Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Grand Old Building

I was prompted by Pieta's comment to Tuesday's Treasures to show you some pictures of one of my favourite Melbourne buildings.
It is the ANZ building in Collins St. It was built in 1883-87 and is of Gothic Style.
Outside it is quite beautiful and inside it looks more like a Cathedral than a bank! Quite amazing.

The above picture was taken around the time of WW1, judging by the presence of motor-cars. It also appears as though there has been a recent fall of snow or very heavy hail. Both events most unusual for Melbourne city.
This is a picture of the beautiful front door to the bank.
"The Pyrmont sandstone fa├žade shows English, French and especially Venetian Gothic influences. Richly decorated cast-iron columns in the banking chamber support a bold, breathtaking ceiling, where the bolt heads and spandrel openings are coated in pure gold leaf and each group of four columns effectively frames a painted panel portraying the arms of the bank or one of its major places of operation." (
The above picture shows the carpet. The colours in the picture are quite washed out the picture above it is much more true to life.

The above picture show the bank in current use with the lamps beside the tellers desks.

And finally the 'Cathedral Room' in the old Stock exchange building behind the main bank room.What an extraordinarily beautiful room. And the floor - pictured below - wouldn't this make a marvelous quilt! The tiling is just beautiful. This was no doubt the biggest surprise and perhaps my favourite part of the building.
If you are interested in the history of this lovely old building take a look HERE.
I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of my favourite Melbourne building.

Teddy Bear's Picnic

A couple of ring-ins!

I hope the Teddy's don't mind this handsome puss coming to the picnic today.

This precious puss was made by my Mum for my older daughter who is now 35. Mum made squillions of them in all different colours for school and church fetes.
My favourites were the black and whites and the tortoiseshells but alas there are none but this little one left. She is about 6" high to the top of her head. Mum would go to the op shop to buy old jumpers then cut them up (I cut up many a jumper myself) to stuff the cats, elephants, penguins and other critters with.
I remember the frenetic mess of knitted animal limbs all over the kitchen table when a fete was nigh. She did a great job and thoroughly enjoyed the hundreds of hours she would have invested into these knitted beasties. It was truly a labour of love for her.

Here is a little Pony in a Purse (a la Paris Hilton and her unfortunate pooch) that I bought for the Grandies to play with when they come to visit. I know she will be very well behaved at the picnic as she is used to confined spaces and loves her little Purse.
Join Melody for more Teddy's and Softies at Thursday's Teddy Bear's Picnic.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tuesday Treasures

It's a bit early, just in case I forget tomorrow.

The Grandies:

Yep, I know, I know, I've probably done it before but what can I say. These kids are just too cute!

Above caption: "Now I think you'll find that if you turn it around and do it the way that I told you to in the first place, you wouldn't be having all this trouble!"

Above caption: "It's a trike, it's pink, which clearly means it's mine, not yours and Hippo is going for a spin so shove off! Oh yes; and don't let this worst of all bad hair days fool you either. I'm still a redhead!"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Floral Friday

Wagon's Ho!!
(Be patient, we get to the garden bit eventually)
I took this pictures this morning, between showers, whilst taking Harry out for a run.
We always walk past the wagon. I know it is pretty hard to recognize in it's present state but it is a WW1 Troop Carrier (most probably used for supplies and injured men) DH is going to restore it.
My grandparents bought this wagon from the army, who no doubt had an enormous surplus of them after the war. I don't know if it was new or had come back from overseas.This is the manufacture date and registration number of the wagon and below is a close-up showing the wonderful character this old fella has. In places you can still see the khaki paintwork.

It spent it's working life on my grandparents property at Goodnight NSW which is on the Murray River. They would have used it to cart around the dippers full of sultana grapes to spread on the drying racks.The image above is about as close as I can find to what it used to look like.

Poor wagon wasn't used once the motor-car and tractor came into use and would just sit in the paddock along with the two old Clydesdales who used to haul it around.
I just loved the old wagon when I was a child and would sit up there pretending to be Lady Bronwyn in the 'olden days'. Not realizing that it was a lowly work vehicle and light years removed from posh Hansom Cabs etc.

When my uncle died and the property sold about 8 years ago I got to take this wonderful piece of history home with me. Unfortunately Uncle Harry had left it out the paddock where it was subjected to years of freezing winters and blistering summers so it was very frail and virtually fell to pieces as it was put on the trailer for transportation back to Melbourne.

So after another trip - down to Korumburra it now sits in my paddock, beside the vegie garden and is refuge for all sorts of beasties no doubt and Kanga who uses it as one of her 'safe' places when Harry is chasing her around the back yard/paddock.

