback is a fascinating read about equally fascinating creatures!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (554) - Copy

I learnt so much about them, including some of the following facts:

Butterflies belong to the Order Lepidoptera, which contains 18 000 known species of butterflies and 147 000 species of moths. This was back in 2003. There are more species identified now – see later!  Apparently, their appearance can morph within a gender; within different populations and habitats, and even within the same place at different times of the year, which makes identification a very difficult task indeed!!!

They have wonderful names like owls; birdwings; apollos; hamadryads; satyrs; jezebels; tortoiseshells; milkweeds; snouts; fritillaries; painted ladies, admirals, buckeyes, checkerspots ; crescents; moonbeams; brimstones; sulphurs; hairstreaks; swordtail flashes; metalmarks; coppers; cornelians; ceruleans; azures; oak blues;  imperial blues; emperors and even, white albatrosses.

In the Middle Ages, people believed buterfloeges were fairies in disguise, who stole butter, cream and milk.

Lord Rothschild (1868 – 1937) had a butterfly collection of 2.25 Million butterflies and moths, which he bequeathed to the British Museum, London, making it the largest collection in the world at that time.

2000 species of butterflies exhibit myrmecophily (a love of ants), where ants will maintain and protect larvae from parasitic wasp attack, in exchange for honeydew secreted by glands on the caterpillars eg. Bright Coppers and other blue butterfly species.

On emerging from its chrysalis, the Tiger Swallowtail engages in puddling or salt-drinking at muddy puddles with their bar buddies, who then practice hilltopping behaviour, where they congregate at the top of the hill to lie in wait for unsuspecting (or usually, not so unsuspecting) females to mate! While waiting, they engage in spiral territorial fights trying to establish dominance, all the while keeping a lookout for females! Not that different to humans really!

Monarch butterflies in Canada and Northern USA overwinter in Mexico. They can fly in clouds at altitudes as high as 3000 feet and as far as 50 miles a day. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9rZz3fILt4 and https://www.mexperience.com/travel/outdoors/monarch-butterflies-mexico/.

We also have migratory butterflies in Australia. See: http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Insects/Butterflies+and+moths/Common+species/Migratory+Butterflies#.WMh7e2fj_IU and https://australianmuseum.net.au/caper-white-butterfly.

I remember sitting on our east-facing verandah at Dorrigo and watching hordes of Caper Whites, flying west up the escarpment, then up over our roof and ever onward. And they weren’t just hill-topping- there were too many of them!!! If this book has whetted your appetite to know more about butterflies, it is worth obtaining a comprehensive guide.

We actually possess three : Butterflies of Australia by IFB Common and DF Waterhouse 1972/ 1981; The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia by Michael F Braby 2004; and The Butterflies of Australia by Albert Orr and Roger Kitching 2010 . The first one is Ross’s old classic; the second, a more recent field guide, a perfect weight and size to carry with you on your butterfly walks; and the third and most recent, written by one of Ross’s ecology lecturers, when he studied environmental science at Griffith University, back in 1976 to 1978. This latter book is the one we tend to use most, so is the one I will discuss!

The Butterflies of Australia by Albert Orr and Roger Kitching 2010

This is an excellent book – very comprehensive, with clear readable text and lots of wonderful illustrations of butterflies in the field, reacting with their natural environment, rather than as dead museum specimens (the usual presentation in previous guides). If you can only own one butterfly guide, this is it!

As of 2010, in Australia, there are over 20 000 species of butterflies and moths, arranged in 82 families. The majority are moths, but the 400 species of butterflies are grouped in five families.

In Part One, the book discusses their anatomy; life cycle, reproduction, habitats, relationships with  plants and other animals and human impacts and butterfly gardening.

The larger Part Two is devoted to an in-depth discussion of each family, including identification notes about all the different species, including scientific name, size and habits, as well as a distribution map and illustrations of each species at each life cycle stage: egg, larvae (caterpillar); chrysalis (pupa); and adult male or female.

In the back is a list of butterfly books; journals; websites and societies; and two appendices : a checklist of Australian butterflies; and a list of larval host plants of Australian butterflies.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (518)

Birds

Another major interest is ornithology and we are so lucky here in Candelo with our beautiful bird population. Living high on the hill in amongst the old pepperina and loquat trees, we have an excellent vantage point for watching these amazing creatures, especially from our verandah. Not only do we have parrots and cockatoos in abundance, but also a number of smaller birds, like fairy wrens, finches and eastern spinebills, despite the high local population of cats!

Our immediate environment on the Far South Coast of New South Wales is very rich in birdlife as well, which I will write more about later in reference to local bird guides, but for now, a look at more general guides!

Every birdwatcher has their favourite bird book, which they believe is superior to all others! While my parents swore by Peter Slater and other ornithologists liked Graham Pizzey (both books, which we have owned in the past!), these days, we tend to refer to Simpson and Day as our first choice, followed by Michael Morecombe’s book for more detailed information and the Reader’s Digest Guide for top photographs.

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Simpson and Day   1984 – 1996     5th EditionBlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (505)

This is an excellent field guide with a waterproof cover, ideal for using outside! The introduction has a key to all the families and their page numbers, as well as a diagram of a bird’s body and information on bird identification using this book.

Most of the book is devoted to field notes about each bird species: its common and scientific names; abundance; movement (sedentary, annual or partial migratory and nomadic) ; description of males, females and juveniles; size; voice; and habitat, as well as excellent colour illustrations of each bird (male/ female/ immature/ races) and maps showing distribution (breeding/ non-breeding and vagrant, as well as boundary lines between races). Special identifiable features are also highlighted with black-and-white sketches of their hatchlings; head profiles; markings; tail patterns; eyes, bills and claws; or activity (display and courtship; flight; perching; calling; diving; stalking) for quick easy reference.

The Handbook in the last quarter of the book has detailed notes on the life cycle of birds; hints for bridwatchers; bird habitats in Australia; prehistoric birds; modern avifaunal regions; DNA – DNA hybridization;  and more information on the different bird families in Australia, including the breeding season for each species and further reading. There is also a rare bird bulletin; a checklist for Australian island territories; and a glossary of bird terminology.

Field Guide to Australian Birds by Michael Morcombe 2000BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (506)

While this book has very similar information, there are two major differences, which are very useful. Firstly, on the inside of the back cover (as well as in the introduction), there are colour tags for each family group with page numbers for quick reference, to which I constantly refer. And secondly, there is a large section in the back with 1000 colour illustrations of nests and eggs, showing the huge diversity in building techniques and aiding identification (photo below).

Accompanying the text are detailed notes on breeding season and location; courtship; nest material, shape and size; clutch and egg  size; incubation ;  fledging and leaving the nest. In the back is a section on migrant waders with a map of distribution;  a list of extinct birds and new discoveries; and references to bird books, magazines and prominent bird groups and schemes.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd20%Image (507)Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds 1976

The big advantage of this book is its wonderful photographs of birds in their natural environment, including amazing shots of birds feeding, wading, sitting on nests or feeding nestlings, but its large size means that it is certainly NOT a field guide! We have used this book so much that we are now on our second copy!

Part One starts with a map of altitudes; average annual rainfall and rainfall variability; and vegetation zones in Australia, then explores each bird habitat from rainforest, forest and woodland to scrubland, shrub steppe,  grassland, heathland, mangroves and wetlands.

In Part Two, each bird has either a full page or double page spread with wonderful photographs, general notes (often with interesting historical notes)and an italicized section specifying other names, the length and description of males, females and juveniles; voice; nesting and distribution, including a distribution map. Towards the end of this section are lists of rare visitors, escaped captives and unsuccessful introductions, as well as notes on the different orders and families of Australian birds.

Part Three is concerned with the life of birds: the behaviour which distinguishes species (locomotion; flight; finding food; adaptations to feeding; care of feathers; aggression displays;  and courtship rituals); migrants and nomads; regulation of bird numbers; prehistoric birds of Australia; and the origins of Australian birds. It is such an interesting book with a wealth of information about Australian birds.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (515)

The next two books are devoted to birds of the world and show the huge diversity and beauty of these incredible creatures.

Encyclopaedia of Birds edited by Joseph Forshaw 1998

While the primary focus is always on birds of your own country, it is great to learn more about their worldly cousins, especially if travelling overseas. The introduction looks at bird anatomy and classification; the evolution of birds from feathered dinosaurs 150 Million years ago; bird habitats and adaptations to their environment; bird behaviour and endangered species.

The remainder and majority of the book is devoted to the different orders and suborders of birds eg albatrosses and petrels; divers and grebes; herons and their allies; waterfowl and screamers; and waders and shorebirds.

Each section has key facts in an orange box: the name of the order; number of families; genera and species; the smallest and largest types and conservation status (though this information is probably outdated now!), as well as a world distribution map and detailed notes about each type of bird and lovely illustrations and photographs. For example, in Herons and their Allies,  there are notes on identification by bill shape and historical notes on the Sacred Ibis of Ancient Egyptians, as well as specific notes on herons, night herons, bitterns, storks, new world vultures, ibises, spoonbills and flamingos. Kingfishers and their Allies covers kingfishers, todies, motmots, bee-eaters, rollers, ground-rollers, courols, hoopoes, and hornbills.

It is a fascinating book with lots of birds, of which I have never even heard and is a great addition to our natural history library.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (552)

Birds of the World by Colin Harrison and Alan Greensmith 1993

Slightly different in approach to the previous book, this  pocket sized guide describes over 800 bird species of the world, with half and full page spreads devoted to each bird. Each entry has a colour-coded band on the top, specifying the family and species name and length with detailed descriptive notes, including their nests and distribution; terrific photographs annotated with key identification pointers; scale silhouettes to compare bird height with the size of this book; pictures of alternate plumage, a worldwide distribution map and a band at the bottom of the entry specifying plumage, habitat and migratory status.

There are also notes on the relationship between birds and humans over history; types of feathers; bird anatomy; bill shape; variation within species; nesting boxes and bird feeders and water containers; birdwatching in the field; identifying birds in flight; and a useful identification key. An excellent taster to the wonderful world of birds!

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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an excellent website for bird information. See: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1478 and https://www.allaboutbirds.org/. I discovered them, when researching Birds-of-Paradise. They have some wonderful video footage of the 39 species. See: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/search/?q=Birds%20of%20Paradise.

We would dearly love to see these beautiful birds in their natural environment in New Guinea one day!  In the meantime, we can satisfy our desire with the above videos and maybe one day, this bucket list book: Birds of New Guinea by Thane K. Pratt & Bruce M. Beehmer 2015 . See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/birds-of-new-guinea/fp9780691095639.aspx.

The following two books are useful guides to birdwatching locations, especially the second one, which focuses specifically on our local area.

Best 100 Birdwatching Sites in Australia by Sue Taylor 2013

Having lived in the country for most of our life and being keen visitors to National Parks, we have never really had to think about where to see birds, but this book would have been very useful during our 2008 trip around Australia, as well as being of great value to city birdwatchers in planning their ornithological excursions.

We feel we have seen a fair bit of Australia and key birdwatching venues, so it was an interesting exercise to tick off the places which we had visited in the book, finding to our surprise that we’d only been to 46 out of the 100 places listed! Happily, there is obviously much more to see!!! We are looking forward to a desert trip one day to see more of our beautiful parrot species.

While Sue admits the choice of places was subjective, I agreed totally with many of her selections. How can we ever forget the vast flotillas of Black Swans at Tower Hill, Victoria; the huge diversity of waterfowl at Fogg Dam, near Darwin, and Kakadu National Park in Northern Territory, as well as at Parry’s Lagoon in Western Australia; the enormous flocks of Plumed Whistling Ducks and Magpie Geese at Hasties Swamp on the Atherton Tableland in North Queensland, nor the Eclectus Parrots, Palm Cockatoos, Magnificent Riflebirds and Sunbirds at Chilli Beach in Iron Range National Park and the delicate Jacanas, Blue-winged Kookaburras, Brolgas and Magpie Geese at Lakefield National Park, both areas on Cape York, North Queensland. We finally saw a Cassowary in the wild on our last bushwalk at Mission Beach; called and cuddled Providence Petrels out of the sky at Lord Howe Island; and visited Broome Bird Observatory in Western Australia. It was great seeing the inclusion of our old stamping ground at Lamington National Park and two local areas of our new home : Mogareeka Inlet and Green Cape.

There are beautiful photographs throughout the book of birds in their natural environment. It is a lovely book to own!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (508)

Birding Australia: Australian Edition 2008 by Lloyd Nielsen

A very similar book, which covers a much larger area, but doesn’t have the lovely bird photos of the previous book. It is very much a directory with maps, a brief description of each area, its climate, access/ directions and its birding highlights, as well as lists of key species and endemics; good birding spots and best times; suggested itineraries; regional field guides, CDs and DVDs; local bird groups, accommodation, tours and websites, and a table of times for first light, sunrise, sunset and last light for the first day of each month.

