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

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

Books about Australian Gardens

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

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

Know your climate and conditions;

Know your enemies;

Grow what you love;

Plant small;

Prepare well;

Consider your planting;

Embrace the seasons;

Keep it simple;

Mulch, water and the art of cutting back;

The gentle art of illusion;

Be practical; 

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

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

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

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

Two Dogs and a Garden by Derelie Cherry 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

or Summer:

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

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

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

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

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

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Books about specific plants

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

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

Tulipomania by Mike Dash 1999

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Garden Weekend in the Southern Highlands: Part 1

Last Spring, while impatiently waiting for our garden to wake up, we had a wonderful long weekend away from the 14th to 16th October. It was timed to coincide with the Spring Fair at Glenmore House, Camden, so we based ourselves at Mittagong, so that we could explore some of the other Spring gardens in the Southern Highlands. We had the most wonderful time, starting with Red Cow Farm, Sutton Forest, on Friday afternoon, then Glenmore House and Moidart on Saturday and Chinoiserie and Perennial Hill, both in Mittagong, on the Sunday before driving home. All totally different, yet equally special : an artistic romantic garden; an organic vegetable garden; a grand old formal garden; a specialist peony garden and a new collector’s garden. Throw in some browsing in the beautiful shops of Bowral, as well as an amazing needlecraft shop in Mittagong and some antique foraging, and you have the recipe for a perfect weekend away! I have broken this post into three parts, which I will post on three consecutive days, to reduce its word count. In Part 1, I will be describing Red Cow Farm and Moidart. In Part 2, Glenmore House and in Part 3, the newer collectors’ gardens of Perennial Hill and Chinoiserie.

Red Cow Farm

7480 Illawarra Highway Sutton Forest, 5 km south of Mossvale    2.5 hectares (6 acres)

1.5 hours drive from Canberra and Sydney

Phone: (02) 4868 1842; 0448 677647

http://www.redcowfarm.com.au/home.html

Open 8 months of the year from late September to the end of May, 10am – 4 pm. Closed Christmas Day.

$10 Adults; $8 Seniors and $4 children (4 to 14 years old)blog-rcf20reszdimg_0317We first discovered Red Cow Farm last Autumn and resolved to revisit it in Spring to see the 800 old roses in bloom, but unfortunately, it was a little early, due to the cooler temperatures we have been experiencing, so it’s a definite on our holiday agenda next year in early November! Here is a Spring rose and an Autumn rose from each visit.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0908blog-rcf20reszdimg_0110 Despite the lack of old rose blooms, it was still well worth visiting the gardens again for all the beautiful Spring flowers. In fact, I would visit in any season, except obviously Winter, when the garden is closed! It is one of my favourite gardens! I love its size and scale; the different garden areas; the unusual and rare plantings; the variety of texture, form and colour in all the plantings; and the wonderful use of colour, as well as light and shade.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0081This beautiful romantic English style cool climate garden was created by Ali Mentesh and Wayne Morrisey, who bought the property back in 1990. They designed a series of 20 garden rooms and spaces around the 1820s stone cottage, which was originally built by ex-convict, George Sewell, as a gentleman’s residence and named Red Cow Farm after the red Hereford cattle in the paddocks next door. Here is a photo of the garden plan, given to us on our first visit:blogsth-highlds50reszdimage-193Starting from the cottage garden in front of the house,blog-rcf20reszdimg_0305blog-rcf20reszdimg_0083 the camellia walk leads via the Apollo Walkblog-rcf20reszdimg_0085blog-rcf20reszdimg_0842blog-rcf20reszdimg_0843 to the Abbess’s Garden, complete with its own chapel and angel statue;blog-rcf20reszdimg_0852blog-rcf20reszdimg_0864blog-rcf20reszdimg_0865 topiared cones; and beds full of exuberant plantings of old roses, dahlias, tulips and perennials and wonderful colour combinations.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0096blog-rcf20reszdimg_0121blog-rcf20reszdimg_0123 The riot of colour and form contrasts dramatically with the Beech Walk next to it.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0129 Two portals are cut into the high hedges, which were being trimmed on our first visit.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0093 The top of the walk leads back to a circular pergola, clothed in climbing roses and the house courtyard,blog-rcf20reszdimg_0131blog-rcf20reszdimg_0132blog-rcf20reszdimg_0090blog-rcf20reszdimg_0225blog-rcf20reszdimg_0310 while the lower doorway leads down to a beautiful Hazelnut Walk, under-planted with hostas, primroses, hellebores, euphorbias, tulips and other bulbs.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0873blog-rcf20reszdimg_0886blog-rcf20reszdimg_0877blog-rcf20reszdimg_0894blog-rcf20reszdimg_0880 and the pond, with its own island and antique sailing boat and the bog garden, lined with yellow and blue iris.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0898blog-rcf20reszdimg_0139blog-rcf20reszdimg_1010blog-rcf20reszdimg_1023blog-rcf20reszdimg_0905 I loved the golden light in the woodland and the play of dappled light and shade.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0167blog-rcf20reszdimg_0194blog-rcf20reszdimg_0201 Resisting the temptation to explore the island on the lake, we meandered down the long herbaceous border, which ended with an obelisk and a wonderful borrowed landscape view of cattle quietly grazing the hillside beyond.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0150blog-rcf20reszdimg_0153 We had to retrace our steps to the next border, as the ground was a bit boggy and the bees in their beehives very active!blog-rcf20reszdimg_0917blog-rcf20reszdimg_0970 I love the variety in textures, colour and form in this garden, which was equally lovely last Autumn with all the deciduous foliage starting to colour.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0148blog-rcf20reszdimg_0183blog-rcf20reszdimg_0979 Red maples contrast with blue conifers and trees with golden and variegated foliage and stems like this wonderful stand of bamboo.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0935blog-rcf20reszdimg_1039blog-rcf20reszdimg_1011 I love the use of grasses in this garden!blog-rcf20reszdimg_0149 The woodland contains many rare trees and maples and is under-planted with massive rhododendrons and birches with paths leading to seats and restful shady corners, as well as back to the lake.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0174blog-rcf20reszdimg_0950blog-rcf20reszdimg_0187blog-rcf20reszdimg_1041blog-rcf20reszdimg_0976blog-rcf20reszdimg_0915 I loved the bluebells, buttercups, cyclamen, fothergilla, rhododendrons and trilliums.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0969blog-rcf20reszdimg_0971blog-rcf20reszdimg_0948blog-rcf20reszdimg_0204blog-rcf20reszdimg_0986blog-rcf20reszdimg_0967There are numerous statues of cherubs, nude males, mythological gods and gargoyles throughout the garden.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0940blog-rcf20reszdimg_0888The island is accessed via a bridge covered with old roses, Lamarque (see bottom photo) and Albertine, falling into the water.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0210blog-rcf20reszdimg_1035blog-rcf20reszdimg_1021blog-rcf20reszdimg_1016blog-rcf20reszdimg_1020blog-rcf20reszdimg_0222blog-rcf20reszdimg_1026 We saw two very monstrous carp feeding in the pond.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1008We then wandered back through the shrub and flower walk to the old gardener’s cottageblog-rcf20reszdimg_0991blog-rcf20reszdimg_0993 and chook pen, where crimson rosellas, galahs, mickeys and crested pigeons were also feeding with the hens!blog-rcf20reszdimg_0247blog-rcf20reszdimg_0990blog-rcf20reszdimg_1050 It is such a delightful old cottage with so much charm!blog-rcf20reszdimg_0228blog-rcf20reszdimg_0229blog-rcf20reszdimg_1077 I love the circular flowerbed in the courtyard, which was filled to the brim with bright colourful zinnias last Autumn.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0223blog-rcf20reszdimg_0235blog-rcf20reszdimg_0226 This Spring, two large tubs of tree peonies Paeonia suffruticosa were in full bloom at the end of the pergola.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1053blog-rcf20reszdimg_1068blog-rcf20reszdimg_1064blog-rcf20reszdimg_1070 Against the house is a long pond with much prettier smaller goldfish. The flower/shrub borders are separated from the orchard of apples, pears and stone fruits by the Crab Apple Walk.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1073blog-rcf20reszdimg_1102Just above the orchard is the Monastery Garden, a walled garden, measuring 25m by 8m, built in 1996 in the design of a Celtic cross.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0240 The formal beds are separated by paths, made of a mix of bluestone, sand and cement, and defined by English box hedging Buxus sempervirens.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0250 Plantings include:  Maltese Cross Lychnis chalcedonica; Cascade Penstemon Penstemon serrulatus; Delphinium ‘Black Knight’; Geranium x riversleaianum ‘Russell Prichard’; tulips; and old roses: Reine des Violettes, Pax and Felicia.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1090blog-rcf20reszdimg_1093blog-rcf20reszdimg_1096 Statues of saints on plinths abound in the monastery beds including : St. Jude, St. Joseph and St. Anthony, all imported from Canada; St. Francis from Mexico and the patron saint of gardens, St Fiacre, a commissioned artwork by an Australian artist.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1103 There is also a large stone wishing well with intricately carved sides in the centre of the cross, a huge carved bell and a large Gothic baptismal font just outside the stone arch entrance to this part of the garden.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0261blog-rcf20reszdimg_1100blog-rcf20reszdimg_0265blog-rcf20reszdimg_0259 A wisteria walk separates the vegetable garden and Montfort’s Nursery from the Monastery Garden. The kitchen garden is sheltered from the wind by huge old pine trees and is full of fresh vegetables and herbs.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0284blog-rcf20reszdimg_0272 The nursery contains many rare self-propagated plants for sale.  Ali is very knowledgeable about all the plants, having had over 20 years of experience designing private gardens in Sydney and  Canberra, as well as on the South Coast and the Southern Highlands.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0237blog-rcf20reszdimg_0268blog-rcf20reszdimg_0246 The final section of the garden is a walled garden next to the house, full of colour and scent and a birdbath in the corner.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0298blog-rcf20reszdimg_1125blog-rcf20reszdimg_1131blog-rcf20reszdimg_0300blog-rcf20reszdimg_1114 A small shop in the front room of the house contains gifts and garden souvenirs: home-made jams, scented candles and framed prints of the garden. The garden is also used for weddings and photo shoots.blog-rcf20reszdimg_0316

Moidart

19 – 21 Eridge Park Rd Burradoo, near Bowral   5 acres

Ph (02) 4861 2600

Open mid-September to late October each year; 10am to 4pm.  $7 per adult

http://www.highlandsnsw.com.au/gardens/moidart/

One of the grand old gardens of the Southern Highlands, Moidart was built in 1932 by James Burn, a member of the Burns Philp company, after it was split off from the Eridge Park Estate, and was named after a district on the west coast of Scotland. This iconic garden was constructed concurrently with the house, so was relatively well-established by the time the building was completed in 1935. The garden was designed by landscaper gardener Mr Buckingham, with much consultation with the architect of the house, Laidley Dowling, so it all fits seamlessly together as an integrated whole , the basic design remaining unchanged for over almost 90 years, although plant growth has altered the emphasis in some parts of the garden. For example, the conifers at the front of the house have now blocked all the views out of the garden and the huge mature trees are casting much greater shade over the garden, altering plant habitats and the growth of plants underneath. The same family still owns the property and lives in the grand old house.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1428blog-rcf20reszdimg_1392Much of the work was done by Bowral local, the late Clarie Worner, who apparently prepared the ground for planting by using dynamite to disrupt the solid layer of shale on the surface! A family friend and amateur botanist, DWC Shiress, chose many of the exotic tree and shrub species, which include specimens of  Giant Sequoia (photos above); Cypress conifers; Monterey Cypress; Chestnut; Red Oak; Copper Beech; London Plane; Golden Ash; Golden Elm; Weeping Elm; Weeping Cherry; Tulip Tree; Crab Apple; Dogwoods; Cornus contraversa variegata; Davidia involucrata; Edgeworthia; Camellias and Echiums. Their relative positions can be seen on this mudmap of the garden design:blogsth-highlds30reszdimage-195The main driveway winds through a mature woodland to a turning circle, where the main house finally comes into view, before ending in a garage at the side of the house.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1293blog-rcf20reszdimg_1307blog-rcf20reszdimg_1310blog-rcf20reszdimg_1309blog-rcf20reszdimg_1311 However, we entered the garden through a woodland past the hosta walk; hellebores, bluebells and pulmonaria; rhododendrons, azaleas and viburnums; and the Bamboo Garden;blog-rcf20reszdimg_1295blog-rcf20reszdimg_1296blog-rcf20reszdimg_1300blog-rcf20reszdimg_1301blog-rcf20reszdimg_1439blog-rcf20reszdimg_1440blog-rcf20reszdimg_1430emerging at a huge old camellia, very similar to the one at our front door.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1305blog-rcf20reszdimg_1299 Below the camellia is an expansive lawn, studded with mature deciduous trees in fresh new leaf : elm, beech and plane trees.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1397blog-rcf20reszdimg_1306blog-rcf20reszdimg_1395blog-rcf20reszdimg_1426blog-rcf20reszdimg_1353 To the right is a serene round goldfish pond.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1303blog-rcf20reszdimg_1308 We wandered down to the courtyard in front of the house, full of Iceberg standard roses and a silver garden.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1316blog-rcf20reszdimg_1317blog-rcf20reszdimg_1319 The central stone circular steps lead down to the first terrace,blog-rcf20reszdimg_1390blog-rcf20reszdimg_1386blog-rcf20reszdimg_1389blog-rcf20reszdimg_1318 blog-rcf20reszdimg_1384but the further two terraces must be walked the whole length to access them.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1415blog-rcf20reszdimg_1413blog-rcf20reszdimg_1400 It is such a lovely stroll past mature trees and shrubs like azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and viburnums and herbaceous perennial borders.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1402blog-rcf20reszdimg_1385blog-rcf20reszdimg_1414 We looked down over the hellebore and bluebell walk to a paddock and large dam with geese and Highland cattle.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1412blog-rcf20reszdimg_1411blog-rcf20reszdimg_1403blog-rcf20reszdimg_1421blog-rcf20reszdimg_1401To the south of the house is a delightful sunken rose garden, which is viewed from the house over a box hedge.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1345blog-rcf20reszdimg_1342 It is formally laid out with box-edged garden beds, gravel paths, a central flowering crab apple and two sandstone semi-circular seats at either end.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1324blog-rcf20reszdimg_1341blog-rcf20reszdimg_1327blog-rcf20reszdimg_1322blog-rcf20reszdimg_1344 While it was too early for the roses, the peonies were a real show!blog-rcf20reszdimg_1348blog-rcf20reszdimg_1328blog-rcf20reszdimg_1332blog-rcf20reszdimg_1356 Behind the sunken garden is the daffodil walk in amongst beautiful lilacs and dogwoods in full bloom, including an unusual double form of Cornus.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1371blog-rcf20reszdimg_1362blog-rcf20reszdimg_1380blog-rcf20reszdimg_1379blog-rcf20reszdimg_1374blog-rcf20reszdimg_1381blog-rcf20reszdimg_1377There is a lovely pink dogwood at the back of the house.blog-rcf20reszdimg_1368blog-rcf20reszdimg_1434blog-rcf20reszdimg_1433Moidart is famous for its collection of rare plants, bulbs, shrubs and trees and fortunately, it is possible to purchase many of them at a plant stall at the entrance, as well as online from Moidart Rare Plants:  http://www.moidart.com.au/. More tomorrow…!!!blog-rcf20reszdimg_1294

