Friday 29 April 2011


This year autumn is very noticeable for some reason. Even though the summer hasn't been too hot or too long, autumn is making its presence felt and somehow one is aware of it all the more. It brings with it many offerings of flowers. And of course first position of honour goes to the chrysanthemums.

Chrysanthemums in our garden.
Fuchsias in the morning sunshine.
And some exotics from the florist!
Bromeliads always put on a splendid show.
Many of the succulents are also flowering.
A decorative Opuntia (prickly pear) species.
The cyclamens are enjoying the autumn weather and putting in on quite a show.
This is the Silver Vase Bromeliad (Aechmea fasciata) which seems to like conditions in our garden and rewards us with many showy, large and long-lasting blooms!
The humble geranium is a striking drop of colour in dark garden corners...
African violets (Saintpaulia) have some stunningly beautiful flowers.
This is a new arrival in our garden. The magnificent Zantedeschia 'Hot Chocolate' cultivar.
Blue-coloured flowers like this pansy are my favourites.
This Banksia is an Australian native that looks very striking.
It's a good year for the camellias, which seem to appreciate the early cool weather.
A flower-loving mosquito that was tasting some nectar here and...
And here, on this Alyssum flower.
Autumn is a lovely season, isn't it?

Tuesday 26 April 2011


Montsalvat was originally established as a true artists’ colony in over 12 acres situated in Eltham, an outer suburb of Melbourne, Australia. It was founded by architect and artist Justus  Jörgensen (1893-1975) in 1934. It is home to a small hamlet of various buildings, houses and halls set amongst extensive established gardens. The colony of Montsalvat reflects very much the life of Justus Jörgensen and his friends and family.
Part of the entrance building complex.
Architecturally, Montsalvat has much in common with a simple French village in Provence revealing a mix of rustic architectural styles.
There is very much a European village feel to the place!
Path leading towards the Great Hall, with artists' studios shown on the left.
The picturesque buildings are surrounded by lawns and gardens.
There is much art to be admired on the grounds.
Much of this art from the time of Jörgensen.
A happy resident!
The Great Hall of Montsalvat.
Another view of the Great Hall.
Inside the Great Hall, at ground floor level. This chamber is used for weddings and receptions, as well as for cultural events.
A room below the level of the Great Hall ground floor and connected to it by corridors, staircases and small rooms.
The first floor level of the Great Hall. Another venue for concerts, presentations and various functions. A grand piano takes pride of place in one corner, while Justus Jörgensen's art works grace the walls.
A still life by Jörgensen, hanging in the Great Hall.
One of Justus Jörgensen's many self-portraits.
Another still life and a sculpture study of Alec Ensel.
The pool beside the Great Hall and on the left side of the picture, another gallery/exhibition space.
Part of the residential buildings complex adjacent to the Great Hall.
Many beautiful peacocks adorn the grounds (and roofs!).
The Chapel situated in a quiet part of the grounds next to a pine tree copse and a lily pond.
Interior of the Chapel.
A secluded part of the terraced garden allows the visitor time to reflect and take in the serenity of the place.
Many cottage garden plants such as this glorious Salvia contribute to the rustic feel of Montsalvat.
Beautiful ironwork of the monumental gate here, invites further visits.

Monday 25 April 2011


Birrarung Marr is on the north bank of the Yarra River next to Federation Square. It is Melbourne’s newest major park, opened in 2002. Its name comes from the language of the Wurundjeri people who originally inhabited this area. “Birrarung” means “river of mists” while “Marr” means river bank. There are many interesting public spaces, beautiful walks and many art works that allow the visitor not only to relax and enjoy the pleasant views of the water and the city skyline, but also many artworks to stimulate and excite the senses. Birrarung Marr is also the home of ArtPlay.

Looking north from the Batman Ave Bridge towards the City 
Looking west towards Federation Square and Flinders St Station, going south towards Birrarung Marr
The Footbridge leading to Speakers' Corner at the SE corner of the Park
The Federation Bells - A public musical instrument
A magpie in search of a worm - too late in the morning for that!
Great to have a freshly cooked brunch on the banks of the Yarra River.
...With an uninvited guest!
The view of the City skyline from here is iconic.
Angel sculpture by Deborah Halpern. 
The Birrarung Wilam (meaning “River Camp”) installation celebrates the diversity of Victoria’s indigenous culture by interpreting stories from local communities through public artworks.
Large rocks incised with animal drawings add interest to the installation.
ArtPlay is a venue and a project that is housed in a distinct, free-standing red brick warehouse (the sole remaining building of the Melbourne rail yards). It encourages children to create art through play.
One of the ArtPlay creations - A mosaic made by children.
A winding, textured pathway acknowledges the significance of the eel as a traditional food source for groups camped by the river.
The river views are wonderful along the path that links Birrarung Marr with Federation Square to the north and St Kilda Rd to the west.
A Ferris wheel that is great for river and city views.
A merry-go-round that's always popular with the kids.
Walking up towards St Kilda Rd to conclude the promenade…