Books on Specific Types of Gardens : Part Two : Vegetable Gardens; Sustainable and Organic Gardens; and Dry Climate Gardens .

Continuing on from my post last week, I am now focusing on vegetable gardens, organic and sustainable gardens and dry climate gardens, all of which are highly inter-related. In our view, vegetable gardens should only ever be organic and sustainable, as they contain the very food we eat, not to mention the importance of these concepts for our environment and the natural world around us! While most of the books are Australian, a few are written by English authors, notably Christopher Lloyd,  Joy Larkom and Jane Taylor. We might discuss the books by the first two writers first.

Gardener Cook by Christopher Lloyd 1997 was one of our early vegetable garden books and is a lovely introduction to the world of vegetable growing! His chapters on fruit trees, soft fruits, root vegetables, green vegetables, salads and herbs include delicious recipes and mouth-watering photographs by Howard Sooley. They include information on all the different types of fruit and vegetables; their varieties; cultivation and storage and lots of personal anecdotes.  An essential book for the gardener-cook and anyone who loves food!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-398

Christopher actually quotes from my next book: The Salad Garden by Joy Larkom 1984. It is a comprehensive guide to all things salad: creating salad gardens; the cultivation of salad greens; garden practices like raising from seed; sowing outdoors and indoors; germination; manures and compost; weeding; mulching and watering; greenhouses, cloches and container gardening; and pests and diseases; as well as specific techniques for salad plants like blanching; seed sprouting and cut-and-come-again; salad making – the different types of salad, preparation and presentation and delicious recipes for different salads and their dressings; and a large section on specific salad plants and their components – leaves; stems and stalks; fruits; bulbs, roots and tubers; cooked and cold legumes and potatoes; and the use of herbs, flowers and wild plants. The appendix includes salad crops for special situations; plants for saladini crops, a glossary and facts about salad crops, including their vitamin content, seed life, germination temperature and fertility index. It was written at a time, when Australia’s culinary world was suddenly and markedly expanding and has such a wealth of information, that I am not surprised that it was in Christopher Lloyd’s library!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-401The Cook’s Garden : From the Garden to the Table by Caroline Gunter and Karen Green 2000 is an Australian Women’s Weekly publication and has its typically high standard! After a brief examination of planning for production and cultivation for success (including recipes for home-made sprays), it follows a seasonal pattern with a seasonal diary of picking and planting chores for each different climate zone (temperate and cool; subtropical and Mediterranean; and tropical) and detailed notes on the fruit and vegetables grown in each season, including their cultivation in the garden and their preparation and presentation for the table. It is a very practical and useful publication and has some delicious recipes. It finishes with a brief chapter on preserving the season’s abundance including freezing; bottling and drying, as well as a map of world climate zones.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-399

Diggers Club also produces wonderful books on heirloom gardens, especially vegetables! The Australian Vegetable garden: What’s Old is New by Clive Blazey 1999 is one of their excellent publications. Clive is a passionate advocate for heirloom varieties of vegetables, because of their superior flavour, longer harvest period and disease resistance, not to mention their decorative qualities! In this informative book, he discusses the value and importance of heirloom varieties; different vegetable gardening styles; space-saving; and growing basics – the soil; water; mulch; temperature and heat; as well as seed sowing and saving. He provides a calendar and plan for growing a year’s supply of food in just 42 square metres and another one for seed sowing. And he discusses each heirloom vegetable in depth, including its historical background; varieties; preparation and management. There are so many varieties which I had never even heard of!  Apparently, Diggers have over 112 commercial and heirloom varieties of tomatoes. One day, I would love to grow their Moon and Stars watermelon , an old American variety!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-400Organic Gardening by Peter Bennett , first published in 1979, is another very important and seminal book for the organic vegetable gardener. We have the 6th edition, dated 1999, but there is now a new revised 7th edition, published 2006. Peter is THE authority on organic gardening in Australia and a forerunner of the current sustainable and environmental movements. Even though he has since died, he can still be seen in this You Tube clip at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua6Or0-W9W4. In his wonderful book, he talks about all the wonderful creatures that make up the life of the garden; the living soil; the preparation and maintenance of the organic garden; the use of natural fertilizers and acceptable alternatives to dangerous pesticides; composting; community gardens; and the organic cultivation of many different types of vegetables, fruits and flowers. His appendixes include photographs of useful tools and accessories for organic gardening, a table of the composition of compost ingredients; another table of the minimum depth of container required for growing vegetables in containers; a sowing guide for flowers and vegetables, including the best months for sowing in tropical/ subtropical, temperate and cold climates; best sowing method (seedbed or direct); the sowing depth for seeds; the number of days it takes for seedlings to emerge; the distance to thin seedlings apart; and the number of weeks till flowering for type of flower or vegetable. There is also a list of Goods and Services referred to in the book. This is an essential book for all gardeners! I cannot recommend it highly enough and the fact that it has sold more than 160,000 copies since it was first published in 1979 supports my claim!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-402

Now for another very important book, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison 1988. Bill Mollison (1928 – 2016) was the co-founder of the permaculture concept, along with David Holmgren, from 1972 to 1974. The first classes in permaculture started in 1981 and since then, thousands of people from all over the world have studied this concept. It is now practised in over 20 countries, providing  wonderful hope for the future.

Permaculture, a term coined from two words ‘permanent agriculture’, is defined in the book as ‘the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems, which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.’ Its principles include: working with nature, rather than against it; the problem is the solution; make the least change for the greatest possible effect; the yield of the system is theoretically unlimited ; and everything makes its own garden and has an effect on its own environment. It relies on cycles; pyramids and food webs; complexity and connections; diversity; stability and harmony and self-regulation.

Permaculture garden designs are based on flow patterns and zones:

Zone 1 (ideally ¼ acre for a family of four) is the most intensively used space in the immediate area of the house and can include vegetables and salad greens with a short growing season; small trees with commonly used fruits like lemons; worm farms; workshops and sheds; glasshouses, cold frames and propagation areas; rainwater tanks; fuel for heating like gas and wood; and small animal pens eg rabbits.

Zone 2 (ideally 1 acre for a family) is also used  intensively, but less than Zone 1 and  includes perennials and vegetables with a longer growing season; fruit trees and orchards; compost bins; bee hives; ponds; chook pens and enclosures for larger animals requiring regular attention.

Zone 3 (4 to 20 acres) is farmland for main farming crops; orchards of large trees like oaks and nut trees; livestock grazing by cattle and sheep; and water storage dams.

Zone 4 can be any size and contains wild and partly managed land for the collection of wild foods; timber production; a source of animal forage and more pasture for grazing animals.

And finally, Zone 5 is unmanaged wild and natural ecosystems with bushland, forest and wilderness conservation areas for observation; meditation and reconnection with nature. Hunting and gathering can occur in this zone.

Permaculture garden design also involves planning to control external incoming energies like wind, sun angles, unwanted views and danger from fires and floods, using a number of strategies to block, channel or open up an area to their impact. It is a HUGE topic and an enormous door-stopper of a book, but essential reading for gardeners interested in the philosophy behind permaculture!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-404

The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow 1996  is a much lighter, smaller, more portable and very practical book on the subject. It covers permaculture garden design based on the principles of time-and-motion; multiple use; working with nature; and synergy and using a seven mandala system of circles to maximize use of space and energy efficiency. She discusses : choosing a site; climate: light, temperature; wind; frost and pollutants; water; soil management; mulching, composting and worm farming; propagating plants; lunar planting; guild planting; maintaining the garden and coping with pests; building a chook dome; and the cultivation of fruit trees and a large variety of vegetables. It is a very useful book, especially for gardeners in Northern New South Wales.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-403

Two  more terrific practical permaculture guides, both of which I would not be without  and both written by gardeners in Maleny, Queensland are: You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat It Too by Robin Clayfield 1996 and Paradise in Your Garden by Jenny Allen 2002. Robin has practised permaculture since 1983 and lives at Crystal Waters Permaculture Village in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. This great publication is a fantastic book to dip into at random, with snippets of information on permaculture principles,  garden design and techniques; sustainability; natural pest control; cash crops; health and diet; food combining; natural cosmetics; food preservation; bulk cooking; bush tucker; gift giving; and even party games; all with lots of wonderful recipes from herbal teas to soups, nibbles and dips; salads and main courses; and desserts and party nights. It is a wonderfully generous book and has such a wealth of information to explore and digest! For more about Robin, see: http://dynamicgroups.com.au/ and  https://permacultureprinciples.com./post/permaculture-pioneer-robin-clayfield/.

blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-405Paradise in Your Garden is a beautiful book, both visually and creatively! Jenny uses photographs and experience gleaned from her own garden  to illustrate the  basic permaculture principles of multiple use; zoning; smart placement; elevational planning; diversity; recycling resources; homemade insurance; using nature’s gifts and seeing solutions, instead of problems. It’s an inspiring book, with lots of fun, imaginative ideas like aspirational trees; mediation areas; hammocks and swings; firepits and water features; places for wildlife; kids’ gardens; healing gardens and even an aphrodisiac garden! She has a large section on garden design and understanding site factors like sun and wind; weeds and stormwater; soil types; frost; and noise, providing an 18 point design checklist and techniques for managing these factors, like creating microclimates by managing Summer sun; building effective  windbreaks; managing soil, water, frost and weeds; and reducing annoying noises. She discusses integrated pest management and  smart use of monetary and time resources. Her descriptions of exciting and unusual edible plants and bush foods makes you want to go straight out and plant them and she also includes some great project ideas from sheet mulching and lasagne gardening (no-dig); building herb spirals, ponds, swales and paths; making worm farms, compost heaps and home brews for plants (comfrey tea); and planting green manure and cover crops. In the back of the book is a list of useful resources and recommended reading. For more current information  on Jenny Allen , read this article in the Hinterland Times on the 4th May 2016 at : https://www.hinterlandtimes.com.au/2016/05/04/is-the-love-affair-over/.

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And finally, a swag of books by the wonderful and knowledgeable Jackie French, who has a wonderful organic garden in the Araluen Valley near Braidwood in Southern New South Wales. On her website (http://www.jackiefrench.com/), she describes herself an Australian author, ecologist, historian, dyslexic and honorary wombat, which is all very accurate! She was also 2014 – 2015 Australian Childrens’ Laureate and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year and is the patron of Youth Educational Support Services (YESS),which delivers the MultiLit Literacy Program, developed by Macquarie University to improve reading skills in local primary and high school students. I volunteered with this rewarding program at Bega Valley Public School in our first year here. We have nine of her books, in order of their publication:

The Wilderness Garden: Beyond Organic Gardening 1992

Jackie has a delightful enthusiastic writing style and this book focuses on how to make gardening fun by changing our approach to gardening and using new or different methods or as she coins it: ‘the wombat way of gardening’ ! She has a very commonsense, practical approach in both her gardening and writing with chapters on different gardens for different places (wet areas; dry areas; polluted areas; seaside areas; and frost zones); feeding the garden (mulch; compost; nitrogen fixation); easy garden beds (weed-mats; hanging gardens; tyre gardens; raised beds; vertical gardens; and modified jungles (I just love that concept!); organic pest and weed control; and vegetable, fruit and flower gardens, with a very useful garden calendar at the end.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-411

Backyard Self-Sufficiency 1992

This publication has been a very well-thumbed book in our house over the years. While steering the reader away from the toil of total self-sufficiency, she has some wonderful ideas for still growing a fair proportion of your own food from staples (grains, legumes, oils and sugars and sweeteners) to vegetables and fruit all year round. We particularly liked her lists on fruit for small places; footpath trees; unusual fruits; edible fences; hardy fruiters and  fruit for cold, temperate and hot climates. She also has chapters on growing in adversity; scavenging in the suburbs; small animals for small gardens; saving the surplus; and the backyard supermarket and medicine chest with lots of great recipes for cosmetics and bath products; dyes; cleaning products; and drinks (beer, cocoa, tea and coffee and coffee substitutes). Her final chapter on self-sufficiency, including her self-sufficient owner-built house, and her general philosophy of simple living resonates so strongly with us and should be a blueprint for all human beings, living in harmony with nature and all is inhabitants on this very special planet we call home. This book also finishes with a comprehensive calendar covering planting; harvesting; other jobs; pests and fruit. This is such a useful book!

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Switch : Home-based Power, Water and Sewerage Systems For The Twenty-First Century by Jackie French and Bryan Sullivan 1994

This little book expands on the concept of the self-sufficient integrated house and gets down to the practical nitty-gritty of ways to actually achieve this. It examines home-based power systems (solar, wind, steam, petrol or diesel, hydro and hybrid or combined systems), as well as batteries and invertors; installation and maintenance and living with your own power system. There are separate extra chapters devoted to lights and a wide variety of appliances (power tools; vacuum cleaners; stoves; kettles and toasters; refrigerators; computers; sound systems; irons; washing machines and solar dryers, to name but a few); and heating and cooling (new house design and orientation; ventilation; insulation; greenhouses; pergolas and more active heating and cooling systems, as well as specific problems and solutions). The authors then turns their attention to water supply, including measures to reduce use; grey water systems; rainwater tanks; bores; pumping water and hot water systems. Sewage treatment is next and includes information on outdoor dunnies; septic tanks; methane digesters; composting toilets and finally garbage processing: the concept of reduce/recycle; compost; worm farms and chooks. Even though this is now quite an old book, it was cutting edge when it was first published. Renewable energy and sustainable technology and alternatives have come a long way since then (though it still has a long way to go and should have been de rigueur by now for every home!), but the basic principles are still the same and this is still a very valuable little book.

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The Earth Gardener’s Companion: A Month-by-Month Guide to Organic Gardening 1996

Exactly what it pupports to be! A very comprehensive month-by-month guide to organic planting and harvesting and pest control solutions, with some wonderfully obscure recipes along the way from culinary delights like Chinese pickled vegetables, soy cheese and beetroot flour to chilli massage oil and even a chilli bosom enhancer!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-413

Making Money From Your Garden 1997

This is another Earth Garden magazine publication and its treatise on ‘Time or Money’ is sufficient reason alone to own this book. We have photocopied and shared that article so many times in our lives, as it is the basic creed by which we live! While sufficient money is important, so you are not stressing out your little brain constantly, ‘sufficient’ being the key word here, time is a far more valuable and precious commodity, which is often under-valued in today’s busy world with its hectic lifestyles! While money may have been a constant challenge for us, we have raised a family to adulthood and always met our basic needs, and our lives have been very rich and fulfilled, with time for creativity, family fun and relaxation. In this book, Jackie shares so many ideas and recipes for making a living from your home and garden from selling surplus or gourmet produce, seeds, potted trees and bush tucker; herbs; bonsai; flowers; and animal produce to making garden gnomes, topiary pots and  terrariums; natural bath products, cosmetics and cleaning products; paper and textile crafts and of course, delicious culinary delights to opening your garden or providing accommodation or a much-needed service like child-minding; home or specialist catering; garden design; or running kids’ parties. So many wonderful suggestions….!!!

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Growing Flowers Naturally  1997

The world of flowers is such an enormous and magical subject, it requires a whole book of its very own! They speak to the soul and fulfil the human desire for beauty! Like Jackie state in her introduction, one can never feel poor when surrounded by beautiful flowers, especially when they are straight from your own home garden! This sentiment applies to home-grown vegies too!!!  After citing a dozen good reasons to grow flowers, Jackie explores flower magic; popular native flowers; cut flowers; drying flowers; roses; bulbs, corms and rhizomes;  perennial and herbaceous borders; and climbers, shrubs and trees, before delving into the practical advice about starting a flower garden; different ways of growing flowers; flower problems and their solutions; and propagating flowers. She even covers medicinal flowers and includes recipes for perfumes, skin and hair products, and flower food. She finishes with an alphabetically ordered flower compendium with notes on their description; requirements; sowing times and potential problems. I’d forgotten how good this book was!

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Seasons of Content: A Year in the Southern Highlands 1998 is a lovely dreamy read, which should possibly be part of next month’s post on inspirational gardens, but I am including it here, amongst Jackie French’s other books! Written in the form of a diary, it describes a year in the Araluen Valley, following the seasons and enjoying all that nature has to offer. It’s a delightful read, as well as being packed with delicious recipes! Equally good to read all at once or dip into for a quick revitalizing pick-me-up!

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How To Guzzle Your Garden 1999 is a great book for kids and for inspiring the gardeners of the future! Linking gardens with food and eating is a brilliant and inspired decision, and such an obvious notion when you stop to think about kids! As a very popular childrens’ author, Jackie knows what turns kids on and this book is so much fun for a kid to read! I also love the pencil sketches by her illustrator Judith Rossell! The book is written in a question-answer format. It addresses making jam, cordials and sweet treats and eating edible weeds and flowers and bush foods, as well as the more practical aspects of planting from seed and pips; tree planting; and making compost.

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There are also lots of fun projects like growing plants in joggers, bottles and boxes; growing an apple tree in an orange; and making an egghead with watercress seeds or shrunken heads from apple cores. I blame Jackie for my daughter’s optimistic (and we thought doomed!) decision to grow a pineapple in a pot from the discarded top and leaves in the depths of the Armidale Winter, but would you believe, it did actually produce a small pineapple on our move to the warmer subtropical climes of Dorrigo !blogspecific-garden-bksreszd50image-423blogspecific-garden-bksreszd50image-423-copyThe Best of Jackie French  2000 Our final book and a culmination of over 30 years of gardening wisdom, this book is typical of all her other books- light-hearted and fun, enthusiastic and inspiring; practical and knowledgeable and incredibly generous with recipes, not to mention eminently readable! There is SO MUCH in this book, I will have to leave it to you to peruse at your leisure!!! Suffice to say Jackie has been a wonderful ambassador for sustainability, self-sufficiency and organic gardening!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-412

Sustainability is a such an important issue, especially nowadays with the increased incidence of droughts and rising temperatures associated with global warming. The following books shed light on ways of dealing with our uncertain future and all the challenges it issues.

Earth Garden, the publisher of two of Jackie French’s books, has also produced a publication called The Earth Garden Water Book 2004, with lots of interesting articles by Earth Garden magazine contributors and readers on  water collection, purifying, conservation, reuse and recycling and water-saving tips.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-422

Readers’ Digest elaborates on these principles in their book Waterwise Gardening 2010 with chapters on climate; soil; waterwise garden design; waterwise plants; wise use of water; plant care and maintenance and a waterwise plant guide.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-419

And finally, two increasingly important books when it comes to choosing plants, which can cope with hotter and drier climates:

Even though Jane Taylor is English, her book: The Dry Garden: Gardening With Drought-Tolerant Plants 1993 focuses on Australian gardens and includes many Australian natives. It was published just before the start of the Millenium Drought (late 1996 to mid 2010) in South-Eastern Australia, so was a very useful book during that period. She briefly discusses dry climates and drought; plant mechanisms for coping with lack of water and the maintenance of dry climate gardens (including notes on soil; planting; windbreaks; lawn and lawn substitutes; and irrigation techniques), but the majority of her book is devoted to an in-depth discussion of over 1000 drought-tolerant plants of all types: trees and shrubs; conifers; palms and cycads; climbers; perennials and ephemerals; grasses and bamboos; bulbs; and succulents and xerophytes, the latter being plants especially adapted to dry conditions. In the back are lists of plants with special characteristics: bold and lush foliage; sword-shaped leaves; fragrance; wind-tolerance; and horizontal growth, making them ideal for ground-covers. It certainly is an inspiring book and offers hope and optimism for future gardens which, although different, can still be beautiful havens.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-421

Plants For a Changing Climate by Trevor Nottle 2004/ 2011, an Australian garden writer and historian, who has also written books on cottage gardening, perennials and old roses, which I have already discussed in Part 1 Specific Gardens last week and favourite Rose Books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/03/21/books-on-specific-types-of-gardens-part-one-cutting-gardens-cottage-gardens-and-herb-gardens/ and https://candeloblooms.com/2017/01/10/fabulous-rose-books/ . Being a South Australian gardener, Trevor has had to cope with a hot, dry climate for over 30 years and is well-versed in Mediterranean-style gardening. Unfortunately, with climate change and global warming, the rest of us will have to adjust to a different style of gardening, less dependent on unfettered water use and more appropriate to future climatic conditions. In the introduction to his second edition and concluding chapter, Trevor examines the future implications, especially for gardeners, in great depth and offers possible solutions for the challenges ahead. He has divided his plants into a number of chapters with interesting titles : Shademakers; Statement Makers; Structure makers; Scent Makers; Silver Superstars; Useful Food Plants and Vegetables; Super-Special Plants; Geraniums; Succulents; Perfect Perennials; Roses and Other Pricklies; Little Potted Histories; Surprises From Last Summer and a Motley Crew of 10 of his favourite plants. Trevor is so knowledgeable about Mediterranean plants and so generous with that knowledge. It is a great addition to any horticultural library and is particularly pertinent in contemporary gardens.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-234

Next month, I will share some beautiful dreamy and inspirational garden books from our library, as well as some fascinating books about gardening and plants!

Books on Specific Types of Gardens : Part One: Cutting Gardens, Cottage Gardens and Herb Gardens

Having described General Garden Guides and Garden Design books last month, this post is devoted to books about specific types of gardens: Cutting Gardens; Cottage Gardens; and Herb Gardens.  Later this week, I will post Part Two, which will examine books about Sustainable and Organic Gardens and Dry Climate Gardens.

  1. Cutting Gardens

Having loved flowers from an early age, both inside and outside the house, and having been alerted to the less environmental aspects of the modern flower trade during my floristry course, I have always hankered after my own cutting garden, where I could grow blooms organically and sustainably, including more fragile flowers, which do not transport well and hence never appear at the wholesale florist markets (and therefore, not in retail floristry either!), and which I could pick straight out of the garden and into a bucket of water with minimal disturbance to the flower and maximum potential and vase longevity! There are many books on this old, yet contemporary concept, but here are a few of my favourites!

Sarah Raven tops the list with two books:

The Cutting Garden: Growing and Arranging Flowers 1996  and The Bold and Brilliant Garden 1999. Both are sumptuous inspiring books with lots of practical information as well. Sarah puts all her ideas into practice at her organic farm, Perch Farm, in East Sussex and has a wonderful web site. See: https://www.sarahraven.com/. She is one very busy lady! Not only does she sell a huge variety of seeds, plants and bulbs, but also anything to do with the garden: tools; clothing; ties, markers and labels; and baskets and those delightful traditional gardening trugs; as well as floristry – tools; floral pin holders; tools and vases. She has catalogues; instruction booklets and videos; a newsletter and a fantastic blog; monthly updates on seeds to plant and jobs to do; a range of delicious recipes using home-grown produce and a enormous range of courses and events. Courses cover the whole gamut from flowers and floristry courses to vegetable gardening; food and cookery and gardening in general. She hosts garden tours of both Perch Hill and Sissinghurst, her husband Adam Nicholson’s family home, as well as Open Days (see: https://www.sarahraven.com/customer/pages/open-days). She even has her own You-Tube channel ! : https://www.youtube.com/user/sarahravensgarden.