Favourite Private Country Gardens: Part 1

There are so many beautiful country gardens in Australia and many highly talented gardeners and garden designers. The wide variety of climatic conditions, altitudes and soil types allow for a huge variation in gardens and the size of country gardens is only limited by  the time required to maintain them. During our sojourn in Victoria from 2009 to 2014 , we were lucky enough to visit a large number of gardens through the Australian Open Gardens Scheme and local garden festivals , including the Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens Inc.  and the Dandenongs Garden Festival. Fortunately, it is still possible to visit these gardens through these local festivals and Open Gardens Victoria has taken up where the Australian Open Garden Scheme left off, though the number of open gardens is greatly reduced. Some properties have since been sold or are up for sale and some are or have become accommodation, so it is still possible to visit most of them, even if it does cost a bomb! I guess at least you get them to yourselves, rather than having to contend with huge crowds! Because this post is so large, I have divided it into two sections:

Part 1 : Beechmont; Westport; Bringalbit; Corinella Country House; and The Garden Vineyard

Part 2 : Villa Lettisier; Barb and Pete’s Garden; Musk Farm; and Lixouri

1.Beechmont  

12 Mernda Rd Olinda (3km from Olinda) 4.05 Ha (of which the garden is 2.3 hectares)BlogPrivCountry20%Reszd2016-07-13 15.05.18Illustrated map from Open Gardens visit.

We visited this lovely garden on the 11th  October 2009, as part of the Dandenongs Garden Festival: Inspiring in Spring, and it certainly was! At the time, it was owned by Simon and Marcia Begg, who bought the hilltop garden with its 1970s house and separate 2 bedroom cottage in January 1997.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 075BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 016The flat area on the north side of the house already had established garden beds containing viburnums, rhododendrons, edgeworthii, camellias, magnolias, cornus and other exotics.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 034BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 028BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 030 There were a number of large native and exotic trees including Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans); Blackwood Wattle (Acacia melanoxylon); a very tall Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera); a Bunya Bunya Pine and Hoop Pine and 8o year old Beech trees of the Fagus and Nothofagus genera, hence the name: ‘Beechmont’. Marcia and Simon were keen to collect as many beeches from both genera as possible.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 092BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 091BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 061Most of their initial efforts were directed to the south side of the house, converting an old horse paddock to sweeping lawns and garden beds with strong vistas and focal points and a natural progression from one are to the next. At the front of the house, a blue crystal-glazed porcelain urn marks the top of a serpentine rill (pebble water run), which flows down the hill to a large reflective pond.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 066BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 063BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 062They raised many of the plants themselves, including shrubs, cottage garden plants and Vireya rhododendrons. Garden beds are heavily mulched and watered by drip irrigation. An  irrigation bore, installed in 2004, was a godsend during the drought and is supplemented by large rain water tanks.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 093BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 036BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 022BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 014BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 012In 2002, they remodelled the old tennis court on the north side of the house into a walled garden with a central pond and perennial borders, affectionately dubbing the project ‘the SKI garden’ (‘Spending the Kids Inheritance’). The old tennis court fence is clothed in clematis and wisteria. The entrance is marked with the owners’ initials. The walled garden is connected to the South Garden by the Blueberry Avenue, which contains scented plants and a daphne collection.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 042BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 047BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 046In 2006, the nursery was replaced with a parterre garden, inspired by Alice In Wonderland. Hedged flower beds in the shape of card suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades) frame a central garden bed with a terracotta urn.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 049 Two recently-released Wollemi Pines, Wollemi nobilis, were planted in the north and south lawn. Smaller beds were extended to get the proportions right in the garden and the hen yard became another Vireya garden. In 2009. a new shade house and propogation bed for vireyas was built.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 055BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 051Other features of the garden include: a hidden secret garden; a wheel parterre; a native garden with spectacular views as far as the Mornington Peninsula on a clear day; a South African bed; a rare plants bed; a bed of maples and deciduous azaleas;  a rockery with small ponds and quirky sculptures throughout the garden.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 076BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 079BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 074BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdoctober 2 041In November 2012, the Beggs sold to Cherrie Miriklis, the owner of Flowers Vasette, the well-known Fitzroy florist (http://flowersvasette.com.au/). Read her story on : http://www.yarravalleymagazine.com.au/beechmont-olinda/.

