A message from Brigid ....

I have been a blogger since 2005. At the height of my blogging busy-ness, I had "a small stable" of blogs on different topics: social and political commentary; desert spirituality; food; waste and ....

A few years ago I called time and ceased blogging altogether - although there was an occasional post. I had called it quits. I am an aged woman these days with a couple of serious illnesses. I am not allowed to drive. I am no longer active in organisations. I think it fair to say that I am housebound. I am active on Facebook, although I am not there as often as once I was. I have decided to embark on a re-entry into the blogging world ... beginning with The Trad Pad and, possibly, a return to my food blog, Oz Tucker. I have always used a lot of photographs on my blogs ... and I miss not being out and about with my camera.

The Trad Pad has been my blog for the lovely things of life. The controversial or political has seldom intruded. Occasionally, the spiritual has found its way in, but I kept spirituality for the blog, Desert. I don't yet know if I will revive that. I will stick pretty much to food and the lovely things of life. If I have some regularity with those two categories, I feel that I will be doing well. I hope that, with this blog new friendships can be formed and old friendships renewed; new lovelies discovered; new reflections can enter into the meaning of modern life. I would love to hear from you - particularly if you have suggestions for new topics to enter into the conversation. So, it is a new year. Let's see what it has in store, what it can bring to us. And I hope that those who share the spirit of The Trad Pad can spread the message of a world of beauty, the creativity of humanity, and the joys of simplicity and tradition. ~~~ February, 2017

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Astolat: an idyllic garden

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On Sunday, I visited a garden in Australia's Open Garden Scheme. I could have taken more pictures but the battery gave up. However, there are plenty of pictures in the slide show above to give you an idea of how wonderful it is - and the skills and resources it takes to maintain it.

Astolat, 530 Riversdale Road, Camberwell, Melbourne, Victoria was buiit circa 1882-1884 by Thomas Plumley Denham Junior, a solicitor. The residence is typical of late 19th century Italianate architecture of the Melbourne upper middle class. It has an asymmetrical building form, return cast iron verandahs, refined cement render detailing, intct fenestration, chimneys and a slate roof. The name, Astolat, is derived from Tennyson's Idyll of the King.

The garden was developed soon after the completion of the mansion and is recognised as a typical 19th century suburban villa garden. At the front of the house is an oval lawn formed by the carriage drive, a tennis court with original pavilion built in 1890, an elaborate timber picket fence, and well established tree and shrub species of the era.

From 1985, the garden underwent many changes as a reult of new owners. Many Australian native species were planted. Structural additions such as urns, a small circular temple, the recessed seating west of the court and new additional buildings at the rear of the mansion diverted from the original design and changed the Victorian feel of the garden.

In 1995, the present owners bought the property and have proceeded to slowly rejuvenate the garden and return it to its original Victorian glory. A tree replacement programme has been implemented and is slowly removing self-sown and inappropriate tree species, replacining them with species of the Victorian era. Garden renovations have created seven specific themses within the garden: a fern garden; tropical garden; cherry walk; woodland garden; hot perennial border; grey border; and a winter border.

These gardens act like rooms encouraging one to venture further, provoking curiosity to see what is around the next corner. The addition of themed gardens helps generate interest throughout the year through texture, form, and colour.

Australia is in the middle of the greatest drought since white settlement in 1788. This year, underground tank has been installed at Astolat beneath the lawn to the east of the residence. The capacity of the tank is over 300,000 litres and is fed from run off from the buildings and drains throughout the two-acre property. This development will ensure the garden will remain healthy and intact. The garden is maintained by the equivalent of four person days per week under the oversight of a qualified landscape gardener

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