Destination-Mount Wilson, New South Wales, Australia

Image by Leah
Image by Leah Wang-

Mount Wilson & Mount Irvine, in New South Wales, Australia is a world heritage site within the blue Mountains that has impressive natural rainforests, bush land, villages, farms, cottages and gardens which can be visited in Spring or Autumn. Although Mount Wilson & Irvine is in a remote place and doesn’t always have access to public amenities it has many trails to explore in the area where you can admire the outstanding views of the natural surroundings and mountain scenery, stop for a picnic, camping, canyoning or to visit the plant nurseries with rare and unusual plants.
Trails include Mt Wilson village walk, Chunamans hat, pheasants cave walk, waterfall walk, Sunday walk spur, Boronia walk and Cathedral picnic ground to the study centre .

Nooroos is a wonderful garden within the blue mountains, at Mount Wilson with exceptional scenery and is particularly beautiful in Autumn with rare maple trees, copper beech (purple beech), cedars, elms, cherry laurels and oaks of various types and colours that range from yellows, oranges and reds which fall onto the ground creating the most wonderful colours of Autumn all around you.

The Nooroos gardens is an important part of Mount Wilson and is one of the eight foundation houses within the estate to which the Valder family has contributed a lot to the gardens since the early 1900’s. Camellias, Indica Azaleas and Japanese maples were planted in the gardens during the 1920’s that were transported from the Sydney Botanic gardens in Epping, and from another plant nursery the Hazlewood brothers also provided the Kurume azaleas to the grounds. The South Western part of the Nooroos estate during the 1970’s was turned into a formal garden where the exceptional array of Wisterias are truly captivating in October and contain twenty eight species which range in colours of dark to light pinks, purples and white that overhang and shade the rhodoendrons. There is also beautiful magnolia trees, cherry blossoms, daffodils, bluebells as well as native Australian flora. The Nooroo gardens is now owned by Lorraine and tony Barrett since 1992.

Yengo also known as stone lodge is another exquisite garden within the blue mountains, Mount Wilson which is one of the original foundation houses of the eight, contains an a Victorian one storey sandstone building within the gardens and plants are still growing from that period including various Eucalyptus trees, conifers, cedrus deodara, cupressus semperirens, Sequoia sempervirens and chamaecyparis lawsonia. There is also a wide selection old trees within the gardens with magnificent colours some of which are said to be up to 143 years old containing 60 types of Japanese maple, plane trees, Spanish cork, Sequoia, oak, chestnut and cedar of Lebanon. There is also wide shrub borders, a laburnum walk and a large western cedar tree to the south west.
The land was originally purchased by A.J Stopps in 1870 but he did not cultivate the grounds so later on he sold it to Jesse Gregson a Lawyer who had an L shaped stone cottage built upon on it.

Since the 1970’s the current owners Bruce & Ann Piggott have added additional features to the grounds including a wildlife reserve, sculpture park, more plants, shrubs and statuettes.
The Sculpture garden contains beautiful realistic bronze sculptures that are spread around the gardens such a mother with her children, a peacock a deer & a stag and a lady looking into a pond that are placed around water features, hidden fountains, ponds with overlapping ferns, on seating or on the lawn which brings much appeal to the surroundings with the beautiful flowers in spring and Autumn shades in the fall, created by the Sculptors Lloyd de le Blanc and Judith Homes Drewry.
The endangered wildlife reserve covers an area of 1,932 and is part of the Yengo National park which is largely made up of sandstone with dry grasslands, wetlands, lakes, waterways and 300 plant species. There is also 161 organized locations for birds, frogs, reptiles & tree living mammals and 28 animals have been recorded as being endangered or vulnerable such as the Glossy black cockatoo, Koala, Hastings river mouse, Regent honey eater, Blue mountains water skink, Bush tailed rock wallaby, South corroboree frog, Quokka, Western ground parrot, North eastern bristle bird and the greater glider. There is also the gardens of Windy ridge, Merry Garth and Bebeach which is open from Spring

Flower of the month-Pelargonium asarifolium

pelargonium asarifolium

Pelargonium asarifolium is a lovely winter growing species that flowers at the beginning of Summer (November to May) and has a caudex (a thickening stem for water storage) that can grow to 6 cm’s in width with fairly long petioles (15-90 mm) and heart shaped deep green leaves. The flowers are light yellow to cream in colour with deep purple to red feather like markings and contains five stamens on each flower with reddish brown sepals, on long branching flower stalks.