Sarah and Adam have lived at Perch Hill for 15 years, converting a rundown ex-dairy farm to a 90 acre organic farm, running Sussex cattle, Middle White pigs and Romney Cross sheep, as well containing Sarah’s wonderful Cutting Garden, specifically for harvesting. The four central beds are filled with hardy, half-hardy and biennial plants, with 2 or 3 different crops in the same square foot of soil in each calendar year. In the second growing season, half-hardy annuals predominate from High Summer through to Autumn and are gradually replaced by biennials. There is also a highly productive 1000 square metre vegetable plot; two ornamental gardens: the Oast Garden, which is a riot of colour and structure, and the calmer Front Farmhouse Garden; and a willow bed and silver birch copse for providing the raw material to make plant supports. If you would like you know more about this inspiring lady, see:

http://www.sussexlife.co.uk/people/celebrity-interviews/sussex_plantswoman_sarah_raven_is_in_bloom_1_2258962.

But back to her books!!! The Cutting Garden is now a flower arranger’s classic. She has chapters on planning and stocking the garden for all seasons and garden sizes and types; everything to do with flower arranging in all seasons, including step-by-step guides for creating some of her stunning bouquets, balls and wreaths and notes on cutting and conditioning flowers to choosing the correct vase; and a detailed guide to flowers and foliage throughout the seasons, including varieties good for cutting; conditioning and cultivation. It is a truly beautiful book and one I would not be without!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-383

Her second book, The Bold and Beautiful Garden, is equally lavish and stunning! Her bold use of colour and floral combinations are breath-taking! Her chapters follow the seasons from Spring to Early/High and Late Summer and finally Autumn with sections on planting in the sun; shade and partial shade; and damp ground. At the beginning of each chapter is a montage of photographs of blooms used in each season, presented on a black page for full contrast to the jewel-like colours! There are also watercolour maps of planting schemes. It is a magnificent book! Sarah has written many more books. See: https://www.sarahraven.com/home_lifestyle/signed_books_stationery.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-384Another favourite book about cutting gardens is The Cut Flower Patch: Grow Your Own Cut Flowers All Year Round by Louise Curley 2014.  I love this book for its simplicity, its practicality and its environmental ethos. Her chapters cover planning, making and maintaining a cutting patch; all the different flower types from annuals and biennials; bulbs, corms and tubers; and foliage and fillers; cutting and displaying flowers year round; a short history of traditional flower growing, including a list of websites for sustainable floristry; and a year on the patch with calendars for sowing, planting and cutting. It’s a lovely little book and very readable.

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The Flower Arranger’s Garden by Rosemary Verey  1989  is my final book in this section, although really all aspects of gardening are inter-related and blend into each other, like my next section on old-fashioned cottage gardens, which traditionally were the main source of many of the flowers used to decorate the house. I mentioned Rosemary Verey (1918-2001) last month in my post on garden design:https://candeloblooms.com/2017/02/21/garden-guides-and-garden-design-books/. She was a renowned plantswoman with a beautiful garden at Barnsley House in Gloucestershire and has written many books on gardening. This book is a worthy addition to any flower arrangers’ library. She writes about planning the garden to provide flowers for the house year-round, with watercolour paintings and planting keys for a variety of different garden configurations: a Front Garden; a Water Garden; Long Sunny or Shady Borders; Island Beds with a cool or hot colour theme; and even a Herb Bed for flower arrangers. There are photos of different floral arrangements for each season;  a comprehensive list of 64 essential plants for the flower arranger’s garden, grouped  by colour range; and finally a chapter on gardening and flower arranging techniques.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-381

  1. Cottage Gardens

I will start with the doyen of cottage gardening, another very famous British plantswoman, Margery Fish, who lived at East Lambrook Manor, Sussex  and  also wrote many books. She was also featured in my post last month on garden design books. I have her Cottage Garden Flowers 1980, a paperback reprint of her 1961 book, in my library. Being an old book, it only has black-and-white photos, which lend it an historical charm, but the text is as readable as ever, with chapters on Spring flowers and bulbs; Summer beauties and Autumn Tints; old cottage favourites; herbs and double blooms; and climbers, trees and shrubs.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-394-copy

Christopher Lloyd’s Flower Garden by Christopher Lloyd 1993 is another classic by the renowned plant writer, plantsman and owner of Great Dixter, Sussex, where his flower borders and plant colour combinations are legendary. Divided into seasons, each chapter explores seasonal plants; garden design and structure; specific plant types like tulips, roses and ferns/ foliage plants/ biennials/ self-seeders;  and different garden types eg meadows/ ponds / pots and sinks and wall planting, all liberally supported by examples from his own garden.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-397

I also have a number of general books on old-fashioned flowers, including:   A Heritage of Flowers: Old-fashioned Flowers for Modern Gardens by Tovah Martin 1999; Antique Flowers: Classic Plants for the Contemporary Garden by Katherine Whiteside  1988; and  Medieval Flowers by Miranda Innes and Clay Perry 1997.

Tovah Martin is an American author and horticulturalist and an expert on old-fashioned varieties. See: http://www.tovahmartin.com/. She has written a number of books, including Tasha Tudor’s Garden, a wonderful book, which I shall be discussing next month. In A Heritage of Flowers, she discusses the importance of heritage varieties in maintaining biodiversity and the continued health of the garden and our natural world; wildflowers and cottage-garden style gardening; and plant propagation techniques. She has a comprehensive and detailed directory of perennials and biennials; annuals; and bulbs and climbers, with interesting notes on the history; description; planting and maintenance;  and recommended species for each plant. She also has a terrific directory of resources in the back of the book, including organizations, specialist nurseries, selected European nurseries and places to visit.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-388Katherine Whiteside is another American garden writer and her book Antique Flowers is a beautiful coffee-table book, packed with information on the history of heritage flowers and a portfolio of 42 antique flower species, many of which I grow and all beautifully portrayed in stunning photographs by Anne’s husband, Mick Hales.It also has a list of sources and societies and organizations in the back, including Australian nurseries. It’s a really beautiful book!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-390Medieval Flowers is the English equivalent of the last book, both in content and presentation, and describes a time when plants were primarily grown for their medicinal and culinary properties and were often imbued with symbolic and magical qualities. All the plants discussed are pre-Tudor (before 1500) and non-hybrid, where possible. The book follows the seasons, describing the dominant plants of the time, as well as medieval practices like feasting and fasting; herbal dyeing; potpourri; winemaking and keeping the medieval house; ancient rituals and the uses of each plant in medicine, cosmetics and the kitchen. It describes Queen Eleanor’s garden and medieval garden design, and finishes with a medieval plant directory of 72 commonly used plants and a list of gardens to visit. Another very interesting read!!!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-391Heritage Gardening 1994  by prominent garden historian, Judyth McLeod, fits perfectly into both the cottage garden and vegetable garden sections of this post, but because it also features heirloom flowers and is written by an Australian writer, I am describing it here, as it leads very neatly into the remainder of this section, featuring books about cottage gardening in Australia. Judyth is passionate (and very knowledgeable!) about heritage varieties of both flowers and vegetables. Her first chapter also examines medieval plants, then she progresses in the following chapters  to describe 16th and 17th century plants; the European kitchen garden; ancient herbs; heirloom fruits; my favourite Old Roses; cottage garden treasures; and imported heirloom plants from Mexico and South American, North America and Asia. Plants are coded with cultivation symbols including plant type; growing conditions and seasonal planting. There is so much interesting history in this book, as well as notes about future directions, seed saving and organic practices. There is an excellent directory in the back for specialist nurseries and seed sources throughout the world, as well as a list of international journals and suggestions for further reading.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-420

So now for books specializing in cottage gardening in Australia…!

The first book is, appropriately titled just that! Cottage Gardening in Australia by Christine Dann and Rachel Tracey 1994, though its subtitle goes on to say : A Guide to Plant Identification and Design. It also covers a lot of history from the English cottager’s legacy to early colonial gardens. It then examines contemporary cottage gardening and its underlying principles – productivity, practicality, a profusion of plants and ecological sensitivity, before expanding on cottage garden design and practical techniques for achieving it. Finally, it has a list of nurseries, seed suppliers and gardens to visit in Australia; a photographic identification guide for roses and cottage garden plants and a tabled appendix of traditional English cottage garden plants with details about the scientific and common names;  colour; plant type; height; season and sun and moisture requirements. It is an excellent book if you can only have one in your library!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-385

South Australian garden historian and writer, not to mention founder of Heritage Roses in Australia Inc (!), Trevor Nottle, who has also written books about heritage roses (see my post on Rose Books : https://candeloblooms.com/2017/01/10/fabulous-rose-books/), has also written two books pertinent to this section:  Old-Fashioned Gardens 1992 and Growing Perennials 1984. In Old-Fashioned Gardens, he introduces us to Australia’s garden history and the 19th century colonial garden and describes the different sections and elements of the cottage garden in Australia – the ornamental front garden, garden paths and hedges; the side gardens, orchards and drystone walls; the productive kitchen garden in the back yard and potted plants on the verandah. Part Two has detailed descriptions of different cottage plants – the self-sowing annuals and perennials; the roses of yesteryear; geraniums and fuchsias; jonquils and tazettas; and finally permanent bedding-out plants, including succulents and grasses. His appendix includes old-fashioned plant sources, seed suppliers and societies in Australia and New Zealand.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-386 Growing Perennials is a much simpler and very practical paperback, which defines perennials and has notes on perennial propagation techniques; establishing and maintaining a perennial garden; pests and diseases; and the use of perennials in the herbaceous border; mixed borders; pots and containers; and as accent plants. There is a quick reference guide to plants in the back, as well as lists of societies and sources of plants. He covers over 650 perennials, including old favourites and recent introductions with over 110 colour illustrations, including many new Australian-raised varieties and suggestions for special situations, interesting foliage and colour groupings. A very useful book indeed!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-387

And finally, the delightful Frances Kelly, who has written a number of books, of which I have quite a few! They include: A Simple Pleasure: The Art of Garden Making in Australia 1982; The Tiny Utopia: A Minimum Effort Maximum Effect Garden Book 1977, written in conjunction with Pauline Clements; A Perfumed Garden 1981 and The Illustrated Language of Flowers: Magic, Meaning and Lore 1992. I have to admit that unfortunately, I cannot place my finger on A Simple Pleasure – either I have given it away in a fit of ruthlessness or it’s packed away in a box somewhere! Not that it wasn’t any good, but I obviously have too many books on the history of cottage gardening in Australia! Maybe, the  colour photographs of the afore-mentioned books won over the black-and-white ones of this missing or discarded book! Here is a link, in lieu of a photograph! See : http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Simple-Pleasure-Garden-Making-Australia-Frances-Kelly-/261081232160?hash=item3cc9a77320.

I loved The Tiny Utopia! It’s a quirky little book with delightful pencil sketches, illustrating suggestions for ‘the Australian gardener with limited space and limited time’. She looks at balcony gardens; water gardens; natives and problem areas; bulbs and roses; walls and trellises; trees; vegetables; companion planting and container gardens, and includes lists of annuals and perennials for seasonal flowering, full sun and shade; and climbers, ground covers and pot plants.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-395 A Perfumed Garden is also a lovely little book, especially because I place a high emphasis on scent in the garden! Most of the plants I grow are fragrant and I feel the lack of perfume in a plant is a major defect, only rectified by other admirable qualities like colour and longevity eg zinnias and dahlias! In this book, Frances gives a brief history of perfumed gardens and plants, including Australian flora; a few pointers for garden design and maintenance; lists of plants chosen for colour; height; shade tolerance and aromatic foliage; and detailed notes for 83 different kinds of scented plants, including many Australian natives. The last two chapters discuss the history of the perfume industry and includes recipes for home production of scented products -perfume, potpourri, pomanders, scented water, talcum powder and aromatic oils.

