Landmark Birthdays: Part 1

On the eve of my birthday, I thought a post on landmark birthdays was appropriate! My birthday falls on the first day of Winter, which is special enough in itself, and while I enjoy all my birthdays, there have been 3 stand-outs : my 35th birthday in France, my 40th birthday on Lord Howe Island and my 49th birthday on Cape York in Queensland. The Lord Howe celebration was planned, but the other two just happened to be in exotic places, because my birthday fell during our travels. As this post is fairly long, I have divided it into two sections, which I will post either side of my birthday week. I have had such a lovely time writing and researching this post. It has been like having these holidays all over again!!!

The year I turned 35 was a pretty special year, not only because we eventually found our home in Armidale, as well as our country property at Dorrigo, but also because just prior to these purchases, we had a wonderful ten-week holiday in England and France with the whole family. Most of our major holidays have been at turning points of our lives, between leaving our old home and settling down in our new life, and this occasion was no different. We had been renting for a year, all the time searching for our new home unsuccessfully, so we decided to take a break and fulfill that long-held dream of taking the kids overseas.

It was a wonderful experience and even though there was the odd moment, it was fantastic travelling with young children. Because they were so young – all under 8 years of age – we were able to plan a nature-based trip, staying mainly in country areas, and were able to avoid places like Disney World! It also opened many doors to us, especially in France. The French love children and were so impressed that we had brought the entire family from such a long distance away, as well as the fact that I was able to communicate with them in their own language! Whenever we arrived at a new place, the kids would be whisked away by the hosts and plied with hot chocolate and croissants at the kitchen table while we unpacked or we would find them playing upstairs with the owners’ children or reading Tintin books in French.

We had so many amazing experiences from sailing on the Norfolk Broads in one of the original wherries; sitting with the puffins on the cliffs at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory; walking on the Cliffs of Hermaness with the bonxies and tysties; visiting Gerald Durrell’s Rare and Endangered Species Zoo on the island of Jersey, viewing prehistoric cave art 14000 years old in the Dordogne, watching pink flamingos feeding in the Camargue marshes;  and hiking in the Pyrenees amongst wildflowers. I have touched on some of these experiences in my post: My Love Affair With France. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/11/12/my-love-affair-with-france/.

BlogFranceLoveAffair30%ReszdIMG_0630BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (85)My 35th birthday in the Limoges countryside was definitely one of the highlights! We’d just spent the day exploring the beautiful potager gardens at Villandry and visiting Clos Lucé, the last home of Leonardo da Vinci, with models of all his amazing inventions (see photos above), and as we left the Loire Valley, I hinted to Ross at the possibility of spending the night in a château (see photo below) for my birthday, only to be told it was far too expensive!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (86) We drove on and on along the scenic back roads of the alternative tourist route and by 8.30pm, we still hadn’t eaten dinner, nor found accommodation for the night!  In the evening light, we spotted a little chambre d’hôte sign on a tree, just south of La Trimouille. Proceeding down the tree-lined driveway, we discovered the beautiful old Château de Régnier.

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Because it was so late, we decided to enquire about the price , only to find that it was very reasonable and quite affordable! On asking about nearby restaurants, the hostess Anniq apologised profusely, saying that had she known that we were coming, she would have prepared us a meal. She also apologised for the overgrown state of the circular driveway lawn, which had not yet been mown for the upcoming hunt!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (88)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (98) She phoned the local hotel, only to be told that dinner might not be possible because they had run out of bread! I suspect the kitchen may have been about to close! But no problem!  Anniq had a whole loaf, which she sent down with us to the hotel dining room. After a five-minute wait, a surly waitress clomped out and took the bread from us without a word, disappearing back into the kitchen. Not a menu in sight, so no difficult hassles translating menu meals! Out came the bread, now sliced, with a huge bowl of pâté and some sliced avocado. Thinking this was dinner, we bogged into the pâté, only to be surprised by a main course of beef and fried potatoes with a delicious red wine, fresh pears for dessert and then coffee, all without having to make any decisions!!!

Because it was my birthday the next day and also because we were down to our last clean clothes, the’ best’ outfits, we decided to spend another night at the château. Doing the laundry while travelling was always a hassle and I was dreading having to use a French laundromat, but Anniq insisted on washing all our dirty clothes herself in her laundry, set in one of the lovely old outbuildings, and hanging them out to dry in her bat-filled attic overnight.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (99)The next morning was warm and sunny and we had a lovely extended breakfast with lots of conversation and laughter. Anniq was a wonderful communicator and between our dodgy command of each other’s languages, we were still able to make ourselves understood, even discussing quite complex matters!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (100) Ross gave me a beautiful green woollen cloak, which we’d bought in Ireland, and some lovely perfume. Anniq gave us a guided tour of the current château, built in 1820.  The original Château de Régnier was built in 1399 for the Loubes family, but it had been in the Liniers family for 5 generations since 1799.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (115) The château had 25 rooms, 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and a small, disused, cobwebbed family chapel underneath our room (bottom photo). The walls were covered with an Aubusson tapestry and trophies from the hunt- stuffed birds, foxes, boars and deer. Anniq showed me her shell collection and her own hand-painted porcelain.

BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (101)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (89) - CopyBlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (89)Her husband Charles showed us the stables, laundry, machinery sheds and dairy, all housed in these superb old brick buildings. The bottom photo is of the gatehouse.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (91) - CopyBlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (90) - CopyThe kids ran all day, dressed in their Sunday best and gumboots, in the long grass with the family dogs, two friendly Weimaraners called Hamlet and Jean, and Ibis, a very active, visiting Jack Russell terrier, with whom Chris fell in love. He is in the photo below.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (90)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (92)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (93) After lunch, we wandered down to the creek, from where the château had the appearance of a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ castle!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (95)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (91) I picked a bouquet of Summer wildflowers- buttercups, forget-me-knots, grasses and lots of pink, purple and white wild blooms, as well as a bunch of apple mint for dinner.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (94)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (97) The girls found a baby bird and waded in the creek.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (96)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (102) Of course, Chris fell in and ended up swimming in his clothes!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (103)On our return to the château, Anniq made us a cup of tea with shortbread and we met an English couple, who had discovered this wonderful place a few years ago and now always called in en route to their holiday house in Spain each year. Because they could not speak French and Anniq’s English was limited (although she was attending English classes at night), whenever they called in,  Anniq would invite her neighbour Yvonne, who spoke excellent English, for dinner. Dear Anniq had made a special trip into Limoges to buy me a birthday present, as she didn’t have any spare hand-painted porcelain of her own to give me. She bought me a beautiful china terrine, decorated with French wildflowers, a cherished gift which I still have today. She also gave me a bouquet of her own pink roses- the first of the season.BlogLandmarkbirthdays20%Reszd2016-05-10 16.16.14My birthday dinner was amazing! An entrée of an egg, tomato and lettuce salad; a choice of roast pork or goose with fried potatoes, carrots and peas for our main course with a green salad made by Yvonne; and palate fresheners between courses and a different wine with each course.  The pièce de résistance was the homemade chocolate cake, aglow with candles and served with icecream, followed by a selection of cheeses and coffee. It was such a funny night! Both Brian, the Englishman, and Charles, the proud Frenchman, were very similar in character and neither was EVER going to learn one another’s language! They spent all night slinging off at each other in their own languages and Yvonne and I were very amused by their accuracy and similarities!

It was raining by the end of the night and as Yvonne departed, she invited us to visit her in her 11th century home at Courtevrault Manor the next day. It was amazing! Her bedroom, on the first floor next to the 11th century turret, was situated above a deep dungeon, accessed via a door on the ground floor and into which French soldiers would throw their English captives during the Hundred Years War. The depth and number of skeletons down there was unknown and did not unduly worry Yvonne!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (104)

There was also a 13th century addition with a well underneath and the main house with 11 bedrooms, a stone-flagged kitchen and amazing artwork, including a painting by Raphael. Yvonne was obviously very well-connected!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (105) She had her own gardener, who lived onsite, lit her kitchen fire every morning and kept her and his family in vegetables all year round.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (107) The vegetable garden and herb garden were huge and the flower garden filled with Old Roses and a huge Philadelphus shrub.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (106) There was also a dovecote, a pool and a creek, which ran through the garden.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (108)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (108) - Copy It certainly was an amazing opportunity, not often afforded to the normal tourist and a very memorable birthday!

