Category Archives: garden stuff

Little trees

Bonsai is an interesting form of gardening and those who practice the art are certainly passionate about little trees. I went to the display put on by the Waverley Bonsai Club at the Mount Waverley Community Centre mainly to check out the hall renovations.

But I ran into someone I knew who gave me a tour of the exhibits, explaining the finer details on each plant. I was told pines are the best and his Japanese Black Pine was a great example.

It was repotted about a year ago and the prop keeping it from falling over has only just been removed. I think Ken said he started it from a seedling in the 1970s.

Acacia spectubilis. Complete with a kangaroo to emphasise that this is an Australian plant.

The eucalyptus is about twenty years old. It had flower buds but no further information about the variety. I thought the pot the melaleuca sat in was well chosen.

Was this liquidambar pining for the freedom of the park outside?

Suiseki is the Japanese art of stone appreciation.


Falling down and perches

The rain brought by a midweek storm was not that much, the wind not the most powerful but it was all a bit much for my big Cootamundra wattle in full flower.

After dragging the biggest branch off the driveway it wasn’t until Saturday that I got to inspect the damage. Another equally large branch is hanging just above the ground and all that is left of the tree is the lower growth and one small section at the top.

As Tomkins and I were planning the clean up I noticed a few cars heading down the street.

A different sort of open house. I have been watching this tiny house build for a while now. Apparently it is going to be available for overnight try outs, fortunately not enough room for a riotous party.

The king parrots are frequent visitors, this female and male are feeling the cold.

But after a day inside while I was in Bendigo, Lulu, Umeko and Tomkins found some perches in the sunshine.


A secret garden

A quick ferry ride to Milsons Point and a stroll along the broad walk to Lavender Bay brings you to Wendy’s Secret Garden. The story behind this public but community maintained garden can be read here. It was created by Wendy Whiteley in reaction to Brett Whiteley’s sudden death.

The walk goes round Luna Park and is also the site of Comic Walk, lots of little sculptures of popular fictional characters. Of course May Gibbs Banksia Man was among a variety of banksia plants.

The first thing you see when your climb the stairs up to the garden is a huge Morton Bay Fig.

The whole site is threaded with narrow paths and steep stairways.

Hidden statuary and found objects.

Very welcoming but also very personal. The cupid fountain is from Margaret Olley’s garden.

Thatching of the arbour is the living bamboo.

I was surprised to see so many Angel Trumpet trees in a public space. So beautiful, but highly poisonous.

The garden stretches below the Whiteley house in what was infill land created when the railway was built. Now there are moves to create the Sydney Harbour Highline along this little used line.

After a lovely time exploring this garden I climbed up to Blues Point Road and then down to McMahons Point for the ferry back to Circular Quay. From this side you can see where the garden lies, right in the middle.

Then off on another ferry to Manly for the afternoon and back after sunset to see Vivid from the water. If you are going to be in Sydney, then a day on the harbour is a must.

Vivid Sydney

First another hotel view. The lift. An over the top interior.

Tuesday evening I headed out to see Vivid. I thought I would just visit Vivid in the Gardens, but they way it was organised, the one-way lighted path started near the Opera House, so I spent time at Circular Quay as well. A mild evening had lots of people out and about including a lot of children. But it was not overcrowded. The light show was everywhere and totally mesmerising.

The gardens had illuminated plants and a sequence of installations but all sorts of artists,  who I cannot acknowledge as I didn’t pay attention to the information pillars. I think they are all listed on the Vivid Sydney site.

Trees taking on new personalities

Some spooky things

Following pathways

Reflections in water

Huge paper lanterns

and birds were singing in the gazebo. Many many more amazing things to see, but one of my favourites was a projection designed by TAFE students on the facade of Government House. Not possible to get a reasonable photo unfortunately.

IMG_9649Finally the view from Cahill Expressway, from the Museum of Contemporary Art to the Opera House.

Autumn colour

It has turned cold. At last. And it has rained. At last.

Umeko and Lulu and I went out during a brief spell of sunshine to do a quick survey after last night’s rain. I don’t have many deciduous plants, and it is too mild here to have anything like the spectacular shows you see in the mountains. But there is a little colour.

Evidence of rain, the birdbath is nearly full. The smoke bush Cotinus coggygria adds some pretty colour. Leaves on my ornamental pear is just beginning to turn.

The ginkgo captures every bit of light and the yellow fruit on the white cedar Melia azedarach nearby will be enjoyed by the birds in a few more weeks. Meanwhile the leaves on the Judas Tree Cercis siliquastrum that have survived the heat and insects are also turning yellow.

Blueberry leaves turn red.

And much to my surprise, considering how many times this potted plant has been scorched over summer, Vireya ‘Golden Charm’ is covered in buds and the first cluster has opened.

Under construction

After many many hours of driving I finally made it to the last destination on my two day Wimmera Road Trip. Much of it was spent thinking and learning about the past, so it was a refreshing change to see the future being made. And I received such a friendly welcome with tea and cake to boot.

The place? A very famous garden in Lal Lal, to followers of Weed n Stitch that is.  There was lots to see, so much had grown in the year since I was here last. And lots of new developments too. Vireya documents all this very well but in case you haven’t got the full picture here are one or two.

First one of the beds that can be seen from the living room windows. A lovely shady place to sit and plan the next garden task.

And next a wide view of the compound from one of the high sides. The house nestles between two slight rises that have been left as natural bushland (minus weeds). In between the house and the shed with all the solar panels is the formal walled garden which is slowly taking shape. The infamous pizza oven is front left, still getting final coats at this time, but now, cooking up a storm. The veggie garden and orchard are way across the other side along with all the roses that line the drive. It is quite a magical place.

Thank you Vireya and Graeme for your hospitality. I look forward to seeing further changes on my next visit.

Caterpillar tête-à-tête

The Papilla anactus caterpillars on my lemon tree are growing. I count them daily and so far no losses.

This morning these two were enjoying the same leaf.

And this is what happened when I bumped it while taking a close up.

Update:  For those interested these pictures were taken with an iPhone 5 with a clip on Struman macro lens.