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Finally, The Illustrated Language of Flowers, a fascinating book about the magic of flowers – the ancient myths and meanings behind them; their use in medicine and cookery, flower arranging and their cultivation and preservation. Beautifully illustrated by botanical artist, Amanda Cuncliffe, and liberally peppered with poetry and quotations, this lovely book is a boon for both the cottage gardener and the flower arranger. There are so many interesting avenues to pursue from flower dialogues,flower language for brides, floral clocks and flowers for sacred or scented gardens to Bach Flower remedies, aromatics and recipes for natural bath products and cosmetics, perfume and attars, scented waters, sweet bags, fragrant beads and even rose delicacies and other edible flowers.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-396

3. Herb Gardens

I have always loved herbs and started my first herb garden when I was 16 years of age. Formative influences include John and Rosemary Hemphill, whose name is synonymous with herb gardening in Australia. We have three of their books : Spice and Savour by Rosemary Hemphill 1964; Herbs For All Seasons by Rosemary Hemphill 1972 and Hemphill’s Book of Herbs by John and Rosemary Hemphill 1990.  All books have a wealth of information about herbs, including fabulous recipes.

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Spice and Savour focuses on dried herbs; spices and aromatic seeds and their uses, while Herbs For All Seasons  takes a seasonal approach to herbs. Spicy fines herbes; nourishing pot herbs and flowers for fragrance and health are discussed in Spring; salad herbs and old-fashioned trees (bay, elder and lemon verbena) in Summer; harvest fruits and seeds in Autumn (crab apples; cumquats; quinces; rose hips; anise; caraway; dill; fennel and coriander) and warming pungent herbs and restorative and tonic herbs in Winter.

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The final book, Hemphill’s Book of Herbs, has chapters on the history of herbs, herb gardens, propagating and cultivating herbs and specific notes and photographs on all the herbs, including notes on description; history and mythology; cultivation; harvesting and processing; and uses (culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and in companion planting). There are further chapters on the use of herbs in medicine, cooking, herbal teas, cosmetics, and gifts with plenty of wonderful recipes.

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Two more Australian interesting herb gardening books, both published in 1996,  include : Themes For Herb Gardens by Kim Fletcher and Gardens For Pleasure by Brodee Myers-Cooke.

Themes For Herb Gardens is a fascinating book with some wonderful ideas for theme gardens from Craft, Tussie-Mussie and Dye Gardens; Biblical, Saint and Mary Gardens;  Shakespeare and Knot Gardens; Gardens for Cats and Children; Witch and Zodiac Gardens; Physic Gardens and Gardens for the Senses; and even an Aphrodisiac Garden!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-418

Gardens for Pleasure elaborates on this idea of theme gardens with Sensory Gardens (Sound, Smell, Touch, Taste and Night Gardens); Wildlife Gardens (Butterflies, Birds and Bees); Relaxation  Gardens (Reading, Resting and Bathing Gardens); and Interactive Gardens (Tea Garden, Posy Garden and Maze Garden). Each chapter has a detailed garden plan with planting suggestions (herbs and other plants) and notes for gardens of different sizes (large, small and tiny). There is also an excellent chapter on landscaping, including horizontal elements (steps; paths; paving; and lawns) and vertical elements (walls and fences; arches and tunnels; pergolas and arbours; and tripods and poles). Finally, there is a Plant Index Guide with a key guide for plant size and type; sun and water requirements; frost-hardiness; container-growing; and a variety of garden types, as well as detailed notes about each plant. It’s a lovely imaginative book, which gives you an idea of the myriad of possibilities when it comes to different types of garden.BlogSpecific Garden BksReszd25%Image (416).jpg

On Thursday, I will be discussing the second part of this post: vegetable gardens, organic and sustainable gardens and water-wise and dry climate gardens.

Mt Imlay National Park

In early Spring, we finally made a visit to Mt Imlay, a long-held ambition ever since we first arrived here. Mt Imlay (886m) dominates the skyline from Merimbula to the Victorian border and is accessed via Burrawang Rd, 20 km (15 mins drive) south of Eden, on the Far South Coast of New South Wales. Here is a photo of the National Parks map:blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0676 It was named after the Imlay Brothers, who settled in this region in the 1830s and 1840s, establishing a huge pastoral, whaling and trading empire. It was known to the local aborigines as ‘Balawan’ and is a place of spiritual significance for them. Apparently, it was used as a site for telepathic communication with groups to the north near Wallaga Lake. The foothills were selectively logged in the 1960s and a fire trail was built to the summit, giving access to the trig station, but the track was closed in the 1970s to allow the area to revegetate. There is also a Telstra Sea Phone facility, built in 1994 and serving as the last communication link between Melbourne and Sydney for coastal vessels.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0736 In 1972, 3808 ha of steep, heavily forested country around the peak was reserved as Mt Imlay National Park, which has since been extended to 4822 ha. The park has a variety of habitats and is an important refuge area for the conservation of the local native flora and fauna, including a number of threatened or geographically significant species. The summit is of particular scientific interest because of its predominantly undisturbed nature, the presence of several threatened plant species and its biogeographical similarity to Tasmanian peaks. I will be describing our walk soon, but first some introductory notes about this beautiful national park.

Geology

Most of Mt Imlay National Park was formed during the Ordovician Period, 500 to 435 Million years ago, from sedimentary and metamorphosed rocks of the Mallacoota Beds, part of the Southern Highlands Fold Belt, including greywacke, sandstone and shale. The summit of Mt Imlay and the upper slopes are younger, with Devonian (395 to 345 Million years ago) rocks of the Merimbula Group, lying above the Ordovician sediments. The Merimbula Group includes sandstone, conglomerates, quartzite, siltstone and shale. Quaternary sediments form narrow river flats along the Towamba River on the northern edge of the park.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0917blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0770blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0995blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0888blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0899 The soils on the summit and ridges are shallow with many rock fragments and the upper slopes are very sandy, loose and very erodible and subject to movement. I always marvel at the tenacity and optimism of seedlings growing in rock!blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0919 The summit area is only small and drops steeply in all directions with cliff lines in the north and east and a series of steps on the western slope. These steps are formed by the differential erosion of the alternating bands of sandstone, conglomerate and shale. Ridgelines extend from the summit, dissecting the rest of the park, which has narrow rocky ridges and deep gullies, as seen in the photo below.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1016Vegetation

The ridges and dry lower slopes are covered by open forest, dominated by Silvertop Ash, Eucalyptus sieberi and also includes Yellow Stringybark E. muelleriana and occasionally  E. globoidea and Blue-Leaved Stringybark E. agglomerata.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0918 The understorey is shrubby and  includes Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis, Hickory Wattle Acacia falciformis, Shiny Cassinia Cassinia longifolia, Tetratheca thymifolia , Narrow-Leaf Geebung  Persoonia linearis, Acacia obtusifolia , Prickly Broom-Heath  Monotoca  scoparia , Smooth Geebung  Persoonia levisBanksia collina, Bedfordia arborescens, Hakea macreana, Mountain Speedwell Derwentia perfoliata, which had just finished flowering when we visited, and Hibbertia saligna, which is regionally uncommon and at the southern limit of its range. The steep south-east facing slopes (especially just below the ridge crest) are covered by stands of White Ash, E. fraxinoides, a species with a restricted distribution.

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Tetratheca thymifolia
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Narrow-Leafed Geebung Persoonia linearis
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Blanket Bush Bedfordia arborescens, so called for the supersoft undersides of their foliage.
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Hakea macreana
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Mountain Speedwell Derwentia perfoliata had just finished flowering.
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Hibbertia saligna

The moist sheltered gullies and slopes support a tall open forest of Yellow Stringybark, Monkey Gum E. cypellocarpa and River Peppermint  E. elata, with a shrub layer of Hop Goodenia  Goodenia ovata , Blue Olive-Berry  Elaeocarpus reticulates, Lance Beard-Heath  Leucopogon lanceolatus and Fireweed Groundsel  Senecio linearifolius.

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Monkey Gum, also known as Mountain Grey Gum, Eucalyptus cypellocarpa, has beautiful bark.
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Blue Olive-Berry Elaeocarpus reticulatus
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Lance Beard-Heath Leucopogon lanceolatus

There are also pockets of rainforest, including Black Olive-Berry, Elaeocarpus holopetalus, Banyalla Pittosporum bicolour, Soft Tree-Fern Dicksonia antarctica, Hard Water Fern, Blechnum wattsii and Pomaderris species, including Pomaderis phylicifolia subsp. ericoides.

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Black Olive-Berry Elaeocarpus holopetalus
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Soft Tree-Fern Dicksonia antarctica
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Hard Water Fern Blechnum wattsi
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Pomaderris phylicifolia subsp ericoides

Other ferns include: Maidenhair fern  Adiantum sp (Photo 1); Bracken fern  Pteridum esculentum; Coral Fern  Gleichenia rupestris (Photo 2); and Rock Felt Fern  Pyrrosia rupestris (Photo 3).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0898blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0744blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0767 Climbers include Austral Sarsparilla, Smilax australis, which is shown in the first three photos at various stages and Drooping Mistletoe, Amyema pendula (Photos 4 to 5).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0777blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0762blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0766blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0747blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0750On the rocky summit is a woodland, dominated by Narrow-Leafed Peppermint, Eucalyptus sp. aff. radiata, but also including Silvertop Ash and Messmate E. obliqua. There is also a stand of less than 200 trees of the very rare, endemic Mallee Gum, Eucalyptus imlayensis, which emerges from a closed tall heath, containing Leptospermum scoparium (1st photo below), Scented Paperbark, Melaleuca squarrosa, Mat Rush Lomandra longifolia, Sunshine Wattle Acacia terminalis (2nd photo below), Prickly Broom-Heath Monotoca  scoparia, Common Oxylobium Oxylobium arborescens, Boronia pinnata and Hibbertia dentata.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0934blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0686 Other plants we saw on our walk included: Hairpin Banksia Banksia spinulosa (photo 1), Old Man Banksia Banksia serrata (photo 2), and plenty of flowering Epacris impressa (photos 3 and 4), which was quite spectacular!blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0837blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0862blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0980blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0902The  Imlay Mallee is only found at a single site on the steep rocky east-facing slope at an altitude of 850m to 870m. It grows to a height of 7 metres and is multi-stemmed with smooth orange-brown and grey bark, which is shed from the stems in ribbons. Seed production is rare and there are no juvenile plants recorded. Mallee Gum appears to be related to Tasmanian eucalypts, an association backed up by the presence of Eriostemon virgatus, which normally grows in Tasmania, Mt Imlay being one of the few mainland locations of this shrub. Known by its common name, the Tasmanian Waxflower, it is the only four-petalled Eriostemon in Eastern Australia. The Weevil Aterpus kubushas, also found in Tasmania and the Victorian Alps, has also been collected on the summit, further evidence of Mt Imlay’s biogeographical similarity with the Tasmanian peaks.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0909blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0903

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Eriostemon virgatus

The summit of Mt Imlay also has a number of threatened and biogeographically significant plant species including: Pomaderris costata, Persoonia brevifolia (close to northern limit), Monotoca elliptica, Saw Sedge Gahnia subaequiglumis, Prostanthera walteri, and Leafless Pink Bells, Tetratheca subaphylla, seen in the photo below.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0798 We enjoyed seeing the early Spring blooms of another endangered endemic species, Boronia imlayensis, seen in this photo. It had only just started flowering on our visit in late August.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0964 We could not identify this shrub- perhaps someone could help us?blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0839blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0838Recent mapping of the park revealed that half of the park is fragmented old-growth forest, whose hollows provide essential habitats for all the arboreal mammals.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1004blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1005blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0774Fauna