Five years later, it was my 40th birthday and I wanted it to be equally special! I worked an extra job all year, sorting private mail boxes for Australia Post, in the wee hours of the morning – 4am on Mondays and 6am on the other weekdays. By the end of the year, I had earned enough to buy my coveted Bernina sewing machine and fund an 8 day trip to Lord Howe Island for the whole family to celebrate my 40th birthday. We had always wanted to visit Lord Howe Island. It is one of those very special places, especially if like us, you love nature, the environment, birds and bush walking.  It was listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1982. We took a small plane with Eastern Airlines on the 29th May out of Sydney and, after a 1.5 hour flight, had to circle the island twice until the winds were conducive to landing on the tiny airstrip in the middle of the island. We had an excellent view of Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest sea stack at 551m, 26 km south of Lord Howe , as well as the lagoon and all the island landmarks.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (109)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (110)Before you can purchase your flight tickets, your accommodation must be pre-booked, as there is a limit of 400 visitors on the island at any one time. There is no camping on the island. Because we had the entire family with us, we booked a self-contained apartment at Hideaway Apartments on Middle Beach Rd, halfway up the hill from Joy’s shop. Because there are weight restrictions on luggage, you cannot bring your own food and supplies are very expensive, due to the fact that everything has to be brought in via the Island Trader. Consequently, our diet was fairly basic, until a departing couple of tourists left us the stuff they hadn’t used! There are few cars, so we walked everywhere or rented bicycles for longer trips. It was such a lovely free feeling, cycling with the breeze in your face, past aqua seas and tropical palms, and not a care in the world about cars or traffic!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (111)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (112) We were so lucky with the weather too- sunny blue skies and no rain, unlike the mini-cyclone last week! Here is a link to the official brochure : http://lordhowe.com/files/2014/11/LHI-Holiday-Planner.pdf.

This brochure details the many walks on the island : http://www.lhib.nsw.gov.au/sites/lordhowe/files/public/images/documents/lhib/Tourism/LHI%20Walking%20Track%20Brochure%20-%20July%202014.pdf

and I have also included a map to give you an idea of some of the things we did from : https://www.lordhoweisland.info/travel-essentials/map-2/ Lord Howe Island MapOn our first day, we walked up to Clear Place to get our bearings and had a beautiful view of Muttonbird Island and Wolf Rocks. In the Valley of Shadows, the kids enjoyed playing in amongst the pendulous aerial roots and buttressed trunks of the massive Banyan trees (Ficus macrophylla subsp columnaris), whose long branches extended over a hectare (2 acres). There is also a forest of 40 feet high Kentia Palms (Howea forsteriana), one of 4 species of palms endemic to the island and the world’s most popular indoor palm for 120 years.

BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (121)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (116)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (114) The palm seed industry was started in 1906 with the formation of the Kentia Palm Seed and Plant Cooperative and is a key component of the island’s economy, along with tourism. See : http://lordhoweisland.info/library/palmseed.pdf. The Kentia Palm is a lowland palm. The other 3 endemic palms are :  Curly Palm (Howea belmoreana), another lowland palm, which grows slightly higher up;  Big Mountain Palm (Hedyscepe canterburyana), which grows from altitudes of 400m up to the summit of Mt Gower and Little Mountain Palm (Lepidorrhachis mooreana), which only grows on the summit.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (119)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (120) There are also some lovely specimens of Pandanus (Pandanus forsteri) with their long prop roots on the walk to Boat Harbour.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (118)

At Middle Beach, we came across 16 Landcare members planting 200 native trees for their Big Muttonbird Ground Project, which aimed to restore the natural bushland and nesting habitat of the migratory seabirds : the Flesh-footed Shearwater and the Black-Winged Petrel, both classified as vulnerable on the Threatened Species List for NSW. They were very appreciative of our help and wrote us up in the Lord Howe Island Signal, their local paper.

BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (117)BlogLandmarkbirthdays20%Reszd2016-05-09 12.29.09 - Copy We had lunch on the top of Transit Hill, which has a 360 degree view and was the site of the 1882 observation of the Transit of Venus across the sun. These photos are of the western side of the island: Mt. Gower; Blackburn Island; and the main area of settlement, looking across to the island and the lagoon.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (124)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (122)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (123) We saw our first Emerald Dove here. We loved the birdlife on Lord Howe Island. There are 180 species of birds on the island , which provides breeding sites for 32 species, of which 14 are sea birds and 18 are land birds. A good website to consult on the bird life of the island is : https://www.lordhoweisland.info/things-to-do/bird-watching/nature-calendar-2/ and http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2014/12/birds-of-lord-howe-island . BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (125)Because of its isolation, bird species are often similar, but not quite the same as their mainland relatives. For example, the  Lord Howe Island Currawong has a longer, more pointed beak and totally different call to its Eastern Australian cousin, the Pied Currawong. The Lord Howe Island Silver-Eye is endemic to the island and has a white ring of feathers around its eye. It has a heavier build, larger feet and claws and a longer bill then the mainland Silver-Eye.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (126) The lack of natural predators meant that the birds had little fear and were easy targets when humans arrived in 1788, followed by rats in 1918, as well as introduced owls and feral cats. Their habitat was further destroyed by feral goats and pigs. For information on the island’s extinct birds, see : http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/e137ac48-41b7-4f69-9b60-359a0763c635/files/lord-howe.pdf  and http://www.lordhoweislandbirds.com/index.php/extinct-birds.

The Lord Howe Island Woodhen, a flightless rail endemic to the island, was brought to the very brink of extinction (less than 30 in late 1970s and restricted to 2 tiny populations on the inaccessible summits of Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower), but thanks to a successful captive breeding program begun in 1980, they have increased in numbers ( 200 in 1997; 117 in 2001), though they are still considered a highly  endangered species. We saw this woodhen up on the top of Mt Gower. For more information on this lovely little bird, see : http://www.lordhoweisland.info/library/woodhen.pdf       and         http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/TheLordHoweIslandWoodhen.htm.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (128)Then, there are the migratory birds, who return year after year to breed. Lord Howe Island is the only known breeding ground of the Providence Petrel, which arrives in March for its Winter breeding season (see photo below). The island is also the only breeding site in Eastern Australia of the Flesh-footed Shearwater, which breeds in large colonies on the forest floor between September and May. It is the only breeding location in Australia for the Kermadec Petrel and Grey Ternlet and is the most southerly breeding location in the world for the Sooty Tern, Common Noddy, Black Noddy and Masked Booby. The White Tern breeds on Lord Howe Island between October and April.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (127)The Red-tailed Tropic Birds are also Summer visitors, arriving in September from the North Pacific Ocean and performing their airborne courting rituals off Malabar Hill (208m), where we saw them on our second day. Lord Howe Island has the world’s largest breeding concentration of Red-tailed Tropic Birds. They nest on cliff ledges between Malabar Hill and North Head and head off late May back to the North Pacific Ocean.

BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (132)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (130)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (133)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (131)Looking to the  north from Malabar Hill, we could see the Admiralty Islands and to the east, Middle Beach (with Muttonbird Island in the background) and Ned’s Beach.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (115)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (135)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (134)We walked out to Kim’s Lookout, then headed back down to Old Settlement Beach, so called because it was the site of the first settlers in 1833. For more on the natural history, it is well worth consulting Ian Hutton’s website : http://lordhowe-tours.com.au/. Ian Hutton is the island’s resident naturalist and has written many scientific papers and over 20 books, as well as producing 3 videos about Lord Howe. He is a keen photographer and has run Lord Howe Island Nature Tours since the early 1990s.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (138)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (137)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (139)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (140)We had a beautiful day for my 40th birthday! It started with present-giving, including an unexpected bonus, when departing guests left us their food, including bottles of red wine and port! We spent a wonderful morning snorkelling down at Ned’s Beach.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (141)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (142) Lord Howe Island has Australia’s, and in fact the world’s, most southern coral reef ecosystem. Due to its location at the cross-roads of 5 major ocean currents and the influence of the warm East Australian Current, which flows south from the Great Barrier Reef to the Tasman Sea, the island has a rich and unique biodiversity of tropical, subtropical and temperate species, including 447 species of fish, 305 species of marine algae, 83 coral species and 65 species of echinoderms (sea stars and sea urchins), as well as sea turtles, dolphins and whales. There are over 60 world-class dive sites, including the spectacular Ball’s Pyramid, and most of which are only 10-20 minutes off shore. The alluring Admiralty Islands are home to 30 dive sites. See: http://www.prodivelordhoweisland.com.au/pages/admiralty-islands-dive-sites.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (113)We were blown away by the colourful corals, the bright green seaweed, the huge sea urchins and clams and the amazing variety of fish from rainbow coloured wrasses of pink-aqua-green or orange-yellow-green combinations with blue fins, blue double-header wrasses, black-and-yellow striped butterfly fish and purple striped fish to large schools of sea mullet. And that was only an nth of it! For a more in-depth look at the species list for Lord Howe Island, please consult : http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/3ed1e470-6344-4c6f-b8f1-c0e9774ce639/files/lordhowe-plan.pdf.

It appears that there is a video for everything on Lord Howe Island and snorkelling is no exception, See : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZpluoFDqRE. Not so sure about the accompanying soundtrack though!!! Scuba divers might also enjoy : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpwCwcBr8J4. The music is slightly better!

My birthday lunch was at the restaurant of the luxurious Capella South, now called Capella Lodge. It was delicious, especially the sticky date pudding, and having just watched the Getaway program on Capella Lodge, I feel extra lucky to have dined there, as the restaurant is now exclusively for Capella guests. See : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvtnYMx6ovM.

BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (143)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (144)Through the restaurant windows, we looked straight up at Mt. Gower, our destination for the next day.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (146) We cycled down to the start of the track to check it out and saw our first, very quiet Lord Howe Island Woodhen in the wild. The air looked like it was full of little specks of ash, with all the Providence Petrels being buffeted about by the strong wind. We met an older fellow, Les, who had been in ill health for 4 years with heart problems and  Ménières Disease, a disorder which affects the inner ear and balance, resulting in tinnitus and attacks of vertigo, so we really hoped that he wasn’t going on the guided tour the next day!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (145)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (147)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (150)The hike to the summit of Mt Gower (875m) is considered to be one of the 20  best walks in Australia. It’s a 14km round walk (7km straight up hill and 7km back!). Because of the rugged and often risky terrain, you can only access it with a guide and Jack Shick, our guide, is one of the most experienced on the island, having been a mountain guide for more than 20 years. See : http://www.lordhoweislandtours.net/.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (149)We started walking at 7.45 am, as the walk takes 8.5 hours to complete. There were 6 adults (including our guide) and our 3 kids and yes, Les was there!!! He was determined to prove his doctor wrong, but it did slow things down a bit, especially on our return, and meant that we were often looking after Les, instead of keeping an eye on the children!!!  Luckily, they are an adventurous lot and fairly sure-footed when it comes to outdoor activities. It was such a great adventure for them.

The first lesson was climbing a Kentia Palm. Being a 5th generation islander, Jack was a master, but Chris quickly got the hang of it!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (151)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (152)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (148)Once everyone had arrived, we started on the track, ascending quite quickly to the first challenge of the day- the Lower Road, where we had to don our helmets and follow a rope along the edge of the black volcanic cliff, with a sheer drop of over 100m to the sea below! You can see the ledge in the photo above , as well as photos 1 and 3 below.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (153)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (155)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (154)We came to a clearing at Pandanus-lined Erskine’s Creek , where I surprised a feral mother goat and her two black kids and found a freshly-laid Muttonbird egg.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (158)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (162)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (159) We then walked up through a forest to the saddle and then finally, the Get-Up Place, where there is a rope to help you pull yourself up the incredibly steep slope. Below is a photo of my family with a much younger Jack and Les on the far left.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (157)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (160)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (161) From the summit, there are incredible views out over all the island and the ash-speckled sky is filled with Providence Petrels (Pterodroma solandri) , wheeling and whittering to each other. This photo shows the view to the north over the rest of the island. BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (164) These gentle, trusting birds can be called out of the sky, to land with a heavy thud at your feet and then be picked up and cuddled. David Attenborough has recorded them falling from the sky in this video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgHch5Bg9Jg. It is such a special experience to hold these fearless birds in your hand, a little akin to our experience sitting with the Puffins on the cliffs at the Fair Isles. See : https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/17/when-the-king-comes-to-tea/.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (166)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (165)The summit is covered with 52 acres of mist forest with Dendrobium moorei orchids in full bloom, elkhorns, ferns and mosses, wet fungi bells, the Little Mountain Palm (Lepidorrhachis mooreana) in red berry, Green Plums (Atractocarpus stipula, the endemic Hotbark (Zygogynum howeanum) with its chilli flavoured bark, the Fitzgeraldii tree (Dracophyllum fitzgeraldii) and the endemic Scalybark (Syzygium fullagarii) with its sharp, deep red fruit, high in vitamin C. The photos below show a mist-covered Mt Gower; a forest covered Mt Lidgbird; and the orchid Dendrobium moorei in full bloom.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (168)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (163)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (167) The vegetation on Lord Howe Island is also very special, with half of the island’s 241 native plant species being found nowhere else in the world. Overall, there are 52 tree species; 24 shrub species; 24 creeper species; 12 orchid species; 28 grasses and sedges; 48 herb species, 56 fern species and 105 moss species. There are at least 100 different types of fungi. For more information about the vegetation, see : http://www.lordhoweisland.info/library/plantlife.pdf and http://lordhowe-tours.com.au/biodiversity/plants/.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (170)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (172)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (169)The high degree of endemism (up to 60 per cent in some groups) is also found in the invertebrate population with over 1600 species. There are 157 species of land and freshwater snails; 21 species of earthworms; 515 species of beetles; 27 species of ants; 137 species of butterflies and moths and 71 species of springtails. As with all oceanic islands, there are few vertebrate land animals, apart from birds. There are only 3 on Lord Howe Island : a small insect-eating bat; a gecko and a skink, both of which are endemic to the island. There are no native frogs or terrestrial mammals on the island.

Even though he is looking a little older than in our photos, it is worth watching this video, produced by Jack, to get a feel for the climb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRkb24DPjE0. We were so exhausted at the end of the day we fell straight to sleep at the start of The English Patient, a film we had not seen and which we had rented out on video at enormous cost, especially for my birthday! We woke up early at 6am the next day to watch it before its return!

We were so stiff and sore and very very tired, so we were fair game for the spruikers and easily convinced to join Ron’s Rambles boat trip around the island!  The boat was overcrowded with 40 people crammed in and the weather rough with a giant swell, so most of us (but NOT Ross!) were very seasick. Still, we did get to see the island from a different angle, but I was pleased to get back on dry land, safe and sound! This jaunty video was taken on a far better day, but will give you a bit of a feel for exploring the island by boat : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXcN2ZhzosM.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (171)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (173)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (175)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (174)

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Ball’s Pyramid by sea

Still sore the following morning,  we had a low-key day : viewing the Woodhen breeding enclosure at Stevens Reserve, swimming at Lagoon Bay and Blinky Beach and visiting Lovers Bay and the rock pools of Middle Beach, where we saw Turbans, Sea Urchins, Nerites, black-and-white Cone shells and coral. We fed the fish at Ned’s Beach: Silver Drummers, Mullet and enormous King Fish. This amusing video will give you an idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NbtNtlYf4U.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (177)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (180)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (179)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (183)We finished with an evening of jazz and dinner at Pinetrees Lodge, the largest and oldest resort on the island , having housed guests since 1895 and now run by the 6th generation of the original family.

Yet to explore Mt Eliza (147m) and North Bay, we cunningly decided to hire sea kayaks, so we could spare our still-sore legs! We had an easy and quick trip down to North Bay with the wind behind us, climbed Mt Eliza and explored the rock pools of Old Gulch, but at 3pm, when we started our return paddle, we discovered that the wind was now against us and it was strong!  We made little progress, so in desperation, we tied the kayaks together then, with much swearing and pushing, we finally inched our way past yachts, amused onlookers and the imminent arrival of the Island Trader, heading straight for us, back to the original beach. It was so good to get home and we’d achieved balance- now, our arms were as sore and stiff as our legs!!!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (182)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (184)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (188)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (187)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (181)We went down to the wharf the next day to see the MV Island Trader (http://www.islandtrader.com.au/) being unloaded.  Owned and operated by the islanders, it makes fortnightly trips from Port Macquarie on the NSW coast and delivers all the islanders’ needs from groceries, building supplies and hardware to cars and furniture, and even a few passengers- though the trip takes much longer than flying!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (185)  We revisited Old Settlement Beach, site of our other dream resort, Trader Nicks, now known as Arajilla Resort. If you had the money, it is so hard to choose between the two : Capella Lodge has the views, but Arajilla, nestled in amongst old Banyan trees, is closer to everything and has a lovely beach!  For information on Arajilla, see:  http://www.arajilla.com.au/ or http://lordhowe.com.au/.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (190)We watched White Terns wheeling in the sky and snorkellers in the Sylph’s Hole, then made our way back to Ned’s Beach to say goodbye.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (186) A Sacred Kingfisher farewelled us at the airport.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (191)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (189) We flew home that afternoon, having had the most magical island holiday – an unforgettable way to celebrate my 40th birthday!!BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (193)BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (192)