The house, now known as Beechmont Garden Retreat, is used for luxury accommodation. See : http://www.vrgetaways.com.au/beechmont-gardens/.

2.Westport

74 Ferrier Rd New Gisborne   1.6 ha (4 acres)  3km to Gisborne; 52 km to Melbourne CBD.

Set at the foot of Mt. Macedon, Westport is another lovely garden to visit in the Spring-time. We discovered this garden on 8th September 2014.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 062BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 060 At the time, it was owned by Neil Robertson, who was the National Executive Officer of the Australian Open Gardens Scheme from 1990 to 2010. He did have the property on the market in October 2014, so I don’t know if he still owns it. His forebears by marriage, the  Ferrier-Hamiltons, were the original squatters in the area in the 1840s and when Thomas Ferrier-Hamilton died, he left each child 80 acres of land. His son, Vereker, who married Neil’s Great Aunt Nina, in 1898, built a country house on his portion.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 033BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 034BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 037BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 109 Vereker and Nina were keen gardeners and planted many trees, which still exist today: pines on the Western boundary; oaks lining the driveway; pinoaks near the house; a weeping elm; a large collection of Arbutus and a grove of silver birches, as well as thousands of daffodils, some bred by Alister Clark.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 118BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 096BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 106BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 019BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 016BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 011Neil bought Westport from a cousin 32 years ago. The house had been let for 25 years and the middle storey of the original garden had disappeared, except for 5 camellias, a couple of rhododendrons, a winter woodbine and roses.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 050BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 041BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 043BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 044BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 047 Over the past 30 years, Neil planted more trees, shrubs and bulbs within the framework of the old garden, defined by the mature trees.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 077BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 081BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 080BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 083 Shrubberies screen garden rooms, creating surprise and illusion across the flat site. Plants had to cope with poor drainage, frosts, hot Summers and hot, dry northerly winds.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 111BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 120BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 066BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 055Shrubs include : camellias, viburnums, daphne, spireae, magnolis, forsythias, Winter woodbine, wintersweet, chaenomeles and lots of old roses!BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 071BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 054BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 048BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 051 There are hellebores and masses of bulbs- daffodils, muscari and bluebells.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 122BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 101BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 074BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 113BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 049BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 012And lots of pot plants.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 036BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 0323a.Bringalbit

512 Sidonia Rd Sidonia via Kyneton   4 ha garden  Susan Fox   Ph (03) 5423 7223

http://bringalbit.com.au

We first discovered this lovely garden on 6th September 2009, as part of the annual Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival, then stayed here in a delightful old rustic cottage on the weekend of the 6th – 7th June 2014.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4385BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 150 This historic property on the granite hills, 18 km north of Kyneton, is owned by the Fox family and has an 1870s granite homestead and 10 acres (4 ha) of parkland and garden, developed over 130 years. Here is Susan’s map of the property, which hangs on the wall of the cottage, as well as photos of Susan and her dogs.

BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4463BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4462BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4442Originally 1263 acres of land, the property was settled by John Apperley in 1858. Between 1866 and 1877, the current homestead was built in stages by John Lang, starting in 1871. William Fysh, who owned the property between 1887 and 1908, landscaped the lake and planted the surrounding parkland with oaks, deodars, pine windbreaks and poplar stands. Exotic trees surround the ornamental lake, which looks beautiful in December with its pink and white water lilies in flower. The walk down to the lake is enhanced by a mass planting of deep roses, salvias and agapanthus on the embankment of the old tennis court. The 1km long driveway is lined with Mahogany Gums.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4433BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4424The Fox family bought the property in 1990 and restored the house and garden.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4482BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 146 There were no garden beds, so they developed a paddock on the northern side of the house into a garden, containing a crab apple walk, a quince walk, shrubs and perennial borders, a vegetable garden, an olive grove and an orchard.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 157BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4382BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4377BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4450 They used lichen covered honey-colored stone, quarried on the property, to build walls, steps and terraces.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4436BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4438BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4466Susan is an artist and her touch can be seen in perennial border at the front of the house, which has a blue-and-grey colour scheme with lavenders, delphiniums and forget-me-nots. Cecile Brunner, Iceberg and Sea Foam roses climb up the verandah poles. Round the back of the house, stone walls edge a lavender garden with rose standards of Penelope and Delicata, under-planted with shrub rose, Honey Flow, and David Austin’s Mary Rose. The north-facing sunny terrace beds are filled with roses, lavenders, dianthus and gaura and edged with the silver-foliaged Snow-in-Summer. An arbour, covered with a Mme Alfred Carrière rose, leads to a scented garden, surrounded by lilac, and a parterre of santolina, set off by a weeping white hawthorne. I would love to see this garden in Summer for all its old roses! There was still an old bloom of Souvenir de St Anne during our Winter stay (1st photo below).BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4467BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 158BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 159The 50 metre long Crab Apple Walk rises from a double perennial border of mauve, white and pink Spring blooms, followed by white and blue agapanthus, lemon evening primroses and red hot pokers in Summer. The 60 metre long Quince Walk is spectacular in Spring (flowers) and Autumn (fruit and Autumn foliage) and leads to an old gate overlooking the Cobaw Hills.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4480 The daffodil walk is a highlight in September and leads to an original stone shed, shaded by an huge old evergreen oak, Quercus canariensis.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4409BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4428 There are many pots of succulents on the blue stands next to the shed and beside the house.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4429BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4376 Peacocks, guinea fowl, bantams and chooks free-range the garden, while cats snooze in the sun on the cottage verandah and long-horned Highland Cattle and black-faced sheep graze the surrounding paddocks.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4449BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 148BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4484BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 160BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4445BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4419BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4398BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 147BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4405 The old chook house is smothered by Lamarque, a lemony-scented Noisette rose. BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4414BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 143Bringalbit has an historic old shearing shed, numerous farm buildings and a range of self-contained accommodation options.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4448BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4459BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4452 We stayed in the Gardeners Cottage beside the main house (a very reasonable tariff of $115 per night) and the décor was delightfully eclectic and quaint!  I would highly recommend staying there!BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 149BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4389 BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4469 (2)BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4475There is also self-contained accommodation in the Shearers’ Shack and Woolshed Hill House and for a bit of old-fashioned luxury, bed-and-breakfast in the grand old house.BlogPrivCountry20%ReszdIMG_4451 The website has a terrific video about the house and garden. The garden and shearing shed are available for weddings, parties and corporate functions. It is also open to the public every weekend 10am-4pm and weekdays by appointment at $5 per head. If you are visiting during the Kyneton Daffodil Festival, it is also worth visiting nearby ‘Corinella’:

3b. Corinella Country House

998 Kyneton-Metcalfe Rd Green Hill  Ph (03) 5423 2474  or 0438 269 651

First farmed in the 1870s and owned by Sue and Steve Wright, the 130 year old house has been fully restored  and is now a guest house. Self-catering and bed-and-breakfast options are available. See: http://www.corinella.net/.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 197BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 203 The 2 acre garden has no lawn, just gravel paths winding through established old trees (planted in the 1900s), shrubs and masses of bulbs.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 180BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 198BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 189BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 181 In Spring, the garden is a sea of gold and blue!BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 202BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 188BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 190BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 178BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 186 4.The Garden Vineyard

174 Graydens Rd. Moorooduc   1.5 hours from Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula   1ha

Phone : (03) 5978 8661 or 0408 351 809

http://www.gardenvineyard.com.au/BlogPrivCountry20%Reszd2016-07-14 10.25.40While a little too formal and ordered for me, yet very bold and dramatic, this garden is very famous and has been described as one of the ten best gardens in Australia by Don Burke (http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/fact-sheets/gardens/garden-vineyard-2/#) and is featured on Monty Don’s Round the World in 80 Gardens. See: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xwzd7r_around-the-world-in-80-gardens-2-australia-and-new-zealand_lifestyle.   (31 minutes into the video). The map above is from our visit on the day.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 529It was recommended to us by my sister, who raved about it, so we visited it on the 11th April 2010, which was very fortuitous, as it was the last weekend that the garden was open to the public (as well as the first time it had opened in Autumn). Its owners, Di and Doug Johnson, were selling and they opened it to thank the Australian Open Garden Scheme for all their support. The day before (10th April), 1200 visitors turned up! Little wonder that Di looked so exhausted!!! Di is English, so when they bought the property in 1996, she was keen to establish an English-style garden.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 559 The sparse farmland only had a couple of Eucalyptus scoparia and Spotted Gum, Eucalyptus maculata, as well as sheoaks, banksias and 1 acre Pinot Noir grapes.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 535BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 532 The top soil was thin and acidic and had a mix of shale and gravel underneath, locally known as spew, which compacts in Summer and turned to mush in Winter. Add to this the westerly orientation of the block with baking afternoon sun and only 600-750 mm annual rainfall and they certainly faced an uphill challenge!BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 514 With the help of landscape designer Robert Boyle and gardener Martin Edney and plants bought from Lambley Nursery and Clive Blazely’s Diggers catalogue, Di and Doug have created a wonderful garden with a strong architectural structure of different garden rooms, bound by tall hedges and perfectly clipped plant shapes, sustainable plantings and stunning vistas.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 506BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 528 Symmetry is achieved with the repetition of plants in different sections of the garden design eg the clipped balls of westringia throughout the garden and lemon-scented gums repeated in different garden rooms.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 572BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 525BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 511 The soil has been improved over the years by applying copious amounts of horse and chook manure. A slow release complete fertilizer is raked in in late Winter, only becoming active when the soil temperature reaches 21-23 degrees. Pellets of ‘Organic Life’ are applied in early April and late Winter and lime is added to the soil every few years. The garden borders are watered by drip irrigation.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 571BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 546BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 545BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 540Di started with the walled garden, which was inspired by a Mediterranean garden in Provence, created  by Nicole de Vésian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZQWbQ0QhRg) and featuring a colour palette of grey and green tones, sculpted plants and stone walls, benches and balls.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 557BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 501 They excavated the boggy ground and built walls with English bond brickwork. The walled garden was replanted 2 ½ years before our visit with plants with low water needs, including lagerstroemias, clipped globes of Pittosporum tobira (under-planted with Mondo grass) and bush germander, Teucrium fruticans, natural mounds of Lavandula angustifolia ‘Grosso’, regular and prostrate rosemary, cistus, Buddleia crispa and Berberis thunbergia.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 562BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 564BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 567BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 565 They designed a small gravel courtyard to the west of the walled garden, surrounded by a hedge of drought-tolerant escallonia (Escallonia iveyi), then turned their attention to a long grass walk with perennial and shrub borders, full of heliotropes (Heliotropium arborescens), salvias (Salvia x sylvestris ‘Lubecca’ and Salvia x superba ‘Superba’), achilleas (Achillea millefolium ‘Fanal’), echiums (Echium candicans), cardoons (Cynara cardunculus), agastaches, grasses and roses.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 536BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 537BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 542BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 539BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 541BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 547 The long grass walk is connected to the formal areas by an avenue of lemon-scented gums, under-planted with lavender, helichrysum, echiums, westringia and artemisia, all drought-tolerant plants.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 552BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 551 The formal Italianate Garden was created next with silver borders and clipped lillypilly standards, Syzgium australe.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 510BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 527BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 530BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 531 The final addition to the garden was an Australian native garden, created by daughter Jenny and filled with acacias, grevilleas, banksias, hakeas, eucalypts, correas, lillypillys, eriostemons, teucriums, wattles, buddlejas and westringias.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 521BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 523BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 519 There is also a vegetable garden.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 508A seat at the southern end of the garden provides a view through the silver borders and formal garden over the Australian garden to the Mt Eliza ridge. There is also a lovely view from the terrace over the lawn to the vineyard. The latter was extended to 3 acres with 1 acre Pinot Gris grape vines and a copse of silver birches, Betula pendula ‘Jack Moss’, was planted at the entrance to the property. Pierre de Ronsard roses climb the verandah posts of the house and are under-planted with Lavandula stoechas ‘Ploughmans’ Purple’.

Sue and Daryl McFall bought the property in October 2010. The garden can still be visited for prearranged groups of 12 people at $20 per head.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdmarchapril 558

Next week, I will be posting Favourite Private Country Gardens: Part 2 , which will cover the wonderful gardens of Villa Lettisier; Barb and Pete’s Garden; Musk Farm; and Lixouri.

 

 

The August Garden

Spring is just around the corner and I can barely wait! Every day, I pop down to the garden at least three times to check on its progress and any new developments!

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 10.45.13
Still frosty early mornings!
BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 13.12.04
Winter shade is also a constant challenge! This is a lunchtime photo!