Yay - the garden bit - finally - So, after I ripped the silver-beet out of the adjacent vegie garden I threw them into the long grass which was all around the wagon. When DH got rid of all the weeds there was a very pretty patch of silver-beet happily growing beside the wagon. I think it is just so gorgeous with its bright red stalks and veins on the leaves and it tastes wonderful too.

Here is Harry and Kanga playing 'catch me if you can' around the wagon. Can't you just imagine this thing full of snakes in the summer. Our creek is just over that ridge of grass you can see behind the wagon. Very close to snake heaven down there!

Here is Harry admiring the French Lavender. This large garden was a mess with a terrible weed we call Ivan! Truly! DH had to spray it as there was no alternative if we wanted to save our plants (I hate poison in the garden!)
I was so happy that the lavender finally perked up and is growing well now. It was a gift from my Mum, many years ago. It was a cutting from hers which made it even more special. I brought a cutting with me when we moved so it's 3rd generation.

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with my wonderful old wagon.
Please click on Mr Linky below to share any Floral fancies or Garden wonders.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Horse Chestnut Seed Extract

Interesting Information:

Horse chestnut is a plant. Its seed, bark, flower, and leaves are used to make medicine. Horse chestnut contains significant amounts of a poison called esculin and can cause death if eaten raw.
Be careful not to confuse aesculus hippocastanum (Horse chestnut) with aesculus californica (California buckeye) or aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye). Some people call any of these plants horse chestnut. This information applies to aesculus hippocastanum.
Horse chestnut seed and leaf are used for treating varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swollen veins (phlebitis).
Horse chestnut seed is used for diarrhea, fever, and enlarged prostate.
Horse chestnut seeds can be processed so that the active chemicals are separated out and concentrated. The resulting “extract” is used for treating a blood circulation problem called chronic venous insufficiency.
Horse chestnut leaf is used for eczema, menstrual pain, soft tissue swelling from bone fracture and sprains, cough, arthritis, and joint pain.
Horse chestnut branch bark is used for malaria and dysentery.
Some people apply horse chestnut branch bark to the skin for lupus and skin ulcers.

Wow!! haha talk about versatile!!!
Hey it's a shame it's not good for hot-flushes too or I'd be sitting down there under that tree rubbing it's leaves all over me, swimming through those spikey dropped nuts and ripping chunks of bark off to line my clothes!

Tuesday Treasures

My New Trees .... Red Horse Chestnut:
Yesterday I planted two trees and I am so very excited about them!
Last Summer DH and I took a drive to Warragul, which is about 35 mins from here on a very windy(twisty), windy(blowy) and picturesque road along ridge tops most of the way; and we stumbled across these gorgeous trees. They have been planted as street trees and there is a lovely single specimen in the park also. We were lucky enough to see them in full flower when we were there and fell in love with them.
The tree is very shady and cool to sit under on a hot day (as we did).

The flowers were a complete surprise to me as I had never seen anything like them before. Pink on the outside and yellow in the centre and about 20cm long AND completely stunningly beautiful.
As soon as we got home I scoured the internet to try to identify them but had little go by and then I had a brainwave. I rang a local nursery to ask if they knew what they were. The nurseryman told me that he knew exactly what they were as he had been the one to supply the council with them about 10 years ago. They were Pink Horse Chestnut trees.

Finally after moving around some mounds of topsoil (from our excavations) we were able to decide where we wanted to plant them and I ordered them from my local nursery.
I didn't know what to expect when I picked them up but was delighted to see that they were quite big, very healthy and strong. They were about 1 metre tall and as thick as your wrist at the base with enormous shoots along the trunks' lenghts.
My nurseryman informed me that they are Red Horse Chestnut, a deeper shade of pink really and not red so I was okay with that.
It turns out that these trees grow larger and faster than the ones we saw in Warragul which is just fine by me. We have plenty of room for them to spread.

Here is a picture of the nuts which are sometimes called 'conkers'. Children in England would play 'conkers' with them.

The Horse Chestnut tree, whether it be white, pink or red, is reputedly one of the most popular trees in England. I can certainly see why.

Thanks Melody for hosting Tuesday Treasures
For more wonderful treasures please take a look at Melody's lovely blog:
The House on the Side of the Hill.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Floral Friday

A trip back in time:

Okay now this is a bit of a stretch but hey that's what Floral Friday is all about. I don't have any photos today but what I do have is a poem.
I wrote this in 2003 and gave it to my mother for Christmas. I'm sure she won't mind if I share it with you. Oh, it is very long.
Although there are no photos I hope you won't need them as these words, hopefully, create a whole album in your head.

Mum's Garden:
This garden, this haven, this pride of my mother
From earliest memories fond visions I gather
Of flowers and fruit, of trees and soft shade
Sweet smells filled the air of this place where we played.

