Sunday, May 29, 2011

Zara - My New Doggy

I've been wanting to get another dog since 'Ulysses' died in 2005. Sometimes things fall into place when you're not trying... I've called my new doggy 'Zara' - Arabic for "bright as the dawn". When we first saw each other, there was an uncanny feeling we'd be together. A neighbour of mine had been given her by a near stranger, who'd obviously mistreated her...she was extremely shy. My neighbour then proceded to lose her, but not before he'd offered her to me. After three days on her own in our back paddock, I found her, but it took me two hours to coax her to me...I gardened under some eucalypts, letting her know I was there if she needed me, and wasn't out to hurt her. Gradually she circled closer, until, as night was coming on, and rain beginning to fall, there she was, a metre away, curled up on a bed of grass clippings. Very gently I picked her up and stowed her away. Since then, she has been flowering beautifully. I hope you can see what I can see:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gardener, Quiet

Gardener, Quiet 

Whether I went 
up the garden path 

or wandered off it, 
it was all garden, 
wherever I looked. 
And I bonded there. 

The blood I'd got 
from my past, blood
of hands, hands tilling, 
grew branches

from my heart, 
and bore this prayer: 
let me stay 
in this verdure forever, 

if I'm to stay 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Escape to Burnley Gardens

Just a few kilometres from Melbourne's CBD, and across from the Yarra river ( unfortunately, too, close to the roaring Monash Freeway ), lie Burnley Gardens. Opened in 1863 by the Horticultural Society of Victoria, they now house Burnley Horticultural College, a part of the University of Melbourne.
Having lived nearby for many years, I returned today, and again found myself the almost sole visitor to this little-known sanctuary. It transports me to a feeling of 'home'.
You see this serpentine pool of water with its papyrus as you enter, occasioned by wood duck:

Above me I saw yellow-tailed black cockatoos ( Calyptortynchus funereus ) and heard a kookaburra laughing. Some of my favourite trees are here, among them this bunya bunya ( Araucaria bidwillii ) and this Wollemi pine ( Wollemi nobilis - only discovered in 1994 ):

Some of the vistas are magnificent, in a quiet way:

There are any number of the weird and wonderful:

This ( above ) is the feltbush ( Kalanchoe beharensis ). Below is a grass and a shrub I can't identify, Aloe bainesii and mottlecah ( Eucalyptus macrocarpa ):

This South African coral tree ( Erythrina caffra ) has amazingly warty bark:

This fountain is in the Herb Garden:

The native Australian garden, apart from being neglected in places, is perhaps my favourite part:

Coast banksia ( Banksia integrifolia ) and the Acorn banksia ( Banksia prionotes ):

The gymea lily ( its gigantic red flower spikes not yet bursting out - Doryanthes excelsa ):

And, lastly, perhaps, what I see as perhaps the most beautiful tree on site, this sugar gum ( Eucalyptus cladocalyx ):

Monday, May 23, 2011

Liquidambar Honey and Jam

There are two North American Liquidambar styraciflua on the property - one still has alot of green - the other's now lost most of its glorious autumn foliage, leaving drifts and carpets...

Friday, May 20, 2011


Under branches extending
through lull and through strife,

we trust there's a plot
in the garden of life,

where yielding our view
with a heart that won't harden

will cultivate hope
in the life of the garden.    

Faisal Grant, May, 2011.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garden Theatre ( Autumn ) II

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted to the tomb,

When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
"For beauty," I replied.

"And I for truth, - the two are one;
We brethren are," he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,

Until the moss had reached our lips.
And covered up our names.

Emily Dickinson.
In memory of my father, whose birthday it was today, 14 May, 1926.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Every morning you greet me...

I've been feeding the resident magpies ( Gymnorhina tibicen ) for three years. Throughout the day, but early morning especially, they come to a jacaranda tree near the back door, where I put their beef. The patriarch, seen here, is the most audacious, coming onto the back porch to be fed.

Here too, is a YouTube video, recording the song, if you haven't heard it... 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Visit to Heide Museum of Modern Art and Its Grounds

Today I went with family to Heide Museum of Modern Art ( ), in Melbourne, originally established by art patrons John and Sunday Reed in 1934.

There are many outdoor sculptures, including this, 'The Seed':

Outside Cafe Vue, where we ate ( I had a marvellous fish soup and delicious braised lamb ), the hardscape is finely planted with natives, including some espaliered Eucalyptus Caesia:

Here are some wide views of some of the 16 acres of garden:

A Rick Amor sculpture:                                                                                                                                

Another sculpture, by Andrew Rogers, 'Unfurling':                                                                                                  

There's a wonderful, heritage vegetable garden too:                                                                                        

  Some Tansy:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Some of the trees are stunning:                                                                                                            

Here is a view of 'Heide II', designed by David McGlashan in 1963:

And one of the new gallery buildings:

A piece of the original garden:

My mother and me: