I don’t know if it was my imagination, but Winter seemed to start later this year with the Autumn leaves persisting into early June. Certainly, the frosts were later, the tree dahlias eventually succumbing to heavy winds rather than frosts this year! We had some wild and woolly weather in the first week of June with one quarter of our annual rainfall (247 mm) in 3 days. The gully and creek were in flood- the creek level rising high, with the fast-flowing current cutting hard into the bank and bringing down trees. The local coast also experienced enormous tides with cunjevoi and sea tulips ripped from their beds and washed up on the beach. We had so many puddles in the garden and Ross had to race out in the middle of it all to dig a trench around the cutting garden. By mid-June, the weather finally turned cold with some lovely sky effects.
The Winter garden finally arrived, its palette predominantly white and purple with a few lemons and pinks thrown in! The violets are a mass in the maple bed and along the path. My rockery is full of bulbs poking their heads up, as well as divinely-scented lemon jonquils and white Coconut Ice dianthus, both demanding obeisance every time we walk past! I also love the fresh lemony smell of the tiny flowers of the Winter Honeysuckle, as we enter the back porch. Our daphne is in full bud, promising further fragrance as the Winter progresses. The wallflowers in the Soho bed (below) and stock in the cutting garden have a warm spicy scent. The bulbs have greatly multiplied under trees and in the cutting garden with tulips, iris, daffodils, freesias and ranunculas all growing madly.
The jonquils and tiny snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, are so pretty. I constantly look for new bulbs every day and it is always so exciting when I spot one emerging from the soil like this tiny bluebell under the crabapple tree. The hellebores are all in bud, ready to provide a splash of colour under the trees. I love the sweet diminutive forget-me-nots and the splash of gold of the Winter Jasmine, Jasminium nudiflorum, on the laneway. Here is a colourful black and gold ladybird from the bottom of the garden. I am really looking forward to seeing the japonica buds open. The camellia at the front door has already blessed us with a number of light pink and deep pink blooms. The new camellias are also in bud and Star-above-Star has had its first flower. The roses have still thrown out the odd bloom: Eglantyne (pink) and Golden Celebration (gold). My birthday Souvenir de la Malmaison is already in new leaf. I cut the last blooms of the roses and frost-damaged hydrangeas for two final bouquets for the season. I pruned the hydrangeas and all the Soho Bed roses rather severely on the weekend.We also turned and transplanted quite a few of the roses. Despite our careful observation of outer buds and planting for correct shape, my roses have a habit of sending their shoots out at 90 degrees to where I want them! Now that the roses are dormant, it is a good time to correct their positions- hence Lamarque was dug up after the heavy rains (a perfect time as the soil was so soft), turned 90 degrees and replanted, so that its long canes can diverge horizontally and create the desired fan shape up the house wall instead of growing out from the wall as before. We did the same with Cornelia, so it arches it long canes to the left over the gateway to the chooks (we have yet to build a simple wooden single arch for it), instead of throwing them up into the apple tree to its right. We transplanted Aimee Vibert from its initial position as part of the cutting garden screen behind the Soho Bed to the other side of the arch to replace the dying Kathleen. We also turned Penelope, so it was a member of the hybrid musk hedge rather than the vegetable garden! See the new hedge-line in the photo below : From front to back : Penelope, Aimee Vibert and Cornelia. We made a decision to eliminate the screening hedge between the Soho Bed and cutting gardens. There really was not enough room for the hedge and path, the mature shrubs would have cast too much shade on the cutting garden and in the end, we concluded that we actually like seeing the cutting garden. So, we transplanted the white lilac to the corner of the cutting garden, the Philadelphus to the main pergola corner next to climbing Tea rose, Adam (photos 1 and 2), the Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’ to the camellia border (photo 5), the Exochorda between the purple-pink lilac and the pink-and-white Japonica (photo 4) and the Flowering Currant to the front of the Snowball tree (photo 3). Its future pink Spring blooms will complement the pink Weigela on the other side of the pergola entrance. We finally moved the Alister Stella Grey rose to the shed corner to create a golden yellow arch with Rêve d’Or in front of the cumquats, lemonade and quince trees. We still have a number of potted roses, raised from last Winter’s cuttings, to transplant- a hedge of Russelliana on the fence behind the White Mulberry and an Albertine hedge along the back side wall of the shed, the old timber a perfect background for the warm pink blowsy blooms.
We are starting to feel like we are finally achieving a sense of control and structure in the garden. We plan to build a compost bay with 3 divisions against the fence behind the no-dig cutting garden (see the bamboo markers behind the garden fork). The seed dahlias are over-wintering in the front of the bed under their blanket of mulch. Ross has just redug the patch behind the dahlias prior to sowing last year’s peony poppy seed for Spring, to be succeeded by zinnias in Summer and Autumn. Both plantings should benefit from having their own area, as both are very tall and take up a lot of room. Behind the zinnias and poppies will be a strawberry patch, then a path in front of the compost bay. On the left end of the compost bay, we will create an asparagus bed and on the right end, we will grow angelica and rhubarb.There are also self-seeded peony poppies sprouting in the Soho Bed and I have some Iceland poppies in egg cartons awaiting transplantation to the cutting garden. Other pending tasks are to construct the chook fence (and chook house) behind the hybrid musk hedges and transplant the natives in the old sandy septic tank, so we can transform it into a shallow rock-lined pond. Ross has limed the vegie garden. The growth of the new vegies is a bit slow because of the cold and Winter shade. We have yet to prune the raspberries and harvest the cumquats for marmalade! Our first lemonade fruit is almost ripe! We are anticipating a huge crop of loquats this year, as it is still flowering! With all this time in the garden, we have enjoyed the company of lots of little birds from fairy wrens to brown and yellow thornbills, flycatchers, eastern spinebills and silvereyes. We will often look up to see a King Parrot quietly grazing within arm’s reach. A large flock of Little Corellas materialized briefly one week, transforming bare branches into the appearance of white blossom. The very same roosting trees were a sea of pink the following week with a large flock of galahs. The rich diversity of bird life in our garden is a constant joy. We found the perfect spot on a Winter Honeysuckle branch to hang my bronze bird feeder, a birthday gift from a dear friend. It looks like it has been there forever! I will finish with a few photos of a spectacular Winter night sky last week.
Nothing gladdens the heart on a cold Winter’s day so much as a vase of cheery red or delicate soft pink-and-white or even virginal white sprays of Chaenomeles, nor the warmth, taste and sweet aroma of a jar of quince paste made from the golden fruit of Cydonia! In this post, I will be featuring both these plants, long-time favourites of mine and an essential element of every old-fashioned garden. Unfortunately, our tiny plants of flowering quince have only just started producing flower buds- in fact, they have not even lost all their leaves yet and our new quince tree is years away from bearing fruit, so I have used some images from http://www.pixabay.com, as well as old personal photos from our previous gardens. We also saw some wonderful old shrubs of 3 different colours (red/ white/ pink-and-white) blooming in the old garden at Bolobek, Mount Macedon, Victoria.
Chaenomeles, pronounced ‘kee-mom-ee-lees’, are also known as Flowering Quinces or Japonicas, though the latter really refers to the origin of one of the species (Japan) and also refers to camellias.
Extremely tough, low maintenance, heritage ornamental plants, they originated in China, Japan, Korea, Bhutan and Burma and their beautiful blooms are often depicted in oriental paintings.
Family : Rosaceae : 5 petals and 5 sepals : Includes apples and pears, strawberries, potentilla, cotoneaster and roses.
Genus : Chaenomeles: Derived from Greek words : Chaino, meaning ‘to gape’ and Melon, meaning ‘apple’, referring to the erroneous belief that the fruit splits open.
Originally placed in the genus Pyrus, then Cydonia, then back to Pyrus and finally Chaenomeles.
Chaenomeles are related to quinces (Cydonia oblonga) and Chinese Quince (Pseudocydonia sinensis), but are different to them in that there is no fuzz on the leaves of Chaenomeles and the flowers have deciduous sepals and styles, which are connate at the base.
Species : There are 3 species :
1.Chaenomeles speciosa : Ornamental Quince/ Chinese Flowering Quince
‘Speciosa’ means ‘showy’.
Native to China and Korea, they were introduced to Europe in 1784 by Joseph Banks as Pyrus japonica.
6-10 feet tall and wide.
Flowers are red, white or flecked with red and white.
Hard green apple-shaped fruit 5-6cm diameter.
2.Chaenomeles japonica : Kusa-boke (草木瓜) : Japanese Quince (japonica means Japanese) or Maule’s Quince, named after the Bristol nurseryman W Maule, who introduced the plant to Britain in 1869.
Smaller and suckers freely.
Flowers mainly red, but some varieties are pink or white.
Small golden apple –shaped fruit 3-4 cm wide and containing red-brown seeds.
3.Chaenomeles cathayensis : ‘cathayensis’ means ‘Chinese’, referring to its origin in China, as well as Bhutan and Burma.
6m tall shrub.
White or pink flowers.
Largest fruit of the genus 10-15mm long and 6-9cm wide.
x superba : C. speciosa x C. x japonica
x vilmoriniana : C. speciosa x C. cathayensis
x clarkiana : C. japonica x C. cathayensis
x californica : C. x superba x C. cathayensi
There are up to 500 named varieties of Chaenomeles including :
C.speciosa varieties :
Moorlooseii : Apple Blossom : 6 foot tall; spreading habit; large pink and white flowers 3.5cm across; coral buds open to white flowers, which turn pink as they age.
Yukigoten : 1.5m tall and wide; semi-double white flowers.
Toyo-Nishiki: 6-10 foot tall and wide with pink, red and white flowers all on the same branch, as well as within the same flower.
Contorta: 2-3 foot tall and wide with twisted, contorted dark brown branches and pink and white flowers.
Double Take™ series: Scarlet Storm; Orange Storm and Pink Storm : 4 foot tall and wide; thornless; fruitless; double flowers in scarlet or orange or pink.
Rosea plena : semi-double pale rose pink flowers.
Falconet Charlet : semi-double salmon-pink and rose flowers.
Red Kimono : red flowers; thornless.
Winter Cheer : compact- 2-3 foot high; scarlet red flowers- one of the first to flower in late Autumn/early Winter.
Simonii : prostrate dwarf, spreading habit; semi-double dark red flowers.
The flowering quinces, which we have planted in our garden, are all C. speciosa varieties : Apple Blossom 2-3m tall and wide; White Flowering Quince 1.5m tall and 1m wide; and Red Flowering Quince 1m tall and 1m wide.
2. C.japonica varieties
Fuji: upright; vase-shaped; thornless; single red flowers.
Orange Beauty : 1.2m tall and 1.5m wide; orange red flowers.
C.x superba varieties
Rowallane : developed early years of last century; bright red flowers.
Crimson & Gold: 1-1.5m tall and 1.5-2.5m wide; suckers easily, so makes a good hedge; flowers are dark red with a gold middle.
Nicoline : small shrub; single scarlet flowers.
Knaphill Scarlet : flame red flowers.
Hollandia: single scarlet flowers; thorns.
Texas Scarlet: 2-3 foot tall; red flowers.
Fire Dance : C. x superb x C. speciosa : red flowers followed by a heavy crop of fragrant fruit.
Colombia: deep red flowers.
Vermilion : orange flowers.
Pink Lady : dark pink flowers.
Cameo: compact, low and spreading; double pink and white flowers.
Minerva: compact; flowers range from white to pale peach and pink.
Jet Trail: ground cover with white flowers.
Lemon & Lime : greenish flowers.
Deciduous shrub, up to 3m tall and wide, though dwarf varieties can be 1m tall and up to 2m wide.
Multi-stemmed, they sucker freely to form dense thickets.
Long, thin, sharp thorns along their stems, so they should not be planted along paths and care should be taken when pruning or weeding.
They are one of the first flowers in Winter, their flowers appearing on bare stems from early Winter to early Spring, when the foliage reappears. The flowers are 3 – 4.5 cm wide, have 5 petals and a boss of golden stamens in the middle and are borne in clusters. They come in a wide variety of colour (white, pink, salmon and red) and form (mostly single, but some semi-double and double). They bloom for 2 months and deepen in colour as they age. The flowers are hermaphroditic (both male and female organs in the one flower) and are pollinated by bees.
Leaves are oval, glossy, simple and dark green; have a serrated edge and are alternately arranged.
Fruit : pome with 5 carpels, borne in Autumn; it looks and smells like a quince, but is inferior to the latter. Hard and astringent, it is softer and less tart after bletting (softening with fermentation process); Higher in Vitamin C than lemons and more pectin than apples or quinces; can still be made into liqueurs and preserves like paste, jelly and marmalade. Alice Coates in her book ‘Garden Shrubs and Their Histories’ describes a tea party during the First World War, in which Reverend JJ Jacobs serves jelly made from 6 different varieties of C. speciosa.
Use in the Garden
While the Victorians grew them as standards, today they are grown as :
An open bush or shrub; in massed plantings in a woodland garden or as an early Spring accent in a mixed shrub border; or as a wall shrub.
They can be espaliered on a wall or in a fan-shape. Once the flexible branches are tied to the horizontal framework, the side growths can be pruned back to a couple of buds in Summer.
They make an excellent impenetrable thorny security hedge, deterring people, dogs and cats and even deer, but not rabbits! They provide excellent wildlife habitats, especially for nesting birds and are a good bee plant, providing both nectar and pollen. They are the food plant for the larvae of some Lepidoptera : Brown Tail (Euproctis chrysorrhea)and Leaf Miner (Bucculatrix pomifoliela). Here is my daughter’s latest feature plant watercolour, depicting a very colourful abstract rabbit wearing a floral crown of Japonica blooms!
Climate: Wide climatic range and can be grown everywhere in Australia except the tropics. They can tolerate cold up to minus 25 degrees Celsius. Because they are one of the first deciduous flowers to appear, they can be damaged by severe frosts, so avoid planting them in frost pockets.
Growing in sun or part-shade, they flower better when planted in sunny positions.
Soil : They also tolerate a wide range of soils from acid to slightly alkali, but will become chlorotic (yellowing leaves due to insufficient chlorophyll) on very alkaline soils. They do best in a fertile, neutral, well-drained soil. They don’t like wet feet. They tolerate heavy clay soils, but are not as vigorous.
They are really tough plants, coping both with drought and urban atmospheric pollution. Windy areas should be avoided, as the wind can snap the branches.
Planting and Care :
Buy plants in late Winter/ early Spring, when the plants are blooming so you can select the desired colour. There is a big variation in all the colours, especially the red hues!
Dig a hole no deeper than the depth of the soil in the pot, but twice as wide.
If the soil is clay, add grit to the clay or grow your plants in a raised bed of loose topsoil and compost. Avoid frost pockets or very windy locations, as the wind can snap the branches.
After planting, water well and mulch to suppress the weeds and retain soil moisture. Weeding can be perilous with all the sharp thorns and you don’t want unsightly Kikuya marring the picture-perfect blooms! Water at the base of the plants, as spraying water at the top will encourage rot.
Water well in the first year, then reduce the amount and frequency of watering once established, except in times of drought, when irrigation will promote more growth and better flowering.
A slow release fertilizer or compost can be applied in early Spring.
To avoid the development of a thorny thicket, pull out suckers as they appear. They can be pruned to any shape and size and will tolerate heavy pruning, though really it is best to keep it light. Prune just after the blooming is over, as the bush blooms on old wood. One source I read suggested removing one third of the oldest shoots right back to the ground each Spring, so that the centre does not become woody and congested and the flowers are shown off to their best advantage. That’s if you can get in there, that is!!! Otherwise, just remove any shoots growing in the wrong direction or any diseased wood.
Pests and Diseases :
They have few pests and diseases : occasional attacks by aphids, scab, brown scale or mites; fungal leaf spot during heavy Spring rain, which causes defoliation of the leaves, and the worst case scenario: fireblight, a bacterial disease common to all members of the Rosaceae family, which spreads through the plant’s vascular system until the plant eventually dies.
Cuttings are best. Take cuttings from half-ripe wood (new season’s growth) in Summer or mature wood (current year’s growth) in late Autumn and plant in a cold frame.
Layering can be done in late Spring and Autumn, but it takes a whole year to produce new plants.
Seeds can be planted as soon as they are ripe in a sheltered position outdoors or in a cold frame and germinate within 6 weeks. Seed can be stored in the greenhouse in Winter. Prick out the seedlings and plant in individual pots. Plant out in Summer and protect the first Winter or plant out in the following late Spring.Uses : Chaenomeles make stunning indoor floral arrangement during a time when very few other plants are flowering. The blooms last well in water (vase life 3-10 days). Flowers should be picked when the buds are showing some colour, as tight buds will not open inside unless forced. The colour of the newly opened buds inside will be paler than those on the shrub outside.
To force stems to bloom indoors in late Winter:
The best flowers for forcing are near the top of the plant with the buds swollen and closely placed. The larger the bud, the more quickly it will open indoors.
Trim any side shoots or buds which will be under the water level of the vase.
Recut the stems on a long diagonal and place in a bucket of cold water in a cool place for 2 days.
Recut the stems again and place in a vase of fresh warm water and keep in a bright area. Within 4 weeks, you will have a beautiful bouquet, which will hold its blooms for 10 days or more.
Flowering Quince are popular in Ikebana, the art of Japanese floral arranging, as its long stems can be bent and shaped and the flowers are long-lasting, even when out of water (2-3 days).
C. speciosa has been widely used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The greenish-yellow unripe fruit is picked in late Summer/ early Autumn, blanched to a grey-white colour with boiling water, then cut in half lengthwise and dried. It relaxes the tendons, muscles and meridiens.
All Chaenomeles fruit has analgesic, anti-inflammatory; anti-spasmodic; astringent and digestive properties. It contains organic acids (malic; tartaric; fumaric; citric; ascorbic) and saponins, which reduce pain and spasms.
Chaenomeles has been used to treat the following conditions: sunstroke; arthritis and joint pain and swelling; muscle spasm; cholera and associated cramps; nausea, colic and indigestion; diarrhoea.
As already stated, the Cydonia genus originally contained the 3 shrubby quinces, now classified in the genus Chaenomeles, leaving the quince as the only member of the Cydonia genus today. The name, Cydonia, refers to the ancient Greek name of the Cretan town ‘Chania’. The latter was called ‘Cydon’ in Minoan times, a name, which is thought to be a corruption of the ancient Greek word ‘Chthonia’, meaning wet, rich and soily grounds, referring to the fertile dense forests, which once covered Crete. The Arabs are thought to be responsible for the name change of the city. When the Saracens from Cordoba, Spain razed the original town to the ground in 828AD, they built a new city with a suburb called ‘Al Chania Kome’, after the God’ Velchanos’ or ‘Vulcan’. They then applied the name ‘Al Chania’ to the whole city and after they left, the Byzantines removed the prefix ‘Al’ and the city became ‘Chania’. The species name ‘oblonga’ refers to the oblong shape of the fruit.
The modern name ‘Quince’ originated in the 14th century as a plural of quoyn, derived from the old French cooin from the Latin cotoneum malum / cydonium malum.
The quince was cultivated by the Ancient Greeks and Romans and dedicated to Aphrodite (the Roman Venus), the Goddess of Love. It is a symbol of beauty, love, fertility and happiness and the fruit was given to every Greek bride on her wedding day. Eating quinces at a wedding was said to be preparative to the sweet and delightful days between married persons! Quinces are planted in the Balkans on the birth of a baby promising fertility, love and a happy life.
It was introduced to Britain in 1254 on the marriage of Eleanor (1241-1290) of Castile to the elder son of King Henry III, Edward I and were planted at the Tower of London. The Spanish love quince cheese, a sweet quince confection called ‘mermelada’, the original marmalade, whose name derives from the Portuguese word for quince: ‘marmelo’. It was only in the 18th century that citrus fruit were identified with the making of marmalade!
In 1292, the quince was held in high esteem. The cost of 100 quinces was 4s, compared with 3d for 100 apples and pears. However, by the early 20th century, quince production had decreased due to the rising popularity of apples and pears. They were introduced to the New World and Australia and New Zealand, where many of them are now wild. They are now rare in America due to their destruction by fireblight with only 100ha in production, mainly in California.
Worldwide, there are 43000 (106,000 acres) of quince in production, the total crop weighing 335 000 metric tons. Turkey is the largest producer, with 25 percent of the world’s crop, while China, Iran, Argentina and Morocco each produce less than 10 per cent of the world’s crop. There are 23 named varieties in production, including ‘’Champion’; ‘Isfahan’; ‘Morava’; ‘Vrajna’; and ‘Smyrna’ (our tree). ‘Champion’, an American variety, has large golden pear-shaped fruit with a slightly lemony fragrance mid to late season. Their fruit becomes a superb ruby red colour when cooked. ‘Smyrna’, originating in the Greek islands, but a favourite variety in Turkey, has rounder, slightly oblong fruit, which keep longer and have a stronger fragrance, but less prominent, but still excellent flavour. Maggie Beer (see later) likes this variety, because the white flesh holds its shape when cooking and doesn’t break up. It is also the best for quince paste.Description : A multi-stemmed shrub or small deciduous tree, 5-8m tall and 4-6m wide and takes 10-20 years to reach maturity. Our Smyrna quince will grow to 7m high and 7.5m wide. They are very long-lived and become increasingly gnarled and twisted with age.
The leaves are alternately arranged and are simple with entire margins and are covered with a dense pubescence of fine white hairs. The flowers appear after the leaves in Spring and are single; solitary; 4-5 cm diameter; pink and white and scented with 5 petals; 20 stamens; 5 styles and an inferior ovary with many ovules. Having hermaphroditic flowers, quinces are self-fertile, but can have larger yields of fruit from cross-pollination with another quince variety in the garden. They are pollinated by insects.
The fruit is a golden-yellow pome 7-12 cm long and 6-9cm wide. When immature, it has a dense grey-white pubescence, which rubs off before maturity in late Autumn, as the colour turns golden. In Australia, it is harvested between mid-February in warmer ares and late April in cooler areas. The stringy perfumed flesh is high in pectin, which decreases as the fruit ripens, but apart from a few varieties, generally, the fruit is too hard and astringent to eat raw, unless bletted.Growing Conditions:
Like its flowering namesake, Quinces are extremely tough and hardy. They are resistant to frost and hardy to minus 15 degrees Celsius. They require a minimum 500 hours of chilling to produce fruit i.e. less than 7 degrees Celsius, so thrive in cold climates. They are adapted to hot, dry climates and need warm sun to fully ripen the fruit. They are grown in Australia from the cool subtropics to the cool temperate areas.
As already stated, they perform best in a sunny position. They still grow well in semi-shade, but produce less fruit and can tolerate deep shade, but produce no fruit.
They like moist, fertile, light, slightly acidic soils best and hate water-logged soils. In highly alkaline soils, they become stunted and suffer iron chlorosis.
They can withstand both drought and severe cold, but avoid planting on south-facing slopes with a cold Spring (lack of pollinating insects); frosty hollows (flower damage and resultant lack of fruit) and excessive wind (broken branches).Planting and Care: Plant in late June/ early July when dormant. They may sucker as a young tree, so prune for the first few years to produce an open-crowned tree rather than a small thicket, which is much harder for control of pests and diseases. Prune minimally when older, as fruit sets on the current year’s growth. They like organic matter, so put some compost in the planting hole and feed 1-2 times a year with compost, aged manure or blood-and-bone. They don’t like being shifted. We bought the Smyrna quince tree photographed below for our friend’s 50th birthday- it’s the first tree in their orchard!Propagation : is mainly by cutting and grafting. Cuttings of mature wood are taken in Autumn and grown in a cold frame. Layering in Spring takes a full year to produce a new plant. Seed can also be sown, as soon as it is ripe, as well as in late Winter in a cold frame . Seedlings should be pricked out and kept in individual pots in the cold frame for the first Winter, planting out in their permanent position in late Spring and early Summer after the last frosts have passed.For more information on quince growing, see : http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/2009-67-1-cydonia-oblonga-the-unappreciated-quince.pdf;
The worst one is Fireblight, which is common to apples, pears and quinces and is caused by a bacteria Erwinia amylova, which is particularly prevalent in areas with warm, humid Summers, thereby restricting its cultivation. Cydonia is one of the most susceptible of the Rosaceae family to fireblight, which spreads through the vascular system , eventually destroying the tree. The leaves and branches appear scorched and blackened, as if damaged by fire. To avoid, do not use excessive nitrogen and do not prune much. There is no cure, only prevention, though genetic modification may help.
My tree suffers from Fleck or Quince Leaf and Fruit Spot, caused by a fungus: Diplocarpon mespili ( formerly Fabraeae maculata). Symptoms include : reddish purple spots with tan centres and reddish halo on the leaves, which drop early; defoliation; brown spots on the fruit; disfigurement of fruit. Cool wet weather favours the development of the disease in Spring and it is worse in moist coastal areas. To treat, rake up and burn all the fallen leaves and remove affected leaves and dead wood and do not overhead irrigate. There are treatments with fungicide. See : http://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/quince-leaf-spotPowdery mildew and rust can also be a problem. The main pests are Fruit Fly , Codling Moth and Light Brown Apple Moth. See : https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/plants/fruit-and-vegetables/a-z-list-of-horticultural-insect-pests/queensland-fruit-fly ;
Other pests include : Pear and Cherry Slug Worm; Borers; Curculio; Scale and Tent Caterpillars. Birds can also cause damage to the fruit.Uses :
An attractive display tree in the garden : superb Autumn colour.
The quince is the food plant for a number of Lepidoptera larvae:
Brown Tail Euproctis chrysorrhea; Bucculatrix bechsteinella; Bucculatrix pomelifoliella; Coleophora cerasivarella; Coleophora malivorella; Green Pug and Winter Moth.
Dwarfing Pear Root Stock
In England, France and the United States of America, the plant is widely used as a dwarfing pear root stock, the technique having been used in Angers, France before the 1500s using quince as a root stock dwarfs pear growth. It forces earlier fruiting and faster maturing of the pear fruit and encourages the growth of more fruit-bearing branches.4.Medicine
The fruit has been used since ancient times and its use was described in writings by the Greek physician Theophrastus in 300 BC and the Roman physician Pliny the Elder(23AD-79AD). Persian philosopher, Avicenna (1025 AD), notes in his ‘Canon of Medicine’ that quince can be used to control abnormal uterine bleeding. A review in 2015 found that this effect was achieved by inhibiting inflammation and counteracting the proliferation of human cervical cancer cells. The Canon of Medicine was an overview of the contemporary medical knowledge, largely influenced by Galen and thus Hippocrates and remained a medical authority for centuries. It set the standards for medicine in Medieval Europe and the Islamic World and was used as a standard medical textbook throughout the 18th century in Europe. It is still used in Unani medicine , a traditional medicine used in India.
Culpepper (1616-1654) advised bald men to mix the silky down of the quince skin with wax and apply to their scalps to encourage hair retention and new hair growth.
The seeds of the quince contain nitriles, like all the Rosaceae family, which are hydrolyzed in the stomach by enzymes and/or stomach acid to produce hydrogen cyanide, a volatile gas, which is toxic, so large quantities of seed should not be ingested. However, used carefully, the seed are very useful in a wide variety of conditions. They are a mild, but reliable, laxative and have astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. When soaked in water, the seed swells to a mucilaginous mass, which has a soothing demulcent when taken internally and can be applied externally to minor burns. In subcontinental Indo-Pakistan, the seeds, known as Bihi Dana, are soaked in water to produce a gel, which is used by herbalists to treat throat and vocal cord inflammation; skin rashes and ulcers and allergies. The stem bark can also be used to treat ulcers. The fruit and juice can be used as a mouth wash or gargle for mouth ulcers gum problems and sore throats. The soaked seeds are used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, especially in children. In Iran and Afghanistan, the boiled seeds are eaten raw for pneumonia. The unripe fruit is very astringent and quince syrup can be used to treat diarrhoea. In Malta, 1 tsp quince jam in 1 cup boiling water relieves intestinal discomfort. The fruit contains pectin, which reduces blood pressure. These are just a few of the medicinal benefits of Cydonia oblonga. For more information, please read : http://www.idosi.org/gv/gv14%284%2915/9.pdf.
The mucilage from the seed coat has even been used as a gum arabic substitute to add more gloss to material, but its greatest claim to fame is in the culinary world, even from Ancient Roman times! Apicius, a ancient Roman cookbook from 4th-5th century BC (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29728/29728-h/29728-h.htm) recommends stewing quinces with honey or combining them with leeks!Cooking:
They can be eaten raw and soft in tropical climates, the best varieties being ‘Aromatnaya’ and ‘Kuganskaya’, but generally they are best cooked before consumption. The fruit will keep for months after picking, scenting the room with its sweet, spicy aroma.
Once peeled, they can be roasted, baked or stewed, the colour of the flesh deepening to a caramel red, the longer the cooking time. They can be poached in wine or water. Their high pectin content make them ideal for making quince jam, quince jelly and quince cheese. Small amounts of quince can enhance the flavour of apple pies and jams. In Italy, they are the main ingredient of a traditional food called mostarda di frutta, in which quince fruit jam is mixed with candied fruit, spices and flavourings to produce regional variations eg: mostarda vicentina; mostarda di Vicenza and mostarda veneta. In Spain, quince flesh is eaten with cheese and in boiled desserts, but their favourite confection is the sweet fragrant jelly-like Dulce de membrillo, which is cut into slices and served with cheese. Portugal also makes a similar dish called marmelada, as do the Balkans, Hungary and Dalmatia. In Albania, Kosovo and Bulgaria, quinces are eaten raw in Winter. Quinces (known as ‘Ftua/ Ftonj) are stewed in a sugar syrup in Albania, while in Kosovo, they makes a quince jam, as does Lebanon and Syria (where the jam is called’ sfarjel’).In Syria, quinces are cooked in pomegranate paste and served with shank meat and kibbels. Morocco uses quince in their lamb tagines, along with other herbs and spices. Quince is also popular with lamb dishes in Armeria, as well as in other savory and sweet dishes.
In Iran, ‘beh’ is eaten raw, stewed, pickled, or made into soups or jam, the leftover syrup saved for use in a refreshing Summer drink with iced water and a few drops of lime juice.With its high malic acid content, quinces are used to make a sweet dessert wine, high in alcohol, as well as liqueurs : Liqueur de coing is a digestif in Alsace, France and the Valais in Switzerland; and sburlone in Parma, Italy; as well as a brandy and liqueur in the Balkans. There is even a Quince cider!So, there is a lot of experimentation to do in my kitchen , when my little Quince tree finally bears fruit!!! Here in Australia, chef Maggie Beer’s name is synonomous with the quince. See: https://www.maggiebeer.com.au/visit-usOn her property, ‘Pheasant Farm’ in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, she planted 350 Smyrna quince trees, which she uses to make her famous Quince Paste, as well as quince wine; quince jelly; quince conserve; quince glaze; quince puree; preserved quinces and pickled quince (see photo above). She also uses them in flat quince tarts; poaches them with pears in verjuice and bakes them, stuffed with walnuts butter and brown sugar or honey. You can read more about her quince adventures by visiting her and reading her books: Maggie’s Farm and Maggie’s Orchard. See: https://www.penguin.com.au/contributors/129/maggie-beer and https://cheznuts.com.au/guest-chef/guest-chef-maggie-beer/.We visited her farm back during our Australian trip in 2008 and I ended up by mistake in her TV kitchen, where I was photographed posing behind her kitchen counter by a visiting tour group! On our heritage rose trip to the Heritage Garden in Clare, South Australia in November 2014, we discovered that our host Walter Duncan was growing a whole orchard of quince trees for Maggie Beer! The quince orchard can be seen in the background of the photo below.CHINESE QUINCE
The final quince that I should touch on is the Chinese Quince Pseudocydonia sinensis, also the sole species in its genus Pseudocydonia. It is closely related to Chaenomeles, but lacks thorns and bears its flowers singly rather than in clusters. It looks superficially like Cydonia oblonga, to which it is also closely related, but its leaves have serrated edges and no fuzz. It is native to China and East Asia, where it is known as ‘mugua’ and ‘mogwa’ in Korea.
Description: It is an attractive deciduous or semi-evergreen tree , 10-18m tall, with a dense twiggy crown and a mottled trunk, which tends to flute with age and exfoliating bark, revealing patches of brown, green, orange and grey. The shiny leathery leaves are simple and alternately arranged and have a serrated margin. They turn a red orange in Autumn. Its single, pink, 2.5-4cm wide, Spring flowers are earlier than Cydonia , but after Chaenomeles. The large, oval pome, 12-17cm long, has 5 carpals and ripens in late Autumn. The fruit is highly aromatic with an intense, sweet smell. It is hard and astringent, but softens and becomes less tart after frost.
Propogation: Chinese quinces are propagated by seed, cuttings, rootings and grafting. As with all the quinces, seed is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification and should be sown as early in the year as possible.When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. As with the other quinces, fireblight can also be a problem.
The high pectin content of its fruit makes it ideal for jams and chutneys. The wood is used in Japan to make low-end shamisen, a three-stringed musical instrument, which is plucked with a plectrum called a bachi and which sounds a bit like an American banjo. Chinese Quince has also been used for years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. Extracts of its phytochemicals have antioxidant and antiviral properties. For more information and a photo of this beautiful tree, please read : http://www.louistheplantgeek.com/a-gardening-journal/1053-pseudocydonia-sinensis.
Unfortunately, I cannot even find a photo, but it certainly sounds worthy of a place in the garden! If only we had the room! Maybe, I shall have to investigate a bonsai version, though I suspect it is all a bit technical for me!
I love sculpture in the garden! There is something about sculpture, which lends itself to open spaces. Perhaps, it is the form and texture, especially when made of natural materials like wood and stone, that blends in so well with the natural landscape.
While they are perfect as focal points in the garden, directing the eye and enhancing corners, I also love visiting gardens which are totally devoted to sculptures – for example, the McClelland Sculpture Gallery, Victoria, and Fleurty’s Café, Tasmania, as well as sculpture shows like Lorne and Bermagui. This lovely bronze sculpture, ‘First Flight’ by Albert Bruce Joy (1842-1924), provides a focal point in the garden of Overbecks Museum in Salcombe, Devon.Sculptures can be made of a wide variety of materials from natural wood and stone to the traditional bronze, iron and other metals; brightly coloured plastics; and recycled machinery parts or just plain junk! They can be monochrome or brightly coloured; static or moving; enormous or tiny; and private or public. It is fascinating seeing what can be created, especially with recycled material, and can provide much amusement, as well as appreciation.In this post, I will be exploring a wide variety of ‘sculpture gardens’, from their use as focal decorative points of the garden, as well as functional use, to collective sculpture gardens, walks and shows; and from traditional forms to more contemporary modern applications. I will also feature a few sculptors as well. It is also worth revisiting some of my older posts, which have featured other sculpture gardens like Heide; Werribee and Carrick Hill. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/02/09/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-historic-homes-and-gardens/ .
Yengo , 8 Queens Avenue, Mt. Wilson, NSW
Open daily during Spring (October/November) and Autumn (April/May), otherwise weekends 10am-6pm or by appointment
$10 adults; $8 Seniors and $3 for children
I will start with Yengo in Mt. Wilson, a garden, which epitomizes the use of traditional bronze sculptures in the garden as focal points, as well as for just sheer beauty. The property was first bought by Jesse Gregson in 1877 and he spent the next 2 years building a stone house and developing an alpine garden with the help of the Director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens, Charles Moore, and the government botanist, Joseph Henry Maiden. The house and garden have been restored by the owners, Peter and Ann Piggot, whom we met on our visit to Mt Wilson, back in 1998.It is a beautiful garden with some very old evergreen trees, planted in 1880, including several Himalayan Deodars; Western Red Cedars from America; a Sequoia; a Cedar of Lebanon and a Spanish Cork. There are also some beautiful deciduous trees, including Dogwoods and over 60 varieties of Japanese Maples; tall old tree ferns; banks of rhododendrons and azaleas and drifts of bluebells in Spring; mature wisteria and clematis; a walled garden and many beautiful ponds and water features. The garden is enhanced by and showcases some very beautiful, traditional bronze sculptures, made by English-based sculptors Lloyd le Blanc (animals : eg gazelles; a brolga fountain and a lyrebird) and Judith Holmes Drewry (portraits and the female form).
Peacocks wander round the garden- very beautiful and stately, though I know from experience, my parents having kept peacocks when I was a child, that they are probably not the best stewards for a garden!
Another wonderful sculptor couple, who we were lucky enough to meet, are Carl Merten and Joan Relke (http://sculptors.net.au/). My friend, Liz, introduced us to Carl and Joan, when we were looking for an interesting work experience for our daughter Jen, when she was in Grade 10. They were so generous with both their knowledge and time and it was a wonderful experience for her. Carl and Joan lead busy lives working on commissions and exhibitions, as well as teaching workshops. Their major commissions are made of stainless steel, cast bronze, cast aluminium, and stone and grace many of Australia’s public parks and buildings, while their medium sized works in bronze, stone, stainless steel, and ceramics decorate the offices, homes, and gardens of corporate and private collectors.
