Monday, November 25, 2013

The Five ( or Seven ) of Us

I have a batch of old slides we all used to watch in a darkened dining room. And at last I'm getting them converted to photos. I'm on the horse, with my elder sister and younger brother and my Mum and Dad, c1963. It doesn't seem so long ago and I can vaguely remember the day at a property of friends of my parents in Templestowe, outside of Melbourne, now a sprawling suburb. Gee up, horsey!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lost in Space

My main point in writing this post is to suggest that the landscape can offer a more beautiful outlook than what most of us contrive in our gardens.
I'd decided to head out to the country today, on the train, about an hour north of Melbourne, to see a little somewhere I'd like to live in. Believe me, if you are wanting to head off to a lively little country town, do NOT head off to Kilmore East... I did.
A hamlet, I'd call it, Kilmore East, without a single shop, cafe or pedestrian ( well - there was me ). Home to retirees, the real reason to visit is to wander beyond the housing, beneath its surrounding rolling hills.
This, to me, is already a garden, but it's not, of course. It's a bit of country land, mowed by just-visible sheep. You see, as I'm getting older, I really don't want to have a garden at all. I want to transplant myself to a country landscape where nature's done/doing the work.
Did a clever stylist plant this? No, it just happened, here on the roadside, a bit out of Kilmore East, on Sunday Creek Road. 
This COULD be a deliberately planned garden-scape. Fortunately, the garden-makers of much of the land I saw today haven't yet stuck their toxically-bright bits of geometrically logical exotic flowerdom into this peaceful bit of paddock.
In this grove of Eucalypts burnt by bushfire but re-growing mops of leaves, I see a troupe of dancers performing a delicate dance. Did they need a human director? No.

Having tucked into my lunch, here in a one-time former bus shelter - almost the only place in Kilmore East  to sit - with the prospects of both the human imprint and a broader native amplitude before me, I've decided we gardeners could do well to just let nature take its course...instead of poking and prodding it into a malformed drudgery of weeds and alien aesthetics.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


We thought we'd bolt down out the back, Zara and me, to see Neddy and Zippy.
The cold and blasty weather is finally gone.
The car hasn't been starting up without a hiccup - well, OK, not at all - for how many years is it Zara?
Besides, the sun's out, it's Sunday...
...Neddy and Zippy are frisky. We haven't seen each other ALL week and Zara needs some nifty equestrianism...
"Put your foot in the stirrup, Faisal, and let's get a wriggle on!"
"No worries," I confirmed,
somewhat prematurely. One minute I was legs skywards
and the next I was face in the feeding trough. Zara, of course, is too loyal to laugh...
...but I'm not so sure about those horsies. Wasn't that some sniggering I heard?

Friday, November 15, 2013

He Goes for It

It concerns me that I don't altogether do as much with my blog as I'd like to. Sometimes it's circumstantial and sometimes it's motivational, the reason I let it slip - as if it weren't adequate to my needs, or as if it were a pain -
 - but having Willy Wagtails pirouette, I remember what got me here.
For as long as I remember, being able to see something beautiful when it seemed like others only saw ugliness, when I could see order when others could only see disturbance, was a quality I understood wouldn't perish.
Out of the rocks and the foliage, on all of her legs, the beautiful Zara apprehends her part in the day;
a bit of rope on the side of a ladder waves itself out, though it knows it holds a ladder together.
A photographer, such as the one seen here, has had a painter in his house and has had to move furniture around to make room for the process of painting. The painter is supposed to be making an improvement, but he may be only making a change.
If you look closely enough you can see two little beaks pointing out of the Willy Wagtails' nest. Their lives, as are all lives, the multi-layered lives, are lived in trust that the good will return, whatever change is afoot. Though I am technically wingless, I shall go for it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nursery Intrigues...

Here we all were, having a gardening sort of morning, with a nap here and a thorough investigation there...
...blessed we've been to have a pair of uncommonly-seen-in-Melbourne-now Willy Wagtails ( Rhipidura leucophrys ) build their nest in the Liquidambar above our outdoor nursery. They're flirtatious, charcoal-and-snowy, fearless chatterboxes...the Fred Astaires and the Ginger Rogers of the bird world.
Chief Inspector Zara has been on high alert... family members, especially infants, are allowed to have their way, and can't be considered to be chase-worthy yet. 
None of us has anything to fear. Gardens, after all, imply a guiding hand ( maybe a paw, too ), and I am perfectly happy to be able to get on with some gardening, here under the swift acrobatics of the Willy Wagtails.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Three of Us

I've thought a tame Australian Magpie ( Gymnorhina tibicen ) would be lovely to have, having got to know many wild ones over the years. ( For those who don't know, these birds have one of the most beautiful, enlivening, gurgling songs in the world. )
This morning this juvenile was found squatting on the driveway, at risk of being run over. I collected it and put it on a limb of the big old gum where its nest is.
However, later in the day it appeared to have been abandoned by its parents and was wandering around lost. Though Zara gleefully chases magpies and leaps up into the air when I feed them, I caught a very touching moment ( but no photo! ) when she was saying hello to this newcomer. 
So, here we are, the three of in the bedroom, magpie snoozing in a former laundry basket, Zara doing a bit of pacing around, and me regularly supplying freshly-dug worms.