Native mammals include: Red-Necked Wallaby, Swamp Wallaby, Greater Glider, Brush-Tail Possum, Eastern Pygmy Possum, Platypus, Wombat, the Large-Footed Myotis and Bush Rat. There are three threatened species: the  Long-Nosed Potoroo, the Koala and the Tiger Quoll. Native birds recorded include: the Gang-Gang Cockatoo, the Superb Lyrebird, the Little Eagle, the Wedge-Tailed Eagle, the Wonga Pigeon, Common Bronzewing, Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo, King Parrot, Grey Currawong, Little Lorikeet and Red-Browed Finch.  Reptiles include: Red-bellied Black Snake, Brown Snake, Lace Monitor and Cunningham’s Skink.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0675And now to our walk, as seen in the National Parks map above! From the Princes Highway, a 20 minute (10 km) drive up the gravel Burrawang Rd through the East Boyd State Forest with dramatic examples of the devastation of clear felling practices along the way , as well as revegetated areas from 1977 and 1978, brings you to the Burrawang Picnic Area and the start of the Mt Imlay Summit Walking Track.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0670 At the start of the walk and the last stretch to the summit are Boot Cleaning Stations with an information board (seen in the 2nd photo), to stop the spread of the Cinnamon Fungus, Phytophthora cinnamomi.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0689blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0688 These include a brush to clean your boots and a dip with a chemical solution to wash your soles.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0877blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1034 Already, a number of species have been affected including the Austral Grass Trees, Tea Broom-Heath, Common Heath, Leafless Pink Bells and Hairpin Banksia.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0863 The fungus attacks the roots and causes them to rot and has already destroyed large areas of Grass Trees in particular.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0866blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0867The track is described as a challenging 3 km walk, rising 600 m to the summit (6 km return; 3 to 4 hours), but because the walk is broken up into different sections and there is so much botanical interest, we managed it quite easily with photography stops along the way. Also, I think we are fairly fit, as our daily walks in Candelo involve steep hills either side of the valley, and we weren’t even stiff the next day. I was very impressed with my usually suspect knee, which behaved beautifully on the walk with not a twinge of pain! The walk follows the ridge up the right hand side of the mountain, shown in the photo below.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0737 The track is marked by silver tags on the trees and there are interesting information boards at intervals.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0822blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0752 The first stretch of the track is a bit boring through dry open eucalypt forest along the old road, but once you reach the Austral Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea australis) ridge, it becomes much more interesting.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0704blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1022 We ascended a steep path past Dianella tasmanica outcrops (photo 2) to our first set of large boulders.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0720blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0996blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0734 We skirted around a natural amphitheatre on the same level, then ascended to the base of a cliff with huge boulders under a tall forest of Silvertop Ash trees.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1015blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0789blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0790blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0978 A steep slope leads to a razorback ridge, which runs 500m to the trig station.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0942blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0954blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0890 There were lots of Spring wildflowers in a variety of colours- whites, creams, yellows, pinks, blues, purples and reds. Here are a few more photos. In order: Eriostemon virgatus, Lance Beard-Heath Leucopogon lanceolatus , Hakea macreana, Pomaderris phylicifolia subsp. ericoides, Sweet Wattle Acacia suaveolens, and Common Heath Epacris impressa (last two photos).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0923blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0870blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1013blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0841blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0684blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0869blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0979 The stunning photo opportunities were further increased by the spectacular views of the coast, north to Mt Dromedary (photos 1 and 2) and Eden, including the wood chip mill (photos 3 and 4); west to the mountains (photos 5 and 6); east to Green Cape and Bay Cliff and the Wonboyn River (photos 7 to 10);  and to the far south, the holiday shacks, beaches and river entrance at Mallacoota (photos 11 and 12).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0973blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0967blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0926blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0930blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0956blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0848blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0842blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0844blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0831blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0931blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0946blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0947Unfortunately, the day was a bit cloudy and grey and the summit quite cold and windy, so we ate a quick picnic lunch at the top, disturbing a roosting Little Eagle in the process.blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0906 Then descended back to the Silvertop Ash forest, where we met the only other bushwalkers we saw that day- a couple with a six year old daughter, whose timing was better as the sky had just turned a bright blue for their arrival at the summit. Their views would have been even better! These photos  contrast our day (photo 1) and that of the next couple (photo 2).blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1036blogmtimlay20reszdimg_1014 We really enjoyed visiting this iconic local landmark. Next week, we explore the Merrica River, another stunning walk in Springtime. I will finish with a lovely photo of the stump of a dead Austral Grass Tree, which captured our attention!blogmtimlay20reszdimg_0924

Favourite Private Specialty Gardens : Part 2 : Dry Climate, Sustainable and Small Gardens

The Millenium Drought in Australia from 1995 to 2009 had a massive impact on Australian gardens, resulting in the adoption of a more appropriate style of garden design for our dry climate, especially given the future effects of climate change. These gardens are predominantly made up of low water use plants, which are adapted to drought, many of which are sold by Lambleys Nursery. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/08/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-nursery-gardens-in-victoria and http://lambley.com.au/. I have already discussed a perfect example of a Mediterranean Garden, Lixouri, in October’s post. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/09/20/favourite-private-country-gardens-part-2/.

Dry Climate and Mediterranean Gardens

Bedrock

141 Karoonda Highway (on Bookpurnong Tce), Loxton, South Australia   2.5 acres         Ph: 0427213322  BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.29.46BlogPrivSpec25%Reszd2014-10-26 10.43.07Once a quarry and the old drive-in site, Bedrock is situated in Loxton, 250 km east of Adelaide. Loxton is known as the ‘Garden Town of the Riverland’, due to its position on the Murray River, and has many low water usage, sustainable landscapes. We visited it in late October 2014 as part of the Renmark Rose Festival.

Bedrock is a magnificent grand scale garden with a tropical lush feel. BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.43.51Chris and Raelene Schultz developed the garden from scratch, when they bought the old drive-in site back in 2000. Hundreds of tonnes of rock and stone were used to build retaining walls and edgings, as well as a rustic stone cottage (2014) for accommodation and small functions.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.44.38 Recycled materials from the 1850s were used in the latter, which complements the 1923 weeping mulberry and their grandmother’s 40 year old roses.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.35BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.19 There is a pond with a cascading waterfall and waterlilies;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.44.09BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.43.16 a beautiful wisteria-covered arbour;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.45.23 and a sunken iris garden with an urn water feature.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.31.22BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.49.31BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.49.16BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.48.23BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.31.39Everything about this garden is dramatic and bold from the entrance sign to colourful pansy and ranunculus beds and the dry creek bed and stone wall feature.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.45.43BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.44.28BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.35.32BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.30.25BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.55BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.00BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.31.26 There are native plantings, a fruit orchard, trees and annuals and lots of quirky locally-made animal sculptures. It will be interesting to see this relatively new garden in a few years’ time.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.32.50BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-10-26 10.33.16Hill House

26-30 City View Drive, Wandana Heights, Geelong, VIC   0.4 ha (1 acre)

This is a much older garden (25 years old) on the top of the hill in Geelong, with panoramic views over the city and Port Philip Bay to the You Yangs and Melbourne.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2131BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2161 Originally a 90 year old windbreak plantation, the garden is built on a series of terraces, linked by curved hedges and stone walls.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2136BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2121BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2219 Entry is via a gatehouse structure with a shingle roof, which came from the rotunda building of the original Ceres Lookout.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2272BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2120 Recycled materials have been used extensively throughout the garden from the walls made of railway sleepers, salvaged from the South Geelong Railway renovations, and the petrified timber slab, excavated from a local quarry, under a metal tree in the south-west corner to the use of Japanese bath tubs and North Indian well buckets as plant containers and the retired band instruments hanging in the trees.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2146BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2181BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2149BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2228BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2138BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2203 This eclectic and whimsical garden has so many wonderful design ideas, which can be adapted to small gardens, courtyards and dry, shady areas.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2216BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2118BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2226BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2130BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2265BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2207 The use of Tuscan toppings, instead of lawn, saves water. Steel baskets of orchids are supported on the original pylons of the Portarlington Pier beneath the photinia hedge, while a storm-damaged cypress is used as a base for a metal flame sculpture.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2168BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2143BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2256BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2190 Other trees include: salvaged Red Gums (350 years old) on the eastern and western boundaries; Conifers; Gleditsia ‘Ruby Lace’ trees; Bottle Trees; pollarded, standardized Catalpa trees (ball-like canopy), Crepe Myrtles, Maple collections, Fiddlewoods and many palms.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2267BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2133 Bromeliads grow in the shady sheltered southern part of the garden, along with azaleas, while roses prefer the sunnier sites.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2222BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2155 There are many many pots, as well as original sculptures, and lots of unusual succulents including this strange Elephant’s Foot, Dioscorea elephantipes, which can live to 70 years old, shown in the bottom photo below.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2245BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2214BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2164BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2221BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2258

Meanderings

62 Kennedy St, Castlemaine, VIC  Ph (03) 5472 4202    0.25 acres

A much smaller garden in Castlemaine, Central Victoria, an area renowned for its tough climate with extreme temperatures, heavy frost and low rainfall, as well as depleted soil from goldmining days. The garden was created by Barbara Maund in 1991 and was inspired by the English Arts and Crafts Movement, as well as medieval monastery gardens. The only plants from the pre-1991 garden were a 100 year old box hedge, a large mauve lilac, a nandina thicket and belladonna lilies. The garden was started around the 1895 Victorian stucco house and is semi-formal in nature. The design displays strong structural elements from the geometric garden rooms to the hedges and topiaried plant forms (circles, arcs, balls, domes, squares and rectangles), but is softened by a patchwork of self-sown annuals, perennials and blowsy old-fashioned roses, as well as the creeping thyme along the brick paths.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 394BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 398 Local landscaping materials were  used : gravel in the paths between different garden sections; old bricks contain garden compartments and create a series of circles, a shallow round pool (to reflect the moon) and the well; stone is used for stepping stones and paving; and slate for mulch , as well as iron and other recycled materials.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 396BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 397BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 405BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 401BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 408BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 419BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 406BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 412 Plants were chosen for their toughness and include perennials, succulents, iris, seasonal bulbs, roses and self-seeding plants. Many of the aromatic plants are Mediterranean in origin : lavenders, thymes and rosemary, as well as silvery artemesia, santolina and lambs’ ear, Stachys byzantinia. Very much a collector’s garden, there are 37 fragrant Heritage roses, fruit trees and over 70 self-seeding plants, all in one quarter of an acre!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 409BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 413 There are many different colour themes from the purple driveway tunnel and northern yellow borders to the central blue walk and circle and the white southern beds.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 415BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 411I loved the bright red berries of the pyracantha, trained along wires the length of the verandah and complimented by red begonias and white wooden stars.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 410 The topiary of the Australian map outside the old shed and the square box were very impressive.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 403BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 404BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 421 There were also lots of seats in the sun, shade and shelter, from which to admire the many vistas. In late Spring, the plants are treated to home-made compost and leaf mould, while blood and bone is applied in March and August. The plants are self-mulched with clippings year round. Watering is done by hand, using water from rainwater tanks and a grey water system.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 417BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 418BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 414When we visited Meanderings through the Australian Open Garden scheme back in April 2010, it was owned by Larraine and Jim Kollmorgen, but it has since been sold in 2014.