Carl, who originally trained as a silversmith with his identical twin brother, Rex Steele Merten (http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/one-of-the-only-ways-to-tell-the-merten-twins-apar/2137968/), is famous for his public monumental work, including figurative bronze sculptures of famous Australians or as he puts it : ‘dead white males’, like famous Australian explorers and the coal miners, who lost their lives in Cessnock. He also creates dancing figures and musical and natural forms. See: http://newengland.focusmag.com.au/carl-merten-local-artist/. Joan creates beautiful goddesses – most of her work is inspired by female imagery and mythological themes. She also explores zen concepts in the form of miniature zen gardens. I first saw her work at McGrath’s garden in Uralla- see photo above.
Carl and Joan have been partners for over 30 years, and while they each have their individual style, they have worked together on some projects like their sculptures in Uralla, NSW, based on the circumpolar constellations of the Southern Hemisphere : Carl’s Carina (photo above) and Joan’s Spirit of the Southern Cross (photo below).
They were working on this project during Jen’s work experience. We thanked them for their kindness with a sculptural carrot cake, commemorating their work at Uralla!William Ricketts Sanctuary, Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, Mt Dandenong, VIC
10am-4.30pm daily, except Christmas Day and Total Fire Ban days. Free.
William Ricketts Sanctuary is a very famous old sculpture garden, set in the beautiful Mountain Ash forests and ferny glades of Mt Dandenong, 1 hour east of Melbourne.William Ricketts (1898-1993) was also apprenticed to a jeweller, aged 14 years old, but he enjoyed modelling with clay. He settled in the area in 1934, initially renting the property, but then purchasing the freehold title in 1941. At that stage, the property was heavily deforested and William was keen to let the block regenerate naturally. He was a keen environmentalist and naturalist and was appalled by the mass destruction of the environment and natural habitats, as he believed that the natural environment is entrusted to all of us and that by nurturing the earth, we nurture life itself. He also had a deep love and respect for Australian aborigines, having spent many months between 1949 and 1960 living and learning from the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal communities in Central Australia. Their tradition and culture inspired him to create a permanent sculpture gallery, devoted to the Australian Aborigine and all Australians.
Originally called ‘Potter’s Sanctuary’, it was opened to the public in 1942. The collection includes 92 ceramic sculptures of people and animals. The kiln-fired clay was fired to 100 degrees Celsius and then set into the environment.
The Victorian Government bought the property from William Ricketts in 1961. Extra additions by the Forest Commission increased the property to its present 15 hectares. It was renamed ‘William Ricketts Sanctuary’ and officially opened in 1962. In 1981, it was classified by the National Trust as a site of local significance. It has significant cultural value, as the outdoor sculptures are components of an overall theme. They bear testimony to the vision and dedication of Ricketts’ campaign for understanding and respect for indigenous Australians and the environment.
Dromkeen, 1012 Gisborne-Kilmore Rd, Riddells Creek, VIC
Another garden, which contained sculptures based on a theme, was Dromkeen, the home of Children’s Literature, but unfortunately you can no longer see these sculptures in their original setting.Dromkeen Homestead was originally built in 1889 as the country estate of Victorian Supreme Court Judge, Arthur Chomley, and was named after his mother’s family home in Dromkeen, County Limerick, Ireland. In 1973, Joyce and Courtney Oldmeadow used the homestead as a private residence and educational bookshop with public displays of original artworks and manuscripts from Australian Children’s picture books. Over the years, it became known as the home of Australian Children’s Literature. It was purchased by Scholastic Australia in 1985 and they continued to maintain the Dromkeen Collection, until it was moved to the State Library in 2012. The collection contains 7500 original illustrations, including sketches, preliminary artwork, diagrams and mock-ups; a historic book collection; the Dromkeen archive and the 6 Bronze sculptures of Australian picture-book characters, which used to grace the gardens. See: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/about-dromkeen.
We were very lucky to be able to visit it twice during our sojourn in Victoria and I was very saddened to see For Sale signs outside the old home and equally elated, on doing research for this post, to discover that Dromkeen had reopened as a centre for children’s literature. Purchased by the Joiner family in 2013, it once again hosts school and tertiary programs; writing camps; holiday literary programs; and on 19th March 2016, the Dromkeen Literary Festival, a full day of talks and readings by children’s authors and illustrators; book signings and sales; and book-related activities in the garden, including storybook craft; book mural art; cartoons; puppetry; dragons and airbrush; and face painting. See: http://www.dromkeen.com.au/litfest/.There is a tearoom and café, as well as a separate function centre for conferences, business seminars, professional development, children’s birthday parties and even art classes. The garden is available for weddings and photography shoots.Then there are the sculptures made from less traditional materials or more contemporary in approach :
We also feel very fortunate to have visited Daniel Jenkins’ studio and gardens when we did in 2007, as they too are no longer open to the public, unless by private appointment. I love the whimsical nature of his works and his sense of fun!Daniel was born in Kansas, USA, in 1947 and came to Australia in 1981. Like William Ricketts and Carl Merten, he is also a jeweller and silversmith by trade. He studied extensively in Europe, including visiting Venice as part of the Palladio Foundation scholarship, where he learned the technique of repoussé, where metal is beaten from the inside to give shape and relief to the design.
His Meme series and taller Wobe series are marquettes with androgenous bodies and fixed or moveable heads. They are made of hollow form copper, which has been repousséd and patinated, a technique which is safe for the birds and lasts a long time. He also makes figurative and interpretive work, ladder forms and urns and bottles.
His Lulu birds and animal-like weather vanes are also great fun.
He also loves creating kinetic works, which turn in the wind.His work can be seen high up in the air above the Bourke Street Mall in Swanston Street, Melbourne. Each of the weather vanes is in the shape of an animal, symbolizing the various aspects of the city : a horse (sport and culture) ; bird (the city’s parks and gardens) ; fish (the waterways of Melbourne); and pig (the city’s hopes and future : pigs can fly). It was commissioned by the City of Melbourne and unveiled in March 1993. See: http://www.emelbourne.net.au/biogs/EM02126b.htm. He also had an exhibition at my favourite Cloudehille Gardens in 2011.Kate Shone is another sculptor in the Gippsland area, who makes whimsical sculptures out of recycled junk. Unfortunately, we never managed a visit, as she was closed both times we passed through, but we will get there one day. See her work at: http://www.junkyarddoll.com.au/. We did however see her insects (photo above) at the open house at The Long Now, Nowa Nowa in 2007! See: http://creative.vic.gov.au/Arts_in_Victoria/Features/Feature_Stories/Nowa_Nowa_Open_for_Inspection.There are also a number of outdoor sculpture in the park below the house along the river.
Shades of Gray, Cnr Farnsworth and Brown Streets, Castlemaine, VIC
http://www.shadesofgray.net.au/ and https://thecountryphiles.com/2013/12/06/interview-peter-chelly-gray-shades-of-gray/.Chelly and Peter Gray also use recycled metal to create unique artworks from candelabras and bowls to beds, mirrors, fire screens, sculptures and garden art. They were actually our neighbours when we lived briefly in Castlemaine and we used to love visiting their creative and whimsical garden. Set on a steep hill, it was so overgrown and blowsy and had an air of mystery about it. I also loved their huge Great Dane, Coco!They have displayed their work at Daylesford’s Convent Gallery, the Guggenheim in New York and in galleries and shops around Australia, as well as doing commissions for private homes, restaurants, vineyards, cafes and corporate spaces.
Their work, home and gallery have appeared in magazines including Vogue Living, Country Style, InsideOut and Marie Clare. See the May edition of Australia Country Style. Originally, both artists trained in ceramics, but they have been working with metal for the past 19 years, since a chance encounter with a roll of rusty wire! The two galleries house a selection of their work: egg cups, candelabras, grapevine leaf mirrors, wall features, bowls, fire screens and chandeliers. Other pieces, such as metal arbours, outdoor sculptures, tables and chairs, are scattered throughout the garden.They are open most long weekends; Easter; the Castlemaine State Festival (March-April, every 2nd year on odd years) ; the Melbourne Cup week, when they have their 2016 annual exhibition 30 October – 6 November (closed Wednesday 2 November) and most weekends in November and December 10am-4pm; or by appointment.
Tim Johnson, Artist and Basket Weaver, Isle of Wight, UK
Outdoor sculptures can also be made of natural found materials like grasses, canes and twigs, although they are not quite as durable. When he was younger and less famous, Tim was a visiting artist-in-residence for 2 months at our local art gallery, NERAM (New England Regional Art Museum) in Armidale in 2000. My children attended a number of art classes at the gallery, including Tim’s inspirational workshop on Sculpting with Natural Materials. I was so impressed with Chris’s huge hanging trout, Jenny’s frill-necked lizard and goanna and little Caroline’s chook! You can see Tim in action at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4PeUQ6Dx2w.