Crepe Myrtle so pretty, a welcoming sight
To those who entered by day or by night.
And for all of those slowed on their trip as they passed
The fence bearing roses, such a sight to the last.

I remember the lavender covered with bees
And the roses whose perfume so easily pleased.
The delicate lilac would occasionally drift
On the lightest of zephyrs and sometimes be missed

But the Daphne so strong suspended on air
Would never fail to make you aware
Of the crisp, cold, deep winter which did surround
And the sparkling frost that covered the ground

Springtime was happy with daffodil and blossom
Pink petals, like confetti, fell as branches were shaken
New sprouts would appear, if not this week then next
Cold days, less frequent, were preparing to rest.

In summer the vegetables took pride of place
Sweet tomatoes, fresh lettuce, carrot leaves like lace.
There were peas which I ate as soon as I could
And basil which smelled so rich and so good

The fruit trees were laden as the summer grew hot
Plum, peach, passion-fruit and of course, apricot
As autumn descended with insidious ease
It was time for the apples to be bottled and sealed

The cycle complete was beginning again
It's needs were simple; hot sun and cold rain
This garden of memories is with me forever
My mind is a wealth of this nature's treasure

With thanks I look back on that garden of old
Of the fruit and the flowers and the story just told
This garden where there was hard work and much play
Best of all it made childhood's happiest day.

To: Annie Margaret Emma Henshaw

Mum's house was on a small suburban block with enough room on one side for a driveway and the other for a wheelbarrow path. The backyard was not big or cluttered and somehow fitted in all of her garden and trees AND a caravan, bungalow, trailer shed, work shed and wood shed! To me, of course, it seemed enormous.

Please share with me any wonderful memories you have of gardens of old.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Floral Friday

Sorry to miss out this week. We've had modem/server problems all week. Most annoying.
I'll see you all next Friday with some Floral fun.
Have a fab weekend. I'm off to a candle party. Antihistamines on the ready......Aaaaaaachoooooo!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Found My Bears!

We've been going through some of the boxes that were still packed away in the barn and one of them contained some of my bears! Oh joy!!
These ones are Steiff bears (and dog) that are for sale on my website. That particular page is very sloppy and in desperate need of some tidying up by my daughter. Hopefully she will get time to do it tomorrow. I've been merrily adding pictures and pages to the website and making a real botch of it so she's going to have to tidy up after ME! Ha ha now there's some poetic justice eh!!
Isn't the dog just too cute. He's a 'Westie' and looks like he's had enough and is going to jump off the bed and chase the cat.
I just love the bear in the centre back. I have lost it's tags and the chest tag just says 'Original'. The others have numbers on their ear tags but not that one. He has a growler and the most gorgeous face. I may just keep him for my granddaughter. Shhh don't tell DH!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Floral Friday

Welcome to Floral Friday everyone.
Today is a bit cool with the wind starting to build and clouds covering the sky. I think the garden is in for a bit of a soaking later on.

Quite a few years ago my older daughter bought me these two little floral ornaments. I think they were for Mother's Day. I just love them and have them on my laundry windowsill. I chose that position because it is a room I spend a lot of time in, naturally, and it is a thoroughfare also. It is by no means an insult to these dear little pots of colour that they are in my laundry! I actually quite enjoy doing the washing and folding and ironing (when I have time)

This last picture is to show you their relative sizes as they are in situ on my laundry windowsill. They get a little dusty from time to time but I just get out the soft nailbrush and a bit of soap and they clean up like new again.

In the garden this week:
I planted 6 Camelias this week in shades from red and dark pink through to palest pink and creamy yellow. They are in a row across the back of the house and should look a treat in a couple of years. Can't wait! Some of them have buds so I'll post pics as soon as I can.
I bought them for a song in the local supermarket and an old bloke at the other checkout said to me - "How do you cook them?" We both chortled at his little joke then he told me that "Camelias don't do well here you know" I asked him why this was and he replied that it was too windy. So, we shall see! I am always, always up for a botanical challenge, it's about the only area of my life where I am obstinate and persistent. Tell me I can't grow it and I have to give it a try. Anyway I have seen plenty of evidence to the contrary regarding camellias. My DH just told me that he saw a camelia in the garden across the road and it was twice his size. "I thought you said they would only grow to 1.5m?" Well that is what it says on the tag. But I do recall seeing many an ancient camellia up as high as the house spouting. Still I don't think it's something we will have to concern ourselves about. For one thing it could take them 20 years or more to reach that height and if they do get too tall they will be trimmed so they don't interfere with the view.

Please share with us any Floral Fancies you have. I just love looking at any of your offerings

Enjoy your weekend and remember that dirty fingernails, hands stained green or brown, numerous nicks, bites, blisters and calloused spade, rake or broom pressure points are our badge of honour as Gardeners!