The May Garden

With Autumn colds, exploratory trips of the local area and the demands of general day-to-day life, we have not spent as much time as we would have liked in the garden this month, but the weather has been superb! Hence, the recent excursions to the national parks of the hinterland and the escarpment, before it gets too cold or too snowy!!! We’ve visited Tuross Falls and the Cascades (Wadbilliga National Park); Deua National Park, both covered in last week’s post, and this last weekend, Lake Crackenback Resort, between  Jindabyne and Thredbo.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-12 12.27.36BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-02 16.50.50Ross has however managed to upkeep the vegetable garden from liming the soil to planting out new vegetable seedlings (sugarloaf cabbage, cauliflower, Winter greens and onions) and sowing spinach and snow pea seed.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-22 14.26.07BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-23 13.28.54BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-23 13.22.44BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.56.46BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0597 The capsicum are still productive, but the tomatoes are taking much longer to ripen. We harvested them all today to make Green Tomato Chutney!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-22 19.22.03BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-22 13.36.01BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-22 13.36.30He has also totally finished the pergola, with all the wiring done as well, so we should be able to train the climbers correctly for next season.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.21.46BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0587BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.18.48BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.19.07 We were rewarded with some late blooms of the climbing tea rose Adam.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.42.31Other roses still throwing out blooms include: Alister Stella Gray; Jude the Obscure and Evelyn; Heritage, Eglantyne and Alnwick; Mrs Herbert Stevens and Lamarque; Icegirl and The Children’s Rose; and Mutabilis and Monsieur Tillier.BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0596BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.02.40BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0590BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.41.56BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.58.16BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0592BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0577BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0578BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0594BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0595BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-02 17.06.03BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.10.37As you can see from the pergola photos, the Autumn foliage of the Snowball Tree (Viburnum opulus) has been superb from muted golds (south) to fiery reds (north).  BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-12 12.11.02BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.19.22BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.37.59 The Carolina Allspice beneath the snowball tree is also turning, its golden green leaves contrasting well with the red of the latter.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.37.49BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 17.16.14At the bottom of the garden, where the poplar and plums are bare, the pomegranate provides a welcome splash of gold.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.33.20 A softer gold carpet is forming under the Floribunda Crab Apple Tree.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 17.13.10 The maples too vary from an green-orange-red combination to more red-purple-orange hues, depending on the variety.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 12.21.21BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 12.56.02BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 12.01.38BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 16.59.07BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 16.59.02 In fact, the whole backdrop to the garden is in its most interesting and colourful phase.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 15.34.41BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 11.55.52The Paris daisies are in full gold regalia in the Moon Bed and attract many butterflies.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.36.58 The dahlias are the other major highlight in the May Garden.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-23 13.21.56 The tree dahlias are finally in bloom, their fragile, soft mauve-pink flowers and buds superbly contrasted against the intense blue Autumn skies.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.56.04BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.56.45BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 12.00.35BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.54.33BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.56.37BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.40.03 This is why I still grow them, despite their instant capitulation to wind and frost!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.53.27BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 18.43.05BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 12.01.27The seed dahlias have provided us with such joy and are unfortunately slowly finishing off for the season.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 12.56.15BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_1402BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.03.34 Knowing that their days are limited, their foliage already touched up by a few early light frosts, I have started cutting them with longer stems for beautiful floral arrangements for the house.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.44.04BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.35.40 It is such a shame that they don’t flower over Winter, as they really cheer the place up with their wonderful colours.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.31.59BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.33.19BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.32.23BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.32.46BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.47.18BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.47.23BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.46.38BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.46.49BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-01 12.10.49BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-01 12.11.12 While I love the flamboyance of the deep reds, deep gold and bright oranges and pinks, I equally love the softer warm orange-pink shades.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.34.29BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.36.46BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 12.21.41BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.36.08 I suspect this is the last dahlia bouquet for the season!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 19.26.55BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.28.47BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.28.56Here is the last zinnia bouquet, picked in early May as we cleaned up the cutting garden, as well as a sweet little posy of violets, the first of the season.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-01 12.08.45BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-03 10.37.59We attacked the chaos of the late Autumn cutting garden with a vengeance, pruning back the rampant wayward stems of the ‘Meadow Lea’ dahlia, removing spent plants and transplanting the Angelica and Lady’s Mantle to more appropriate (ie larger) sites of the garden. We transplanted the foxgloves to the back of the cutting garden and left the old biennial stock, the new cornflowers and a very brave, tenacious but foolish Iceland poppy seedling !BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-02 16.55.28BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-02 16.55.55BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.58.43 I have sowed seed of Ladybird Poppies, Linum and more Stock in egg cartons, for less disruptive transplantation in the cutting garden later on.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.48.25  All the old bulbs are surfacing, except for the De Caen anemones, whose corms have disintegrated to nothing! Possibly, the ground was too wet during their dormant period or maybe the greedy zinnias took all their nourishment! We planted out Species Tulips (Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’), as well as 3 ‘Bokassa Gold’ Tulips, down the centre of their empty bed on Mothers’ Day.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.37.17 We also moved 2 camellias (‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Nuccio’s Gem’) forward, so they get more light, while still being shaded, and removed the dying Maple on the north-west corner of the cutting garden, which will be a great improvement , as it will decrease the amount of Winter shade on the bed.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.40.45 Earlier this month, we also planted the bulbs of Snake’s Head Fritillary, a Delft Blue Hyacinth and miniature Tête à Tête daffodils in the rockery garden, as well as 25 Grape Hyacinth, which are already up. I also planted some pinks: Valda Wyatt, Dianthus Pretty and Coconut Sundae into this bed . The Rockery Garden is a good spot for all my smaller treasures! We moved the Rozanne Geranium into the end of the bed, and while it will die back with the frosts, it should come again in Spring.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 15.34.49BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.31.54BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0579Across the way, the heliotrope continues to colour the foot of the climbing rose Mrs. Herbert Stevens.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 18.37.45 The violets are coming into their own, as are the forget-me-knots in the Soho Bed.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.30.20BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.30.34BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 17.18.56BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.58.09At the back of the house, the white Nerine show is coming to a close, but the Nandina is now taking centre stage with its red Autumn foliage and berries and the occasional cream flower spike.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 18.44.29BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 18.44.38BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0826BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.59.38BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.54.37 The Bowerbirds are  loving the black ivy berries.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.55.16 The Loquat trees are in full bloom this year, so we should get plenty of fruit (and probably accompanying flying foxes!).BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 10.28.02BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 17.17.13 BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.07.14The King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas are back to harvest the Duranta berries, as well as nibble the fresh shoots of the Giant Bamboo.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.08.59BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.11.01BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.09.20BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_1180  The bird bath is still a popular venue with female Bowerbirds, Crimson Rosellas and Currawongs all vying for a place!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.16.29BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.18.38BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.21.30 And the first of the camellia blooms are out- a soft pink and a few deep rose pink flowers, complementing the warm pink cyclamen at the front door.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.56.10BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.58.44BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-24 15.34.24The Grevillea has grown so much and is in full bloom and the protea is flowering again.BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0584 BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-22 18.20.34We have started protecting our second Firewheel Tree and Silky Oak from the frost with hessian covers.BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0585The cumquats are covered in little orange globes – I can’t wait to make a new batch of Cumquat Marmalade!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.44.14 BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 17.17.00This little thrush is doing a stirling job keeping the bugs under control! Not a sign of the bronze orange stink bugs, though Leaf Miner has been distorting the leaves on the new citrus plants, so Ross has administered an application of Eco-Oil to treat them. See : http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2528879.htm BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-12 12.13.50BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-12 12.13.56Maybe, we should send this little praying mantis down to the citrus!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 13.23.07 I can’t wait for all the citrus to reach fruit-bearing age, though our Lemonade already has 3 fruits on it! I feel another batch of Lime Cordial is also calling!!!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.09.30And my first ever Peony Rose (Dr. Alexander Fleming) and Lily-of-the-Valley bulbs have just arrived from Tesselaars, so I am back into the garden! Till next week…!

 

Winter Falls : Wadbilliga and Deua National Parks

Now that the weather is a bit cooler, it’s an ideal time to explore the wilderness national parks on the escarpment to the north of Bega. We tend not to do much bush walking in Summer because of snakes, as well as the heat, though Tuross Falls and the Cascades in Wadbilliga National Park would also be  wonderful  to visit in Summer….