This plant was given the name “asarifolium” because of the feather like delicate lines on the flower petals, to which the name was chosen by George or David Don in 1831.
This plant is native to South Western areas of South Africa where it grows on stony sandy clay soils on sloping ground or on flat ground growing under larger plants, from Piketberg, Porterville and onwards to Sir Lowry’s pass & Worchester.

P. asarifolium when fully grown can grow to a height of 15 to 30 cm’s, the heart shaped leaves look similar to that of wild ginger (Asarum) of the Birthwort family which is not actually a ginger plant but was commonly called this because the rhizome smells and tastes much like that of a ginger root and is a low growing herb native to North America, East Asia and Europe.

The Season of Autumn/ Fall

Image by Johannes

The Autumn season can be both pleasing & at times a little dismal with the brightly coloured leaves of the fall which adds colour to the surroundings, the harvest of fruits, vegetables and grains, the cutting back of plants and seed germination but also the thought that we are again getting closer to winter when daylight becomes shorter and the temperature gradually gets cooler.
The seasonal name Autumn originates from the Latin word ‘Autumns’ and in Greece it is a time for harvesting grapes & olives with the making of wine & olive oil and also picking pomegranates which is made into a liqueur. The arrival of the robin is also a symbolic to Autumn which stays throughout the winter and also very tiny lizards which hatch out from their eggs and hide under leaves and foliage. Also lovely Autumn bulbs which are native to Greece flower in September and October include snow drops (Galanthus), lilies (candidum and Chaledonieum) candidum autumnale, Crocus (iridaceae) and Narcissus serotimus.

Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, fruits and grains, also known as the goddess of the earth bringing grain and cereals to mankind after the harvest. Her daughter Persephone is kidnapped by Hades and is taken to the underworld resulting in the delay of the seasons, causing the destruction of plants and animals on earth. Hermes goes down to the underworld to return her to earth but does not know that she has eaten some pomegranate seeds and when she reaches the surface she reunites with her mother Demeter and has been destined to return to the underworld at specific times of the year, a time of Autumn and winter.
Now that Autumn has arrived you may need to think about pruning, cutting and dividing perennials, things that need to be completed before the frost ( in cooler countries) planting bulbs and clearing fallen leaves.
When pruning deciduous trees it is advisable to wait until October or November when the leaves have fallen and you can see the branches more easily ,it also gives the tree time to repair its self before winter, this period is also a great time to cut back any hardy shrubs in your garden. Another task for Autumn is to plant bulbs so that they have a cold period before they start to come up in Spring, whether you choose to plant them in a container or in the ground it is best planted in well drained soil around 18 c, so that the bulbs wont rot over the winter months with a good light source.

Tulips, Allium, Anemone, Crocus, Cyclamen, Daffodil, Iris, Hyacinth, Snow drops, Narcissus and Crocus are beautiful plants that are grown from bulbs.
Sowing seed in Autumn is great for germination of some plant types, with others the seeds will fall or are dispersed by birds onto the ground and after a cold period will germinate in Spring. But in cooler countries there maybe a problem with frost after germination when growing outdoors. Although seeds of Sweet peas, cornflower, flax, marigold, queen Anne’s lace,poppies, California poppies, antirrhinum, dill, Cynoglossum, Lupinus, viola, primula and foxglove are ideal for growing from seed in Autumn, but may need to be grown undercover as seedlings, until they are old enough to be planted outdoors if there is not enough warmth.

Autumn is also an excellent opportunity to remove any plant debris in containers or in the garden to remove diseases, bacteria, fungi and unwanted insects as you come into the winter period. Old blooms, flower stalks and dead leaves can be removed which can also make it easier for the plant to produce new grow in Spring. Cleaning surface areas for plants germination and underneath pots can also help to prevent diseases and insects.
Some varieties of pelargoniums flower in Autumn such as P. abrotanifolium, P. mollicomum, P. graveolens and P. ionidiflorum which are still flowering in October here in Crete, although some low growing species are dormant during the summer and then after the rains start to produce new growth and flower in winter. Pelargonium anethifolium has a tuberous root with flowers- yellow to greyish pink with purple markings and is night scented, the leaves are feathery & is dormant during the summer months. Pelargonium barklyi has lovely light green ornamental leaves that are hairy with deep veins & a purple zone along the edge, usually dark purple/red underneath with cream coloured flowers, the tuber is turnip shaped and can survive dry hot summers when it is dormant. Pelargonium chelidonium is also dormant during the summer but flowers in Spring which are bright pink in colour with darker markings, a turnip shaped tuber and ovate leaves, Pelargonium aciculatum has pale yellow to cream flowers with darker markings and greyish leaves. Pelargonium asarifolium, Pelargonium auritum and pelargonium carnesum Autumn/ winter growers.