Coastal environments are also tough for gardeners with the salt-laden winds and sandy soils. I have already described Villa Lettisier, which protects its garden from the coastal winds coming straight off Bass Strait with huge hedges. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/09/20/favourite-private-country-gardens-part-2/. Corio Bay is much more sheltered, but still presents challenges to gardeners with strong winds, low rainfall and alkaline soil. We visited the next two gardens on the Bellarine Peninsula on the shores of Corio Bay near Geelong on the Cottage By the Sea Inc Open Day in March 2014. For the 2016 program, see: http://cottagebythesea.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/GARDENDAY2016.pdf

Seaview

965 Portarlington Rd., Curlewis, VIC BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.25.02A beautiful coastal country garden developed from an empty paddock back in 2000 around a newly built house. Right on the shores of Corio Bay, the property has superb views of the You Yangs.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.15.22BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.20.38 While the house was being built, native trees were planted on the south-west corner of the garden to protect it from the prevailing winds.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.24.11BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.23.16 In 2001, a lawn of Santa Ana couch was laid down- a perfect choice, as it does not require watering. The  large east-west garden bed was the first to be planted. I loved the vegetable garden.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.17.06BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.17.17 An original dam was converted to a small lake with rocks and plantings. A 35m deep bore was sunk in January 2007, its water feeding into the dam.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.06.26BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.05.58BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.05.04BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.07.35BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.07.44BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.09.46 Drought-tolerant plants, suited to coastal environments, were chosen and include : a rosemary hedge; a white cedar underplanted with flaxes and grasses; a Chinese elm to provide shade near the dam; an oleaster hedge on the southern fence, planted 2003 ;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.03.05BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.21.54BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.23.37BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.12.21BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.13.39BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.03.48 And a succulent garden, planted mainly from cuttings in 2010.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.01.18BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.01.29 There were also lots of interesting sculptures and wire work on display and for sale.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.10.48BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.16.00BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.29.52BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.08.29BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.08.48BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.13.48 Brambledale Farm

2115 Portarlington Rd., Drysdale, VIC

Bought by Elizabeth Vorrath in 1972, Brambledale Farm is a working farm, named after the original late 1800s cottage, which fell into disrepair and was demolished in 2009. Originally running sheep and growing crops and potatoes, the owners now agist horses and fatten cattle.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.23.22  A new house was built in 1974, with extensions in 1998.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.05 A stand of Tuart Gums protects the house from the harsh south-westerly winds.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.46.23 John Patrick designed a circular driveway with a pond, now a dry river bed. A haha wall at the front allows for uninterrupted superb views of Corio Bay and the You Yangs.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.23.36BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.20.57BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.53.47BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.22.05BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.25.35BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.25.39 A tennis court area was built in 1998, incorporating a stand of Lemon-scented Gums and two oaks, planted in 1975, including a Golden Rain Tree. A retaining wall and wide steps leading up to the house were built in 2006.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.41.24BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.43.37BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.24.42 This is a large well-established garden with formal and informal areas and superb plantings and combinations of colour and texture.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.50BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.37.49BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.33.09BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.44.28BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.19.25BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.27.14 Since the Millenium Drought of the early 2000s, the garden was replanted with hardy plants with low water requirements including : grasses and succulents; echiums and sedums; euphorbias and heleniums; kniphofias; a variety of salvias, lavenders and other sun-loving perennials; and a ground cover of Chinese Star Jasmine.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.27BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.27.50BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.25.05BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.27.25 Gravel replaced lawns and a new gravel garden, inspired by Michael McCoy, was built in 2008. I loved the bright sunny colours of these heleniums.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.45.24BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.45.15BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.44.13BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.44.05 I also loved the abundance, colour and variety in this garden, discovering new plants like the Castor Oil plant, Ricinus communis (photos 1 and 2); Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’ (photo 4) and Jack-in-the-Pulpit or Cobra Lily, Arisaema (photo 3).BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.29.09BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.29.19BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.23.54BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.16Attila Kapitany

1 Lough Court Rd, Narre Warren North, VIC   0.4 ha (1 acre)

http://www.homelife.com.au/gardening/garden-design/succulent-water-wise-garden

The ultimate dry climate garden, this dramatic succulent/cacti garden fully warrants its video footage, seen here at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jyfWFVHHVw  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T27q1Z6D4ko.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 641 Attila Kapitany bought this residential house block, overlooking an ornamental public lake, formerly a large farm dam, with his wife Michele back in late 2002. Attila has vast experience (over 30 years worth) growing  and marketing succulents and cacti. Once director of a family business of garden centres, including Paradisia, Australia’s largest succulent and cacti nursery (http://www.paradisia.com.au/), he was a President of the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia for 10 years (http://www.australiansucculents.com/). He has written 15 books on succulents and cacti, including seven books, co-authored with Rudolf Schulz. His book, Australian Succulent Plants, describes 100 of the 400 Australian succulent species, including 60 new species. Below is his hand-drawn mud map from our visit in March 2010.BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_0324This is a very impressive, steep garden, built on terraces with garden rooms linked by paths of granitic gravel and sand. The design developed organically, rather than having a master plan, and gives the illusion of rivers of plants flowing down to the lake.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 604The block is screened on three boundaries (top and sides) by a 3m cypress hedge of Cupressocyparis leylandii ‘Castlewellan Gold’, planted from 2002 to 2003, with the front of the block left clear for the lake view. There are two holes cut in the hedge for peepholes over the garden to the lake.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 607Water had to be carted by bucket in the first 12 months, then mains water was installed with five garden taps positioned around the perimeter. The hard, dry, impermeable, nutrient-deficient soil has been improved with loads of mulch and humus and semicircular banks of compost and soil have been created on the downside of each plant to collect water runoff from higher up the hill and prevent it from disappearing down to the dam.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 575BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 591 There are over 10 000 plants of 1000 species, all raised by Attila and Michele from seeds and cuttings, collected on their travels, except for the central Bottle Tree, Brachychiton rupestris.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 594BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 621

There are 30 species of bottle trees, raised from seed collected from their natural Queensland habitat; blue-grey yuccas and Dasylirion wheeleri, grown from seed collected from their habitat in the desert regions of the USA; architectural agaves, gymeas (spear lilies) and aloes;BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 590BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 601 a saltbush collection ;BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 577 colourful ground cover succulents like aeoniums and crassulas;BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 617BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 580BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 596BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 581BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 599BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 584BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 583 and plants with foliage colour and nectar -producing flowers (for birds, bees and butterflies).BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 630BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 627 Seventy percent of the plants are succulents, while the rest are natives. One fifth of the plants are native to Australia. There is such an eclectic mix of shapes, patterns, textures and colours.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 598BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 624

BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 612BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 614 Height is provided by the bottle trees, the spear lilies and the White Silk Floss tree, Ceiba insignis, as well as the vertical stone installations of the Ruins. These angular basalt rock pinnacles mimic the Lost City of Northern Territory, while a patch of rusty red sand in the centre of the garden represents the Red Centre of Australia.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 635BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 622BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 633 It is well worth visiting this amazing garden, which is at its peak in late Winter/ Spring! Be advised to stay on the path though, to avoid being stung, poisoned or falling down the slope into the dam!

BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 631BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 637BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 620BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 602More information can be seen in a Garden Drum article ‘A Sucker for Succulents’ by Tim Entwhistle in 2013: http://gardendrum.com/2013/09/17/a-sucker-for-succulents/.

Barwon Heads

29-31 Bridge St., Barwon Heads, VIC    1128 m2

A much safer, much smaller garden, but equally fascinating in a totally different way !BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.52.23 Showcased during the Geelong Sustainable House Day in September 2014 for its retrofitting of a 1900s weatherboard beach house (including under deck water tanks between the house and the garage), it was the predominantly native garden around the old house, which really impressed us, especially as it had only been created in the last four years!BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.45.01BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.43.29BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.48.04 I loved the recycled brick edgings; the winding gravel paths;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.13BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.50.06 the skillful planting for colour and texture at all times of the year in such a small space;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.50.47BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.52.57BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.58BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.38BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.45.37BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.46.31 the use of old stumps, logs and branches and rock in the landscape, as well as lots of pots and wooden half-barrels; the beautiful grasses;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.51.07BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.47BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.50.29BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.48.43BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.46.27BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.49.58 the blue mosaic dish and rock bird bath and the espaliered japonica on the front fence.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.53.47BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.49.02BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.47.03BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-09-14 14.46.13Sustainable Gardens

Markos Garden

21 Barnett St Hampton, Melbourne, VIC   16m x 45m

http://www.markdymiotis.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRKrJuEN5uA

The last two gardens have focused on particular groups of plants (succulents/ cacti and Australian natives). This small suburban garden is no different, only this time it’s Mediterranean food plants! Its owner, Mark Dymiotis, hailed from Cyprus 55 years ago and bought this house with a bare garden in 1985. He has a passion for both Mediterranean food and the philosophy of Simple Living and has incorporated them both into his lifestyle and career , teaching adult education courses on vegetable growing, the Mediterranean diet, making sourdough bread and pizzas, oven building, wine making and olive preserving. It is amazing how much he can grow and produce in his tiny garden!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 015BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 014 The front garden on the street is Mediterranean cottage style and contains 3 cherry trees, 2 pomegranates, a persimmon, a grapevine pergola and a significant salvia collection, maintained by the Salvia Study Group. Mark grows salvias for their flowers, perfume, medicinal properties, drought and disease resistance and frost tolerance.

BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 020BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 009BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 021BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 018 The back garden has a small lawn with two olive trees; an orchard of four varieties of plums, three varieties of apricots, two types of pears, many varieties of figs, mandarins (two varieties on the one tree), a lemon tree, a Kiwi fruit vine and another grapevine pergola; raised vegetable beds with frames; a compost heap; three large rainwater tanks;  a shed (for wine making, olive preserving and making tomato sauce) and two brick wood-fired ovens for bread and pizzas.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 016BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 022BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 024BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 017 There are also two climbing roses (Lady Hillingdon and Iceberg), a mock orange, a jasmine and a honeysuckle. The raised vegetable beds are constructed with concrete and brick walls, to reduce water loss and insect nests, and are totally organic. Mark maintains high productivity with the use of compost, manure and green manure to improve the naturally sandy soil; crop rotation and companion planting: nasturtiums under the fruit trees; basil and stinging nettle in the vegetable patch; marigolds with tomatoes and zinnias with cucumbers and beans. In Summer, he grows tomatoes, capsicums and chillies; cucumbers, zucchinis and eggplants; marrows, corn and beans; and onions, purslane and amaranth. The Winter garden produces broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower; broad beans; rocket and coriander; and garlic, fennel and globe artichokes. Parsley, silver beet, celery, cos lettuce, spring onions and a huge variety of herbs are grown year round. I would highly recommend a visit to this garden, especially if you love home-grown food!

BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 011BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 013BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdfeb2010 025Hendrik’s Garden

9 Camden Rd Hughesdale, Melbourne, VIC   14km SE from Melbourne CBD  0.4 ha  15m x 48m

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3135331.htm

http://www.vanleeuwengreen.com/static/uploads/files/edible-eden-wfdgvdouwmov.pdf

Another very impressive, productive small garden, created by professional horticulturalist and landscape gardener, Hendrik Van Leeuwen, who bought place with his partner Nicole in 2005. Hendrik  started his landscaping business, Van Leeuwen Green (http://www.vanleeuwengreen.com/) with Jake Green in 1995. They design and construct, renovate and maintain gardens, so he had plenty of experience and design knowledge to put into practice. After renovating the Californian bungalow house, Hendrik and Nicole turned their attention to the bare front and back gardens, which afforded them a blank canvas with which to work. Design features include: foliage texture, colour and form; traditional seasonal flowering events; plant zoning for similar requirements; the planting of low water use, low maintenance species, which thrive in hot, dry conditions, and aesthetic food plants (vegetables, fruit and herbs). Sustainable features include:  the use of sustainable hard landscaping; rainwater harvest drip irrigation and recycled grey water; recycled red gum sleepers around the garden beds and chooks to recycle food scraps and produce poultry manure.

