Open garden with a bay view gives delight to visitors

Yesterday we visited an open garden on the slopes of Mount Martha, overlooking Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay. The hillside was densely planted with (mostly) Australian native plants, flowering for spring, interspersed with sculptured wildlife and water features.

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I particularly liked the spidery hakeas.

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And this blue lily which the nurseryman who was present identified for me.

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One of the homeowners sculpts in wood and I bought a little bowl for olives.

Every reason to enjoy Veraison

A couple of evenings ago, we drove as the setting sun cast warm glows on the bushland and vines, to Bluestone Lane Winery, the home of Veraison Restaurant. We had been invited by our friends Jan and Len to an event held by the Mornington Peninsula Wine and Food Society, of which they are members.

The prearranged menu with accompanying wines had been carefully selected by these foodies to complement each other and delight the senses. The owner filled us in with background details about the wines and what we were eating – which very much added to the total experience.

Upon arrival, we were welcomed with the winery’s sparkling white made by the methode champagnoise accompanied by canap├ęs including a delicate salmon on miniature blini.

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Then we sat down to tables set with white cloths and lillies to nibble on rolls with the most divine olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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The entree was a mystery and we were invited to identify the ingredients. It turned out to be Canadian giant scallops on Spanish black pudding – I kid you not! Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo.

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This was the main, which was also a mystery and turned out to be Flinders Island milk-fed wallaby with crunchy dried mushroom topping and a beetroot jus.
The sweet was their signature

20131020-073925.jpg dish – violet gelato with white chocolate ice cream and honeycomb – a sweet indulgence to finish with. By the time I drove home it was almost midnight and I was glad that I had resisted the lure of the carefully selected wines. Thanks, Jan and Len, for the invitation to an evening of good company and sensory treats.

More springtime wildflowers, this time in the mountains, plus calves and other rustic delights

The delicate beauty of Australian wildflowers continue to fascinate me. Here we have a bulbine Lily:

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Mountain boronia:

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And rice flower:

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Some curious cows:

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And a general scene of verdant pasture, such a contrast to the drought-ridden northern parts of Australia.

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One man went to mow – whoops

Over the weekend we visited our friends’ hobby farm in North East Victoria. David planned to get there before the others to mow the spring grass around the hut so the campsite would be lawn-like. He hopped on the ride-on and started work, mowing a good part of the home paddock.

The next day, he continued, but hopped off to attend to a bit of something protruding from the machine. He ended up slicing his boot, sock and foot. Several hours in Emergency at Wangaratta Hospital and several sutures later, we returned to the farm. No more mowing for David (or even walking for at least a week. Thank you to our good friend April (who is a nurse), for her wise First Aid support.

To brighten the post, I’ve added some photos of the journey there, over the Great Dividing Range under the towering mountain ash forests of the Black Spur, stopping for lunch at the pretty township of Alexandra where we lunched at a cafe with a memorial to truck drivers.

Well, the weekend getaway started well…

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Coolart has cool critters

Yesterday David led a Probus walk through Coolart Wetlands & Homestead,on the Mornington Peninsula, an hour and a half south of Melbourne.

This park has an imposing homestead built by pharmaceutical magnate Frederick Grimwade in 1895, surrounded by a formal English-style garden with a pretty fountain.

We did the 6kmWoodland walk and checked out bird hides with cormorants, a curious egret and nesting ibises. A short beaked echidna tried its hand at tree-climbing and a raven ogled our picnic lunch longingly.

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Under One Moon – Even in Brilliant Sunshine

This afternoon we visited Richmond Housing Estate for the Under One Moon Festival celebrating Melbourne’s cultural diversity. In the grounds of the Estate was a stage surrounded by tents with stalls and displays. We were treated to performances of Beijing Opera, Japanese umbrella dancing, African dancers and various Timor Leste performers, including some men in magnificent feather headdresses. There was also a dragon dance, with frisky dragons running among the crowd afterwards. Small shelters were built by the Papuans and those from Timor Leste. Those present were invited to make lanterns for the parade to be held in the evening. I made an attempt and was told that the result was acceptable, thanks to some help from teenagers who seemed to have the hang of it.

Although we had to leave before the evening parade, it was a good day. Thanks to my fellow Mandarin student, Maria, a resident at the Estate, for the invitation. Photos: David StreetImageImageImageImageImage