Sunday, 13 October 2013

Robertson keeps its AAA rating

The Robertson Garden Society held its Spring Open Gardens fiesta on the weekend of 12th -13th of October and we decided to attend.  As the organisers requested "no dogs" we left the small one at home so it was a trip without wasted time.  (The start of the post is a bit macabre but it soon lightens up.)

Before we set off I noticed a story in the Canberra Times about a fatal accident on the route thrugh Tarago involving a car hitting a tree and bursting into flames.  Would that cause theroad tostill be blocked?  Should we go along the Federal Highway instead.  Check with the RTA site:
Three incidents along that route, all involving animal carcasses.   Are these just dead 'roos - in which case Captains Flat Rd would be constantly subject to such alerts - or has a triple-decker been losing passengers for 50km?  No idea and we never find out.

We decided to go via Tarago and were surprised to get there, not having noticed the site of the accident, let alone be delayed by its aftermath.  The trip was very smooth - apart from some pelicans who thought it reasonable to drive at 70 through the Sutton Forest 80 zone - and we swung into the Robertson service station about 2 hours after leaving home.

Theer was an unusual queue here as for some reason the punters din't realise there were 2 hoses on the diesel pump.  Some advice got that sorted.  (After I started to fill the lady behind me in a Commodore realised that the petrol pumps had been unoccupied for the 10 minutes she had been queuing!)
 Summer = beach = surf, as does Illawarra, which is where these lads were heading
There are three rules for visiting Robertson as will be revealed below.  Needless to say we ticked them all.

The first place we went to (not garden 1 on the official guide) was very well established and had a lot of rhododendrons.

 They were also very big on topiary.

I could not go past these waratahs.  They are native to the area and the deep soils of the area plus the huge rainfall guarantee growth.
 More topiary and a view!
 Note the escarpments.  Kangaroo Valley is between the cliffs.
 This was a lovely part of garden 2.
I cannot remember what these blue jobs were.
 They were semi-popular with Macleay's Swallowtails.  (I say semi-popular as several of those butterflies visited the blooms, but they didn't stay long enough for a photo.)

The little hedges in the wide photo of this garden were the home of Peonies.  Rule 1 of visiting Robertson is to photograph some peonies.

 By chance, after leaving our second garden we found the Big Potato, unfortunately without a face in situ.  However rule 2 of visiting Robertson is to take a snap of the Spud
It is not an official rule to take photographs of Satin Bowerbirds at a bower, but it should be.  This was in the grounds of the school.
 An official rule, of the NSW Towns project rather than visiting Robertson. is to take an image of the War Memorial.  Tick.
 The third garden was very formal with much tidily mown grass and clipped hedges.
 It seemed to me to more like a park with, as Frances said, the vistas coming into the garden.  The place also had an echidna and more Macleay's Swallowtails.  Again, they didn't hang about.
The 4th and 5th gardens we visited were next door to each other and relatively new.  This was the first planted wheelbarrow of the day.
 Shades of red came together in ths planting.
 We were a bit surprised that someone would put their washing out on the day they had their garden open.  Then we realised it was the place next door.  It was a rather colourful bit of arrangement!
We didn't see the cat at garden 6 and the dog (a red heeler x foxhound) was indeed affectionate albeit a bit preoccupied with a soup bone.
 No idea what this flower is.
 Another beautiful rhodo.
 Now that is a bonsai collection.  Now that is a wall of wistaria!
Place 7 was described as a cottage garden and it was indeed a small garden.  It was incredibly densely planted (which for some reason I didn't snap).  This Leucospermum (possibly L. cordifolia) gave the Waratahs a run for plant of the day.
 Magnolias aren't bad either.
Our final stop was at the garden of a couple who had, in an earlier place, won the Wollondilly Garden Competition.  A most impressive collection of plants and Asisan scultptures from various cultures.  (Also very well populated aviaries.)  This was the most densely populated whellbarrow!
 A Sandersonia.
 There is a verandah under there somewhere!
Basically it was a very fine day.  Robertson generally and the Garden Club in particular should be very pleased with what they are achieving with this event.

I am sure you are getting desperate to find out about rule 3.  It is to take at least one photograph of a native orchid.   Fortunately:
  • on our last visit my friend Denis had shown us some Sarchochilus falcatus growing on a tree beside the road; and
  • I could remember where they were.

On home.  The traffic on the Hume was surprisingly busy, but most people seem to have got licences through the official system rather than off cornflakes packets.  When we got on the road to Tarago and were approaching Wakefield Park Raceway I had just commented to Frances about unleashing my Inner Hoon and coming to a race meeting one day when Mr Plod appeared; having unleashed his IH and travelling at a very high velocity with all his lights and sirens going.  He disappeared from view before we see if this was connected with the motorbike on which he was gaining.

This lead us back to where we came in, thinking about the fatal accident in the area the previous night.  About halfway between Tarago and Bungendore we came across a bunch of folk holding cans and standing in some blackened bush having just tied a bunch of flowers to a tree.  That solved that question: at least the poor blighter had had some mates to remember him.

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