We are reaching the end of our stay in Prague. It was more than expected – a truly wonderful city. Here are some gardening ideas to bring home – we should all have at least one window box or the like.
They are often simple geraniums in bold colours.
The full sun and the heat from the masonry walls ensure a dramatic display.
Begonias are another popular species for window boxes. These can be found in the windows of most residences and restaurants – delightfully simple.
(oops, I think this ivy is fake!)
Some need a little more love.
This red geranium is at Prague castle. Ok, this may be too much. However, none of these are beyond the average home gardener, like us. Happy gardening!
Captain James Cook named this island in 1770 believing it caused interference with the magnets on board the Endeavour.
By the late 19th century Europeans had settled the island.
This island has captivated us.
Simply enchanting in mid winter.
It always amuses us that when we go on holiday we are drawn to the historical aspects of the city or place we are visiting. As we drove through Ned Kelly country on our way here to a Canberra, we often discuss the places such as Glenrowan and their significance for our cultural heritage. Of course, when in Canberra a must see for Australians and overseas tourists alike, are the old and new Parliament Houses. They are icons of our identity.
Set parallel to one another and only 300 metres walking distance apart, the two Houses are indeed worlds apart, both in architecture and modern significance.
I can’t really say which one I preferred. New Parliament House circa 1988, is certainly modern and thrust into the 21st Century with its bright and colourful chambers and glass and steel facade. However, what caught my eye in both Houses we the similarities in light fixtures. It is as though one looks back to the past for inspiration and knowledge whilst the other seeks to find innovation and foresight. Both “light” our democratic paths.
These beautiful fixtures are, surprisingly, in the new Parliament House. The ones that follow are beautiful examples that reflect Old Parliament House’s 1927 Art Deco influence.
One can imagine the historical figures of politics and royalty standing beneath these illuminated pendants.
Indeed, both venues balance the old and the new and are tributes to the men and women who guide and led our nation in peace and in war; in times of great social change, political upheaval and national pride.
The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays, to shape what we are and what we do. Sir William Deane, 1996. (Judge and former Governor General).
Let us now remember to see the past as an investment in our future and see our future as a beacon of hope and enlightenment.
Australia has a new Prime Minister – sad day for women but a happy one for Queenslanders with Kevin Rudd back!
You all know my passion for gardens – any gardens, any where. So when a friend and in-law Margaret invited me to see her Community Garden project I was intrigued. The first time I saw the garden was last November in the pouring rain. More recently, it was brilliant sunshine and a respectable 30 degrees C.
A Community Garden is indeed a suitable launching place for many great ideas. Each resident gardener pays a nominal fee to tend their plot. The restrictions are simple: no large trees, no weeds, and no pilfering! Otherwise, the horticultural creativity is set free to produce wondrous vegetables, fruits and herbs. In addition, community interaction is guaranteed.
Why am I envious? It is envy of the admirable kind – for plants that we cannot grow here in the Mount. Giant golden vegetables, black, shiny grapes, fragrant basil and sun trapped red tomatoes.
Check out this man’s giant climbing zucchini!
Tall sunflowers and harvested corn.
Therefore, last weekend when we visited again, it was for the launch of Margaret’s historical book which tracks the history of the garden suburb where she lives. The estate was designed by Walter Burley Griffin, Canberra’s famous town planner. The book also chronicles the history of the indigenous people of the area; the discovery of gold in the 1850’s; the first families who purchased land in the estate complete with general specifications of a typical 1950’s home; through to the time when “the frontier spirit [had] dissipated as we moved into the seventies” (p85).
The Community Garden stands on “an internal reserve … designed in the late 1920’s” (which for a long stretch of time was a forgotten and derelict triangle of land). It now provides a sustainable and renewable facility. It is though, much more than a commodity, it is a safe, productive haven for the Tuppal Reserve gardeners and their families. Indeed it is a most enviable achievement – full of delight, determination and distinction.
Do you belong to a community garden?