Originally, a pile of mullock heaps, created by silt dumped from Yarra River dredging and covered in Kikuya grass, Herring Island was levelled, a lawn established and further trees, shrubs and grasses planted to create the Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park. The venue is often used during the Melbourne Festival with sculptures exhibited both in the art gallery and outside in the conservation area. Other sculptures include: John Golling’s ‘Falling Fence’; Ellen Jose’s’ Tanderrum’ and Robert Bridgewater’s ‘Scaled Stem’. See: http://www.herringisland.org/arts.htm and http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/313803/Park-note-Herring-Island-Environmental-Sculpture-Park.pdf.McClelland Sculpture Gallery and Sculpture Park, 390 McClelland Drive Langwarrin, VIC
Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pmWe used to love visiting this sculpture park on the Mornington Peninsula, close to Frankston and Elisabeth Murdoch’s garden at Cruden Farm. Exhibitions we attended included : Ron Mueck’s 3m high ‘Wild Man’ in 2008; Augustine Dall’Ava’s colourful dynamic sculpture in his exhibition: ‘Journey’ and a fascinating exhibition titled: ‘Nest: The Art of Birds’ in 2013, displaying the ingenuity, beauty and originality of over 70 bird nests from the collections of Museum Victoria and Gay Bilson. See: http://www.mcclellandgallery.com/index.php?page=past-exhibitions.
Established in 1971 on 16ha land, McClelland Sculpture Park is Australia’s leading sculpture park and showcases over 100 permanent outdoor sculptures from 1887 to the present day in a variety of settings from tea-tree forests to heathland; bracken paths; landscaped gardens and lakes. It has a long affinity with Centre 5 artists, who established themselves in Melbourne in 1959 to promote contemporary sculpture.
There is also a biennial McClelland Sculpture Survey and Award for Contemporary Outdoor Sculpture.
Here are photos of some of the sculptures:
Peter Corlett : Tarax Play Sculpture 1969. The white circular forms are made of enamelled ferro-cement.
John Kelly : Alien 2006. Rusted corten steel.
Lisa Roet : White Ape 2005. Fibreglass coating a corten steel base.
Ken Unsworth : Annulus 2007. Stone, stainless steel and galvanised steel.
Barossa Scupture Park, Mengler’s Hill Lookout, Tanunda, SA
http://www.barossasculpturepark.com/In South Australia, the Barossa Scupture Park contains the works of 9 sculptors from Japan, the United States, France and Australia, who attended the Barossa International Sculpture Symposium for 6 weeks at this site in 1988. They created site-specific works in local marble and granite, depicting the Barossa environment. Here are photos of some of the work:
Discover : Mary Gerken, Iowa, USA
Dreaming : Cliff Axelsen, Australia
Shaman’s Passage : Susan Falkman, Wisconsin, USA
Contemplation : Christine Giraud, France We were lucky enough to visit the Barossa Valley during the second Barossa International Sculpture Symposium, held in 2008 to commemorate the 20-year anniversary, and were able to watch the sculptors in action.Persephone : Kevin Free, Victoria, AustraliaHere is a link to other sculpture parks in the world: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/sculptureparks/.
Fleurty’s Café and Farm Walks, 3866 Channel Highway, Birch’s Bay, TAS
10am-4pm Thursday – Sunday and Monday Public HolidaysLocated 50km and 50 minute drive south of Hobart and with spectacular views of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Fleurty’s Café is well worth visiting. It was named after Charles Fleurty, a convict sawyer, who worked in Birch’s Bay back in the late 1820s and is also commemorated in the local place names of Fleurty’s Point and Fleurty’s Creek, though the café is now called Pepperberries Garden Café.Unfortunately, we arrived smack bang on closing time, so we didn’t get to sample the superb seasonal menu, but we were able to explore the Sculpture Trail, which takes you past the distillery, now a cottage for the artist-in-residence, as well as a workshop venue;Past all the orchard trees and lovely cool climate vegetable beds of artichokes, rhubarb, garlic, raspberries and black currants, which are used in the menu of Pepperberries Garden Café, as well as delicious chutneys and preserves. They also sell tapas oils, vinegars and native bush spices, including lemon myrtle, wattle seed and bush tomato, as well as supplying Dutch Iris to the Tasmanian and mainland markets.Past the beds of Native Pepper, the berries and leaves harvested and packaged as Diemen Pepper and up past proteas and leucadendrons into the forest. There is 100ha of native bush, including a private forest reserve.The walk goes up the hill to the top, where unfortunately, we started to lose our Winter light! We thoroughly enjoyed finding all the sculptures, especially the swinging moon; the colourful mosaic pebbles and glass lights ; the exquisite mussel shell dishes and the variety of seating along the trail. Here is a sample:Tamworth Bicentennial Park, Kable Ave, Tamworth, NSW
We recently had a picnic lunch in this park en route to Armidale and were very impressed by the stone sculptures and etchings of Australian animals and events from Tamworth’s history, which lined the duck pond. There is also the Tamworth Light Horse Memorial, a bronze cast statue of a Waler horse and an Australian Light Horse Trooper, which was created by nationally renowned artist Tanya Bartlett. This statue pays homage to the important roll of the ‘Waler’ horses’ during the Boer War in South Africa and in the Middle East during World War I and compliments the Man O War Gates. See: http://monumentaustralia.org.au/search/display/23369-the-memorial-to-the-australian-light-horse.Sculpture Shows
Sculpture shows are also a great venue for displaying artist’s work, which often ends up in private collections and art galleries. Sometimes, they are adjunct to larger garden shows like the International Plant and Flower Show, Melbourne or Tesselaars Spring Festivals; but we have also visited specific sculpture shows at Lorne and Bermagui.
Matthew Harding : Within : 2014. Mirror stainless steel.
Lisa Anderson : Tiga Tiga (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep) : 2014. Tents, recycled plastic, lights
Deborah Sleeman : Forest : 2014. Pressed tin, copper, galvanized iron, cast glass, found objects, steel, screws and rivets.
Geoffrey Ricardo : The End, The Beginning : 2014. Copper and stainless steel.
Jeff Raglus : ‘Long Way to the Top’… Aka’Ska Tissue’ : 2011. Carved cypress wood sculpture, finished in oil paints. It includes a fantastic sculpture trail with around 35 major sculptures positioned along the coastline, a small sculpture collection (The Collectors’ Project) and a Sculpturscape, where sculptors create sculptural projects on site over two days. The photos below show some of the smaller scuptures in the shops:
Anton Hasell : HMS Beagle : 2011. Cast brass, cast bronze and oil paints.
Ivana Perkins: Penguins on Ice : 2011. Bronze penguins on perspex box with seabird skulls. Sculpturscape, the only such event in Australia and possibly globally, comprises four artists/artist teams, a total of 16 artists on display over all four weekends of the exhibition, each creating a sculptural piece over two days. Here is another cute sculpture from 2014 :
Dean Putting : Little Fellow : 2014. Concrete.
Here are some more photos of the sculptures.
Matthew Harding : Centripetal : 2011. Stainless steel.
Candy Stephens: Now and Then : 2011. Steel, wire, circuit boards, television, DVD, lights.
Anderson Hunt : Tweet- The Silence of Speak : 2011. Rolled and fabricated mild steel and apoxy coating.Carmel Wallace : Red Sea Installation : 2011. Steel and mixed media, including recycled cray pot collars and cable ties.Phillip Doggett Williams : No Climate for Change : 2011. Mixed media.Ewen Coates : Multiverse : 2011. Fibreglass resin, steel and concrete.
Mini Dennett : Home Sweet- Home Snug Containment of Belonging : 2011. Mixed media.
Louise Paramor : The Wild Card : 2014. Plastic and fibreglass.
A collection of large scale sculptures on Endeavour Point Headland, Dickinson Park, and Horseshoe Bay beach with a smaller sculptures displayed in the Bermagui Community Centre. Here are some of the sculptures:
Jesse Graham : Penny Dragon and Vulcor Jimmy Rix : Shy Richard Moffatt : Is There a Dog?
Braidwood Central School : The Birds; School of FishesSuzie Bleach and Andy Townsend : A Burden…Tony Millard : This is where we are heading…
John Gosch : Phoenix; 670 recycled spark plugsTracey Sarsfield : The Departed Horizon…Darren Mongta : King Brown. Carved out of a single branch.Analemmatic Sundials
Finally, sculptures are not only decorative, but can serve a functional purpose, as in sundials. I love all the different types : from traditional and armillary spheres (Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and the National Botanic Gardens, Canberra) to the analemmatic sundials we visited at Kingston, SA and Benalla, Vic. In an analemmatic sundial, a figure-of-eight is etched into the pavement, with the observer’s head forming a shadow on the ground, denoting the time.
Kingston SE Sundial, Corner of Princes Highway and Watson Street ,Kingston, SA
I love this sundial, situated on a small island in Maria Creek, just next to Apex Park, which we stop at every time we are driving to Robe. We especially the stone carvings, etchings and sculptures of marine life by Silvio Apponyi. They include a seal, a crab, fish, frogs, lizards, abalone, birds and local flora.
Built in 2005 by the Rotary Club to commemorate 65 years of Rotary Club service to Benalla and 100 years of the Rotary organisation. Lake Benalla is also enhanced by the Gaudi-esque Ceramic Mural nearby on Mair St, next to the Benalla Art Gallery, a community project started in 1983. See: http://melbournedaily.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/benalla-ceramic-mural.html.