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.28.23 The days are very slowly lengthening, but we still get the odd sharp frost to remind us not to get ahead of ourselves and remove any protective mulch or hessian!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-14 10.50.15 The days have been just beautiful with stunning sunrises, followed by clear blue sunny skies.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 08.50.51BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 08.50.38BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.56.06 New leaf is starting to form on the quince tree (photo below) and roses in anticipation and the Spring bulbs are starting to appear.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.49.12

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-24 11.30.51
My new birthday rose: Souvenir de la Malmaison

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-24 11.30.25

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-20 14.16.58
I loved the colours on these old loquat tree leaves

I love my little treasure garden in the rockery beside the steps. Photos from all angles…!!!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-22 18.48.24BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-23 13.20.38BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-19 17.16.08 The Paper Daisies, Coconut Ice Pink and English primroses are all in full bloom and have been joined by miniature Tête à Tête daffodils, grape hyacinth and now a royal blue hyacinth!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-22 15.01.30BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-22 15.00.52BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-19 17.15.35BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.10.08BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.10.45BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 17.52.20 The violets behind them are still in full bloom and have even started colonizing the steps down to the garden.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 19.06.06BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-01 18.20.30BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-05 13.29.04 In the Cutting Garden, the Paperwhite Zivas have been joined by Erlicheer Jonquils, fragrant Golden Dawn and Double Daffodil, Wintersun.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.20.13BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.43.45BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.45.10BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-17 15.15.31 The Bokassa Gold tulips are in full glory, having started the month as a closed elegant bud, gradually colouring, then opening to a beautiful golden goblet, which looks magnificent when it catches the sun!BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-15 17.57.48BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-16 17.14.40BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.46.26BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.45.57 The little species tulips (photos 2 & 3) and Grandma’s Freesias (photo 1) are also in bud and the leaves of last year’s tulips (photo 4) are growing madly, though I suspect their blooms will not quite match those of last Spring!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-24 11.25.20BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-24 11.25.05BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-24 11.24.23BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 17.53.42 We also still have snowdrops (photo 1) and snowflakes (photos 2 and 3).BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-06 17.47.41BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-01 18.34.04

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-05 13.20.34
Snowflakes in my neighbour’s garden

The hellebores are also persisting, despite the nasty tactics of the bowerbirds, who like to behead both hellebore and erlicheer blooms! Quite distressing, as they are still such precious specimens- I am so looking forward to the day when I have masses of hellebores and snowflakes like my neighbour’s garden, so that the odd discarded bloom doesn’t matter!!!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-05 13.20.29BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.57.39BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-14 10.47.13BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-07-31 16.58.52BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-12 14.59.52BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-07-29 12.05.08 Other plants booming in the garden include : Wallflowers in the Soho Bed;BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 13.12.12BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 18.13.45BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 19.01.14 Daphne and Winter Honeysuckle, whose flowering season issadly drawing to a close;BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.52.41Pink Diosma and red Lady X Grevillea;BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-22 15.02.07BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.50.19 the red Japonica;BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-05 13.15.30A few early flowers of the crab apple tree nearby;BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.19.30BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.19.40A stunning new orange daisy;BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-22 15.02.42BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-12 14.58.53 and of course, the loyal camellias!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-07-29 12.05.29BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-07-31 16.56.26BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.52.24BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.53.21BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.53.30BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.51.18BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 18.47.57BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-11 14.50.28BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-09 17.43.28So, there has still been enough flowering for the odd Winter vase.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-07-25 12.10.07BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-11 14.57.50 The Spring sap rising and new bulbs has revitalized my creative juices as well and I have just made 6 delightful tiny cushions to celebrate the imminent arrival of Spring!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-21 23.40.53BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-22 14.53.46 We have also been very busy in the garden: Pruning buddleias;BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-02 12.17.20BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 11.29.28 Thinning Peony Poppy Seed, though we have a way to go! We must have had a 100 percent strike rate! The crates in the background of the first photo below will form a new compost heap in the same position;BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-14 10.49.23

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-14 10.49.13
A mammoth task ahead!

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.21.14

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.21.23
Getting ruthless!

BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 17.54.35Weeding the Soho Bed; Here are before and after shots!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 18.31.19BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.12.10 And planting new vegies, as well as making long wire guards to protect them from the ravages of the bowerbirds! Little did they realize about the treasures beneath the soil!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 17.58.51BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-08 11.43.51 The Crimson Rosellas have also been enjoying the Soho Bed and the lawn.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 14.57.18BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 14.58.16BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 14.56.50BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 14.58.37BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 18.54.45BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 18.51.05 A very tame pair of Grey Thrush have taken up residence in the garden, delighting us with their friendliness, inquisitive nature and beautiful melodic song!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.27.07BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.46.54BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.44.40BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.45.48BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 18.58.13BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.49.08 They seem to have struck a deal with the resident blackbirds, sharing the sundial and birdbath.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.42.53BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.47.40BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.47.53 Other visitors to the bird bath include a Willy Wagtail and a Lewin Honeyeater.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-20 18.08.58BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-20 18.09.06BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.42.28A large mixed flock of silvereyes and fairy wrens have been doing laps of the garden, investigating all the new leaf and gobbling up any insects they can find!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.25.34BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.25.06We have also had King Parrots and even Carrier Pidgeons! Perhaps they were delivering the message of Spring! I’m looking forward to more concrete evidence in September!!!BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 18.15.43BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-03 18.16.27BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-12 17.11.08

Camellias: August Feature Plant

Camellias are indispensable to the Winter garden and bloom generously from late Autumn through to mid Spring. They are long-lived, evergreen ornamental shrubs and small trees (up to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide) with glossy, dark green leaves.Blog LateWinter20%ReszdIMG_9079Their blooms exhibit great variability in :

Colour: Pure white to deep dark red; Bicolour combinations

Form: Single; Semi-Double; Irregular Semi-Double; Formal Double; Informal Double (Peony); and Elegans (Anemone). For a description of each form, see: camelliasaustralia.com.au/cultivation/camellia-types/camellia-flower-types/

Size: Miniature: less than 6cm; Small: 6-7.5 cm; Medium: 7.5-9cm; Medium-Large: 9-10cm; Large: 10-12.5cm; and Very Large: more than 12.5cm;      and

Flowering period (these times refer to Australia and Southern Hemisphere):

Early: Autumn: March to June; Mid: Autumn to Winter:Mid June to August; Late: Winter to Spring: Late August to October.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-01 16.50.16Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0695BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.53.30My only reservation about these beautiful flowers is that most of them have no scent, but I have named a few fragrant varieties later on! Despite that, it doesn’t seem to worry the bees! The fruit of the camellia is a globe-shaped capsule with 3 compartments (locules), each with 1-2 large brown seeds.

BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.17.09
Our huge old camellia at the entrance

Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-01 14.06.41BlogCamellias20%ReszdIMG_0693Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0696BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.53.13BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.53.21We were lucky enough to inherit a huge old camellia tree right at our entrance and its white, pale pink, striped pink and deep pink double blooms sustain our spirits all Winter. They look beautiful against the dark green foliage and their fallen blooms form an attractive carpet underneath, interspersed with violets and hellebores.BlogCamellias20%ReszdIMG_8681Blog Mid Winter20%ReszdIMG_8674 Their seeds strike well, producing many tiny seedlings beneath the parent plant.BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-02 11.29.53 Up until now, I went along with the suggestion that it was a multi-graft camellia, since it bears flowers of a number of different colour combinations, but during my research for this post, I came across an article (www.gardenclinic.com.au/how-to-grow-article/australia-s-first-camellia) by Graham Ross about an early Australian variety: C.japonica ‘Aspasia Macarthur’, which also throws blooms of a number of different colours. It has flowers of variable colour from a pale flesh or cream colour with pinkish/ red splashes, reverting to pure pink and pure red flowers. It also has a number of sports including ‘Lady Loch’ 1889, which has medium to large pale pink peony flowers, and ‘Otahuhu Beauty’ 1904 with medium informal double rose pink blooms. For photos of all the sports, see  : http://www.camellias.pics/mutations-gb.php?langue=gb#ANC-ID1106  and https://humecamellia.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/850/ .BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-08-03 12.54.16 I have strong suspicions that my old plant might be ‘Aspasia Macarthur’ or at least related to it, as its flowers are very similar to all of these varieties. Graham Ross states that his plant dates from 1920 and our plant could well be the same, as our house was built in 1925. There is also a useful site for camellia identification: www.camellias.pics/index-gb.php?langue=gb, though I was a bit confused as to which flower to include in their search facility!BlogCamellias20%ReszdIMG_0692Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-31 07.27.13BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.20.50BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 18.19.54BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.24.16I have also planted some new camellia plants along the fence line:

C.vernalis ‘Star above Star’ :  I first saw this beautiful camellia at my friend’s place at Black Mountain, NSW (1st photo below) and on the way home, I found a plant at a nursery. It has just bloomed for the first time,  its creamy-pink bloom ageing to a lolly-pink (2nd and 3rd photos below);

Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-28 13.52.31BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.22.34BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-06-28 13.21.09C.japonica ‘Nuccio’s Gem’: I was thrilled to discover a tiny specimen at our local hardware store, as its exquisite, formal double white flower has always been a favourite of mine; BlogCamellias25%Reszd2015-08-24 16.26.18

And C.japonica ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ : It has had a number of eye-catching, pretty, pure red formal double blooms this year.BlogCamellias20%Reszd2015-10-09 09.03.28BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0331BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.13.05Camellias belong to the order Ericales, which includes azaleas and blueberries, and the family Theaceae, which also contains Stewartia and Gordonia, all plants having serrated glossy leaves (mostly evergreen), flowers with multi-stamens and fruit in capsules or seedpods. The genus Camellia, named after the Jesuit priest and botanist, George Kamel (1661-1706), has between 200 and 300 species. Here are some brief notes about some of the main species:

The most famous species is Camellia japonica, from which thousands of cultivars have been developed. It hails from the forests of Japan, as well as China and South Korea (300-1100m altitude), where it is pollinated by the Japanese White Eye bird (Zosterops japonica). It grows best in partial shade.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 18.20.35Camellia sasanqua is also very well-known. It is a smaller shrub with denser, smaller, rounded foliage and smaller flowers with a similar form and colour to the Japonicas. Unlike the blooms of the latter, which fall intact, sasanqua flowers shatter on impact, carpeting the ground below with petals rather than flowers. They also tolerate more sun than C.japonica, ‘sasanqua’ being the Japanese word for ‘sun’. Sasanquas are native to Southern Japan and the Liu Kiu Islands.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-14 12.43.36Camellia vernalis is a cross between C.japonica and C.sasanqua and its blooms do not shatter easily like the sasanquas.‘Star above Star’ is an example.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.22.50Camellia reticulata is also grown as an ornamental shrub in many gardens and has larger, showy flowers and leaves with distinct veins. It also tolerate a fair amount of sun. There are a number of hybrids, which have been produced by crosses between C.reticulata and C.japonica/ C.sasanqua.

Camellia sinesis, from China (as well as Japan and the rest of South East Asia), is a very important commercial plant, as it is the source of all our black and green tea and Camellia oleifera is harvested for its oil, which is used in cooking and cosmetics. I have just bought a plant of C.sinensis at our local hardware store for its lovely little white flowers and novelty value, as well as in deference to our family’s huge consumption of tea! It has very small, simple, semi-fragrant , white flowers with a boss of gold stamens from late Summer to early Autumn. Bees and butterflies love the flowers, while humans prefer the leaves!BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-02 13.57.56BlogCamellias25%ReszdIMG_8770BlogCamellias25%ReszdIMG_8768 Tea leaves were used as medicine in the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE) and have been consumed as a beverage since the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE).  In green tea, the leaves are dried and steamed, while in black tea, the leaves are dried and fermented. We enjoyed an informative visit to the Nerada Tea plantation on the Atherton Tableland, Queensland. (http://www.neradatea.com.au) in 2008.BlogCamellias25%ReszdIMG_8786BlogCamellias25%ReszdIMG_8757 We learnt that C.sinensis can reach a height of 5-10 m if left untrimmed (see old tree in the first photo below) and that it takes up to 7 years before the leaves can be harvested for tea, after which the plant will produce leaves for tea for 100 years! We also had a guided tour of the processing factory (2nd photo below).BlogCamellias25%ReszdIMG_8763BlogCamellias25%ReszdIMG_8781Other species have smaller leaves and miniature flowers and a few are even scented like C.lutchuensis, C.transnokoensis, C.fraterna; C.kissi; C.yuhsienensis and C.grijsii. The japonica cultivar ‘Kramer’s Supreme’ is slightly fragrant, while the fragrance of the sasanqua cultivar ‘Daydream’ is more intense, but not sweet. Other fragrant hybrids, using C.fraterna, C.yuhsienensis and C.grijsii as breeding stock, include : ‘ Cinammon Cindy’; ‘Cinammon Scentsation’; ‘Fragrant Joy’; ‘Fragrant Pink’; ‘Helen B’; ‘Hallstone Spicy’; ‘High Fragrance’; ‘Sweet Emily Kate’ and ‘Scentuous’.

Camellias originated in Eastern and Southern Asia from the Himalayas to Japan and Indonesia. Camellia japonica was portrayed in 11th Century Chinese porcelain and paintings, usually as a single red bloom. The oldest camellia in the world, at the Panlong Monastery in China, dates from 1347. The camellia was introduced to the West by the Dutch East India Company surgeon, Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716), who discovered them while in Japan. On his return, he described the details of more than 30 varieties. The oldest camellia trees in Europe were planted at the end of the 16th century at Campobello, Portugal.

