Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Longest Day

No - not the classic 1962 movie about D-Day, but my adventures of yesterday when I went on a bus trip organised by the local Horticultural Society to the Dandenongs to visit unbelievably beautiful gardens in their spring glory. I left home at 7.30 am to meet the bus, which then went to Mount Macedon to collect another group and set off for the hills. The first garden was Beechmont at Olinda, ten acres of garden framed by towering Mountain Ash, Blackwood Wattles and mature native Myrtle Beeches. The garden exhibits an impressive collection of very colourful Rhododendrons (vireyas being a special feature), Camellias, Magnolias, Cornus, Daphnes and many unusual species providing year round interest. There were several examples of my all time favourite Virburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' which made me more determined to track one down for home. The garden was gorgeous, well cared for by the owners and protected by three friendly hounds.
Then we went to the National Rhododendron Gardens - again most spectacular and colourful,
the visit made easy by being able to cover the whole quite hilly area by mini bus so one did not miss much of the 100 acres. They also had a small nursery, so of course I now have a new addition to plant in my own small Rhododendron garden. The last shot is of the Azalea Bowl and these are Kurume Azaleas which are each about 5 feet tall. The colours were extraordinary.
Lunch was at Cloudehill, another specialist nursery and spectacular garden designed with long perennial borders and garden rooms. Lots of long vistas and arched gates inviting you to go further and explore the extensive gardens with old trees, wildflower meadows and walled areas. Well worth a visit.
A friend and I were planning to return home, change and go out again to a Zonta Dinner to which we had been invited, however it was too late to do this so we went directly there.
It certainly solved the problem of deciding what to wear, and we were the only ones there in virtual gardening clothes while all the other women were decidedly glitzy!! After a pleasant dinner and a fashion parade of what my daughter would call "Granny gear" I eventually made it home to fall into bed near midnight. I think today will be a little more restful.

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