My final landmark birthday fell in the middle of a triple celebratory 6-month holiday, camping around Australia. It was my 49th birthday (my 50th year), my husband had entered his 60s the previous year and it was our 25th wedding anniversary! We had just sold our Dorrigo property the previous year and were foot-loose and fancy-free again! Originally, we had planned a 3-month trip to Cape York, finishing with Lawn Hill, but we were having such a great time and all our obligations were being met, so we decided to continue travelling around the rest of our amazing continent. The outlay had been relatively small, as we already had an old Toyota 4WD, which we set up with my patchwork drawers in the back to hold all our provisions. We bought a heavy-duty canvas tent, which could be erected in 5 minutes flat (and often was!) and a car fridge, but we already had most of the camping equipment, including an inflatable queen-sized mattress and a light bushwalking tent, not to mention Caroline’s favourite travelling companion, the porta-loo, which kept threatening to fall down on her during the trip! Our youngest daughter, Caroline, who had just left school and was accustomed to joining us on our anniversary camping trips, came with us, as well as her guitar and a mascot called Nomad (as in Grey Nomad!), an Eeyore donkey from Ross’s favourite childhood book, Winnie-the-Pooh! Here is our intrepid adventurer at Cooktown Botanic Garden on the head of ‘Mungurru’, the scrub python, who created the Endeavour River, according to local aboriginal legend. It was carved out of Cooktown Ironwood (Erythrophelum chlorostachys), a very hard wood, from which the aborigines also used to make their spears. It was wonderful having our very own travelling minstrel and the perfect way to encourage fellow campers to turn off their radios and listen to some real music! She even entertained a tour group of 18 retirees with Wilderness Challenge’s 4WD safari tour at Jowalbinna on Cape York.We had some wonderful adventures together from:
Climbing Mt Kootaloo on Dunk Island; visiting relatives and friends in Townsville, Cairns, Herberton and the Daintree; and revisiting Cape Tribulation (see below), where we camped on the beach totally on our own for our honeymoon, all those years ago, and just before the Bloomfield Rd went in- now the place is crawling with tourists ! ;Watching a rescue of an injured fisherman by the Royal Flying Doctor Service at Musgrave Station, where the road had to be cleared of cattle before the plane could land; and viewing Eclectus Parrots, Palm Cockatoos, Yellow-bellied Sunbirds, Double-eyed Fig Parrots and butterflies at Iron Range National Park. The photo below shows a male Eclectus Parrot.Learning to juggle at Moreton Telegraph Station with Smokey, the support team for Michael Mitchell’s ‘Great Australian Cancer Bush Walk’, retracing Steve Tremont’s footsteps from the tip of Cape York to Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, along the Great Dividing Range; being attacked by cave bat lice at Captain Billy’s Landing- a very uncomfortable night !; and swimming at Twin Falls;Singing and playing guitar with other guests round a campfire at Punsand Camping Resort on the top of Cape York ; Feasting on freshly-caught crab the size of a dinner plate at Jardine’s old homestead site (photo above) and playing guitar on the very tip of Australia- Caroline actually walked to the cape 3 times- the 2nd time to collect Nomad and the 3rd time her guitar (photo below) !
Driving part of the Old Telegraph Track past huge termite mounds and bustards to the notorious Gun Shot section, environmental vandalism by 4WD at its worst! To give you a bit of an idea, see : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF92zaHtnYc. Needless to say, we did NOT attempt it! We drove up to the cape early in the season and I think a lot of our fellow travellers thought that we were a little bit strange, because we weren’t fishermen nor 4WD enthusiasts and we actually enjoyed looking at birds !!! ; crossing flooded streams and having to wade through potentially-infested crocodile waters to check for depth and dangerous potholes !; and exploring ancient aboriginal cave art at Jowalbinna and Laura, including a tour with Steve Tresize. The cave art below was at the Guguyalangi Gallery at Laura. UNESCO rate the Quinkan region as one of the top 10 rock art sites in the world.And this was all before my birthday! We camped at Old Laura the night before, and my 49th birthday was heralded by a flyover of hundreds of squawking Red-tailed Black Cockatoos! Such delightful raucous party animals!!! Ross gave me a tripod for my birthday, but we decided to reserve the official birthday celebrations till the mid-June, when we were spending a week in a house in Cooktown.
I had a makeshift birthday cake- a crustless slice of bread, smeared with Nutella and lit with 3 matches at Kalpowar Crossing, where we set up camp in Lakefield National Park on the banks of the Normanby River. We met a lovely couple, Ruth and Dave, from Mornington Peninsula, who were in effect having a pre-honeymoon, as they were married the following year. We shared many interests like archaeology, aboriginal cave art and environment and Ruth also sang and played guitar, so we enjoyed listening to duets by Caro and Ruth.
We saw a huge freshwater crocodile sunning on the riverbank and loved our birdwatching at all the billabongs and lagoons. The first photo is Lakefield Lagoon and the second photo was taken at Catfish Waterhole.Here are some of the birds we saw :
Magpie Geese, with goslings, hiding amongst the Lotus leaves at Red Lily Lagoon;Brolgas feeding on the tubers of sedges;Green Pygmy Geese displaying iridescent, metallic green feathers;Comb-crested Jacanas and their babies crossing lilypads;White-bellied Sea Eagles (1st photo), Ospreys, Brown Falcons (2nd photo) and Black Kites surveying for prey;Stately Straw-necked Ibis nonchalantly strolling by dozing crocodiles;Sacred (1st and 2nd photos) and Forest Kingfishers (3rd photo) perched on river boughs;Rainbow Bee-eaters, which nest in riverbanks;Black-fronted Dotterels on the dry bed of the Morehead River;And Pelicans climbing the thermals high in the sky. For more information on Lakefield National Park, please see : http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/rinyirru-lakefield/culture.html.So many birds and an ornithologist’s paradise!!! But the jewel in the crown was the highly endangered and difficult-to-find Golden-shouldered Parrot. We had tried to find these elusive small parrots at Musgrave Station on our way up and down the cape to no avail ! The manager at Musgrave told us to check out Windmill Creek, where we waited for half an hour- still no luck ! His Auntie Sue (Sue and Tom Shephard, Artemis Station) was the honorary caretaker for these parrots on her property, but she was away at a family funeral! We called in at Lotus Bird Lodge (http://www.lotusbird.com.au/), an expensive resort and prominent birdwatching venue, with over 200 species of birds , whose owner very kindly let us eat our picnic lunch in the cool shade of their verandah and walk around their water-lily billabong. We saw huge flocks of Little Corellas, a Black-backed Butcher Bird, a sleepy trio of Papuan Frogmouths (1st photo) and Roger Ramjet, a hand-reared baby Red-winged Parrot (2nd photo). The owner suggested that we drive a further 200m past Windmill Creek and walk in to the termite mounds, in which they make their nests- still no parrots! And then, just as we’d given up and come to terms with never seeing them, we were walking back to the car and down they flew – a small flock of 8 males and females – grazing on the side of the road, despite all the passing traffic! So special and a wonderful birthday present (since the birthday was extending over the whole week!), only to be equalled by seeing the first Gouldian Finches of the season (a breeding pair with 2 offspring!) at Mornington Wilderness Resort on the Gibb River Rd, Western Australia later in the year!!! For more information on the Golden-shouldered Parrot, see : http://www.landmanager.org.au/tom-and-sue-shephard-winners-queensland-landcare-conservation-award-2007 and https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/endangered/endangered-animals/goldenshouldered_parrot.html. Another good site, which also covers Eclectus and Palm Cockatoos, as well as Gouldian Finches is : http://aviculturalsocietynsw.org/_articles/Golden-shoulderedParrot2015.htm#.VzQ1beS2oxI
We had a wonderful week in Cooktown- one of my favourite tropical towns! Here is a link to their tourism site: http://tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au/destination/cooktown/. It started with the Queen’s Birthday Weekend, which is also the annual Discovery Festival, a series of events held to commemorate Captain Cook’s landing here back in 1770, though really it was to celebrate my birthday!!! We knew that there would be lots of visitors to town with the camping grounds fully-booked, so we had pre-booked a house underneath Mt Cook for a week, while we waited for the Lizard Island seaplane to be repaired. The weekend started with a 7.30am Can-Can workshop with a troupe called Sassy Catz from Cairns (https://www.facebook.com/Sassy-Catz-Dance-Troupe-266763093482332/). The dancers were fabulous and their costumes very cute and colourful. Because Caroline and I were the only participants, apart from the organizer, they invited us to join them in the Grand Parade through the main street in town. What they neglected to tell us was that they were at the front of the parade, just behind the boys in white, the Barrier Reef Jazz Band, who played totally inappropriate music, to which it was impossible to dance! Afterwards, we had a guided tour of Cooktown Cemetery , where we saw Mary Watson’s grave and learned about the Normanby woman, a fair-skinned woman living amongst aborigines in 1873. We also had a guided tour of the Cooktown Botanical Gardens.The re-enactment on the Sunday was held in Bicentennial Park on the Endeavour River at the exact spot Cook landed in 1770 to repair his ship after damage on the reefs off Cape Tribulation. The cannon, sent to Cooktown in 1880 as a response to a request for military backup against a threatened Russian invasion (!), was fired, then we attended the hilarious Lion’s Club Billy Goat Derby. It was held on a steep street, cushioned at the bottom with hay bales. Forty intrepid contestants raced a variety of highly creative, home-made carts from bath tubs to Captain Pugwash’s bright pink boat on wheels, driven by a polar bear ‘Bundy Bear’; a bicycle affair; and the cockatoo-decorated ‘Indigenous Warrior”. We were also very impressed by the Stepping Out sponsor maidens, who negotiated the steep slope in their high heels with great style!We watched the wonderful Hopevale Aboriginal Dancers perform in the Cooktown Botanical gardens and finished the day with a lovely sensual dance by the Shee Sha Belly Dancers, their pastel gauzy veils swaying in the warm breeze and finally, a spectacular fireworks display reflected in the river. I think that it is almost the best fireworks I have ever seen – forget Sydney !!! Another day, we walked from the Botanic Gardens to Cherry Tree Bay and then up to Grassy Hill, the perfect place to watch the sun setting over the Endeavour River and the Coral Sea.Then, it was time for my official birthday celebration. I reopened a wrapped tripod, as well as a blue polka-dot chiffon skirt, some earrings made out of red seeds, a book on Pioneer Women by Susanna de Vries and an illustrated music score of a song, written by Caroline, about our trip. Birthday breakfast was delicious pancakes with tropical fruit.