The first camellias in Australia were planted by Alexander Macleay in 1826 at Elizabeth Bay House. The history of the camellia in Australia is recounted in http://www.gardenclinic.com.au/how-to-grow-article/australia-s-first-camellia. One of the early pioneers was the Waratah Camellia, C.japonica ‘Anemoniflora’, planted in the Sydney Botanic Garden in 1828 and by William Macarthur in 1831 at Camden Park Estate to be used in his breeding program. Other varieties imported in the same 1831 shipment were: ‘Alba Plena’, ‘Camura’ (Syn.’Incamata’) ‘Myrtifolia’, ‘Rubra’ and ‘Welbankiana’. In 1850, Macarthur listed 62 hand-bred varieties, the first of which was C.japonica ‘Aspasia’ or ‘Aspasia Macarthur’, as it is now known. By 1883, the leading nursery in Australia, Shepherd and Company, listed 160 varieties of C.japonica, but by 1891, the number of varieties had dropped to 53 and in 1916 to 16.

BlogCamellias20%Reszd2015-06-16 14.46.48
Similar to ‘Aspasia Macarthur’
BlogCamellias20%Reszd2015-06-16 14.42.43
Similar to ‘Lady Loch’

BlogCamellias20%Reszd2015-06-16 14.45.00BlogCamellias25%Reszd2015-08-26 16.47.45The revival of the camellia industry in Australia owes an enormous debt to Professor EG Waterhouse, a world authority on camellias,who researched and wrote 2 books about these lovely plants and propagated them between 1914-1977  at his home ‘Eryldene’ (17 McIntosh St Gordon, North Sydney) and nursery, Camellia Grove Nursery, based at St. Ives from 1939 to 2004 and now at Glenorie, 8 Cattai Ridge Rd., Glenorie (http://www.camelliagrove.com.au/). ‘Eryldene’, an Art Deco house built in 1914, is listed on the National Estate and the NSW Heritage Register and is open to the public on selected weekends during Winter. The next open day is 13th and 14th August 2016. See: http://www.eryldene.org.au/ for dates and further information.

Camellias can also be viewed at the EG Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens, 104 President Ave, Caringbah South, near Cronulla. They were established as a Captain Cook Bicentenary project in 1970 and they are only one of 40 International Camellia Gardens of Excellence in the world and the only such garden in New South Wales. They showcase 400 cultivars and species from Autumn to Spring. Camellia sasanqua blooms from Autumn to early Winter or early Spring; followed by Camellia japonica, from late Autumn right through Winter; and Camellia reticulata in bloom from mid-Winter to September/October. The gardens are open from 9am-4pm on weekdays and 9.30am – 5pm on weekends and public holidays. See: http://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Outdoors/Parks-and-Playgrounds/Parks/Camellia-Gardens-Caringbah-South  and  http://camelliasaustralia.com.au/gardens/e-g-waterhouse-national-camellia-gardens/.

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne (https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-melbourne/attractions/plant-collections/camellia-collection  also has a large collection of camellias, with 950 species and cultivars, some dating back to 1875, while Araluen Botanic Park, Western Australia (http://araluenbotanicpark.com.au/) has 450 cultivars. The Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in South Australia (http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/visit/mount-lofty-botanic-garden) also has an important collection.

All the states have their own camellia societies, affiliated under an umbrella association called Camellias Australia Inc.(See their website: http://camelliasaustralia.com.au). It also hosts a project called the Camellia Ark, set up to conserve some of the very rare early species in Australia, which are now disappearing. It includes 75 endangered cultivars and species and can be accessed at : http://camelliasaustralia.com.au/gardens/camellia-ark/.BlogCamellias20%Reszd2015-05-30 09.15.22Camellias are best selected when in bloom. They should be planted (and transplanted) during Autumn and Winter. Their ideal site is:

  • Partial shade. Full shade reduces the amount of flowering, while full sun will burn the foliage; White and light pink varieties prefer more shade; C.sasanqua and C.reticulata will tolerate more sun than C.japonica.
  • Organic, slightly acidic (pH 6-6.5), semi-moist but well-drained soil.

The site should be prepared prior to planting with generous amounts of peat moss, compost or old manure mixed in with the soil. The hole should be twice the diameter of the root ball and 1½ times the depth. The planting depth is critical, otherwise if the root ball is set too deep, the plant may refuse to bloom. Plant, so that the root ball is 1 inch above the existing soil level to allow for settling. Water heavily and keep well-watered until the plant is established. A thick layer (2-3 inches) of mulch (leaf mould or shredded bark) will help to retain moisture. Having said that, make sure the soil is well-drained, as camellias hate wet feet, as too much water results in root rot.

Camellias are very easy, minimal care plants, which seldom require pruning, except for weak, spindly, or dead branches. For a more upright growth, the inner branches can be thinned out and the lower limbs shortened. If you must prune, do it immediately after the blooms fade or in mid Summer. They are not heavy feeders, but if growth is weak or the leaves are yellowing, a slow release Azalea and Camellia Fertilizer can be applied sparingly around the drip line of the plant in December, after which the plant should be watered well. Avoid the use of mushroom compost, fresh chook manure and lime (all too alkaline). A few handfuls of sulphate of potash can be beneficial just before flowering.BlogCamellias25%Reszd2015-06-19 09.03.41Diseases are mainly fungal and algal, including;

  • Spot Disease – round spots and upper side of leaves silvery, leading to loss of leaves
  • Black Mold
  • Leaf Spot
  • Leaf Gall
  • Flower Blight – flowers brown and fall
  • Root Rot
  • Canker – caused by fungus Glomerella cingulata, which attacks through wounds.

Physiological diseases include:

  • Salt Injury – high levels of salt in soil
  • Chlorosis – insufficient acidity in soil prevents the absorption of essential soil elements
  • Bud Drop – loss and decay of buds due to over-watering, high temperatures and potbound roots
  • Bud Balling – treat with 2 tsp Epsom salts to 10 litres water; a good feed of Azalea and Camellia fertilizer or move to a different place.

Camellias  can also suffer from oedema and sunburn.

Pests include :

  • Fuller rose beetle Pantomorus cervinus
  • Mealy bugs Planococcus citri and Planococcus longispinus
  • Weevils Otiorhyncus slacatus and Otiothyncus ovatus and
  • Tea Scale Fiorinia theae
BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-02 11.34.43
All 4 stages of the camellia life cycle: Flower bud, flower, seedcase and seedling