December 14, 2010

New plantings

Matt Fox, our fantastic head gardener, has prepared a list of all trees that have been planted out in the Gardens since late September 2010. 

Araucaria araucana  x 1  (Monkey Puzzle) 
Located adjacent the large existing Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine) on the square lawn area in the Central area of the Gardens

Callitris columellaris x 1  (White Cypress Pine)  Located in the middle of the Playground Lawn

Chorisia speciosa  x 1 ( Silk Floss Tree ) Located on the small lawn next to the Rose Garden and the large Cuppressus hedge.

The Avenue of juvenile trees planted out are Brachychiton acerifolia cultivars and Corymbia ficifolia cultivars. 

Facing the playground (standing near the new gate on Tennyson St) on the Tennyson East Lawn are;   
  •  Corymbia 'Living Legend' x 1
  • Corymbia  'Summer Time' x 1
  • Corymbia 'Apricot Dawn' x 1
  • Brachychiton acerfolia 'Belladonna' x 1
  • Brachychiton acerfolia x 1
  • Brachychiton acerfolia x 1
  • Brachychiton acerfolia 'Clarabelle' x 1

On the west side of the Avenue facing the playground are;
  • Corymbia 'Aparrerinjal' x 1
  • Brachychiton acerfolia 'Jasperbell' x 1
  • Brachychiton acerfolia x 1
  • Brachychiton acerfolia x 1
  • Brachychiton acerfolia 'Clarabelle' x 1

Matt says that that Chorisia speciosa (Silk Floss Tree) has the most beautiful flowers - this image is from the Plant This website.

November 26, 2010

Mudlark update

Our intrepid photographer and mudlark reporter, Jeffrey Diamond, has sent more lovely photos of the resident mudlark family.

Here's his latest report:
The chick and family are doing well. They’ve established a new nest and can be seen happily foraging about and bathing in the pond. The chick is flying ok but’s very slow on take-off  and gaining altitude :)

I’m really concerned at how casual they are though, they’ll leave the chick alone on the ground for quite long periods and the chick is dopey as anything. Despite the signs on all the gates to keep your dog on a leash and that penalties apply, there are dogs off the leash every where! And who is enforcing this rule? Not the Ecocentre folks that’s for sure.  It’d be such a pity if after all this that the chick was just chomped by a dog. The dogs are also getting very close to children.

I really do wish that the people in charge of the gardens would put up stronger warning signs that there are native birds and their chicks on the ground in spring. That it is a SERIOUS offence to allow your pet dog to harass, injure or kill a native animal, and HEAVY penalties apply.

We've turned the images into a movie. It looks better here as the right hand side isn't abbreviated.

November 11, 2010

The last gate

The last gate has been installed - it's a map of the St Kilda Botanical Gardens, and looks fabulous.  While photographing the gate this morning, passers-by commented how beautiful the gates are and how lucky we are to have them!

Here's a slideshow on flickr

November 7, 2010

Mudlark report

More news from our mudlark correspondent, Jeffrey Diamond:

The nest is empty and nothing floating beak up in the pond so I assume everything went well with the first flying lesson. Saw the mummy mudlark happily foraging so I think they’ve moved the chick to a better location ok.

Did you know that mudlarks fly north in winter, as far as PNG  and Timor?

There’s huge turf wars going on in the gardens against marauding crows, that do steal eggs and chicks.

November 3, 2010

News from our Mudlark correspondent

Our mudlark correspondent, Jeffrey Diamond, says:
Only one female chick, they usually lay three so two have possibly been lost, mind you, the nest only looks big enough for one.

October 21, 2010

Paint These Gardens artwork ready for viewing and sale

Images of the artwork from the Paint These Gardens art competition have been loaded on the Friends of St Kilda Botanical Gardens website  Many of the artists are willing to sell so if you are interested in buying please contact the Friends on  Two paintings sold before the event finished.

October 16, 2010

Mudlark report

Friday's weather was most unspringlike, with what seemed like endless rain and wind gusts.  Despite the terrible weather, the little mudlarks survived.  Here's another report from mudlark photojournalist Jeffrey Diamond.

October 13, 2010


News items in the November issue of Gardening Australia:
Researchers at the University of Haifa have found that the breath of mammals causes aphids to drop from plants. The insects do this en masse to avoid being accidentally eaten by a herbivore mammal like a goat or sheep, for example. The researchers used this technique while collecting aphids for experiments. "I simply breathed on them," said one. 

Why not head into your garden and give it a try?  Let us know if it works!

October 11, 2010

Last weekend

We were blessed with the weather last weekend for the Paint These Gardens art competition. Without doubt, the warm weather was way more appreciated by the entrants than last year's June cold, wet and blustery weekend.

Fifty two people (young and old-er) registered. And over 330 people voted in Peoples' Choice.

We'll put up all the artwork on the website in the next week or so. In the meantime, here are the winners.

First Prize Peter Roccella No 9 (sponsored by Vineyard Restaurant)

Judges' comments
This painting has a sense of observation and discipline as a strong feature , with very good tonal harmonies. We noted the strong depiction of branches of trees and masses of leaves – complex information well ordered. The perspective of the glasshouse is convincing and makes a strong frame. There is a sense of movement and a mood that unifies the picture. The statue appears to “come to life” in an ambiguous way. Tonal transactions are used in the service of the structure of the composition.

Second Prize Mary Neighbour No 6 (sponsored by Bendigo Bank)

Judges' comments
This painting has a controlled energy; it is a dynamic oicture. Subtle use of blue-green inifies the painting against the touches of contrasting colours, well painted in thin washes. We like the way the tops of the palm trees appear to explode in movement, contrasting with the cool shade. There is a sense of expanse, that the garden extends beyond what is visible.

Children’s Prize Geneva Crowley No 38 (sponsored by St Kilda Art Supplies)

Judges' Comments
This is a sophisticated composition with the particular character of the tree well realized. There is a strong use of positive and negative space, with little details suggesting the beginning of spring. The darkness and drama of the image is strong and original.

Peoples' Choice Peter Edgeley No 39 (sponsored by Hocking Stuart)

October 9, 2010

Yet another movie

The visual isn't great but most of the audio has been captured - and that's important.

Here's the Mayor of City of Port Phillip officially launching the new gates at the St Kilda Botanical Gardens, and David Wood - the designer - talking about his connection with the area.

October 7, 2010

October 6, 2010

Mudlarks (peewits) in situ

St Kilda local, Jeffrey Diamond, has taken some delightful photographs of the mudlarks nesting on Rainman.

Only two days until Paint These Gardens

And Mike Larkan, Network 10 weatherman, is filming today's weather this afternoon in the St Kilda Botanical Gardens.

October 2, 2010

Hope and despair

It's the repeat grand final day

And the Saints lost terribly

Detail on the gate at Tennyson & Dickens Streets

Stunning flower

September 24, 2010


Rainman will be moved in about a month when the new pond lining is installed.  In the meantime, he's going nowhere - he's become a landlord.  An outstretched arm is a perfect nesting place - with umbrella to shelter the newborns when they arrive.

September 23, 2010

The new gates are going in!

Yesterday we heard that the gates were just about ready to be installed.  Here are a couple of pics taken at the foundry.

This morning at 8am we saw the first gates going in on the corner of Dickens and Tennyson Streets.  Can't wait to see the end result.