Friday, 15 June 2007

Karwarra Gardens

I had second thoughts about driving up to the Dandenongs today. Thick fog blanketed the city (visibility less than 500m in some places). It was bloody cold. And I'm a sook when it comes to inclement weather. But I was meeting a friend at Kalorama for a walk around the Karwarra Australian Plant Garden. If the walk turned out to be a daft idea — a botanical gardens in winter? — there were plenty of cafes and craft shops in Olinda and Sassafras to entertain us. And there was a lot of news to catch up on.

But the fog that mantled the city didn't extend to the hills. In Melbourne, you couldn't see to the end of the street but in the Dandenongs, you could see from ridge to ridge.

Kawarra was established in 1967 as a garden dedicated to native plants. It has several significant collections including Boronia, Thomasia and Lasiopetalum. These last two gave me pause for thought. Until I saw the monstrous shrubs growing in the garden beds, I believed they were all tidy little things. Once again, I'll have to reconsider the lay out of my own garden. Karwarra has 2 hectares to play with (and they're a packed 2 ha). I've got substantially less.

Although winter isn't necessarily the best time to visit gardens, quite a few plants were flowering. New Holland honeyeaters and wattlebirds were gorging on the banksias and grevilleas. They were far to hyperactive to photograph. A troop of tiny birds skittered around the branches of a dead tree, displaying to one another by fanning their tails and spreading their wings. I have no idea what they were but their antics were enchanting.

Now that I know what to expect, I'll try to get back to Karwarra at regular intervals. I must also learn more about plants so I can get beyond marvelling at their beauty.

A sample:



Stenocarpus, Wheel of Fire




Sherryl said...

Fabulous photos! One day you'll have to show me how to do flower and bug close-ups.

Duncan said...

Those tiny displaying birds sound like pardalotes to me Snail, I used to see them doing that when I had a nest box for Striateds.

Snail said...

Sherryl, all I do is get in close and press the button. It's a nice little camera but it's fully automatic, so I don't have much control. But there's also a bit of judicious cropping (where I do have a a lot of control!) I think good cropping can make a heck of a lot of difference to the outcome.

Snail said...

Pardalotes! That sounds like a good call, Duncan. We were looking at them from directly below, so couldn't see any markings, but they did have pale yellow tums.

sarala said...

Great flower shots.

Snail said...

Thanks, Sarala. It was lovely to see such warm colours in the depths of winter.