A very comprehensive book, which is backed up by the Birding Australia website:  http://www.birdingaustralia.com.au/.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (574)

Birdwatching on the Far South Coast New South Wales by Far South Coast Birdwatchers Inc 2008

Essential reading for birdwatchers on the Far South Coast of New South Wales! We are so lucky in this area to have a wide variety of habitats with many wonderful waterways from mountain and forest; lakes and rivers; and National Parks to agricultural land and dams and many coastal lagoons and beaches. We also have three designated birdwatching routes, which never fail to please, especially the dam and floodplains at Kalaru, near Tathra, which always have a multitude of waterbirds.

This useful small book, compiled by the local birdwatching group,  is divided into three sections: Places to Go; Birds to See; and Other Information. In Places to Go, each area is described, including access, favourite birdwatching spots; and the birds likely to be seen, as well as providing a handy map and random hints like binocular adjustment and care; what to do if you find a bird on the ground and the Birdwatchers’ Code of Ethics. Like with the previous book, while we have already explored many of the areas mentioned, we still have plenty of local excursions in the future!

The second section, Birds to See,  lists 300 species of birds in the Bega Valley, including its scientific name; residency and abundance status; the best spots to see them and other general notes.

The last section suggests useful books and websites; gives the contact details of the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS) and Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) and a few notes about dealing with ticks, mosquitoes, sandflies and leeches!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (509)

The next two books are very interesting reads about our Australian bird life.

The Lyrebird: A Natural History by Pauline Reilly 1988

My daughter based one of her science projects in Year 10 on Superb Lyrebirds, of which we had quite a large population on our rainforest block on the escarpment, adjoining Bellinger River National Park. We used this book extensively in her research for this project, as well as in the formulation of her experimental hypotheses.

She was particularly interested in their song, as male lyrebirds are superb mimics and will often go through an extensive repertoire of different bird calls to attract their mate. Armed with a tape recorder, Caro would tiptoe up on the birds, only to have them invariably go silent on her and glide off like Houdini into the bush, highly frustrating for her and by the end of it, I don’t think she wanted to see another lyrebird for a long while!

Nevertheless, she did get enough results to confirm Pauline Reilly’s assertion that the amount of time between between its own calls during the mimicry sequence is fixed and specific to each male, allowing their identification and ownership of territory.

However, her statement that lyrebirds do not mimic birds, which breed at the same time as themselves, was not supported by Caroline’s evidence, as she clearly recorded them mimicking Eastern Whipbirds in the subtropical rainforests of Dorrigo!

For anyone interested to know more about these fascinating birds, this book is a must! Chapters cover their origins and relationships; their distribution and annual cycle; descriptions of their physical appearance and  the roles of both males and females; immature lyrebirds; song and mimicry;  and random and interesting extra information. I have always loved Pauline’s story about the 1930s flute player, who used to play two popular songs of the time ,‘Mosquito Dance’ and ‘The Keel Row’,  near his pet lyrebird, who incorporated the tunes into his song, then passed them on to his descendants, who melded them together in their territorial calls, still heard in 1969.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (510)

Where Song Began by Tim Low 2014

Australia has so many fascinating and unusual birds from the lyrebirds with their amazing mimicry to the Satin Bowerbirds, which build courting platforms, decorated with entirely with blue tobacco flowers, cornflowers, pegs, milk bottle tops etc); the scrub turkeys and mallee fowl, which build enormous incubation mounds; the male emus and cassowaries, who raise the young; the Laughing Kookaburra, which eats snakes, the territorial magpie, nominated by Canadian biologist, the aptly named David Bird, as ‘the most serious avian menace in the world‘, yet with such a beautiful melodious song; and its incredibly beautiful colourful and raucous parrots!

This is a fascinating book, primarily  about the origin of birds and their evolution. There is so much interesting information about birds and their behaviour, particularly our Australian species, and while I really don’t want to add any spoilers, some of the topics include the beginning of song and the origin of parrots (both in Australia);  the birds of New Guinea; gigantism in birds; rainforest pigeons and their role in forest evolution, the endangered Gouldian Finch; seabirds; and the relationship between people and birds.

It’s a very readable book, backed up by both the fossil record and contemporary research and genetic studies. I was fascinated to learn that flamingoes used to live in Australia 20 Million years ago, having always doubted the inclusion of flamingos in Swiss Family Robinson, a childrens’ book about a family, shipwrecked on a tropical island near New Guinea. Apparently, there were 3 species of flamingos at Lake Eyre, up until 1 Million years ago. And that I’m afraid, is as much as you get…!  Enjoy the book!

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Next, I will be discussing books about more fascinating animal life.

ABCs of Travel Tag

Well, this was a bit of unexpected fun in the middle of our Australian Winter! The ABCs of Travel Tag poses twenty-six alphabetical travel-related questions from A to Z ! Answering this quiz brought back so many happy memories, so thank you, my beautiful daughter, Jenny, for your nomination. I’m afraid that my answers can’t quite live up to your amazing experiences, but I will do my best!!!

Jenny writes a terrific blog about her adventures in Australia and overseas at : https://traveladventurediscover.com. She has totally surpassed us in our travels and has been to so many wonderful places and had so many amazing adventures! She caught the travel bug well and truly from us on her first overseas trip at the age of seven years old – little did we realize what we were setting in motion!

A: Age when you went on your first international trip :

Unlike Jen, my first international trip was much later! I was 24 years old and had only been married one year! It was a wonderful bonding experience in the early years of our marriage and we have travelled together ever since! We share so many special memories, including that first foray in 1984 to England, France, Switzerland and Italy; a 10 week trip en famille to the United Kingdom and France, 10 years later; another family holiday to both islands of New Zealand, the flight made on the frequent flyer points accrued from the 1994 trip; a celebratory milestone on Lord Howe Island for my 40th birthday; and an extended trip camping around Australia in 2008.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_7183

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where :

Unfortunately, I have never been a keen beer drinker! I just don’t like the taste! So, because I grew up on the foothills of Mt. Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania, I would have to give my beer vote to the Cascade Brewery, which was just down the road! And I know it might not strictly be foreign, but some people might think it is!BlogABCTravelBooksReszd2013-06-22 11.39.08

C: Cuisine (favourite) :

I enjoy most foods and Australia’s multicultural background means we are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating! However, I think my favourite cuisine would have to be French – I just love those creamy dishes!

D: Destinations – favourite, least favourite, and why :

And yes, France is also my favourite destination! While we enjoyed our week in Paris on my first trip, I adore country France with its rustic architecture, bright red poppy fields, beautiful alpine scenery, superb food and wine and wonderfully generous people! The French love children and were so impressed that we had brought the whole family from so far away on our trip in 1994. They opened their doors and their hearts to us and we had some amazing experiences, from exploring the Standing Stones of Carnac and the prehistoric cave paintings of the Dordogne to staying in a chateau for my 35th birthday (Château de Régnier, La Trimouille, near Limoges – see photo below and a previous birthday post: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/05/31/landmark-birthdays-part-1/), hiking in the Pyrenees, viewing flamingos in the Camargue, and visiting old craft villages and Monet’s beautiful garden at Giverny.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (89)We have enjoyed all our travels, but my least favourite destination was probably King Ash Bay, near Borroloola, Northern Territory, on the Gulf of Carpentaria! We stumbled upon this outback fishing village by chance, but for such a remote location, it was a bit too suburban and populated for us, with all the vans camped cheek by jowl like sardines and even street names like Sunset Boulevard!  It may have been good if you were a fisherman with your own boat and could get away to your own space, but as tent campers, who value their independence and love quiet spots and natural history, we were definitely out of place!

E: Experience abroad that made you say “Wow” ! :

It would have to be hiking in the Pyrenees! While Jenny remembers the start of the Pyreneean Haute Route vividly (see: https://traveladventurediscover.com/2017/07/11/abcs-of-travel-tag/), it was the middle section of the walk the next day that gave me the Wow factor!

There were so many different aspects to this walk – a stream with bumblebees and wildflowers; deciduous and conifer forests;  higher meadows of wild rhododendrons and magnificent views; wild hyacinths and orchids on the gravelly upper slopes and 3 glacial lakes at the end, the Lacs d’Ayous, where the snow still lay thickly on the ground. I will be writing about this experience in a post on travel books in October.BlogTravelBooksReszd50%Image (648) - Copy The Wow factor came, the higher we ascended the walk, with the slow reveal of the back of the Pic Midi d’Ossau, which increasingly resembled the map of our own home country! And the other Wow was the fact that our 4.5 year old daughter Caroline managed the entire 11 km walk on her own without having to be carried once!BlogTravelBooksReszd50%Image (646) - CopyF: Favourite mode of transportation :

In my younger days, I would have said a bicycle, having cycled to university every day during my studies and doing a long distance bike trip from Beenleigh to Kyogle, following the incredibly steep Lions Road, a holiday which had far-reaching consequences, as it was when I started my relationship with my future husband! We also enjoyed cycling round Lord Howe – the perfect way to experience such a beautiful island!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (112) These days, it’s my own two feet! We love bushwalking and exploring our beautiful National Parks! Here I am climbing Cooks’ Look at Lizard Island.BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_7126

G: Greatest feeling while travelling :

The total freedom and lack of time restraints, as well as making the utmost of every single day and discovering the new, whether it be places, people, things or even aspects about yourself! Travel is so invigorating and inspiring, even though I know it can be tiring and exhausting too, especially if travelling with young children, but you soon forget all that!!

BlogABCTravelBooksReszd25%IMG_1755H: Hottest place you’ve travelled to :

It would have to be Cooktown (photo above) in North Queensland. Even though it was Winter, I was still having 6 stone-cold showers a day to cool off and lost so much weight, sweating off the pounds on our ascents of every hill or mountain we encountered, like Mt. Cook, North Queensland (photo below)!BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_6612

I: Incredible photo you’ve taken and where :

Lizard Island has so many wonderful photo opportunities and is an incredibly beautiful island! This photo is Blue Lagoon, taken from Cooks’ Lookout, the highest point of the island.

BlogABCTravelBooksReszd25%IMG_7271J: Journey that took the longest :

In 2008, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend 6 months travelling around our vast continent! It was a celebratory trip for our 25th wedding anniversary, as well as the fact that Ross had just turned 60 and I was 50 the next year. During our honeymoon in 1983, we camped on the beach on our own at Cape Tribulation just before the Bloomfield Road was built. It is much busier these days with many international tourists, but one of them very obligingly took this photograph of us at the same spot 25 years later!

BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_1722 Originally, the plan was to visit Iron Range National Park, a mecca for ornithologists and butterfly lovers like ourselves, but our youngest daughter (photo below), who had just finished her schooling, decided to join us, so we went right up to the tip of Cape York.

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Once there, at the 3 month mark, we decided to continue our trip for another 3 months and circumnavigate Australia, while we were still footloose and fancy-free! You can read about our Cape York adventures on: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/06/07/landmark-birthdays-part-2/.

The outlay was minimal, as we already owned all our camping gear and an old Toyota 4WD, which we set up with my plastic patchwork material drawers to hold all our equipment.BlogABCTravelBooksReszd25%IMG_3250We had some amazing experiences from searching for (and finding) the endangered Golden-Shouldered Parrots, as well as Eclectus Parrots and Tree Kangaroos in Cape York and Gouldian Finches at Mornington, an Australian Wildlife Conservancy property on the Gibb River Road, to viewing ancient aboriginal rock art in Laura, Cape York, Kakadu National Park, Victoria River, Mitchell Falls and Wandjina Gorge and 30 000 years old engravings on the Burrup Peninsula, Western Australia.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe fed dolphins at Monkey Mia; had my first scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef (above) and snorkelled on Lizard Island and Ningaloo Reef; climbed every mountain in sight; visited friends and family at the Daintree River, Herberton and Perth; and photographed Spring wildflowers in WA; as well as having the odd luxury of spending a few civilised nights in lovely old cottages in Denmark and Hahndorf and crossing the Nullabor in the Indian Pacific. No wonder we looked so relaxed in this photo taken at Mission Beach, with Dunk Island in the background!BlogABCTravelBooksReszd25%IMG_9975K: Keepsake from your travels :

Well, the last photo was a giveaway, as well as the photo of Caroline at the tip of Cape York!!! Ross has always loved Winnie the Pooh and on that 2008 trip, we took Eoyore’s cousin, whom we christened Grey Nomad, and photographed him at various locations on the trip! Here, he is snorkelling at Ningaloo Reef!

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He rode a coconut on the Bloomfield Road and the heads of a Rainbow Serpent at Cooktown Botanical Garden and his giant megafaunal cousin, a Diprotodon, at Naracoorte Caves, South Australia! Totally demoralised by the latter experience, he felt slightly better, when he saw this photo of himself with a termite mound in North Queensland. We didn’t like to tell him that this was only a mini-mound, compared to most of them!

L: Let-down sight, why and where :

This was a hard question, as we have enjoyed all of our travels and perception is often governed by previous experiences, but the waterfalls behind Lorne, on the Great Ocean Road, were a slight disappointment for us, as we were used to much larger falls , though they are still very pretty.  Having spent many years in the Armidale/ Dorrigo region, we were used to the magnificent waterfalls of the aptly name Waterfall Way between the two towns, one example being the Wollomombi Falls, which is one of the highest waterfalls in Australia, but is just pipped by Wallaman Falls in North Queensland, seen in the photograph below.

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M: Moment that you fell in love with travel :

I think I have always loved exploring. My dad was from England and a bit of a gypsy at heart, while my mum was a Qantas air hostess in the early days (1950s), when travel was a luxury and the staff were put up at the best hotels while refuelling, so we grew up with the expectation that we would travel overseas when we had finished our studies. We also lived in a few different places during our childhood and had lots of family picnics and camping trips, a pattern which I have repeated during my adult life!BlogABCTravelBooksReszd30%DSCF7178

N: Nicest hotel :

My choice overseas would be the Hotel du Petit Palais (www.petitpalaisnice.com/en/) in Nice, which we discovered quite by chance (and good luck!), back in 1984. We’d been rejected from every accommodation venue we’d approached that evening, as we only had Swiss francs, and were wearily retracing our steps up the hill back to the train station, when we discovered this lovely little hotel at 10 pm. The beds were unmade, the cleaner had gone home, we would have to make our own beds (!) and it was way above our price range, but they took us in, despite the fact we couldn’t pay them until the morning and we were so happy to have finally found a room! The next morning was bliss, after a difficult few rainy days in Italy. The sun was shining, the birds were singing in the pink flowering cherry trees, there were civilised street lights and I could speak the language! We sat in the sun at a sidewalk cafe, enjoying a bottomless cup of perfect French coffee! Heaven!

In Australia, my  favourite hotel is the Hughenden (http://thehughenden.com.au/), in Woollahra, NSW,  an elegant literary establishment in the grand old style and a peaceful haven after the hurly burly of a hectic day in the Sydney CBD!

O: Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while travelling?

Everything- but especially flowers and birds! The Spring wildflowers in Western Australia are superb, as every region has its own particular range of species. Lesueur National Park is a hotspot for biodiversity, but fortunately the road in is one way only, a safety element for keen photographers! Here is a photo of Sturt’s Desert Pea :BlogABCTravelBooksReszd25%IMG_1364In the photo below, I was so keen to photograph an ant plant, that I actually stepped on a small snake with my thongs! Needless to say, I got such a fright that I wore shoes from then on!

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P: Passport stamps – how many and where from?

Now, this is where my woeful lack of overseas travel, compared to Jen and her other nominees, becomes really obvious! I have passport stamps from Bangkok, Singapore, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, USA and New Zealand! Does Tasmania count?!!!

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where :

The Tilted House at Puzzling World (http://www.puzzlingworld.co.nz/) at Wanaka, NZ , would have to be one of the quirkiest places we have visited.BlogABCTravelBooksReszd50%Image (649) - Copy The architect has had a lot of fun with levels and completely destroyed my already-compromised sense of balance and equilibrium, after spending the previous night on a sailing boat on Milford Sound! In the photo below, Ross is standing upright, but appears to be leaning forward, due to the clever manipulation of angles and perspective.

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R: Recommended sight, event or experience :

I would highly recommend a stay at the Bird Observatory on the Fair Isles. We sat with puffins on the cliff every evening, visited Fair Isle Knitters, walked everywhere, participated in birding activities like banding and netting, and even played a dubious game of island soccer, the locals versus the Bird Observatory. Our weekend visit felt like we had been there for weeks! Here is Jen, sitting on the cliffs with the puffins.Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.15.07Puffins are such cute birds and so trusting! It is amazing to be so close to them!Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.15.19

S: Splurge – something you have no problem forking out for while travelling

Aerial experiences are pretty special and well worth the money, especially if you have limited time! We shared a helicopter ride with another couple over aboriginal stone circles on the Mitchell Plateau, out to the coast and the Timor Sea, where we saw a mother and baby dugong, then back along King Edward River, lined with huge saltwater crocodiles basking in the sun, to the Lower and then Upper Mitchell Falls.BlogABCTravelBooksReszd25%IMG_9414Even though the cost was exorbitant and the journey quite scary at times, as there were no doors, I was sitting right at the edge of my seat (with 3 adults sharing the back seat!) and we flew so low, I had to constantly resist the temptation to jump out (!), it was an amazing experience and we are so pleased we did it!BlogABCTravelBooksReszd25%IMG_9428T: Touristy thing

However, back in 1984, while travelling on a student discount card, we refused to pay exhorbitant sums on punting at Cambridge, hiring a rowboat instead, which wasn’t quite the real thing, and we always slightly regretted it, so with this memory in the back of our minds, we lashed out on the jaunting car for the family at Muckross House and Gardens, at Killarney in Ireland.BlogABCTravelBooksReszd50%Image (648)U: Unforgettable travel memory :

We have had so many wonderful travel experiences, but for this reply, I have chosen our holiday at Lord Howe Island to celebrate my 40th birthday!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (139) We climbed Mt Gower on the actual day and called Providence Petrels out of the sky to land with a thud at our feet, to be picked up and cuddled- unforgettable!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (165)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (127)It certainly is a wonderful place, if like us, you love bushwalking and natural history. For more about our amazing experiences, see: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/05/31/landmark-birthdays-part-1/.

 V: Visas – how many and where for?

Oh dear, another exposé !!! I’m not sure about the first trip in 1984, as I no longer have that passport, but in 1994, I have two visas: a 3 month one for France and one for the USA. We were only stopping over in Los Angeles for 3.5 hours, but still had to preorganize a visa, just in case there was a problem with our connecting flight back to Australia and we had to stay overnight!

W: Wine – best glass of wine while travelling and where

As old bed-and-breakfast owners, we often found it difficult to get away and used to salivate, hearing guests talk about their wonderful holidays at places like the Hunter Valley, famed for its beautiful wines. So, for our anniversary weekend in 1998, we did just that and loved exploring the cellar doors and tasting the delicious boutique wines! My favourite wine from that trip would have to be the dessert wine, Briar Ridge’s Botrytis Semillon. See: http://briarridge.com.au/our-wines-and-shop/product-detail/?ProductID=128. It was divine!!!

X: Xcellent view :

This shot, taken at Aragunnu, one of our local beauty spots, (https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/11/aragunnu-and-bunga-head/) would have to be one of my favourite views!Blog Summer dreamg20%Reszd2015-06-22 12.38.22Y: Years spent travelling:

Hard to say, as our travels have been fairly sporadic. Our longer trips were all taken at crossover points in our life between property sales and the old life and the new!  Both overseas trips were ten weeks from late March to mid-June, so in Spring and early Summer; we had two weeks in New Zealand and ten days on Lord Howe; and six months around Australia. So if you only take these major holidays, it doesn’t appear to be much!

However, we have also had lots of smaller two-week vacations like camping at Carnarvon Gorge or hiring a beach house at Hat Head or South-West Rocks, and have also lived in a number of different places, where we have made the most of each period to really explore each area: two years in Tasmania; fifteen years in the Armidale/ Dorrigo region in Northern NSW,  five years in Victoria and the last three years here on the South Coast of NSW, so if you include these periods, the total number of years spent travelling dramatically increases!

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?

While we don’t watch a lot of sport, we always enjoy watching the Hopman Cup, WA, every January on television and at the beginning of 2013, we attended The Australian Tennis Open with our daughters- a great day out!BlogABCTravelBooksReszd2513-01-15 11.24.16

I hope you have enjoyed my responses to this ABCs of Travel Tag. Here are my nominees:

Nominations

Postcard from Gibraltar :  https://postcardfromgibraltar.com

This talented watercolourist and fellow craftswoman writes a lovely blog about her life in Gibraltar, as well as her travels to other parts of sunny Spain and Britain.

The World According to Dina : https://toffeefee.wordpress.com/

A dual blog, written by Klausbernd Vollmar and Hanne Siebers, who love the colder climes of Norway, the Arctic and Scotland and mountains like the Bavarian Alps, as well as their home in Norfolk. Hanne is a fabulous photographer!

Old House in the Shires https://oldhouseintheshires.com

A fellow gardener, who also loves old houses, nature and the great outdoors, Sophie writes wonderful posts about gardens in France and England and family holidays in Germany and Italy. Through her blog,  I discovered my final nominee:

That Travel Lady in Her Shoes : https://thecadyluckleedy.com

CadyLuck writes wonderful posts about travel, history, books and gardens. She has travelled extensively in Europe, Turkey and Egypt and North America and Canada and has many travelling tips as well.

I look forward to reading all your responses!

 

 

 

Our Beautiful Earth: Part One: Natural History Books: Plants

Given that we are keen gardeners, it should be no surprise that another great interest is botany and the beautiful wildflowers of our incredible continent! In Australia alone, we have over 18 000 species of flowering plants, grouped in 200 families! We are forever identifying and photographing wildflowers whenever we are bushwalking and are always learning new things.

The botanical world is endless and knowledge is always expanding. The Pea Family is a classic case, so the best one can do is to have a broad understanding of the major families and know how to work the plant identification keys, but even then, there are always anomalies!  From my experience, it is useful to have a number of wildflower books, especially those pertinent to your specific locality, though having said that, there are often cross-overs between areas, so a wide variety of books is beneficial. Recent publications are also useful, as taxonomists often change scientific nomenclature, especially in the Eucalypt world! Here is a good general Australian wildflower book:

Field Guide to Australian Wildflowers by Denise Greig  1999

This book covers over 1000 Australian wildflower species, commonly encountered growing wild. They range in size from tiny annuals and terrestrial orchids to large perennials and shrubs. The book only includes a few trees, mainly colourful rainforest species or large-flowered mallees, and some common and conspicuous introduced plants, but ferns, fungi, sedges and grasses are not covered.

It is primarily a field guide rather than a definitive reference work, and early chapters are devoted to an explanation of terminology and nomenclature; how to use the guide; a small section on plant anatomy; a map of Australia showing the vegetation zones with accompanying descriptive text; and a guide to all the different Australian plant families, with a brief description and page reference numbers.

The remainder of the book is devoted to each family with species descriptions, flowering times and distribution on the left-hand page and colour photographs of each plant on the right-hand side. In the back is a useful glossary and bibliography. There are so may Australian wildflowers, but this general guide is a start!

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Because we lived in South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales for many years, the next set of books were very useful.

Wildflowers of the North Coast of New South Wales by Barry Kemp  2004

Local flora guides are essential and this one is terrific! It covers the New South Wales coast from Newcastle, north to the Queensland border (500 km), and altitudes up to 800 metres elevation.

The plants are arranged into major habitat groups: Coastal Dunes, Headlands and Estuaries; Swamp Forest, Freshwater Wetlands and Riverbanks; Coastal Heath; Woodland Heath; Open Forest; Rainforest and Weeds, all sections with a description of each environment and its challenges and further division, based on size (Small Trees and Large Shrubs;  Small Shrubs and Herbs) and then family (in alphabetical order); genus and species. Beautiful photographs of both habitat and each species abound.

Many of the plants described are not restricted to this area, so the book is still relevant to Sydney and South-East Queensland.

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Australian Rain-Forest Trees WD Francis 1970

One of the original classics in rainforest tree identification, this third edition was produced almost 50 years ago, the first edition being published in 1929.

The introduction covers rainforest distribution in Australia; the character of Australian rainforests; the relationship of rainfall to rainforests; their atmospheric conditions and light; the soil and leaf litter; the effect of bushfires; tree size; buttresses and flanged stems; the bark, wood and leaves of Australian rainforest trees and the cultivation of these trees in Australia.

There is a brief description of the families of Australian rainforest trees, followed by identification keys and detailed descriptions of each family, including the derivation of its name, description, distribution, remarks and uses, as well as references, for both subtropical (Part One) and tropical rainforest trees (Part Two) !

I loved its black-and-white photographs of huge old rainforest trees with enormous girths, their height dwarfing the humans (often with axes in hand, the book having been produced by the Forest and Timber Bureau!) beside them, as well as close-up scaled photographs and diagrams of leaves, flowers and seed pods!

There is also a personal connection to this book, with photographs of my husband’s aunt and uncle in one of the photos, as well as a number of her moustached surveyor father, James Edgar Young, an early member of the Queensland Naturalists Club Inc, which was started in 1906 and still operates today.

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Ornamental Rainforest Plants in Australia by David L Jones 1986

Another excellent guide to Australian rainforest plants, with not an axe in sight!

One thousand species are discussed in detail, especially those with ornamental interest, with a focus on their cultivation and propagation in the home garden.

There is a wealth of information on rainforest types and distribution; cultivation requirements (soil; light; planting; mulching; watering; fertiliser; and pruning); leaf terminology (divisions, shape and margins); creating a rainforest (site conditions; species selection and layout; preparation and planting; mulching and nutrient recycling; watering and misting; and maintenance); and propagation by seed, cuttings, layering, division, grafting and budding.

The plants are discussed in family groups, with general notes on family features; horticultural attributes; cultivation; and propagation, then specific entries on genus (arranged alphabetically) and their species (common and scientific names; type of rainforest habitat; flowering period; description; distribution; notes and cultivation and propagation).

There are black-and-white scaled botanical sketches of foliage, fruit and flowers throughout, as well as coloured plates of photographs, making this book an invaluable identification guide as well.

In the back of the book is a variety of lists of rainforest plants for different situations and purposes, titled: Tropical, Subtropical, Temperate, Coastal and Inland Regions; Pioneer Plants and Fast Growing Species; Indoor Plants; Shade Trees; Curtailing Stream Bank Erosion; Attractive or Decorative Bark, Foliage, New Growth, Flowers and Fruit; Fragrant Flowers; Edible Fruit; and even Species Attractive to Nectar-Feeding or Fruit-Eating Birds.

This book certainly fulfils its promise of encouraging a love of rainforest plants and incorporating them in the garden.

BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (522)Gardening With Australian Rainforest Plants by Ralph Bailey and Julie Lake 2001

A very similar book, also promoting rainforest gardens, with a slightly different approach. While starting with a description of the different types of Australian rainforests, it digresses to dispel certain misconceptions and myths and then has very detailed chapters on:

Planning : Site considerations; design; climate; and soil

Plant Selection : Watercolour garden designs; buffer zones; essential steps in the creation of the garden; and lists of plants for specific needs eg windbreaks; buffer zones; variegated foliage; fragrance; and the rainforest floor.

Planting : Soil preparation; pH; planting for the different levels of the rainforest (for example : canopy, understorey and floor); climbers; planting in established gardens; watering; protection from wind and frost; staking and mulching; and more lists of plants: shrubs and understoreys; climbers and scramblers; palms; trees and shrubs with spectacular flowers; trees for the home garden; and pioneer plants.

Final Details: Vantage points; furniture; lighting; and rainforest pools, creeks and waterfalls.

Care and Cultivation: Water; fertilising; pruning; weed control; insect attack; and common pests and diseases;     and

Feature Rainforest Plants and their incorporation into mixed and exotic gardens; poolside plantings; colder climates; and boggy areas and creek banks.

There are also chapters on : Small Gardens and Courtyards: Seaside Rainforest Gardens; Drier Inland Gardens; Container Growing; Wildlife in the Rainforest Garden, including bird and butterfly attractants and pond life; Rainforest Plants for Bush Tucker, including lists of edible and toxic plants; and finally, propagation by seed, cuttings and grafting.

The authors include their 100 favourite rainforest plants, with key symbols for light levels, temperature, water requirements and special features for quick reference. Primarily a gardening book, its photographs are still useful for supporting other identification guides.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (573)

Rainforest Plants I-V by Nan and Hugh Nicholson 1985-2000

A wonderful series of five books by the owners of Terania Creek Nursery in Northern New South Wales, we used these small books extensively during our Dorrigo years, as our block was perched right on the escarpment, bordering Bellinger National Park and Dorrigo National Park and was surrounded by subtropical, warm temperate and cool temperate rainforest species.

The photographs are beautiful and make identification much easier, though at times I wished that they covered all aspects – flowers, fruit and leaves on the one page!

The accompanying text is also very informative with common, scientific and family names and notes about the name derivation; distribution; identification features; habitat; fruit, seeds and dispersion; germination and use in the garden.

Other features include:  a distribution map for the East coast of Australia (Volume 1); notes on growing a rainforest and weeds (both in Volume 2); rainforest types (Volume 3); disturbing rainforests (Volume 4); and rainforest seeds and their propagation (Volume 5), as well as a cumulative index for all 5 books.

There are certainly some beautiful rainforest plants and this series really engenders a great appreciation of them all.

Australian Rainforest Fruits: A Field Guide by Wendy Cooper 2013 *

I always used to hanker after this book, but alas, it was too expensive at the time, but had we stayed in Dorrigo on our rainforest block, we would no doubt have bought it at some stage. See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/australian-rainforest-fruits/cs9780643107847.aspx.

Mind you, if we had had the money, we would have loved the definitive reference guide to Australian plants :  the Flora of Australia series, co-published by CSIRO and Australian Biological Resources Study, since 1981 . See http://www.publish.csiro.au/books/series/6  and: http://www.environment.gov.au/science/abrs/publications/flora-of-australia  and http://www.environment.gov.au/science/abrs/publications/flora-of-australia/families.

The plan was for more than 60 volumes, covering almost 30,000 species, systematically arranged by family, including flowering plants, conifers, ferns, mosses, liverworts and lichens of Australia and its oceanic islands. It is now no longer available in printed form, but fortunately for us, it is now presented as an online Australasian eFlora platform. See: http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/online-resources/flora/ and http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/online-resources/flora/index.html and http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/online-resources/flora/main/index.html.

BlogEnvtlBooksReszd20%IMG_1077While on the subject of Australian flora (and fauna), it is well worth checking out an organization, called Bush Blitz, which is based at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra and conducts biological surveys all over Australia, discovering many new species in the process. Our friend, Brian Hawkins, with whom Ross worked back at the Rainforest Centre in Dorrigo, is a Senior Project Officer with them. See: http://bushblitz.org.au/expeditions/ and http://bushblitz.org.au/team-profiles/.

Guide to Wildflowers of Western Australia by Simon Nevill and Nathan McQuoid 2008 *

No botanical library would be complete, nor botanist satisfied, without a visit to Western Australia during the Springtime with a wildflower guide in hand! Each locality has its own unique set of wildflowers, a sample of which is included in special beds at Kings Park. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/11/05/favourite-late-19th-century-gardens-in-australia/. I wish we had had this guide with us during our visit in 2008! See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/guide-to-the-wildflowers-of-western-australia/s-n780975601914.aspx.

Field Guide Orchids of New South Wales and Victoria by Tony Bishop 1996

The number and diversity of orchids is so vast, that it is worth having a specialised book on these beautiful little plants. We had a number of different orchids on our Dorrigo trees and rocks, like the sweetly scented Orange Blossom Orchids, Sarcochilus falcatus, and the delicate Dagger Orchids, Dendrobium pugioniforme, and Box Orchids, Dendrobium aemulum.

In Victoria, we also really enjoyed hunting for terrestrial orchids at the Grampians, as well as Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road each year, when a specific area was fenced off during the Spring Wildflower Festival and marked with identification flags to aid the search. I remember dragging my daughter and her non-botanically inclined boyfriend along one year and watching the little old ladies taking them under their wing was priceless!

We also really loved seeing the wonderful Spring display of Rock Orchids, Dendrobium speciosum, on the cliffs of the Merrica River last year. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/11/22/the-kings-of-merrica-river/. They brought back many fond memories for Ross of the King Orchids on the cliffs of his childhood home in South-East Queensland. He adores their scent, which is very similar to that of the flowers of another rainforest vine, Ripogonum scandens.

This comprehensive guide covers the lot from descriptions of Horned Orchids, Donkey Orchids and Hare Orchids; Bird Orchids, Duck Orchids and Beak Orchids; Lizard Orchids; Mosquito, Midge and Gnat Orchids; Onion and Leek Orchids; Greenhoods, Ladies’ Tresses and Helmet Orchids; Elbow Orchids and Parsons’ Bands; Fairy Orchids and Sun Orchids; and Waxlips,Tongue and Beard Orchids, to name but a few!

Each genus and its species are described with general remarks about the genus and specific details on each species, including common and scientific names, flowering season, description, distribution and habitat; identification features and similar species, all supported by excellent colour photographs and identification keys, though it still doesn’t make the task any easier, as so many of them are alike!!!!

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The last two books are very pertinent to our local area now.

Native Plants of the Blue Mountains by Margaret Baker and Robin Corringham 1995

I always love visiting the Blue Mountains, especially in Spring, when all the wildflowers are in full bloom, not to mention all the wonderful gardens!

The sandstone plateau supports many vegetation communities: eucalypt woodland and open forest; tall open forest and closed forest; heath and cliff-faces; and swamps and stream communities. There are over 1500 species of flowering plants in the Blue Mountains National Park, including 20 endemic plants species and 72 rare or threatened plants.

After a brief description of the general area, the book is divided into each of these plant communities, with a general description and photo, followed by detailed entries (including a description; preferred habitat and family name) of all the plant species within those communities on the left page, with photos of each species on the right page. For more on the flora of the Blue Mountains. It is also worth consulting: http://www.waratahsoftware.com.au/wpr-flora-bluemountains.shtml.

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Kosciuszko Alpine Flora by Alex Costin, Max Gray, Colin Totterdell and Dane Wimbush 2000

Back on Australia Day 2005, the family enjoyed the wonderful 22 km Main Range Walk from Charlotte’s Pass up to Hedley Tarn, Blue Lake, Club Lake, Lake Albina and Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak, then back via the old road.

There were masses of wildflowers (Lake Albina particularly stole my heart!) and still patches of snow, despite being High Summer! We bought this book to help us identify all the photographed wildflowers, little realizing that years later, we would be residents of the Far South Coast of New South Wales, within a morning’s drive of this very special alpine area!

The photographs in this book are superb, many having been taken on beautiful clear sunny days, unlike our 2005 trip, which still included a fair proportion of mist and cloud! It is a very interesting and informative book, with chapters on alpine and subalpine areas; the evolution of the Kosciuszko Alpine Area; the human history of the area and its impact on the Kosciuszko flora; the plants and plant communities, including montane and subalpine communities; the alpine communities of feldmark; heaths; herb fields; grassland; bog and fen; introduced species; and distribution and succession in alpine communities. There are also excellent maps and profiles of the area.

The rest of the book is devoted to the 212 native species, subspecies and varieties of ferns and flowering plants in the Kosciuszko Alpine Area. There is an introductory table with species and common names, as well as growth form, habitat, distribution and page number, followed by beautiful photographs of each plant species in its habitat. I look forward to doing more alpine walks next Summer!

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Flowers of the South Coast and Ranges I-III by Don and Betty Wood 1998-1999 *

While we have yet to purchase this set of books, I have often browsed them and we will definitely be adding them to our library over time, as they are THE guides to our local flora on the Far South Coast of NSW. See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/flowers-of-the-south-coast-and-ranges-i/wb9780958577205.aspx.

http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/flowers-of-the-south-coast-and-ranges-ii/wb9780958577212.aspx.

http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/flowers-of-the-south-coast-and-rangers-iii/wb9780958577229.aspx.

Even though fungi are not plants, I will include them at the end of this post, as they inhabit a similar world!

A Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia by AM Young 2005

I love looking for fungi, especially on wet Autumn days, when not much else is in flower! They can look quite exotic and have such a wide diversity of form, colour and texture, as well as a fascinating life history!

I find them all endlessly fascinating from the puffballs and jelly fungi (ear shaped Auricularia; brain-like Tremella and the bright yellow pikes of Calocera) to the giant bracket fungi, delicate coral fungi, trumpet-shaped Cantharellus and stinkhorn fungi – the Aseroë and meshed Colus, the earth stars and cone-shaped, honeycombed Morchella. They vary from white and creams to browns, reds, yellows, greens and even blues and purples, as well as having amazing stripes, spots and patterns. Some are even luminescent, though I have yet to see one!

It’s difficult to choose, but I think my favourites are the white spotted bright red and extremely toxic Fly Agarics (Amanita muscaria), the fairy toadstools of childrens’ books; the quaint Earth Stars Geastrum triplex and the Red Starfish Fungus, Aseroë rubra, with yes!, its bright red starfish-like double arms, waving at the top of its body.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd20%IMG_0939This is a fascinating book about a fascinating subject, about which is still very little is known! This book is only concerned with macrofungi, the fungi whose finer structures can be seen without a microscope (as opposed to microfungi-like moulds) and at the time of publication, there were 20 000 to 25 000 species of macrofungi in Australia, of which 60 per cent are unknown, and yet they perform an essential role in the life cycle of all living matter, being the prime agents of decomposition and the recycling of nutrients and elements.