The formal front garden matches the design of the house and contains a front hedge of Lilly Pilly ‘Bush Christmas’ and two rectangular beds, edged with English box, containing central crab apples; Chinese Plumbago, Ceratostigma wilmottianum, echeverias and purple succulent, Aeonium arboretum ‘Schwarzkopf’; grasses and heliotrope. It has a restricted but effective colour palette, with bold massed plantings for visual effect and weed suppression and foliage contrast in colour and form.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 276BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 280The south side of the house is cool and protected, and has the appearance of a lush tropical rainforest, with two types of Strelitzia, S. nicolai and S. reginae; clivias; native frangipani and giant liriope. All the plants were chosen for their low water requirements, longevity, toughness and ability to withstand heat waves. Away from the house as you approach the back garden are large bottlebrush trees; grasses (Poa and Pennisetum) and sedges (Lomandra); herbaceous perennials, both native (kangaroo paw) and exotic (salvias and red hot pokers). Citrus, stone fruit and a Natal plum, Carissa grandiflora, grow along the southern fence.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 244BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 261BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 260The back garden is highly organized and productive with an organic vegetable garden, edged with railway sleepers; a chook pen; fruit trees and shrubs and herbaceous perennials.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 248BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 255 Bifold doors open out onto sustainably grown speargum decking, penetrated by a single olive tree, forming an outdoor living space. Salad greens are grown in boxes under the kitchen window for easy access and the deck is shaded by a pergola, clad with grape and kiwi fruit vines. A small bed in front of the decking contains cool climate bananas (Abyssinian banana, Ensete ventricosum), strelitzia and a bangalow palm. A low clipped rosemary hedge follows the decking near the outdoor toilet and a clipped lillypilly hedge screens the workshop and borders a small lawn, turfed with heat- and drought-tolerant Kikuya grass, which is watered with grey water. Key accent plants include a giant ornamental banana in the middle of the backyard and a lemon-scented gum at the very back.The northern boundary is planted with apple/ peach and citrus trees; mixed vegies and herbs (globe artichokes) and shrubs and perennials.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 273 The formal vegetable garden, near the chook pen, is heavily mulched with pea straw and chook manure to enrich the naturally sandy loam soil and is watered using drip irrigation and rainwater. I loved the red stems of the rainbow chard, the Russell lupins, planted for their flowers and soil nutrition, and the bamboo trellis of peas.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 274BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 252BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 251 There is also a round paved area with a fire pit (Castlemaine slate) for entertaining.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 272BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 263 There were so many inspiring ideas in this small garden! I loved its illusion of the tropics, despite the fact that it is situated in the far south of Australia. The neighbours also had a great sense of colour!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 283BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 284BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdgrampians 4 285Small Gardens

Marg’s Tropical Cornucopia

66 Prospect Hill Rd, Camberwell, Melbourne, VIC   45m x 20m

This garden is another wonderful, inspiring, highly  productive ‘tropical’ garden in a small space, containing many semitropical plants rarely grown in Melbourne! Ian and Marg bought their 1883 house in 1984, then the neighbouring property in 2003. There are no lawns, just brickwork and paving, and the relaxation spaces have a distinctly Moroccan feel, from the outdoor dining area surrounded by bamboo to the rooftop garden and plant selection, especially the orange and pink bougainvillea ‘Tango’.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 010BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 001BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 015BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 002BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 008 In 1990, they planted casuarinas, a big figtree in the backyard, persimmons leading to the front verandah and Lamarque roses by the seat in the front fence, but the rest of the garden was planted from 2004 on, after the installation of two rainwater tanks (10 000 litres). A hydroponic vertical garden was inspired by Patrick Blanc. They even have their own beehives, which produce 30 kg honey annually, right in the heart of Melbourne!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 021BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 022

It is hard to comprehend the amazing variety and number of plants in this tiny garden : over seventy food-producing plants, forty different fruit trees and hundreds of medicinal herbs and perfumed plants, reflecting Marg’s background as a cosmetic chemist. Food plants include: three different types of avocado, seven types of banana, three fig varieties and three different grapes, apricots and other pome trees, limes,  guavas, a persimmon, a pomegranate, and a huge variety of tropical fruit trees like black/green sapotes, custard apples, mango, mountain pawpaw, jabotica and the delicious-sounding icecream bean!BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 005BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 012 There are bottle trees, candlenuts, plants with red/black and variegated foliage, cannas and bougainvilleas for colour, giant bamboo for sound and many many succulents for their hardiness, architectural structure and Winter colour.

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Marg has achieved her incredible success by incorporating organic matter and weathered granitic sand, rich in volcanic nutrients and sourced from Dromana, into the sandy topsoil, as well as using her own foliar spray, Marg’s Magic Mix, a concentrate made from plant, fish and mineral sources, which is diluted and then sprayed on the plants.

The Nook

5 Tavistock Rd, Monbulk, VIC   0.2 ha (0.5 acres)

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3062916.htm

BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 022Another garden packed with interesting plants and valuable ideas for small gardens, The Nook is situated at Monbulk, the centre for the horticultural industry in Victoria, especially flowers, which are exported all over the world and berries for jam making, and the 1920s cottage is part of that legacy, having once been owned by fruit pickers. Val and Don Jackson extended and refurbished the house after they bought the block in 1999. Don was a contemporary fellow horticulturalist of Edna Walling, the association marked by the planting of three silver birches, Edna’s signature plants, at the entrance.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 021 The design of the romantic English cottage style garden owes much to Don’s efforts, but sadly he passed away in 2007 and the garden became Val’s therapy.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 008BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 016BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 010 Design elements include:  arches, trellises and arbours, covered with roses and clematis; meandering brick paths, steps and paving; a small bridge to a rose garden; a secret garden; an alpine rock garden; a borrowed landscape of the neighbour’s chestnut trees; distinct microclimates; and separate areas to suit plants with different growing conditions.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 007BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 006 BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 017BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 015BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 019Azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, hydrangeas, cyclamens, cliveas  and hellebores are grouped in the shade of mature walnut trees and a hazelnuts, while roses, succulents and vegetables are in the sunnier parts of the garden.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 018BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 012 I loved the herbaceous borders, filled with so many lovely cottage plants like foxgloves, delphiniums and salvias. Roses include: Mutabilis; Pink Perpetué; Clair Matin; Lavender Lassie; Paul Transom; and Graham Thomas , while Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’ and C. montana ‘Tetrarose’ cover the walkway. There are fuchsias and pieris; cordylines and ferns; many succulents; unusual evergreen plants like the aromatic Adenandra from South Africa and the burgundy Chinese Fringe Flower, Loropetalum chinense ‘Roseum’; and interesting bulbs like Hoop Petticoat daffodils and tuberous plants like Rhodohypoxis, which were new to me.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 020BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 013BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdgrampians 1 014 This delightful small garden is packed with colour and perfume and is still open to the public through Open Gardens Victoria. See: http://www.opengardensvictoria.org.au/companies/25/62/The-Nook .

Coburn

134 Wooralla Drive Mt Eliza, Mornington Peninsula, VIC   0.2 ha (0.5 acres)

Finally, Carole Coburn’s delightful small garden, developed over 20 years, and fully deserving of the lyrical description by Open Garden Australia, back in October 2009 : ‘a Persian carpet, embroidered with rivers of jewel-like colours’. It did not disappoint!BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 150 The dense plantings include: lots of old-fashioned climbing and rambling roses, sprawling over pergolas, fences and arbours (eg. Mme Alfred Carrière);BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 172BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 148BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 168BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 169 Many small trees like maples, silver birches, a weeping cherry and palm trees;BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 149BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 130BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 126 And massed plantings of campanula, foxgloves and lamium; and Spring bulbs.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 173BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 170BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 147BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 156BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 158 The winding paths are bordered by hedging plants and there is a tranquil lawn.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 155BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 144BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 140 There is also a natural curved shaped pool with shallow stone shelving and an old timber decking, its edges softened by creeping plants, a spa and a pottery outdoor heater.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 136BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 137BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 162BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 160 I loved the use of planters and pots.BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 131BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 157BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 164Visiting these amazing gardens has vastly enriched my knowledge of garden design principles and plants and all of them are prime examples of the huge potential in gardens, irrespective of garden size, climate and budget. I feel so lucky to have been able to access them through Open Gardens Australia, as well as various garden festivals, and look forward to getting to know some of the beautiful gardens in our new state. We have just returned from a weekend in the Southern Highlands, Sydney’s equivalent to Melbourne’s Mt Macedon, so I will finish the year with a December post about the fabulous gardens we visited. Next year, I am focusing on my beloved roses! Such wonderful dreamy gardens…!!!

 

 

 

 

South East Forests National Park

We are very lucky to live close to this wonderful national park, which encompasses a wide range of habitats from swamp and grassland to old growth forests and escarpment and gorge country and a variety of wildlife, including 48 mammal and 33 reptile species. The 115, 177 ha park was formed in 1997, amalgamating earlier national parks and state forest reserves including : Genoa, Tantawangalo, Bemboka, Yowaka and Coolangubra National Parks, which were all formed in 1994, after a major campaign to protect the last of the old growth forests in South-East New South Wales from woodchipping, which began in 1969 and continued for 25 years, despite increasing opposition. It is part of less than 10 percent of the old growth forest, which survives in Australia after 200 years of clearing. These old growth forest are incredibly important, as they provide nesting hollows for birds and arboreal marsupials. The South East Forest campaign has been documented in a film called ‘Understorey’ by David Gallant. See: https://www.facebook.com/Understorey-a-film-on-the-south-east-forest-campaigns-940034452718427/.

Last April, we spent a wonderful day exploring some of the local landmarks, including Alexander’s Hut, one of the few remaining cattleman’s mountain huts; Nunnock Swamp and Grasslands; Woolingubrah Inn; and finally Myanba Gorge. A few days later, we searched out ‘Fernleigh’, the original farm of Alexander Robinson, and tried to determine the ridge, up which he used to drive his cattle to their Summer pastures.

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Fernleigh‘ on middle of far right edge; The ridge is between the house and the forested mountains at back.
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Another view of the ridge
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‘Fernleigh’, in front of the ridge up into the mountains

During our search, we photographed a pair of beautiful Wedge-Tailed Eagles, sitting high in a dead tree, looking back to the heavily forested escarpment.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 12.41.21BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 12.40.25 If this majestic bird was travelling inland from the coastal fringe, she would fly over the fertile pastures and undulating hills of ‘Fernleigh’, ‘Tantawangalo’ and Mogilla to the heavily forested 400 Million year old granite escarpment of the South Coast Range (also known as the Bega Batholith), which lies between the Victorian border in the south and Bungendore and Braidwood in the north.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-24 12.53.02

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Heavily forested slope and escarpment

Travelling west, she would cross steep-sided gorges, a myriad of swamps and rolling forest country to the open grasslands and volcanic basalt of the Monaro Tableland.