The easiest access to Wadbilliga National Park from the south is via Cooma and the sealed road to Numeralla. Here is a map from the National Parks brochure:BlogWinterFalls30%Reszd2016-05-08 10.15.21 On our first visit, we took an the unsealed road Tuross Falls Rd  from Nimmitabel and while we saw some lovely old grazing properties dotted with giant granite boulders, the road from Cooma is much easier and quicker.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0016BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0017BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0169BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0020BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0019 From Countegany Rd, its only 4.5km to the turnoff into the park and another 7km to the Cascades camping area. Here are 2 maps from the National Parks brochure:BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.15.16BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.15.10 There are 20 sites beside the river and 2 walking tracks : a short walk (5-10 minutes) down to the Cascades and a longer one to the Tuross Falls viewing tower (2 hours return, though we only took 1 hour).BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0158BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0160BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0165BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0168BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0167We started with the Tuross Falls walk, which winds along a sandy track past huge granite boulders and outcrops.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0023BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0025BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0033 The granite was intruded into the sedimentary bedrock 400-100 Million years ago. I loved their rounded domes and weathered forms.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0026BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0038BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0029BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0121BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0118 The soils have low fertility, but still support a wide variety of vegetation from eucalypts to banksias, hibbertias, hakeas , wattles and grevilleas.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0035BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0040BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0044BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0112BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0101BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0102BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0109BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0117 Because of its ruggedness and relative isolation and history of predominantly open grazing, there was little clearance of the vegetation, so the old growth forests are relatively undisturbed and provide plenty of nesting hollows for birds, gliders, possums and owls. We saw plenty of wombat droppings on our walk and disturbed a pair of Superb Lyrebirds, who glided very quickly and very silently away!BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0062BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0100Tuross Falls are spectacular and well worth the walk in. They drop 35m into a gorge, which is 5km long between cliffs, up to 100m high.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0057BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0049 The falls looked like silky tresses and the rainbow at the bottom of the falls was quite beautiful!BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0090BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0093BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0092BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0084 The pool at the base then feeds via 2 smaller falls into another pool, which in turn falls into another pool, which then bends back to continue the river , having dropped a further 360m.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0054BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0055BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0051 Apparently, there is a narrow ridge a little back along the path, by which you can descend to the base of the falls. Here is the Tuross Falls Climbing Guide Map, as seen in : http://www.canberraclimbing.org.au/media/9987/tuross-falls.pdfBlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.16.27On the walk back to Cascades, we diverted to explore a huge granite outcrop off the path. BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0103BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0108BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0105Another visitor had made a cairn of rocks at the top.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0106BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0107We were also very impressed with the Cascades.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0156BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0125BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0126BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0127BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0152BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0134 The view from the viewing platform down the Tuross River with its long pools is beautiful.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0130BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0146 Apparently, you can also access Tuross Falls by rock-hopping down the river, swimming across 3 pools, then abseiling 40m down the falls. If you would like to do this, it is worth visiting this site : http://www.immortaloutdoors.com/articles/tuross_canyon

Below the viewing platform, a track leads to a water slide into the first of the pools. It would be great  fun in Summer- apparently, it is advisable to slide down the side nearest to the track!BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0140BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0142BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0141We then drove ½ hour back south along the Tuross Falls Rd to Wadbilliga Rd, a 4wd track, which starts in private property and looks south to Wadbilliga Peak (1337m) and the 7km long plateau (average altitude: 1200m), which separates the Wadbilliga and Brogo Rivers and is another future walk.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0173BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0175 The road climbs down from snow gums and dwarf sheoaks and heath, then skirts the mountain at Conways Gap, where we saw another rainbow over the rugged cliff line.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0181BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0184BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0185 To the south lies the Brogo Wilderness, untraversed by any tracks and the total catchment for Brogo Dam.

Further down the track are spectacular views of the coast.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0196BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0197 We surprised a lyrebird with its baby, who made a tremendous racket of indignation, then tore off down the road!BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0209The road was scarcely wider than the vehicle and skirted by overhanging tree ferns.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0220BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0223 The steep escarpment catches all the rain and the rainforest is very lush.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0217BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0219BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0200The views of the surrounding cliffs were spectacular.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0214BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0225We finally made it  down to the beautiful Wadbilliga Crossing, where we enjoyed a cuppa with an inquisitive Yellow Robin.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0231BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0234 I love the huge sheoaks, gums, angophoras and huge rain forest vines here, as well as the very attractive rocky banks of the river.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0241BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0242BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0235 The Lakes Camping area down from here has 15 sites. As the sun went down, we passed through lush river paddocks to Yowrie, past Galba Blacksmithing Forge, to Wandella, then Cobargo and home.BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0248BlogWinterFalls20%ReszdIMG_0247It was such a lovely day out, that one week later, we decided to explore the next national park to the north : Deua National Park, another wilderness park. Here are 2 maps from the National Parks brochure:BlogWinterFalls30%Reszd2016-05-08 10.15.26BlogWinterFalls25%Reszd2016-05-08 10.15.37 We drove via Cooma, then took the very civilized, dirt Snowball Rd to our first stop at Badja Swamp Nature Reserve, the only example of a subalpine vegetation community on the eastern margins of the Monaro Tablelands. The colours of the grasslands and peatlands were beautiful and a tiny heath was beginning to flower.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 13.28.23BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 13.28.43 Again, we saw plenty of wombat droppings and this veritable palace, as well as a family of choughs! If I was a wombat, this is where I would live – well away from the risk of being flattened by cars on the roads, which are littered with their dead cousins!BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 13.26.02BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 13.32.37We took a quick look at Middle Mountain Road, which leads into Minuma Range Fire Trail and the Bendethera Fire Trail and is the access to Bendethera Homestead and Caves from the west. From all accounts, this road is serious 4wd territory with very steep grades and some pretty dodgy parts round Dampier Trig, so we had already decided to explore Bendethera from the east ( along Little Sugarloaf Rd ) in the future, but we wanted to check out the start of the track. Ross baulked at the first deep river crossing! A map from the National Park interpretive board showing the route to Bendethera:BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.03.38Bendethera (1860s on) was one of the early properties in the area, supplying fruit and vegetables, bacon, beef and grain (corn, wheat, millet and oats) to Moruya, as well as the miners in the goldfields of Araluen and Nerrigundah . The George family carted everything with a team of 40 packhorses, using 4 bridle trails. The homestead, a single-storey, hip-roofed dwelling with a front verandah and a separate kitchen, was burnt down in 1969, but the old bread oven, a family grave, a water race, post-and-rail cattleyards, exotic mature trees and cleared river flats still exist. The property has a fascinating history and it is worth reading the NPWS management plan for the area at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/planmanagement/draft/10487BendetheraCMPdraft.pdf

From the site of the old homestead, a 3.6km track leads to Bendethera Main Cave, which was one of the earliest protected areas in NSW, being protected in 1897. It is a large cave and its roof is 90 feet high. Handrails, steps and cuttings were made in the 1890s and 1903 and still exist today, along with signatures from the 1890s. There are also 40 other caves in the area and the Bendethera karst system is 4km long and up to 0.5 km wide. It is in the same line of limestone as the Wyanbene cave.

After the Middle Mountain Rd, Snowball Rd becomes Krawarreee Rd and a little further on is the turnoff to Wyanbene Caves along Wyanbene Rd – nothing is signposted, so it obviously isn’t promoted that heavily by NPWS!BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.37.55BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.43.03BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.49.20BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.50.12It is a lovely drive in past rolling hills covered in colourful Scrub Sheoak and beautiful views over the surrounding countryside.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.43.35BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.43.09BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.44.22We passed this lovely old homestead on a bend in the creek on the way in.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.55.36BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 14.35.47At the end of the road is a delightful bush campsite with 5-10 sites. We much preferred it to Berlang Camp, which we visited afterwards.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 14.59.41BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.31.27BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.31.34Everything is very low key. The entrance to Wyanbene Cave is a simple gated hole in the hill and is hard to detect from the base of the hill. It is just to the NW of Ross, as he passes through the gap in the fallen tree.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.21.07BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.09.15BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.15.44 We climbed down a steep ladder into the dark and that was enough for me!BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.18.08BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.09.58BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.13.57 Ross took the torch and went a bit further in down a tiny hole to the creek. You are only allowed in the first 200m, after which you need a caving permit from NPWS, but that was far enough for Ross too. To go further in to the chamber entailed a stomach crawl along and in the freezing cold water of the stream within a space of 2 foot high!BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.13.35Can you see Ross waving from the bottom?BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.16.13BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.16.25 Apparently, in the Aboriginal Monaro/Snowy Dreamtime story,  Wyanbene Cave , along with Tuross Falls, was created by Djamalang, the Platypus, as he travelled from the Shoalhaven River to the Snowy River.

A much more romantic than the dry geology history, which goes as follows:

500 Million years ago, sediments, deposited in a deep ocean trench, were folded, heated and compressed to form a sedimentary bedrock, while fringing coral reefs in the edge of the seas became limestone bands throughout the area.

400-100 Million years ago, large granite bodies were intruded into the sedimentary rocks, pushing them upwards and metamorphosing the limestone in the Wyanbene and Marble Arch area, recrystallising it into coarse red and white marble.

Wyanbene Cave is one of the longest karst systems in NSW with the passage measuring 1830m long. It is an outstanding example of a cave formed by a subterranean stream, where water slowly dissolves the limestone over thousands of years. It contains a large number of limestone formations including stalactites, stalagmites, shawls, helicites and flowstones.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.14.21BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.15.15It is also home to the threatened Eastern Bent Wing Bat, as well as the Eastern Horseshoe Bat, the vulnerable Sooty Owl and a number of aquatic and terrestrial cave invertebrates, including syncarids, a species of crustacean adapted to living in the icy cold waters of caves.

