The St Kilda Botanical Gardens are a little distance from home, but today I needed to move. I was especially struck by this arrangement of pots, and the kiln/chimney in the background. Apologies for the recurring bleached light.
Established on 16 acres in 1859, the gardens were once then part of Melbourne's most glorious suburb. Having gone through a process of dilapidation during the 20th century, St Kilda has begun to return to a clear semblance of its former self. Above, a Chilean date palm, planted 1900.
I can't say they're the most beautiful or original I've visited, but I loved wandering through its diverse spaces. There are, apparently, 810 mature tree specimens, which isn't so bad, given that 16 acres is alot of real estate, and a garden's seasons are sometimes up and sometimes down.
You can enter through one of several gates, designed and built by David Wood of 'Bent Metal' and installed in 2010. "Victorian" seems to be a characteristic that can come back to live with us, not one that folds itself away too far to get near to.
I was struck by the Victorian foundation, a foundation that can be quickly lost as time works its way across it.
NOT Victorian, this seat, but doesn't it seem to fit, among the tendrils and the leafiness, the leaning branches?
I liked seeing arrangements like this, not too deliberate, not too careless.
A corner is devoted to the re-construction of indigenous habitat as it would have been. The Red Gums ( Eucalyptus camaldulensis ) are magnificent, to me. I'd rather not live without them in my world.
Nor could the possums given a home in this nest-box, in the arms of one of them.
There was, though, a conservatory to visit, hot and damp and quiet.
A boardwalk takes you over pools of water. I saw one or two others, one with a couple of doggies, taking their stroll, here in this safe house, where greenness and an alive peace reign.
Outside of here, a playground and vegetable garden get volunteers and locals involved with the betterment of our planet. These gardens appear to me to have many uses...I am sure the industrious Victorians who founded it would applaud.
Above, a water garden, serving as it does as a filter for various outflows, but acting as an approximation of a natural formation, and lending to its visitors thus, a tranquility.
Tranquility can be conveyed too through space. Above, Aloe barberae, specimens of which I have at home, thanks to the kindness of William Martin of 'Wigandia'.
I had to take a shot of this West Australian flowering gum ( Corymbia ficifolia ), so exuberant, despite or because of the challenging conditions in which it has evolved.
I like a garden that lets me slip in, that doesn't want me to have to try too hard. And I like one that has a roughness, or a readiness. During its 'downfall,' after WW2 through to the 1980s, St Kilda became Melbourne's red light district, it's mansions cut up into lodgings, its streets colourfully perilous.
It hardly looks perilous now. Living as I do now in an outer suburb, I felt embraced to come back here, to an inner suburb, ageing gracefully.
My last shot is this, an old bird-bath/water fountain, left to its own devices. That is something I like, restoration, yes, but a restoration that keeps things humble. I too, prefer to be left to my own devices, to be allowed to be able to stand as I am, to age gracefully, to have some sort of dignified presence within the shifting world and its many branches.