They also have important mycorrhizal relationships with the roots of other shrubs and trees like eucalypts, casuarinas and wattles, as well as being an important animal food resource.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0948The introductory chapters explores the fungal organism and anatomy (we only see the fruiting bodies); fungal reproduction and spores, which also display a wide variety of shape and texture; the difference between toadstools and mushrooms; the divisions within macrofungi : Ascomycetes (yeasts; truffles and morels; ); Basidiomycetes (the majority of bushland fungi, including cultivated mushrooms); and Myxomycetes (slime moulds); and collecting, describing and preserving fungi.

It includes interesting fungal facts about fairy rings; luminescence, as in the Ghost Fungus of South-East Queensland rainforests, which are the favourite food of Giant Land Snails; mycorrhizal relationships; fungal-infected caterpillars; and their role in the diet of Australian marsupials and reptiles, as well as that of humans!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 13.43.10 The book then has a black-and-white illustrated key  for all the different types of fungi, but because so many fungi have yet to be identified and the book only describes less than 200 species, the keys serve more to indicate groups of species or genera, then refers to the relevant sections of the book. Because the number of Agarics or Gilled Fungi is quite large, they have been divided on their location or food source: forest/ woodland (wood, leaf litter, soil); grassland; animal remains; and dung. There is also a toxicity key (most important for those adventurous souls out there!).BlogEnvtlBooksReszd20%IMG_0962 The main body of the book is then devoted to species descriptions – their common names; fruiting bodies; spores; habitats; distribution and notes, backed up by black-and-white illustrations and a central section of superb colour photographs. Did you know there was a fungi called a Curry Punk, that Stinkhorn Fungi emit the odour of rotting meat to attract flies for spore dispersal or that the fruiting body is 90 per cent water and is totally for spore production and dispersal. It is such an interesting book and an essential component of the natural history library!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (524)

Note: You will notice that I have included an asterisk * next to some of the books mentioned. These are books, which are on our bucket list, which we would love to purchase over time,  which leads me to my final recommendation! If you are visiting the Botanic Gardens in Canberra, an excellent bookshop for natural history and gardening books is the Botanical Bookshop at Australian National Botanic Gardens, Clunies Ross St., Acton ACT 2601 Phone: 02 6257 3302. Opening times are : 9:30am to 4:30pm 7 days a week (Closed Christmas Day).  You can also order books online at  http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au.

To see us through the Winter, over the next 5 weeks, I will be focusing on other natural history and environmental books in our library, after which I will have an update of the Winter Garden and resume the normal format of posts on different types of roses, special rose gardens to visit and more interesting books on history, art and architecture, poetry and travel !

Alister Clark Roses

Having discussed Australian rose breeder Alister Clark and the Alister Clark Memorial garden at Bulla in my two previous post this week, here are some specific notes about some of the roses he bred, for which I have photos, mainly taken at the Alister Clark Memorial Garden at Bulla. It is by no means an exhaustive list, as our visits to Bulla tended to be in early Spring or late Autumn. I have also included a few more prominent roses, which I have not photographed, with a link to other sites.

Lady Medallist 1912, named for one of his most successful race horses and his first rose.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.06.14Jessie Clark 1915 Clear Pink Single Climbing R. gigantea hybrid. Probably R. gigantea X Madame Martignier. Very large single clear pink roses borne abundantly on a vigorous climber in early Spring. It was the 1st R. gigantea seedling and the 3rd Glenara rose to be released, as well as his first great success as a rose breeder. Named after a favourite niece, who used to visit Glenara with her friends, Nora Cuningham and Gwen Nash, daughter of his great friend, Albert Nash, all of whom were also remembered in the names of his roses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.57.07BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.06Sunny South 1918 A Hybrid Tea, which was a popular tall hedging rose between the two world wars. A cross between Gustav Grunerwald and Betty Berkeley. Large, very recurrent, profusely-blooming, semi-single, fragrant pale pink, flushed carmine, blooms on a very tall bush. I do not have my own photo, but have included it because it was one of Alister’s favourite roses, so please see: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/189015/.

Australia Felix 1919 Low growing Hybrid Tea;  A cross between Jersey Beauty and La France, the first Hybrid Tea rose; Small, semi-double, fragrant, silvery-pink blooms in clusters. Very recurrent. Australia Felix was also the name given by explorer, Thomas Mitchell, to the lush parts of Western Victoria. Another early success and an ideal rose for small gardens or the front of borders, as in the photo below, where it borders the decking on the left of the photo.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_4786Black Boy 1919 First Climbing Hybrid Tea; A cross between Bardou Job and Etoile de France; Another great success story; Large, semi-double, fragrant, dark red blooms. Again, I have no photo, but as this particular rose has never left the nursery catalogues for its entire life, you can see the rose here: https://www.diggers.com.au/shop/ornamentals-and-flowers/rose-blackboy/rblbo/.

Gwen Nash 1920 Climbing Hybrid Tea, named for a friend of his niece, Jessie Clark, and daughter of his great friend, Albert. Rosy Morn, another Alister Clark rose, is one of the parents. Large, semi-single, cupped, fragrant, soft-pink blooms with golden stamens. See: http://rosephotographer.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/gwen-nash.html. At Bulla, this rose is grown on the side pergola, near the front fence, on either side of her friend, Jessie Clark.

Golden Vision 1922 Gigantea hybrid  climbing rose with semi-double, fragrant blooms; Its parents are Noisette rose, Maréchal Niel, which gives it its soft creamy lemon-yellow colouring, and R. gigantea, which gives it its almost evergreen leaves. Only blooms once early in Spring.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_7175BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.07.15Scorcher 1922 named for a hot day or scorcher! Climbing Hybrid Tea, Madame Abel Chatenay is one of the parents, R. moyesii could be the other unnamed parent. Non-recurrent, large, semi-double, open, slightly fragrant, brilliant scarlet-crimson flowers on a vigorous climber. See: https://www.antiqueroseemporium.com/roses/1133/scorcher.

Squatter’s Dream 1923  A 2nd generation Gigantea bush rose (a seedling of an R. gigantea seedling), named after a racehorse. The bushy, thornless shrub is 2 metres tall, with soft apricot and saffron yellow, semi-single, open flowers.. It blooms for almost 12 months of the year and still had flowers on 1st June at Forest Hall in Tasmania. It is obviously the bee’s dream too, as can be seen in the bottom photo!!!BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.13.26BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_7183Harbinger 1923  Very vigorous climber and R. gigantea hybrid with large, single, soft-pink flowers. Named for the coming of Spring.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.08.46Lorraine Lee 1924 Second- generation Gigantea hybrid bush rose, bred from a cross between Jessie Clark and Capitaine Millet, and named for a distant cousin of the Clarks after her visit. It blooms all year round with open, double, rosy-apricot flowers with a beautiful scent and evergreen foliage, inherited from R. gigantea. It is the most popular rose ever grown in Australia. Between 1924 and 1934, nurseryman EW Hackett sold 44 000 plants of Lorraine Lee. Often grown as a hedge. She is a very tough rose, which thrives on neglect! It has both bush and climbing forms. BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.52.32BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.54.06Climbing Lorraine Lee was a sport of Lorraine Lee in 1932.blogcottagegardenrosesreszd20img_9104Baxter Beauty 1924 Gigantea bush rose; Another sport of Lorraine Lee; Not strictly an Alister Clark rose, it was discovered by Russell Grimwade before 1927 at Baxter, Victoria. Varies from light yellow to sulphur and a light salmon pink on outside of petals. It flowers in Winter like Lorraine Lee.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.22.06BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.09.10Milkmaid 1925 A huge, recurrent-flowering rambler with dense, shiny green foliage and clusters of medium, open, semi-double, creamy-white flowers in Spring, the scent of milk and honey, hence the name. Very vigorous climber. Crépuscule is one of the parents.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.09.37

Tonner’s Fancy 1928 Gigantea climbing rose; Its parents were an R. gigantea seedling and an unnamed variety. Fragrant, large, globular, white tinged pink blooms, named after Ballarat gardener, George Tonner, who persuaded Alister to release it. Very short flowering period, but roses come so early in Spring, that they are often damaged by frost.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.09.03BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.12.46Countess of Stradbroke 1928 Climbing Hybrid Tea; A cross between Walter Clark and an unnamed variety; Large, dark, glowing, crimson, double, highly scented blooms, which are very recurrent. Named after the the wife of the 3rd Earl of Stradbroke, who was the Governor of Victoria from 1920 to 1926. The Countess raced horses and stayed with the Clarks; One of Alister Clark’s greatest successes, especially in the United States, so here is a link: https://www.helpmefind.com/rose/l.php?l=2.17985.0.

Mrs Albert Nash 1929 Hybrid Tea Very dark red, very recurrent, fragrant blooms.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.02.12Peggy Bell 1929 Hybrid Tea named after a family friend for her 21st birthday. Mid-pink to salmon-pink and free flowering. Rose in the right-hand side of photograph below:BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.06.10Amy Johnson 1931 Soft pink, tall shrub rose; Large, cupped, fragrant, pink blooms; One of the parents is Souvenir de Gustav Prat. Named to commemorate the landing of Amy Johnson (1903-1941), famous English pilot and first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930. She landed at the Moonee Valley Racecourse, where she was presented with a bouquet of Alister Clark roses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.50.43Margaret Turnbull 1931 Large-flowered, climbing Hybrid Tea rose of unknown breeding; Very recurrent, large, double, slightly fragrant, mid-pink flowers. Named for a friend of the Clarks for over 50 years. Margaret Turnbull was a daughter of a Scots storekeeper, who became a Victorian Member of Parliament. At Bulla, it is growing at the front of the main pergola, facing the Council offices. The paler pink rose in the middle of the pergola behind Margaret Turnbull is Doris Downes (see next entry).BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.18.22BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 15.52.34Doris Downes 1932 Climbing Hybrid Tea rose of unknown breeding; Named after a fellow rose breeder, who was a stylish Melbourne beauty and who married an Army surgeon. Very large, semi-double, cupped, fragrant, profuse but non-recurrent blooms.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.14.35BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.57.41 Broadway 1933 was found at Mrs Oswin’s garden in Broadway, Camberwell, Victoria and is probably a Clark Hybrid Gigantea climber. Unknown breeding.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.46BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.46BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.12.11Marjorie Palmer 1936  Polyantha, with Jersey Beauty as one of the parents. Very recurrent, double, very fragrant, rich-pink flowers in clusters on a short bushy plant. A good friend of the Clarks, Marjorie and Claude Palmer, who lived at Dalvui, near Terang, played polo and restored and extended the original Guifoyle-designed garden.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 15.59.41Sheila Bellair 1937 Large, semi-double, open, salmon-pink flowers with golden stamens. Hybrid Tea shrub rose;  Miss Mocata is one of the parents. Sheila met Alister through her father, who served on the Moonee Valley Committee with his friend. Sheila was an excellent horsewoman, who was a member of the Oaklands Hunt Club with Alister and  became a breeder of thoroughbred horses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.22.30Cicely Lascelles 1937 Climbing Hybrid Tea. A cross between Frau Oberhofgartner Singer and Scorcher, with abundant, warm-pink, semi-double, open blooms from Spring to Autumn and Autumn; Named after a friend of the Clarks, who was a champion golfer from a landed family. Note these photos below were taken at the Walter Duncan’s Heritage Garden, in Clare, South Australia.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9468BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9669 Nancy Hayward 1937 Very vigorous Climbing Hybrid Tea, a cross of Jessie Clark and a 2nd generation Gigantea hybrid,  with huge, single, scentless, vibrant lipstick-pink flowers all year round. It was named for the daughter of a Sir William Irvine, a Federal Minister and later Chief Justice of Victoria, as well as Patron and Vice Patron of the Rose Society from 1928 to 1943. She was also Susan Irvine’s husband’s aunt, so was one of the first ports of call when Susan Irvine started researching Alister Clark roses, although Nancy couldn’t tell Susan much and never liked that particular rose!BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.49.08BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.05.04Sunlit 1937 Hybrid Tea bush rose of unknown breeding; Always in flower with small, double, soft apricot-pink blooms with a good scent on a compact bush. Very acclaimed in Australia at the time.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.09.26Lady Huntingfield 1937  Hybrid Tea; A cross between Busybody and Aspirant Marcel Rouyer.  Large, double, fragrant, rich golden-yellow flowers. Vigorous bushy plant and very recurrent. Named after Margaret Crosby, a New York judge’s daughter, who married Australian-born Baron Huntingfield, who became the Governor of Victoria from 1933 to 1939.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_4775Editor Stewart 1939 Cherry-red semi-double pillar rose, with wavy petals and red young foliage, named for his good friend, TA Stewart, who was editor of the Australian Rose Annual for 30 years.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.01.09Mrs Fred Danks 1951 Lilac-pink Hybrid Tea, released after Alister’s death. A highly scented shrub rose, named after a keen gardener, Dorothy (Fred’s wife!), who was a family friend of the Clarks. Unknown parentage. Very large, abundant, semi-double, fragrant, pink-violet flowers on a tall upright bush. She compliments Nancy Hayward (in the corner of the building in the background of the 1st photo) and both contrast well against the dark grey bluestone wall of the old council offices.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.22.57BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.23.09Many of the photos in this post were taken at The Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla, the subject of my next post tomorrow. It is a very special place to visit, a firm favourite of mine and not to be missed in the Springtime, when Broadway (on the left) and Tonner’s Fancy (on the right) are in full bloom! BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.21.13Now that we are in the midst of our Australian Winter, it is an excellent time to sit beside a cosy fire to read and plan future forays! Over the next few weeks, I will be posting book reviews of some of our favourite natural history books in our library. As this is a major passion of ours, we have lots of books on this subject area, so I have divided them up into four specific areas: Plants; Birds and Butterflies; Animals and Marine Life; and General Reference Guides (including books on geology, astronomy and weather). I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden

This garden is devoted to showcasing the beautiful roses bred by Australian rose breeder, Alister Clark, about whom I wrote in the previous post.

Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden

96 Bulla Rd. (Corner of Sunbury Rd and Somerton Rd, signposted Green St.)

Bulla, Victoria 3428  10 km NW of Melbourne (35 minutes from Melbourne CBD) and 7 minute drive from Tullamarine Airport.     Melways 177 A8/ B7

Open all year round, every day from 9 am to 5 pm, though other sources state: Daylight Hours. Free.

BlogAlisterClarkBlogImage (572)There is a free brochure at the gate with a garden map.BlogAlisterClarkReszd30%Image (569)

https://www.hume.vic.gov.au/What39s_On_amp_Things_To_Do/Things_to_do_in_and_around_Hume/Hume_Attractions

Situated between an old bluestone church and the Old Bulla Shire Council office, this pretty garden is one of my favourite rose gardens of all!BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.24.07BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 15.56.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.00.15BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.04.48 This pretty garden mixes Alister Clark roses with trees and shrubs like Eucalyptus citriodora (1st photo); a Quince tree (2nd photo); Silky Oaks Grevillea robusta (3rd photo); Echiums and Lilacs (4th and 5th photos);BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.04.32BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.19.08BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.01.40BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.46.11 lavender hedges;BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.06.05 and bulbs and perennials including : Agapanthus, Ajuga, Anchusa, Aquilegia, Bergenia, Bluebells, Catmint, Clematis, Daffodils, Day Lilies, Erigeron, Forget-Me-Nots, Geranium, Grevilleas, Hebe, Heliotrope, Hellebores, Heuchera, Iris (Bearded, Louisiana), Japanese Anemones, Jasmine, Kniphofia (yellow), Lambs’ Ears, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lilac, Mignonette, Nasturtium, Nigella, Persimmon, Poppies, Queen Fabiola, Salvias, Scabiosa, Scilla peruviana, Snow-in-Summer, Statice, Verbena (Candy Stripe), Vervain, and Viburnum opulus.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.01.36BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.58.05BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.05.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.15.46 There are 650 plants and 68 varieties of Alister Clark roses, including climbers, pillar roses, Polyanthas and Hybrid Tea bush roses,BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.14.19BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.04.52 and all these roses are identified, with interpretive boards about the dedicatees.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.57.22

It is the only publicly accessible and complete collection of all the Alister Clark roses, still available today.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.51.05

 

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.53.42The garden is dedicated to growing, displaying and promoting Alister Clark’s life work and is maintained by the Hume City Council and volunteers from the Friends of the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden, who hold regular monthly working bees on Fridays and Saturdays between 10.30 am and 2.30 pm throughout the year. Here are some photos of the back entrance, shed and garden:

BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_7173BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.24.49BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.05.11 Roses were sourced from all over Australia, including many of the old gardens of the original families, after whom Clark had dedicated his roses. The best time to visit is in Spring, though there are roses in bloom from October to March, and while the garden is open every day, there is an Open Day on the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup each year, when you can chat to the volunteers, who maintain the garden.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.05.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.04.59Tomorrow is my final post about Alister Clark, with a few notes about specific Alister Clark Roses, whose photographs were mainly taken in this beautiful memorial garden!

 

 

 

Alister Clark: Australian Rose Breeder

Alister Clark was one of Australia’s most famous and prolific rose breeders, producing many very well-known and popular roses, well-suited to Australia’s hot dry climate, so I am devoting three posts to him this week: his life (today), Alister Clark Memorial Garden at Bulla (Wednesday), and a few notes about the specific roses he bred (Thursday). Below is a photograph of one of his most famous and popular roses, Lorraine Lee 1924.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.56.10Alister Clark was born in 1864 to Walter and Annie Clark of Glenara, Bulla. Walter Clark (1803-1873) was a Scottish immigrant from Argyllshire, who arrived in Australia in 1838, started in the Riverine area of NSW, where he made money out of stock during the gold rush, overlanded stock to Melbourne and then in 1857, he bought 485 acres at Deep Creek, Bulla, where he built a large single storey Italianate house of brick and rendered stone (granite and bluestone), with a hipped slate roof and encircling verandah with open work timber posts and lintels, on an elevated site above Deep Creek Gorge, which he called  ‘Glenara’. See the bottom of this post for more about ‘Glenara’.

The Melbourne architects, Albert Purchas and Charles Swyer, also designed the garden around the house, including a terrace with stone steps, urns and a sundial to the west and an extensive network of paths cut into the rocky outcrops to the south. In 1872, Walter built a rustic wooden bridge across the creek to a romantic stone folly, a bluestone lookout tower, on the opposite hill. He also established a vineyard, being one of the first landowners to grow grapes in the Sunbury region and gradually expanded the property to 4079 acres by his death in 1873 . He was President of the Shire of Bulla, now part of the City of Hume, from 1866 to 1871. Below is Nancy Hayward 1937, an equally famous Alister Clark rose, which is never out of flower.bloghxroses20reszd2014-10-19-13-17-23Alister’s mother, Annie, died when Alister was 1 year old and his father 8 years later, so Alister and his older siblings, brother Walter and 3 sisters, Annie, Jessie and Aggie, were raised by relatives. Alister was educated in Hobart, at Sydney Grammar School (1877-1878) and at the Loretto School in Scotland. He studied Law at Cambridge University (1883-1885), but never practiced, though he was a Justice of Peace. On the boat home to Australia after his graduation, he met Edith (Edie) Rhodes, daughter of wealthy New Zealander, Robert Heaton Rhodes, and married her in Christchurch, New Zealand, on the 7 July 1888. Alister bought the Glenara homestead block (830 acres) from his father’s estate in 1892 and by his death, the property was 1035 acres.

Alsiter and Edie never had any children and lived most of their life at Glenara, where Alister bred roses, daffodils and nerines and pursued his other passions like playing polo, billiards and golf, being a founding member of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. He frequently visited his good friend, Albert Nash, to play golf on his private golf course in Cranbourne. He added a billiard room to the eastern end of the homestead in 1895. Alister also loved his horses, keeping steeplechasers, draughthorses and ponies at Glenara. He was Master of the local Oaklands Hunt Club and Founding Chairman of the Moonee Pond Racing Club in 1917. The Alister Clark Stakes, named in his honour, are still run at the Autumn race meet at Moonee Ponds every year. Like his father, he was President of the Shire of Bulla in 1896, 1902 and 1908. The rose below is Squatter’s Dream 1923 , named after a racehorse.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.13.21Alister was involved in the breeding of a number of new species of daffodils, his best known being Mabel Taylor, which is still grown and used in breeding today and which Alister believed was the first pink daffodil in Australia.  In 1948, he was awarded the Peter Burr Memorial Cup from the Royal Horticultural Society in England, but it was roses for which he became famous!BlogTeasReszd2014-10-19 13.24.37blogadelaidebgreszd20img_9334Alister Clark was one of Australia’s most famous and prolific rose breeders. He bred over 122 (some sources say 138) varieties from 1912 to 1949, using a huge species rose from Burma and the Himalayas, Rosa gigantea (photos above), to create roses specifically suited to Australia’s hot dry climate, one of the first rose breeders to do so on both counts (ie the use of R. gigantea in breeding, as it does not thrive in the cooler climates of Europe, where many of the rose breeders hailed from at that time; and the breeding of roses ideally suited for Australian conditions). They were the most widely planted roses in Australia in the period between the two world wars. See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Alister_Clark_roses for a list of Alister Clark roses. Another useful site with photographs is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alister_Clark_Memorial_Rose_Garden.

He bred his roses with a number of specific aims in mind…

Firstly, he wanted to produce the first rose to flower all year round. His first generation crosses of R. gigantea were Spring blooming only eg Jessie Clark; Courier; Golden Vision and Tonner’s Fancy; However, he  achieved his aim with second- generation crosses, Lorraine Lee and Nancy Hayward, both bred from Jessie Clark. A bunch of Lorraine Lee (photo below) was shown at every meeting of the National Rose Society for 20 consecutive months.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9113

He also aimed for roses, which performed well in ordinary gardens, rather than show roses, so his roses were very popular with the general public in Australia. An Argus poll in 1937 of 230 varieties of garden roses and 99 different climbing rose types resulted in Lorraine Lee being voted the most popular garden rose, while another of his roses, Black Boy, polled as the most popular climbing rose. While Lorraine Lee, Black Boy and Nancy Hayward (photo below at Werribee Park) are considered to be some of his most successful roses, Alister believed that Sunny South and Gwen Nash were some of his best roses.

blogvsrg20reszd2014-10-19-13-55-27

He wanted to breed tough roses, which did not require pampering or coddling and he did not believe in using chemical sprays and fertilisers, preferring to encourage birds for aphid control. Our little Eastern Spinebill is an excellent rose guardian!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-06 14.13.19Alister named his roses after horses, people and places. His first rose, Hybrid Tea, Lady Medallist 1912, was named after a successful racehorse, as was Squatter’s Dream 1923, Tonner’s Fancy 1928, Flying Colours 1922 and Courier 1930, while many of his roses bred the name of family friends, especially women, like climbing rose Gwen Nash 1920 and bush roses Peggy Bell 1929; Mary Guthrie 1929; Marjorie Palmer 1929; Countess of Stradbroke 1928 (the wife of the 3rd Earl of Stradbroke, who was the Governor of Victoria from  1920 to 1926) and Cicely Lascelles 1937 (photo below). He named Amy Johnson 1931 after the famous English pilot, who was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, to commemorate her landing and Edith Clark 1928 after his wife, who was also the Patroness of the Victorian Rose Society.

I will be writing about specific Alister Clark Roses on Thursday, but for more on the naming of his roses, read: ‘The Women Behind the Roses: An Introduction to Alister Clark’s Rose-Namesakes 1915 – 1952’ , written in 2010  by Andrew and Tilly Govanstone. It is also well worth reading ‘Man of Roses: Alister Clark of Glenara and His Family’ 1990  by Tommy R. Garnett and Susan Irvine’s Rose Gardens: Garden of a Thousand Roses with A Hillside of Roses by Susan Irvine 1992  for more information on this amazing rosarian, as well as an illustrated list of his roses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9470Being a gentleman of private means with a philanthropic nature, Alister never bred or grew roses commercially, preferring to donate them to rose societies and charities for their fundraising efforts, as well as giving them as gifts to the people, after whom he had named his varieties. For example, Jessie Clark (photo below) was donated to the National Rose Society of Victoria to contribute to prize money at rose shows.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.15.58Alister Clark was the founding President of the National Rose Society of Victoria in 1889. He was highly regarded in the USA and was awarded a Honorary Life Membership of the American Rose Society in 1931 and elected as Vice-President of the Royal Horticultural Society of London from 1944 – 1948. In 1936, he was awarded the Dean Hole Medal from the National Rose Society in London, the highest honour in the rose world. Here is a photo of gold rose: Baxter Beauty 1924, not strictly bred by Alister Clark, but a sport of Lorraine Lee :bloghxroses20reszdimg_4796Alister died in 1949 and after his death, interest in his roses waned with the renewed availability and popularity of roses from Europe and America after the end of the Second World War. Also, they are large roses for large gardens and most bloom only in the Spring, so are unsuitable for gardens with limited space. While Black Boy, Nancy Hayward and Lorraine Lee remained constantly in nurserymans’ catalogues, many Alister Clark roses were lost during this period.