A pair of bushranging brothers, the infamous Clarke Brothers, had a hideout nearby in another cliff overhang until they were captured  in 1867. Wyanbene Cave was also popular with tourists in the 1930s and were protected in 1931. It is still explored by speleologists today, but I’m afraid that I’ll never be one of them! I was very happy to get back on top of the ground! BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 15.18.50Our final stop was at Berlang Camp (15 sites @ $6 per night) to visit Big Hole. Here is a map from the National Parks brochure:BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.15.31 We had to cross the Shoalhaven River to access the 3.5km return walk to Big Hole. Ross was a mountain goat in his last life and rock-hopped across, while I just took off my boots and waded through!BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.10.07BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.12.09 The first part of the walk is up a dry stony ridge, but I loved it when we reached the scrub sheoak and snow gums. Such attractive vegetation and beautiful views!BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.29.19BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.24.52BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.29.24BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.30.18BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.29.33BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.32.56Further into the forest, we discovered Big Hole and it is spectacular!BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.38.22BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.40.48BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.42.32 Measuring 35m across, 200m around the circumference and 110m deep, it was formed when the ceiling of an underlying limestone cave collapsed. The theory is that sedimentary siltstone, sandstone and conglomerates were laid down under the sea 350 Million years ago over a large body of limestone at or below the level of the Shoalhaven River. The limestone was dissolved and carried away by water, leaving a large underground cavern, whose sedimentary roof then collapsed, creating the Big Hole. Here is a photo of the interpretive board:BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.02.53

The cavern must have been so deep, as there is absolutely no evidence of the fallen debris. In fact, there are no broken tree limbs either, which is amazing, given the reach of the branches of surviving trees, clinging onto the cliff edges.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.43.17BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.41.21 Instead, there is a bed of 2m high soft tree ferns, supported by the Shoalhaven River underneath. I loved the ferns adorning the rock walls too.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.39.08BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.39.32BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.38.51It was protected back in 1932. On our next visit, we will continue on the walk (13km return) down steep steps into the ravine to see Marble Arch. We retraced our steps back to the camping ground.BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.48.14BlogWinterFalls20%Reszd2016-05-05 16.50.19By the time we returned to the car, it was 3.30pm and since we did not want to get caught in the dark, we decided to go home via Braidwood and the sealed Kings Highway instead of the Araluen 4wd track, which was an old bridle trail from the Araluen goldfields to Moruya. We travelled up this route back in 2012- an incredibly scenic drive- and we will do it again, perhaps stopping to camp at one of the camping sites along the Deua River : Deua River, Dry Creek and Baker’s Flat, so I will have more photos later, but for now, here is a taster from the 2012 trip!BlogWinterFalls50%Reszdaug 2010 740BlogWinterFalls50%Reszdaug 2010 741BlogWinterFalls50%Reszdaug 2010 747BlogWinterFalls50%Reszdaug 2010 751BlogWinterFalls50%Reszdaug 2010 755For more in-depth information about these beautiful wild national parks, please consult the NPWS management plans for the area at : http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/planmanagement/final/20110159FarSthCoastFinal.pdf

 

Favourite Gardens Regularly Open to the Public : Education Gardens

The wonderful thing about gardening is that it can be done at any age and there is always more to learn, no matter how experienced a gardener is. In this post, I will be discussing a variety of gardens, which can be loosely collected under the category of ‘Education Gardens’. I have started with children’s gardens and progressed through school gardens to tertiary institutions offering horticulture courses like Burnley, Victoria and research like the Waite Institute, South Australia. Community gardens, plant shows and sustainable house days also provide valuable learning opportunities, especially for those interested in organic vegetable gardening, sustainability and permaculture.

Children’s Gardens

Children’s gardens have become increasingly important these days with the shrinking size of the backyard. In my generation’s childhood, we all had our own gardens, in which to develop our gardening skills, but these days , the house blocks are much smaller and often low maintenance with lots of hard surfaces, due to the fact that both parents are working and have little time to spend in the garden. Poor urban planning and the disappearance of open space, increased street traffic, parental fear for their child’s safety and the proliferation of electronic communications, to the extent that many children spend more time in front of screens (television, computer, mobile phones) than outside in the natural world, all contribute to decreased  exercise and contact with nature, resulting in an obesity epidemic and a newly described syndrome: ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’ . See the Children and Nature Network website at:   http://www.childrenandnature.org/.

Children’s gardens have been specifically set up to help counteract these problems.  I have already briefly touched on the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden in the Melbourne Botanic Garden in my post on early 19th Century Gardens: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/10/08/favourite-early-19th-century-botanic-gardens-in-australia/  . Also see :   http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-melbourne/attractions/children-garden.

The garden is open from 10am-sunset, 7 days a week, during school holidays. During term time, it is only open Wednesday-Sunday and public holidays, while Mondays and Tuesdays are reserved for school groups. It is closed for 8 weeks just after the July school holidays for restoration and maintenance.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 171The garden provides an interactive environment for children of all ages, backgrounds, physical abilities and cultures to play, explore and discover the natural world. It is designed to encourage creative unstructured play and imagination with a number of small, child-sized spaces, each with a different planting theme including : a jungle and rain forest ; a ruin garden; a bamboo forest; a gorge with rocks, gum trees and grasses; a tea tree tunnel; a wetland area, a rill which runs through the garden; and a meeting place with a spiral fountain.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 160BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 162BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 163Lastly, there is a Kitchen Garden, full of food plants, which delivers classes on sustainable gardening, composting and mulching and worm farming and companion planting to a wide variety of ages from preschoolers to school children right up to tertiary students and adult education classes.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmarchapril 168Blog Early19cent BG40%ReszdIMG_0386

A similar garden is now being is being developed in Sydney’s Centennial Park. For more details  about The Ian Potter Wild Play Garden, see : http://www.centennialparklands.com.au/about/parklands_projects/the_ian_potter_childrens_wild_play_garden

School Gardens

School gardens also do a wonderful job exposing children to gardening and the source of their food. We visited a terrific example in the Dandenongs in Victoria.

The Patch Primary School

53 Kallista Emerald Road,
The Patch Victoria 3792

http://www.thepatchps.vic.edu.au/

The Patch has a very impressive 2 acre school garden, which  includes a 1 acre fenced wetland, as well as an eco-centre, orchard, specific gardens and chooks, and it plays a major part in the children’s education.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 112It was planned and established and is totally managed by the students with the guidance of environmental education teacher, Michelle Rayner, who incidentally is the wife of John Rayner, who lectures at Burnley. The students spent a whole year from 2006-2007, doing site surveys and analysis, including orientation, levels and soil type and pH, so that they really understood the environmental conditions of the site. They researched school and community gardens throughout the world and factored their requirements into the final design eg animals; fruit trees; edible produce; baking; creative activities and construction.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 130The garden is divided up into separate areas :

Produce garden : onions; tomatoes; capsicum; cucumbers; beans and strawberries

Dry Garden : Drought-tolerant plants

Koorie Garden : dianellas and themedas; Bush food

Australian Garden

Alphabet Garden : Prep-Grade 2: Literacy eg V is for violets; P is for PoppiesBlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 119Chickens and Ducks : the chook house has a living roof of hardy succulents; Eggs are incubated and kids learn about egg hygiene; fertility rates; incubation; weight and body development of different breeds; life cycles; behaviour; movement; courtship; habitat; physical features; chook handling/ feeding/ care.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 124Eco-Centre : for formal learning and resources. Animals include bearded dragons and blue-tongue lizards, stick insects, green tree frogs, guinea pigs and budgies.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 116There is artwork throughout the garden, as well as willow structures like tepees; scarecrows; a wood-fired pizza oven; and a grass maze.

The kids can join a number of different groups including the following

: Weed Group

: Chook Group : looks after the poultry

:  Pizza Oven : manages the pizza oven when in use

:  Food Forest Group :  prunes and maintains the orchard

:  Willow Weavers Group : prunes and weaves the  willow

: Animal Carers group : looks after the animals in the eco-centreBlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 135Because they are involved in every aspect of the garden, the kids have a strong sense of ownership and pride in their garden. They learn so many gardening skills from soil preparation, propagation and planting to watering, mulching and harvesting. The garden also functions as an outdoor classroom, where the lessons learned in class can be applied in a practical sense. For example :

Mathematics : measurement of perimeters and circumference; measurement of tree height for a tree survey and habitat census; depth/ spacing/ plant size

Literacy : lots of writing and reflection; scientific nomenclature of plants

Art and Design : artwork; building living willow sculptures; scarecrows

Science : animals/ plants/ habitats; native animals : butterflies; native bee species; wetland species and the insect world. Entomology experts visited the school in December 2014 for a BioBlitz with the students. See : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ3wM8PTEcU. Land crayfish, giant earthworms,the great yellow slug, native bees, wombats, scorpions, freshwater eels, satin bowerbirds, wedge-tailed eagles, sugar gliders and water rats are just some of the animals that live on and around the school grounds.