As we continued our stay with Daughter Number Two in Sydney, we spent the day walking around the city. Our intention was to visit the State Library as I had heard of an interesting photographic exhibition.
Our walk led us past old Parliament House and the historic Sydney Hospital.
As well as other places of architectural significance such as the Commonwealth Bank Building.
One must appreciate that Sydney was the first settlement in Australia with the First Fleet landing in Circular Quay in 1788. Sixty odd years later gold was discovered in “them there hills”. This
led to a building boom in what was to become the leading city of the vast area known as New South Wales. Similar events in Victoria led to Melbourne also being “build on gold”. So when I heard of an historically rich photographic exhibition featuring gold miners, their families and their lodgings I was intrigued.
These photographs are reproductions of the original glass plates featuring images of life in the goldfields of New South Wales and Victoria. These plates were found in a garden shed fifty years ago and only after much time and money, resurrected to their original forms. They are quite extraordinary.
For me the images are reminiscent of the Civil War images featuring the sombre visages of the prospectors. The clarity, however, is superb.
Also, what really intrigued me were the images of women and their children posing silently out in front of their rustic lodgings.
It would have been a harsh and unforgiving existence. The women bore numerous children who often did not survive disease nor the poor sanitation of the time. I love their long dark gowns, their stern expressions and their children’s wondrous looks.
My favourite image follows and it incorporates beautifully laid out garden of vegetables and flowers. I even think the owners of this little miner’s cottage look very pleased with themselves!
It was a wonderful end to a great weekend. I think how fortunate we are to live in our technology rich times but still do marvel at the ingenuity, the resourcefulness of that time. Incidentally, the Holtermann nugget, pictured below was not the great legacy left by this prospector. Instead, it was the commissioning of photographers Merlin and Baylis from the American and Australian Photographic Company which is our greatest treasure. These photographs chronicle an important time in our history – the discovery of gold and the harsh life this entailed. We are richer for these photographs.
In addition, I was very lucky to share these with my daughter and her husband – a photographic essayist in his own right.
Thanks for a great weekend you two!
It’s been a gruelling few days. My arms ache, my legs ache and when I close my eyes I see WEEDS, WEEDS and more weeds. Our garden is quite large and the recent heavy rain and heat has encouraged everything to grow a trillion times over. But what has really made my job arduous is the ivy.
I HATE IVY. Now you will never, ever read that I hate anything – I am quite accepting, especially when it comes to nature. However, over the last ten days since I returned from the sub tropics I have given myself the task of working the garden for at least two hours a day. As I can never stop myself I often spend five or six hours out there with the cats and chickens and, yes of course, the ivy. Here is what I have to contend with…..
A little climbing ivy!
A variegated variety!
Some pretty ivy…
And then there’s the ground cover ivy….
So, it’s this type of ground covering ivy that I am tackling – and really, to no avail. So, I have decided to not despise it but look at ways go admire and embrace its potential. Just like many things in life which are beyond our control, the ivy now for me represents steadfastness, determination and survival. It is more than just an out of control aspect of the garden. Delving into historical representations of ivy I found that it was a symbol of royalty, often woven as crowns for gods in Greek and Roman mythology. Bacchus wore a crown of ivy and of course Yuletide decorations included English Ivy in and around country households – fireplaces, candles, wreaths and, of course, to decorate the Yule log itself. In matters of love, ivy is symbolic of fidelity and constancy.
I guess then I am looking at ivy for its potential – what it can give back to us. Yesterday, while we attended a Christmas function at the historic 1850’s homestead in Eynesbury, I couldn’t help but notice the controlled ivy feature…
Yes, now I see its beauty and potential – sometimes we have to look at challenges in other ways. In the greater scheme of things, the ivy is part of the garden – tame it or tolerate it – but I now choose to turn it into an asset – with a little guiding hand, of course. Do I now love ivy? Let’s say, I have chosen to use it to my advantage. Have you ever had to look at challenges in creative ways? Enjoy the Yuletide preparations.