Interest in Alister Clark roses was revived in the 1980s, especially through the efforts of nurseryman, John Nieuwesteeg, and roselover, Susan Irvine, who grew many of them at her various gardens at Bleak House and Erinvale, Victoria and Forest Hall, Tasmania, about which she has written, the former two gardens faeatured in her book photographed below. It is also worth reading the interview with John Nieuwesteeg: http://gpcaa.typepad.com/settings/2011/02/alister-clark-roses.html  for more information about the search for Alister Clark roses and the establishment of the GPCAA’s Alister Clark Collection.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-233

Alister Clark roses are now grown in the Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden at the Old Government House in Canberra (26 Alister Clark roses); at the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden in the St. Kilda Botanic Gardens on Blessington St, St. Kilda (5 unlabelled Clark roses including Black Boy and Lorraine Lee. See: http://www.melbourneplaces.com/melbourne/alister-clark-rose-garden-%E2%80%93-botanical-gardens-st-kilda/) ; the Alister Clark Memorial Garden at Moonee Valley Racecourse; the John Nieuwesteeg Heritage Rose Garden at Maddingley Park, Bacchus Marsh; and the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla.  Ruston’s National Rose Collection contains nearly all Alister Clark’s climbers, while State Rose Garden of Victoria at Werribee Park has a large collection of Alister Clark roses, especially the Gigantea climbers. The Geelong Botanic Garden grows Borderer; Lady Huntingfield; Mrs Fred Danks; Squatter’s Dream and Mrs Maud Alston, and the rose maze at Kodja Place, Kojonup, Western Australia has a hedge of Australian bred roses, including 32 Alister Clark roses.

Private gardens featuring Alister Clark roses include Richmond Hill and Forest Hall, Tasmania; and Carrick Hill, South Australia. They are also grown in some of the world’s greatest rose gardens like Bagatelle in Paris and Sangerhausen in Germany. Here is another photo of Nancy Hayward 1937 at Werribee Park.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 13.55.38

And finally, a few notes about Alister’s family home, ‘Glenara’.

Glenara

10 Glenara Drive, Bulla, Hume City

Once the mecca of rose lovers all over Australia and home to famous rose breeder, Alister Clark, the 25 acre garden was started by his father Walter and ran right down to Deep Creek. The garden was designed by Charles Swyer and included fruit trees and a specialised collection of conifers and unusual Australian natives. The property was painted by Eugene von Guerhard in 1867, the painting now held in the National Gallery of Victoria.

When Alister owned Glenara, the garden was an informal garden, with drifts of daffodils carpeting the hillside opposite the house and roses planted informally through the garden. He employed up to 8 gardeners. After Alister’s death, it fell into disrepair with blackberry, smilax, kangaroos, possums and rabbits overtaking the garden.

The old house is now classified by the National Trust and listed on the Historic Buildings Register. See : http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/177.

The verandah is festooned with blue wisteria and the yellow Banksia rose R. banksiae lutea, with China rose, Cramoisi Superieur, in the front bed. At the start of her quest, Susan Irvine visited owner Ruth Rendle at Glenara, where she was entranced with the wild and woolly garden, overgrown with periwinkle, smilax, agapanthus, long grass, wild daffodils and sweet peas and huge mounds of surviving roses including Jessie Clark; Milkmaid; Traverser; and Tonner’s Fancy. She took cuttings from 64 different bushes, but unfortunately, there were no labels, garden plans or records. A good proportion of them struck, though many of the climbers did not, those bred from R. gigantea stock being notoriously difficult propagate. Tonner’s Fancy 1928, photographed below, still flourishes at Glenara.

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Tomorrow, I will be writing about the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla, one of my favourite rose gardens in Victoria!

Inspirational and Dreamy Garden Books: Part Three: Books About Australian Gardens and Specific Plants

While the overseas gardens mentioned may be a pipe dream and a wonderful form of armchair travel, it is more possible for us to visit some of our wonderful Australian gardens, so here is a collection of books about the development of some very special examples!

Books about Australian Gardens

Wychwood: The Making of One of the World’s Most Magical Gardens by Karen Hall and Peter Cooper 2014

A magical garden in my home state of Tasmania and a definite destination on our next visit! This gorgeous book describes the evolution of this incredible world-famous garden and nursery from bare paddock 25 years ago. In Part One, we follow the journey of English Karen Hall and Scandinavian Peter Cooper from their childhood years and early married life; relocation to Tasmania and purchase of an old farmhouse on 2.5 acres at Mole Creek, in the shadow of the Great Western Tiers in the north-west of the state in 1991. Part Two describes their first steps; their nursery years growing plants side-by-side with their young family; and the development of their iconic labyrinth and their orchard and kitchen garden, all with lots of practical advice and information from plant choice to the basics of espaliering; heritage apple varieties and cider-making; delicious recipes; garden art; and sharing Wychwood with the public. Part Three is the really valuable section, in which Karen and Peter have been so generous with their information and knowledge, gleaned over one quarter of a century in the garden.  It includes The Twelve Golden Rules :

Know your climate and conditions;

Know your enemies;

Grow what you love;

Plant small;

Prepare well;

Consider your planting;

Embrace the seasons;

Keep it simple;

Mulch, water and the art of cutting back;

The gentle art of illusion;

Be practical; 

Cut-grass edges and tools we couldn’t do without – the latter being a very useful section for us, as we had been trying to decide about garden edging!

The rules are followed by a large section on plants, including their favourite varieties and their benefits: trees; roses; shrubs; climbers; grasses; bulbs; and perennials, biennials and annuals, so useful for those of us with cool temperate gardens. Next is a section on seasonal chores and finally a list of all the plants in Wychwood’s garden. This is another one of those truly beautiful dreamy and inspirational garden books and Peter’s photographs are superb!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (446)

The House and Garden at Glenmore: Landscape, Memory, Seasons, Home by Mickey Robertson  2016

This lovely book was a birthday gift for my wonderful gardening husband on our visit to Mickey Robertson’s Spring Fair at Glenmore in Southern NSW last October. I have devoted an entire post about our visit to this inspirational and beautiful garden at : https://candeloblooms.com/2016/12/21/a-garden-weekend-in-the-southern-highlands-part-2/. The book is equally inspiring and well worth purchasing for its beautiful presentation; its wonderful descriptions and useful practical information; fabulous photographs, both of the house interiors and the garden; and its wealth of mouth-watering seasonal recipes in the back, many of which are made for the lucky participants in her workshop classes. She describes the history of the old house and its renovation in detail with lovely photos of all the rooms, as well as her gardening journey and the development of all the different areas of the garden, especially her great passion, the organic vegetable garden. She also has detailed notes about each season in the kitchen garden – what’s in season; what needs doing etc. Do try to attend an Open Day or Spring Fair one year, as it is so wonderful to see this garden in its Springtime peak, not to mention partake of all the delicious cakes! But in the mean time, enjoy this lovely generous book!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (449)

Two Dogs and a Garden by Derelie Cherry 2009

Bob and Derelie Cherry are camellia experts, who have a beautiful garden further north between Sydney and Newcastle at Paradise, Cherry Lane, Kulnurra . The 92 hectare property has a 35 hectare garden, of which 12 hectares is devoted to camellias. This is another garden I would love to have visited, but it is now closed, the last open day being in August 2013. Bob and Derelie are now retired, Bob having sold his nursery business ‘Paradise Plants’ to David Hanna in 2012. Bob is a well-known modern-day plant hunter and plant breeder, who has travelled extensively throughout the world. You can read more about him on: http://gardenclinic-secure.worldsecuresystems.com/how-to-grow-article/meet-bob-cherry-plant-hunter?pid=44202 and http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1705859.htm, but I think Derelie’s book is probably the ultimate source of information about this amazing man and his wonderful garden. Again, this is a book, which can be picked up and dipped into at any point with beautiful photographs and interesting snippets, which wander from the Cherrys’ favourite plants (camellias;  hydrangeas; polyanthus; lavenders; sweet peas; stock; luculias and lilacs; fragrant gardenias, osmanthus and heliotrope; buddleias; wisteria; my favourite dianthus; Spring blossom trees and magnolias; rainforest plants; lotus, waterlilies and orchids; belladonna lilies and agapanthus; strelitzia and hibiscus; Autumn foliage; and a large section on roses, including a visit to Walter Duncan’s  Heritage Garden at Clare, South Australia, and Roseraie du Val-de-Marne in Paris) to Bob’s follies (stone walls; paths; columns and pillars; and even a bandstand and a bridge); plant-collecting expeditions; the Australian bush; and life at Paradise with Bob; their two much-loved dogs, Trudi and Jessee, and the native wildlife. This book was very much a labour of love, which shines through on every page!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (452)A Garden, A Pig and Me: A Year at Torryburn by Jenny Ferguson 1999

Torryburn is another very famous property, having been the childhood home of famous Australian poet, Dorothea Mackellar, who wrote ‘My Country’, more famously known as ‘I Love a Sunburnt Country’.  Jenny Ferguson was the well-known cook of Sydney restaurant ‘You and Me’ in the 1980s (1978-1985), before buying an 800 acre  property, which was running beef cattle and Arab horses at that time, in the Hunter Valley in 1989. She and her husband, Rob, immediately sold the hilly half of the property, set up a thoroughbred brood mare stud, renovated the 1881 Victorian Italianate homestead and then began to plant! The first section of the book describes the different areas of the garden, along with maps, while the majority of the book gives a month-by-month account of the development of the garden over the year. Very similar in style to Holly Kerr Forsyth (I discussed some of her books in my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/04/18/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-one-inspiring-books-and-garden-travel-books/), this very readable book contains lots of delicious recipes and beautiful photographs throughout, as well as appendices of roses and other plants grown at Torryburn. And here’s the amazing thing, revealed only in the final chapter! Jenny commutes between Torryburn and Sydney and has done so for the previous 10 years, living half her week in each place. An amazing achievement! Since the book was published, Torryburn was sold to John Cornish and his family in 2002. It is still a thoroughbred stud. For more history on Torryburn, see:  http://www.torryburnstud.com.au/torryburn-history.

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Wheelbarrows, Chooks and Children: A Gardener’s Life by Margaret Simons 1999

Now for something totally different, a fun little down-to-earth book about gardening with a young family in the Blue Mountains and all the trials and tribulations! This book shares it all – the highs and the lows; the successes and failures; and above all, gardening in the real world, when there is never enough time to do everything as it should ideally be done and lots of interruptions and disruptions! I was given this book by my Mum when I was knee-deep in nappies with three kids under 4 years old and could totally identify with this book! The number of times during those early family years that we would restart the vegetable garden, only to have it disappear under Kikuya grass with the birth of the next child! This is a very amusing book and very heartening! I love her turn of phrase, from ‘I began my gardening career from a position of great ignorance, and I have not yet recovered ’ to her hatred of aphorisms like ‘you reap what you sow’, a phrase, which she sees as ‘absurdly obvious and very cruel’ and should be tempered by  the word ‘sometimes’ and this is only in her introduction titled ‘How I Became a Not-a-Real Gardener’. She has lovely little passages on :

Daffy Daffodils; Babies and Chooks as Permaculture ; The Rooster and the Nasty Damp Patch; and Earth Motherdom amongst others in Spring;

The Bush Ablaze; A Gentle Evolution; the Luxury of Solitude; Goatishness; and Mud Pies in Summer;

Abundance; A Love of Parsnips (my husband’s favourite…NOT!; Winter Sulk; Wheelbarrows of Cement; Soggy Days and Snails; Worm Liberation; Domesticity; On Discovering That One Has Changed; and Chooks and Writing in Autumn and finishes with:

Winter’s offerings of  A Time of Retreat; A Real Gardener; Mulching Out of Season; Ghosts in the Garden; Grunge and a Wet Weekend; Winter Magic and the Web; The Miracle of Cuttings; and A Chance of Life).

As I said, a very humorous easy read with some helpful bits of practical knowledge, thrown in for good measure!

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Seasons by the Sea: A Coastal Garden in Australia by Paula Green 2001

Set on the South Gippsland coastline at Point Smythe, near Venus Bay, in Victoria, this lovely book describes the gardening journey of Paula Green and Terry Hoey, complete with all the challenges a coastal garden on a 7 hectare bush block presents. The writing style is totally different- very poetic and picturesque, her text immediately evoking images of the richness and enchantment of the natural world. Her short sentences make you feel like she is talking directly to you and her descriptions are breathtakingly beautiful. For example, her passage on the coming of Spring:

Spring whispers through a limping Winter on its last legs. It creeps up on me when I’m not looking. It comes like a kiss of life. Cold days are blown away by Spring’s warm breath. It’s been sleeping in my arms all Winter. It uncurls in the sun, yawns, stretches and rubs the sleep from green eyes. Cheeks flush. Its fresh face sparkles. Its heart rate quickens. Spring twitches with birth pangs. Wide awake, it takes my hand. Spring is stepping out in a new dress

or Summer:

‘Summer enters without knocking. Flexes its muscles, elbows its way in and sends Spring packing. The season is a celebration of our own private Garden Fest. Bush Mardi Gras. We kick off our work boots and kick up our heels. We knock off early, roll up late or chuck it in all together. Seedlings sunbake and soak up a few rays. Vegetables swell. Fruits ripen. Seed heads snap, crackle and pop open’.

I could go on and on and on! She describes their owner-built mud-brick and stone house; their vegetable garden and orchard; the cottage garden, rose garden, yellow garden and native garden and their simple living philosophy and throughout the whole book, their great love of environment and the natural world. Included in the book are lovely recipes based on their home-grown produce; Terry’s beautiful simple sepia photographs and a plant list of common names and their scientific equivalent. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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This last title and general philosophy reminds me of Jackie French’s Seasons of Content, another book, which would have fitted into this section like a glove, but has already been described in my post on Books on Specific Types of Gardens: Part Two in the section on Jackie French books: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/03/23/books-on-specific-types-of-gardens-part-two-vegetable-gardens-sustainable-and-organic-gardens-and-dry-climate-gardens/.

Gardens of the Goldfields by Mandy Stroebel: A Central Victorian Sojourn 2010

Central Victoria is another very challenging climate for gardeners, and was particularly so over the years of the Millenium Drought, which finally broke on our arrival in Victoria in 2009. We had brought the Dorrigo rain with us!  We spent six months in Castlemaine in 2010, the very year this book was published! I loved Castlemaine – its deep sense of history; the beautiful old buildings; the amazing gardens, despite its severe droughts and frosts and impoverished, depleted and eroded gold-worn soils; and the Mediterranean feel of the place from its native bushland to the delightful Greek refrain, which replaced the nearby school bell every hour. This book describes the gardens of the goldfields, from grand pastoral estates (Ercildoune, Burrumbeet; Plaistow, Joyce’s Creek; Tottington, near St Arnaud;  and Wombat Park, Dayleford) to subsistence plots and productive paddocks (Tute’s Cottage, Castlemaine; the heritage apple orchards of Badger’s Keep, Chewton; and the Swiss- Italian lavender farm, Lavandula, at Shepherd’s Flat, which we visited twice); cottage pleasure and villa gardens (the cottage garden of Rosebank, Castlemaine; the pleasure gardens of Belmont, Beaufort; and the villa gardens of Fortuna Villa, Bendigo and that of the highly creative Leviny family at Buda, Castlemaine). It includes the beautiful old Botanic Gardens of Wombat Hill, Daylesford; Kyneton, Malmsbury, Castlemaine and Ballarat (for more on the latter, see: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/11/05/favourite-late-19th-century-gardens-in-australia/); the gardens of Rosalind Park, Bendigo and Queen Mary Gardens, St Arnaud, as well as the avenues of honour, planted to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the First World War. The history of local nurseries and early horticultural societies is also covered, as well as featuring current nurseries, all of which I have mentioned in previous posts: The Garden of St Erth, Blackwood and Lambley Nursery, Ascot (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/08/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-nursery-gardens-in-victoria/) and the Goldfields Revegetation Nursery, Mandurang (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/04/12/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-specialist-nurseries-and-gardens-in-victoria/). Mandy then focuses on gardening in the goldfields today, describing three gardens: Forest Hall, Castlemaine; the lovely Lixouri, Barker’s Creek (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/09/20/favourite-private-country-gardens-part-2/) and Sam Cox’s naturalistic environmentally integrated garden at Munro Court, Castlemaine, to illustrate fundamental design elements of goldfield gardens: the use of the borrowed landscape; built elements of local stone, gravel and hardwood for hard landscaping; decorative elements: wrought iron pergolas and gates, mosaics, pots and urns and sculptures, with a brief nod to our neighbours at Shades of Gray (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/06/14/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-sculpture-gardens/); and of course, the ever-important plants, which are tough and can tolerate both drought and severe frost. She includes protective measures to prevent frost damage and clues for appropriate plant selection, as well as contact details, including web sites in the back. A very useful book for goldfield gardeners or other areas with a similar climate, as well as very interesting from a historical perspective and armchair travel, not to mention actual visiting in person on open days!

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Books about specific plants

Daffodil: Biography of a Flower by Helen O’Neill 2016

I have always loved daffodils, ever since I was a child in Tasmania, when their bright yellow trumpets would herald the beginning of Spring and the end of the long cold Winter! William Wordsworth’s poem ‘I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud’ is a special favourite and was one of the first poems I learned off by heart. We named our donkey Wordsworth, because he too wandered lonely as a cloud! I love the huge variety of form and colour in the daffodil world, especially the Poet’s Daffodil Narcissus poeticus, the beautifully-scented Paperwhite Zivas; the miniature Hoop Petticoats and the sterile Tête à Tête, as well as the double Acropolis and Wintersun varieties. Here is a photo of Narcissus poeticus:Helen O’Neill also has a special personal connection to daffodils. Her mother painted them and there is one of her lovely pictures in the book. Daffodils also offered Helen great hope and brightened up some of her darkest days during her cancer treatment. I was also tickled pink to discover a connecting link between ourselves and the author through her mention of an old Armidale friend and author, Sophie Masson. The photo below is the Tête à Tête variety.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.10.08Daffodils have a fascinating history, covered in great depth in the book from their origin and the myth of Narcissus to daffodil collectors (daffodilians); the Daffodil King and his dark legacy; and the daffodil code. Despite their general toxicity, they have great medical potential, as they contain a number of different alkaloids like galantamine (slows the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease); lycorine (inhibition of ovarian cancer cell growth); narciclasine (treatment of primary brain cancers); and jonquilline (antiproliferative effects against a large range of different cancers), which is amazing, given the daffodil’s starring role in fundraising for cancer research on Daffodil Day! Daffodils are also used in the perfume industry and the cut flower trade, both of which are discussed at some length. Throughout the book, we learn about all the different species and hybrids. In the back is the Royal Horticultural Society Daffodil Classification Code, with its 13 divisions, a most welcome addition, given there are over 30 000 different cultivars bred by hybridizers and 36 species, as well as naturally occurring hybrids. The photo below is of the Acropolis daffodil.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0522The other special attribute of this book is its stunning photography and inclusion of some very beautiful romantic artworks. I particularly loved Daniel F Gerhartz’s Woman at Tea Time; Konan Tanigami’s daffodil woodblock print; Gustav Klimt’s Dancer 1916; Eugene Grasset’s Avril 1896; Burbidge’s Pictures of Narcissus poeticus 1875; Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s When Flowers Return 1911 and Frederick Richardson’s Daffy-Down-Dilly 1915. I even loved the William Morris-like daffodil frontispiece, designed by Hazel Lam of HarperCollins Design Studio – a lovely touch!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (457)

Tulipomania by Mike Dash 1999

Another fascinating and informative book about the history of the tulip. I loved this book – it was just so interesting! It tells the story of this amazing bulb from its origin in the valleys of the Tien Shan mountains; its spread westward to Persia and Turkey; and its steady ascent to prominence in the Netherlands during a period called Tulipomania (its peak being 1636 to 1637), when they were actually used as a form of currency and cost an enormous amount. One of the most celebrated tulip varieties, Semper Augustus, cost 5500 guilders per bulb in 1633, the value rising to 10 000 guilders per bulb in the first month of 1637! It was only affordable to a few dozen of the richest people in the whole of the Dutch Republic and was enough to feed, clothe and house an entire Dutch family for half a lifetime or to buy one of the grandest homes (with a coach house and 80 foot long garden) on the most fashionable canals in Amsterdam for cash during a time when real estate was very expensive.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0521While tulips were much loved during the early Ottoman empire, they experienced a resurgence  in their popularity during the Tulip Era (1718 – 1730) during the reign of Ahmed III. He held tulip festivals over two successive evenings during the full moon in April, when the tulips were in full bloom. Guests wearing clothes, which harmonized with the flowers, would wander through the tulip beds illuminated by candles fixed to the backs of slow- moving tortoises. These were not the varieties favoured by the Dutch, but the slender, needle-pointed Istanbul tulips. I have always been entranced by this image! It was a riveting tale and I learnt so much about the history of Turkey and Holland through this wonderful book about the tulip!

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For more about both daffodils and tulips, see my post on Spring bulbs at: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/09/06/spring-bulbs-in-my-cutting-garden-feature-plant-for-september/.

Seven Flowers and How They Shaped Our World by Jennifer Potter 2013

A fascinating book about seven much-loved flowers: the Lotus, the Lily, the Sunflower, the Opium Poppy, the Rose, the Tulip and the Orchid, but how does one choose just seven to discuss? For Jennifer, it was a choice based on flowers, which had some connection with her life, from the stylized, almost abstract, lotuses in a Tibetan monastery, which she used to visit as a teenager near Lockerbie in the Scottish borders to the tropical spider orchids from her childhood in Malaya, a very sound method of selection to my mind! The Rose is a definite for me and I would also agree with her inclusion of Lilies, Sunflowers, Poppies and Tulips, but Iris and Daffodils would probably replace the Orchids and Lotus for me with my Tasmanian childhood! But what about the wild escapee hydrangeas down by the creek; the Christmas roses (hellebores) down the garden walk; the fuchsia berries, which we’d used to rouge our cheeks and redden our lips and its flowers which look like dancing fairies; crab apple blossom and the succulent echeverias with their sweet coral and yellow bells in the rock garden? Or the sandalwood-scented Triunias and native frangipani of our rainforest block at Dorrigo; the agapanthus, violets, snowdrops, chaenomeles and camellias here at our Candelo garden and my favourite gardenias; jasmine and lily-of-the-valley or the snake’s head fritillaries and firewheel tree? Ross’s list also mirrors his Queensland country childhood : his uncle’s prize dahlias; heliotrope for Auntie Maud; stock and snapdragons; Iceland poppies; King Orchids from the cliffs and those beautiful subtropical trees: jacaranda; silky oak; flame tree and frangipani, which reminds him of seaside holidays at Burleigh.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.20.50Jennifer is an excellent researcher and her accounts of each plant’s history is so comprehensive and makes for fascinating reading.  I never knew that in Ancient Greece, lily flowers were used to make perfume for men and were crushed and boiled in wine in early Christian monasteries as an antidote to snakebite, nor that the orchid kingdom was so huge! Apparently the orchid family, Orchidaceaea, is one of the largest plant families on earth with the greatest diversity of flora. There are 25 000 species of orchids in 850 genera (compared to the rose with 150 species, mostly in the one genus, Rosa), with 155 000 more hybrid orchid varieties, the number of new hybrids increasing at a rate of 250 to 350 per month and that was back when the book was published in March 2012! And, while some orchid species are disappearing due to over-collecting and habitat destruction, between 200 to 500 new species are identified each year! Orchids have the longest history of cultivation in China, dating back at least to the time of Confucius (551-479 BCE), with over 1000 species in over 150 genera. No wonder I was keen to know more! Which leads me to my final book for this very long post!

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Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust and Lunacy by Eric Hansen 2001

Another very amusing book about orchids with a great title, a perfect finish for this post! But be warned! As commercial orchid grower, Joe Kunish, states in the introductory quotation: ‘You can get off alcohol, drugs, women, food, and cars, but once you’re hooked on orchids, you’re finished. You never get of orchids….never!

I am not going to tell you too much about this book, but the chapter titles should give you a few clues. Some of the more extreme titles include: Journey To Fire Mountain; Bodice Rippers; The Wizard of Oz; Orchid Fever; The Fox Testicle Ice Cream of Kemal Kucukonderuzunkoluk; Au Yong and The Pollen Thief; Perfumed Legs at the Oyster Bar; The Orchid Raids; The Forbidden Flowers of Gunnar Seidenfaden; Orchids, Guns and Harpsichords; and Tom Nelson and The Bog Orchid Rescue. In his research for this book, Eric travelled to many exotic locations, including Penan long huts in the Borneo rainforest; a greenhouse with 420 tropical orchids in a Norwegian village just above the Arctic Circle and an Turkish icecream shop! He discovered some fascinating obscure plant trivia like the fact that one orchid, Orchis maculata, was used as an aphrodisiac in late medieval Iceland; the roots of the Malaysian orchid, Cymbidium finlaysonianum, could cure a sick elephant; a paste from the pulverized bulbs of certain species of Cyrtopodium was used as an adhesive by rural Guyanan shoemakers and the split pseudo bulbs of Coelogyne asperata were made into blackboard erasers by rural school teachers in Central Sumatran villages; as well as the more unsavoury side of the orchid industry. It’s certainly a dangerous world and makes for a fascinating read!

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This is the final post on Garden Books. Next month, we will be exploring some of our favourite books on natural history, environment and sustainability, and the philosophy of Simple Living! Next week, we will be discussing another great Australian rosarian, Alister Clark, and the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla, one of my favourite small gardens!