: Sustainability and environmental science are important subjects at the Patch and the school was chosen as one of three finalists in the ‘Education’ category of the 2013 Premier’s Sustainability Awards, as well as winning the Eastern Metropolitan Region division of the School Gardens Awards in 2012.

Creativity and problem solving, innovation, teamwork  and interpersonal skills are all valuable learning outcomes.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 118It is well worth visiting the school on one of their annual open days. It is a lovely day out with live music, wood-fired pizzas and food made with produce from the garden; plant and produce stalls; tours by the students and talks and demonstrations eg scarecrow making; plant propagation; making miniature gardens and art.

Here are 2 excellent videos about The Patch :

2009 : http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/media/30753/the-patch-school-garden

2012:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq9F6k3DFWw

Tertiary Institutions :

Burnley, University of Melbourne

500 Yarra Boulevard Richmond 3121

http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Burnley-FoBG-brochure-v-14-Feb-2016.pdf

Burnley is a world class research and teaching facility, specializing in horticulture, only 7km from Melbourne’s CBD. It is one of the oldest colleges in Australia and this year celebrates 125 years of continuous horticultural education (1891-2016). See : http://ecosystemforest.unimelb.edu.au/burnley125years

Originally established in 1861 by the Horticultural Society of Victoria on the Richmond Survey Paddock, Burnley Gardens were experimental gardens to trial plants for the new colony. The 6 acre gardens were highly decorative and laid out in a geometric style. They were officially opened in 1863 and included 1400 fruit trees, many of which were lost in a great flood later that year and had to be replanted. Vegetables were trialled in 1874. The gardens were extended, a pavilion built and annual horticultural shows were held until the 1930s.BlogEducationgardens50%ReszdIMG_0214

The Victorian Department of Agriculture took over the gardens in 1891 and started the first horticultural school in Australia. The first headmaster was Charles Bogue Luffman, an English landscape designer, who favoured a more natural style of garden design, so the geometric layout was changed to a more informal style with curved and sunken paths; shrubberies and deciduous trees; open lawns and ponds; cool shady areas and separate Winter and Summer gardens and paddocks of wildflowers. Production and ornamental horticulture were taught, but the college also had a dairy herd, poultry trials and bee hives. Women students were encouraged and the shool has produced a number of famous female garden designers including Edna Walling, Olive Mellor, Emily Gibson, Grace Fraser and Margaret Hendry.BlogEducationgardens50%ReszdIMG_9865In 1983, Burnley was amalgamated with the other colleges owned by the Department of Agriculture under the name of the Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture (VCAH), then in 1997, it was absorbed into the School of Land and Environment of the University of Melbourne.

Today, Burnley includes :

9 ha ornamental heritage garden (see map from : http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/about-the-gardens/burnley-map/. The garden is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register 2003 for 7 significant trees (now 6) and 3 buildings. Four trees are also on the National Trust Register of Significant Trees.

https://i0.wp.com/www.fobg.org.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Burnley-map-coloured-v-14-Feb-2016.jpg

 IN THE GARDENS

  1. Summer House
    2. Lily Ponds
    3. Rock Point and Bergenia Walk
    4. Grey Garden
    5. Ficus macrophylla Bed
    6. BBQ and Sugar Gum table
    7. Pine Bed
    8. Sunken Garden and Wisteria Walk
    9. Herb Garden
    10. Shady Walk
    11. Orchard Gates
    12. Orchard Border
    13. Ficus obliqua Bed
    14. Old Cypress Bed
    15. Azalea Lawn
    16. Fern Garden
    17. Bog Garden
    18. Wild Garden
    19. Rose Garden
    20. Native Rainforest Garden
    21. Perennial Border
    22. Oak Lawn
    23. Island Beds
    24. Native Shrub Garden
    25. Native Garden Ponds
    26. Mud Brick Hut
    27. Native Grasslands Garden
    28. Citriodora Courtyard
    29. Ellis Stones Garden
    30. Rockery
    31. Bull Paddock
    32. Roof Garden

BUILDINGS

  1. Reception / Main Administration Building
    B. Student Amenity Building
    C. MB 10 (FOBG meetings)
    D.Centenary Centre
    E. Library
    F. Nursery
    G. Classrooms / laboratories

Burnley also contains : a unique collection of indigenous and exotic plants; landscape construction areas; a pruning garden; experimental plots for master and PhD students;  research areas; container and field nurseries; training gardens for design and maintenance; a graphics studio; a horticultural library and a plant tissue culture and genetics laboratory.BlogEducationgardens50%ReszdIMG_9862Burnley conducts cutting-edge research into the changing needs of contemporary horticulture, especially with the influences of climate change. Current projects include the reduction of energy consumption for heating and cooling; rainwater absorption; the reduction of urban air temperatures; and the creation of wildlife habitats. New additions to Burnley include native grasslands; a rain forest garden; indigenous gardens and most recently, the Burnley Living Roof, a Green Roof and Green Wall demonstration centre with areas for succulents, vegetables and natives. Green infrastructure is used to reduce energy consumption with its insulation properties, cool the urban environment and provide wildlife habitat for biodiversity. See :

http://www.hassellstudio.com/en/cms-projects/detail/burnley-living-roofs/   and

https://thegirg.org/burnley-green-roof/BlogEducationgardens50%ReszdIMG_0208This contemporary approach is reflected in the wide range of courses offered. See : http://ecosystemforest.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees  and http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/whats-on-2/for-your-diary/.

These include :

1.Short courses : Urban food growing

2.Specialist certificates :

A.Green Roof Walls:

http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Green-roofs-and-walls-brochure-2014.pdf

B.Arboriculture:

http://courses.science.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees/graduate-certificate-in-arboriculture/overview

3.Discovering Horticulture : Introductory 10 week course

http://www.commercial.unimelb.edu.au/discohort/

4.Graduate Certificate in Garden Design (1 year)

http://science-courses.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees/graduate-certificate-in-garden-design/overview

This course has four units

: Landscape Design, which I studied in 2012- covers topics like the landscape industry; design process and principles; garden history and contemporary and traditional garden designers; and the use of form, texture and colour.

: Landscape Construction and Graphics

: Horticultural Principles- plant function, structure, production and nutrition; site evaluation; soil composition, texture, structure and management; planting, propagation, transplanting and water use; and environmental and ecological considerations including sustainability

: Plants for Designed Landscapes- use and selection

I loved my course and  learned so much, especially about Arts and Crafts gardens and the Geelong Botanic Garden- two of my assignments. Andrew Laidlaw was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher and we had some interesting field trips to Edna Walling’s Bickleigh Vale Village and the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. We also had an enjoyable creativity and design workshop, where we divided up into groups to solve design challenges. Each group had to create a garden, specifically for each of the senses. I was in the ‘sound garden’ group. We suspended buckets of water in the trees to create the sound of a waterfall and the other students were led through the garden with their eyes shut. We also had to work on individual projects too like the warmup exercise of creating a design from precut vegetation.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdaug 2010 094BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdaug 2010 0765.Associate Degree in Environmental Horticulture (2 years) https://coursesearch.unimelb.edu.au/majors/141-environmental-horticulture

6.Associate Degree in Urban Horticulture (2 years)

http://courses.science.unimelb.edu.au/study/degrees/associate-degree-in-urban-horticulture/overview

7.Master of Urban Horticulture (Coursework)

8.Master of Philosophy (Research)

9.Doctor of Philosophy (Research)

The staff are excellent and there is a strong Alumni network, which offers employment and mentoring opportunities. The Friends of Burnley Gardens includes staff and former and present students. They provide guided tours of the gardens, as well as courses and workshops, for example botanical illustration and creating bee hotels. See : http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/.

 Urrbrae House Historic Precinct Gardens

Waite Historic precinct, Waite Campus, University of Adelaide

http://www.adelaide.edu.au/waite-historic/

Part of the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide, a leading agricultural and teaching facility only 10 minutes from the city centre of Adelaide, the property was bequeathed to the university by Peter Waite, a prominent South Australian pastoralist, in 1922.BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_7457The Waite Campus includes :

1.Waite Arboretum : Open from dawn till dusk every day except in extreme fire danger, the 30 ha arboretum contains 2300 plants of 800 species and 200 genera, all growing with an annual natural rainfall of 624mm and less.

2.Waite Conservation Reserve : 121 ha of Grey Box Grassy Woodland and home to hundreds of native plant species, as well as kangaroos, koalas and echidnas. Also open dawn to dusk daily, except in extreme fire danger.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_92233.Urrbrae House Historic Precinct

Open Monday/ Tuesday and Thursday 10am-4pm, except on days of extreme fire danger.  Entrance is free.