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The old homestead

‘Fernleigh’ was the original home of the Robinson family. Every Spring, they would take 40-60 head of cattle up into the mountains to reduce the pressure of stock grazing on their lower holdings during Summer. Using dogs and an experienced beast as a leader, they would take a full day to herd their animals up this gentle ridge into the dense escarpment forests along old bridle trails : the Postman’s Track and then onto the Cattleman’s Link Trail to their Summer pastures at Alexander’s Hut, seen here in the National Parks map at the hut. For the rest of this post, I will be referring to National Parks and Wildlife Service by its acronym, NPWS.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.03.09 The farmers would let their heifers and poddy calves loose in the bush for a few years. Cattle moved freely between different escarpment properties, so all the cattle grazing families would muster the cattle together and shared each other’s huts.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.01.11 Alexander’s Hut is one of the few remaining mountain huts left. Originally, the property was owned from 1898 to 1922 by Charlie and Ethel Soloman, who ran the General Store in Cathcart.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.00.34Their original hut was on the site of the current pear tree (photo below), but it burnt down and was replaced by a one-room slab hut, built by George Summerell and his sons Norm and Harry of Cathcart, who incidentally built many of the mountain huts.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.07.16 Local trees were felled, the logs were cut into lengths and split into slabs with broad axes, mauls and frocs, then they were dragged to the site by bullock teams. Slabs were fitted closely together into grooved timber plates at the top and bottom, then the gaps between slabs covered with thinner timber boards to reduce draughts.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.12.22 The roof was corrugated iron, under laid with a hessian ceiling, glued with flour paste (see photo below). There was a fireplace on the right wall, but on the later addition of a second room, the fireplace was relocated and the old fireplace wall was patched up.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.02.02 The property was sold to Alexander Robinson in 1922 and used by three generations of the family, until it was sold in 1990 to the Wilkinsons, who replaced the patched wall with a window and looked after the property until it came under the control of NPWS.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.11.42 It is possible to stay there – both camping and in the hut- a great way for absorbing the atmosphere of the early days!BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 15.11.56It is such a peaceful beautiful spot now, though it would have been very different back in the early days. Apparently, there was a rabbit plague between the 1920s and 1950s and the Robinsons would often stay up here for a fortnight to dry the skins of the trapped rabbits, before giving them to their Nimmitabel agent, who sold the skins in Melbourne and Sydney. They would often trap 60 rabbits in a night. Rabbit fur was used to make felt hats, worn by the soldiers during the world wars, and the rabbit carcasses were exported to Post War Europe during food shortages.

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Red-Necked Wallaby
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Another local resident!

Since the introduction of myxamatosis, rabbit numbers are now under control, but unfortunately feral deer and pigs are still a major problem and cause considerable damage to the fragile Nunnock Grasslands and Swamp, which are both endangered ecological communities. Other threats include: the introduction of weeds; the spread of Phytophthora (dieback); climate change and illegal hunting.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.01.30Nunnock Swamp (seen in the NPWS map above) was formed in a shallow depression, perched on the edge of the escarpment of the South-East Ranges (part of the Great Dividing Range), at the headwaters of several creeks.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.10.29 Covering more than 100 ha, this subalpine bog is comprised of a complex array of basins and arms, which reflect the underlying valleys, cut into the impervious granite rock by ancient small streamlets and  which vary in degrees of saturation, according to seasonally fluctuating water levels and the particular section of the swamp.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.10.15 The northern part (photo above) is permanently saturated , with a large body of surface water, fringed with sedges and sphagnum moss beds (Sphagnum cristatum), and underlain with a deep layer of peat, formed over many centuries, and which acts like a huge sponge, holding lots of water.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.16.08

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Sphagnum Moss

The central and southern part of the swamp is drier and dominated by seasonally saturated shrub and grass communities with fringing woodland. Occasionally, it dries out with periodic droughts. One arm of the swamp drains to the east into the Bega River, but most of the swamp drains south-west into the tributaries of Bombala River and thence to the Snowy River in Victoria.

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Southern Swamp with waterlilies

BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.56.27We had a lovely 4 km walk around the edge of the swamp, allowing us to appreciate the wide diversity of habitats:

Tall Wet Forest: Moist slopes and gullies: Brown Barrel Eucalyptus fastigata; Monkey Gum (also known as Mountain Grey Gum) E. cypellocarpa; Ribbon Gum E. viminalis; and Messmate E. obliqua; with an understorey of tall shrubs of Blanket Bush Bedfordia arborescens; Olearia; Pomaderis; Ferns and herbs.

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Tree Fern
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These old growth trees are so important for their nesting hollows
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Gnarled old warrior!

Dry Forest: Granite ridges, exposed to the sun:  Narrow-Leafed Peppermint E. radiata; Mountain Gum E. dalrympleana and Snow Gum E. pauciflora; with an understorey of Silver Banksia B. marginata and Snow Grass Poa species.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.41.05BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.38.58BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.45.35BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.42.39Grassy Woodlands (Endangered): Fertile soils, derived from basalt and past volcanic activity: Snow Gum E. pauciflora and Ribbon Gum E. viminalis, with a sparse shrub layer of Snow Grass Poa sp.; Kangaroo Grass Themeda australis; and forbs (broad-leafed herbaceous wild flowers).BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.11.06

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We saw a feral deer grazing at the back of this photo, before disappearing into the forest behind

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Heath Daisy Allittia uliginosa
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White Heath Daisy and Yam Daisy (Microseris sp.)

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Colourful fungi in leaf litter

Natural Temperate Grasslands: Patches along the escarpment on exposed basalt or low lying areas, where the cold air pools or the soils are periodically water-logged, preventing the growth of tree seedlings. In October and November, they are filled with wildflowers: Granite Buttercup Ranunculus graniticola; Grass Trigger Plant Stylidium graminifolium; and Swamp Everlasting Xerochrysum palustre (see first 2 photos above).BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.05.51BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 12.53.07Forest-Grassland Ecotone: Transitional area between snowgum woodland and grassland: Rich diversity of plants and wildlife including: Eastern Grey Kangaroos; Red-Necked Wallabies; Swamp Wallabies; Koalas; Yellow-bellied Gliders; Greater Gliders; Powerful Owls and Masked Owls eg Nunnock Camping Ground.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.39.59BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 14.40.11

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Wombat hole

Swamp: Sphagnum cristatum; Eastern Banjo Frog (Pobblebonk); Whistling Tree Frog; Dendy’s Toadlet; White Lipped Snake; Copperhead; Migratory Latham’s Snipe and many other birds, including these Grey Teal in the first photo below.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.10.05BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.32.07The wide variety of vegetation types supplied a variety of food, fibre and shelter resources for the local aboriginal people, the Maneroo, who lived here for over 20 000 years. In Winter, they would follow well-worn bridle trails down to the coast for trade, large inter-tribal ceremonies and feasting, enjoying whale meat, fish and shellfish like mussels. In the Summer, the coastal Yuins would follow these same trails up into the mountains to the Monaro Tablelands to feast on the Bogong Moth.

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Magpie
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Ground Thrush

Later, early European settlers would also follow these trails, and they still exist today as part of a network of 4WD roads like the steep rugged Postman’s Track (the main route for the weekly packhorse mail service for the Monaro, from Cooma to the coast, from 1851 to 1875) and bushwalking tracks, including the 2.5 km Cattleman’s Walking Track, which retraces the old stock route and the  4.8 km Wilkinsons Walking Track and 2 km Keys Track between Alexander’s Hut and Nunnock Campground. Here are the NPWS maps of the walking tracks.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.01.21BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.06.15 Camping is also available at Six Mile Creek, which has a 300 metre walking track along Tantawangalo Creek and is a popular swimming hole in Summer.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-08-12 13.29.27BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-08-12 13.32.57BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-08-12 13.40.02Further south, the aborigines used to follow an old bridle trail from Towamba up Myanba Creek to Myanba Gorge and the Monaro Tablelands. Here is a NPWS map of its location.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.42.49 Myanba Gorge is perched on the granite escarpment in the Coolangubbra section of the South East Forest National Park.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.58.03BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.57.41 We accessed it via Coolangubra Forest Way and Kanoonah Road, a long dry dusty road through clear-felled forest, but it was worth it for the end destination! The 2 km walk (takes 1 hour return) follows the banks of the Myanba Creek, as it flows over granite boulders into the steep-sided gorge, then off the escarpment into the Towamba River, which opens out into the sea at Twofold Bay, Eden. This is a photo of the NPWS interpretive board.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.43.26BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.46.00BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.48.25 BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.53.19BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.57.51There are three lookouts: Myanba Creek Lookout; Pulpit Rock Lookout and finally, Myanba Gorge Lookout with very impressive views over the gorge to the Towamba Valley below.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.58.36BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.59.07 The Coolangubra section of the park has a number of unusual plant communities and rare and endangered animals. Vegetation communities include:

Dry Rainforest (Endangered): Dry open forest on rocky north–facing slopes and heads of gullies: Rusty Fig, Ficus rubiginosa, is at the southernmost limit of its geographical range.

Escarpment Dry Grassy Forest: Blue-Leafed Stringybark E. maidenii.

Escarpment Tall Wet Forest: Brown Barrel E. fastigata ; Messmate E. obliqua; Monkey Gum or Mountain Grey Gum E. cypellocarpa ; Narrow-Leafed Peppermint E. radiata: Possums, gliders and owls.

Hinterland Dry Grassy Forest

Hinterland Dry Shrub Forest: White Stringybark E. globoidea; Yellow Stringybark E. muelleriana; ; Peppermint Gum E. nicholii; Brown Barrel E. fastigata; Silvertop Ash E. sieberii; Messmate E. obliqua ; Monkey Gum or Mountain Grey Gum E. cypellocarpa.

Wet Gully Fern Forest

Rainforest: Small pockets along Myanba Creek:  Cool Temperate rainforest restricted to gullies with steep slopes eg Olive Berry Elaeocarpus holopetalus; Warm Temperate rainforest on rocky sites in the gorge, where they are protected from fires eg Pittosporum undulatum; Streaked Rock Orchids Dendrobium striolatum; and Victorian Christmas Bush Prostanthera lasianthos. The photos below are in order: Epacris impressa and Correa reflexa.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.50.40BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.52.32The old growth forests homes and nesting hollows to a wide variety of animal life:

Wombats; Swamp Wallabies ; Parma Wallabies; Tiger Quolls; Platypus;  the threatened Southern Brown Bandicoot; Endangered Long-Footed Potoroos, the only known population in NSW; White-Footed Dunnarts; Smoky Mouse ;  Eastern Pygmy Possum, Brush-Tailed Possums; Feather-Tailed Gliders; Sugar Gliders; Greater Gliders; and Yellow-Bellied Gliders.

The possums and gliders are the main food source for the threatened Powerful Owls, Sooty Owls and Southern Boobooks. Other birds include: Square-Tailed Kite; Peregrine Falcon; Gang Gang Cockatoos; Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos; Superb Lyrebird; and Honeyeaters. Other animals include:  Diamond Python; Eastern Water Dragon; Giant Burrowing Frog and Australian Grayling, an endangered freshwater fish, which lives further downstream and which migrates from the coastal streams to the ocean.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 17.58.29BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 18.08.23If you are in the area, it is also worth visiting Woolingubrah Inn in the Coolangubra State Forest, 20 km from Bombala.BlogSEForestsNP20%Reszd2016-04-13 16.56.48 Woolingubrah is an aboriginal word meaning ‘windy place’, an apt description for its location on the exposed peak of Big Jack Mountain. Before the construction of the Tantawangalo Mountain Road, the Big Jack Mountain Bridle Trail was the only track from Eden to the Monaro and the goldfields at Kiandra. The inn was imported as a prefabricated building from the USA to provide a halfway house for emigrants travelling to the goldfields during the goldrush of the 1860s. Only one of three such buildings still existing in Australia, it arrived at Eden by coastal steamer in October 1860 and was transported by bullock wagon to Woolingubrah, where the sections were assembled together to make a dwelling with six bedrooms, a bar and a kitchen and dining room.