Dave and Ruth, our friends from Lakefield National Park, called in for a birthday lunch- we’d bumped into them unexpectedly when shopping on our arrival in Cooktown. They came bearing bread rolls, tomatoes, blue cheese and chocolates. It was so good to see them and hear all their news. We caught up with them later again in Kakadu National Park, again by accident, and later had a planned rendez-vous in Darwin. We also visited them in their home on the Mornington Peninsula a number of times during our stay in Victoria.After they left, we drove down to the stunningly beautiful Archer Point , 15 km south of Cooktown, to watch the visiting tall ship replica ‘Duyfken’, sailing south. Such a magical spot in the golden light of the late afternoon sun! The colours were spectacular- red grass, gold and green mangroves and blue, blue mountains plunging into the sea. We celebrated my birthday in style at the magnificent Shadows Restaurant in the shadow of Mt. Cook. A superb menu, but so difficult to choose as every meal was divine! I had an entrée of prawn spring rolls, a coral trout with tartare sauce for mains and a coconut and rum crème brulée for dessert- heaven!While I won’t recount the whole trip, there were two more birthday highlights : a walk up Mt Cook the next day and then our long-awaited weekend on Lizard Island. I lost so much weight on that trip through hiking up every high point in the heat and sweating it off! For the first time in my life, I had a waist! It was fantastic! I think I need another trip to the tropics!!! Even though it was Winter, I still needed 6 cold showers a day to cope with the heat!!! We also used the local pool every day – in fact, we were invited to join the local aquarobics group!
Before we left Cooktown, we climbed to the summit of Mt. Cook (431m). The circuit track is 6 km long and takes 3 hours. We climbed up through open forest with ancient Palm Cycads and Zamia ferns, Kapok Trees and Native Cypress to a rainforest full of Cordylines, Elkhorns, thickets of lethal Lawyer Vines and colourful rainforest fruits on the forest floor. The 2nd photo is the Zamia Fern, Bowenia spectabilis, one of the world’s smallest cycads. And then to the summit with its wind-sheared vegetation (including Umbrella Trees and Oak-leafed Fern) and spectacular, extensive views over Walker Bay and Archer Point to the reef, Quarantine Bay and the mouth of the mighty Annan River. We saw Orange-footed Scrub Fowls, Wompoo Fruit Doves, Rose-crowned Fruit Doves and an Osprey soaring in the thermals. Cooktown is very windy, with the trade winds blowing constantly from May to September.And finally, Lizard Island – what a spot to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! We had initially booked a seaplane from Cooktown to Lizard Island, which had the added advantage of landing on the water, right next to the National Park campsite, but unfortunately mechanical problems meant we had to abandon that plan and drive back to Cairns on the Friday to take a flight to Lizard Island, 270 Km to the north, with Hinterland Air instead. Because of the exorbitant price of the new tickets, we left Caro with friends in Cairns. This is our first sighting of Lizard Island from the air.That Saturday was the best day for flying over the Great Barrier Reef in months and we had fantastic views over the coast, patch and ribbon reefs and atolls. Captain Cook was amazing navigating through all those reefs! We could even see the high sand dunes of Cape Flattery to the north in the distance. We shared the tiny 6-seater plane with the pilot and the island nurse in the front seats and another couple, who obviously had a much bigger income and were staying at Lizard Island Resort ( roughly $2000 per night). See: http://www.lizardisland.com.au/About.aspx. We, on the other hand, were paying $4.50 per night in the National Parks campsite on the far northern (left in photo below) corner of Watson’s Bay and we got the entire campsite to ourselves. Now that’s what I call true exclusivity!!! For a map of the island and details about the walks and the island, see: http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/lizard-island/about.html.It felt like a long walk from the airport, even though it is only 685m, but we had to carry everything in. We took the 30 minute Pandanus Track over Chinaman’s Ridge, past Pandanus Palms and through a Paperbark forest, over a Mangrove boardwalk and past the ruins of Mary Watson’s Cottage to the sparkling white sands and aqua waters of Watson’s Bay. Mary Watson (21), whose grave we saw in Cooktown, died with her baby son in tragic circumstances in 1881. She was married to a bêche-de-mer fisherman, who was often away and she used to walk up to the highest point of the island, Cooks Look, to watch for his return. Unbeknown to her, the latter was an important ceremonial aboriginal site, where young boys were initiated. A group of Dingaal people came to investigate smoke on Lizard Island and killed one of the two Chinese servants, wounding the other, and a terrified Mary set sail in one of the bêche-de-mer boiling tanks with her infant son and the injured servant. They all died of dehydration within 8 days on the waterless Howick No. 5 island. You can read her diary entries on :http://www.cooktownandcapeyork.com/do/history/mary_watson. Below are photos of an aboriginal midden and the ruins of Mary’s cottage.After a long walk up to the end of the beach and past Mary’s old well, we arrived at the camp site to meet its resident silver gull (photo above) and a couple of yachties, Guy and Annika, from ‘Street Legal’, who had been sailing round the world for 10 years and were halfway through their trip! They explained the etiquette of the camp treasure chest ‘Pandora’s Box’, hidden in a wooden barrel at the back of the campground and inscribed with the message : ‘Who be ye that disturbs my slumber, tell me your story and pay my price’! The rule is that if you open the box, you must put some treasure in. The box was already filled with silver goblets, candlesticks and necklaces. Obviously, yachties have plenty of loot to spare, but as light-weight campers, who had to lug everything in and out, we were stumped for a few days as to what we could possibly contribute! The solution dawned on us at the last panicky hour! It was obvious!!For our whole stay, clean water had been a major issue! We were collecting water from Mary’s well, but hated the taste of our purifying tablets, so had been boiling the water instead. Unfortunately, we had neglected to bring in our empty 10 litre water flagons- a big mistake (!) , but we did have our washing up sink, so Ross would trek to the well a few times a day, then return, awkwardly carrying the heavy square tub, filled with water, in front of him. The only receptacles we had to store the purified water were 2 demi-litre bottles of Rosé, which we had drunk on our first night. So, when we were pressed to come up with a treasure, it was as plain as the nose on our face! Water is one of the most precious commodities in the world, especially when scarce, so we filled those two little bottles with our valuable water and put them in the chest, along with an inspired ditty in the log book explaining the logic, which you can read at the end of this post!! You can see our little bottle on the left of this photo!We had a wonderful weekend on Lizard Island. In Watson’s Bay, we snorkelled over beds of giant green, blue and purple velvety clams (Tridacna gigas), each measuring up to 1.2 m across and weighing up to 230 kg. There were also 8 species of solitary corals (including a blue one) ; 350 species of hard corals; Feather Stars; Sea Pens; Sponges; and a wide variety of colourful fish : Black-and-white Damsels, Yellow Butterfly Fish, Six-barred Wrasse and Parrot Fish. It looked like an underwater forest! Unfortunately, I lost my snorkel on the last day somewhere along the way! Lizard Island is renowned for its fringing reef (photos 1 and 3) and its clam gardens (photo 2).We made friends with the yachties, who were heading for Darwin in July to form a safety convoy before sailing to Indonesia and risking the pirate threat. ‘Kalida’ belonged to a lovely couple, Alison and David, who were home-educating their children, and we also met a charming Norwegian couple called Rune and Eden. The yachties and campers naturally bond together, because both are prohibited from the resort, except for the staff bar. The yachties had commandeered a National Park table and set it up on the beach as a drinks venue for The Lizard Island Yacht Club, where we were invited the first night. We checked out the staff bar on the second night!Lizard Island was declared a National Park (1013 ha) in 1939, with the addition of other islands in 1987. While known as Jiigurru by the Dingaal people, Captain Cook called it Lizard Island after the goannas, including the Yellow-spotted Monitor (Varanus panoptes).and Gould’s Sand Monitor (Varanus gouldii), which he saw on the island. Unfortunately we didn’t see any, though we saw plenty of burrows in the sand! It is a dry island rather than a tropical one- 60 per cent of the island is grassland. The sheltered south-west side of the island supports an open woodland of Eucalypts, Acacias, Tibouchinas (photo 4), Brachychiton and Kapok trees (photo 3).
We walked up huge granite boulders to Cooks Look (359m), so called because this is where Captain Cook looked to find a way through the reefs in 1770. The 2.25 km walk takes 2-3 hours. We saw Yellow-bellied Sunbirds, Fruit Doves, Rainbow Bee-eaters and huge bumblebees, but no lizards! The summit was covered with beautiful heathland, stunted eucalypts, umbrella trees, orchids and ferns. We met a couple of dive instructors, who amazingly knew all about Dorrigo – it transpired that the couple, who managed the research station for the Winter/ Spring months, Bob and Tania Lamb, spent the rest of the year in Coffs Harbour and we had mutual friends from Dorrigo! Unfortunately, they are no longer there.There were fabulous views over the entire island of Watson’s Bay, Lizard Island Resort, the airstrip and Blue Lagoon.