Urrbrae House is a two-storey bluestone mansion, built in 1891 as the family home for Peter and Matilda Waite and is now used as a working museum, as well as an exhibition, conference and social function venue. The restored ballroom housed the National Textile Museum of Australia until 1999.BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_7454The 1880s coach house was the site of the first laboratory of the Waite Agricultural Research Institute and much work on the deficiencies of trace elements in South Australian soils was conducted there in the 1920s to 1930s. The garage is the oldest purpose built garage in South Australia, while the battery house is believed to be the first purpose built domestic powerhouse in South Australia.BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_7447I love visiting the gardens, especially for the peak flowering season of the Old Roses in October and November. I will write more about the 20th Century Rose Garden in a future post on my favourite rose gardens. It portrays the history and development of the rose and has more than 200 types of roses, including many species roses. I loved the circular rose garden, which inspired our Soho Bed, the formal parterre and all the arches covered with climbing roses.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9255BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9261BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9281BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9268BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9280BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9289BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9238The sensory garden beside the coach house was built in 1998 and was designed to stimulate all the senses with plants of many different colours, textures, aromas and tastes. Birds, butterflies and bees love it!BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9291BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9294The Garden of Discovery is a fascinating spot with a scientific discovery trail, supported by soundscapes, outdoor books and interpretive signage, which highlights the significant achievements of South Australian scientists at the Waite Institute in environmental and agricultural science over 75 years. Some of these achievements include :

Genetic studies and plant breeding and evaluation projects from 1949-1955

Constance Eardley’s work with the arid lands of Australia

James Davidson’s research into insect pest management and Tom Browning’s work on understanding insects, sustainable development and biodiversity.

The use of biological controls to manage insect populations as an alternative to the use of chemical pesticides.

Future research includes work on biotechnology and DNA sequencing; molecular marker development; the management of plant diseases; land use technology and horticultural and viticultural production and processing.

The Waite Institute is home to the Australian Wine Research Institute, responsible for research and education in viticulture. Major research areas include : the selection of and biochemistry of wine yeasts and bacteria; the importance of viticultural practices to grape quality; the molecular improvement of grapes, wine quality assessment and varietal evaluation, wine colour and phenolic chemistry and the development of sensory procedures for wine assessment.

We enjoyed the display of different wheat varieties from early spelt to the latest varieties.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9290BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9297The Labyrinth (2010) is the latest addition to the garden and is built on the site of the old tennis court. Dr Jennifer Gardner, the Curator of the Waite Arboretum, designed the labyrinth,  basing it on an ancient Finnish 9-circuit stone labyrinth, and it is made of 921 timber rounds, recycled from trees from the Arboretum. There are also a number of outdoor sculptures around the garden and arboretum.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9282BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9284BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_9285

More informal learning opportunities are offered by practical experience in community gardens, as well as visiting plant shows and Sustainable House Days.

Community Gardens :

We have visited a number of very inspiring community gardens during our time in Victoria. including Geelong West and Mornington. Community gardens are a wonderful resource for those with limited space at home to grow vegetables and are strong supporters of sustainability and organic gardening. Not only do they promote good health through healthy eating and physical activity, but they provide valuable opportunities for people of widely differing backgrounds and abilities to share their knowledge and ideas and develop friendships and a sense of community.

Geelong West Community Garden

129-131 Autumn St Geelong West

https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/directory/item/551.aspxBlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 15.35.59Formed in 1985, Geelong West Community Garden has : 34 plots including raised beds; 3 equipment sheds and tools; a shelter area for workshops; an outdoor kitchen and pizza oven; a children’s play area and sandpit; and fruit trees and herb gardens.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 15.35.34BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 14.41.57Mosaic art sculptures made by community members under the guidance of Helen Millar : http://www.flockofbirdsmosaics.org/.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 15.35.50BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 14.42.07Membership is $35 per year. Meetings, workshops and courses. I loved my 2 workshops with Helen Millar- really inspiring and a great venue. There is an Open Day last Saturday in February as part of Pako Fest.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-10-18 15.58.15BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-05-05 16.42.09Dig-It Community Garden, Mornington, Victoria

http://dig-it-garden.weebly.com/BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 185BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 184BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 178BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 179Started in 2000, this garden has 50 plots, including : Four  raised beds for the elderly and the disabled; propagating igloos; composting areas and worm farms; an orchard and a vineyard; a berry house; a demonstration wicking bed; an edible sensory garden; a chook palace; a natural habitat area including ducks and a frog pond; an outdoor kitchen and cob oven; a sandpit and even a special asparagus patch.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 182BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 189BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 201Membership is $30 per annum and includes food swap, educational workshops and the sale of produce, seeds and seedlings. It also has an annual Open Day.BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 180

I loved all the artwork in this garden from the hand-painted signs and quirky mail boxes to the scarecrows and this giant snail!BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 187BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 197BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 198BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 205Plant Shows

Plant shows are also an excellent way to learn about plants. We have already discussed the large International Flower and Garden show in Melbourne, but smaller shows are often held for specific plants like peonies or wildflowers. Here are a few photos from our visit to the 2012 Peony Show in Melbourne- a great opportunity to compare these luscious blooms and dream about future purchases of favourite peonies.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 002BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 010BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 005 I particularly loved the blooms of the hebaceous peony ‘Coral Charm’.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 017 During the wildflower season, there are often wildflower shows, in which wildflowers are identified. We had a wonderful trip to Western Australia in Spring 2008, where we were introduced to our first wildflower show at Albany Flower Show and it whetted our appetite for further shows.BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_6004BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_6006BlogEducationgardens25%ReszdIMG_6010 In Victoria, we loved the internationally significant Anglesea Heath area, which is full of colour from the Epacris and Banksias in Winter and the orchids and wild flowers in Spring.

BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 045BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 033BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 041BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 043BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate march 042 The community host the Anglesea Spring Wildflowers Show, which we attended in  in 2011 and 2013. See: http://www.angair.org.au/activities/annual-wildflower-weekend-and-art-show and http://www.angair.org.au/about-angair/news-archive/324-wildflower-weekend-a-art-show-sp-1932479854BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 180BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 150BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 195Not only are there wonderful displays of native wildflowers, but also art and craft exhibitions, indigenous plants for sale and guided wildflower walks and bus tours. There are also exhibits of other Australian natives, for example the Tamara Rose (Diplolaena grandiflora), a species endemic to Western Australia, seen in the bottom photo.BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1234BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1216BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1233 We used to love finding all the wild orchids, though I must admit we did have a little help with the odd flag or help from a guide.BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 345BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 272BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 358BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 391BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1264BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1349BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1333The Angair Wildflower Show and Art Exhibition will be held in 2016 on Saturday and Sunday 17 and 18 September from 10.00am to 4.30pm at the Anglesea Memorial Hall, McMillan Street, Anglesea

Adults $5
Children Free
Students and Pensioners $2BlogEducationgardens20%ReszdIMG_1263BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdlate sep 2011 386

Sustainable House Days

And finally, Sustainable House days are wonderful ways to see other people’s homes and gardens and learn about sustainability, organic vegetable gardening, raised beds, espaliering, herb gardening and quirky sculptures, as well as meet like-minded individuals. They are held all over Australia on the 2nd Sunday of September each year from 10am-4pm. See : http://sustainablehouseday.com/.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2013-09-08 15.06.39BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2013-09-08 15.13.21Here are some more photos from some of our local days in Geelong with great ideas from raised beds and protective guards to garden seating, water features, focal points and even quirky home-made outdoor sculptures. For this year’s Sustainability House Day in Geelong, see :  http://www.geelongsustainability.org.au/shd.BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-09-14 11.33.20BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 163BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 090BlogEducationgardens20%Reszd2014-09-14 11.33.35BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 184BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 121BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 109BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 120BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 102BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 113BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 126BlogEducationgardens50%Reszdmid oct 122

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Feature Plant : Autumn Foliage

May is a spectacular month with the deciduous trees in full Autumn colour;

Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-12 17.02.51BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-21 18.21.56BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2015-05-04 16.08.36the late harvest fruit like medlars, quinces and pomegranates;BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-15 15.40.17BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-15 15.39.40BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-15 15.41.46BlogAutumn colour25%Reszdaprilmay 128 rosehips of wide variety of colour and shapeBlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2014-05-04 15.23.06BlogAutumn colour20%ReszdIMG_0545BlogAutumn colour20%ReszdIMG_0532BlogAutumn colour20%ReszdIMG_0531 and even pittosporum berries in the forest;BlogFordHdld SliceHx 20%Reszd2015-05-10 14.33.24 the beginning of the citrus season with the cumquats in full swing;Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-18 11.30.11  and the start of the main flowering season for Australian natives like wattles, banksias and correas.