Capability Brown meets André Le Notre.

October 8th, 2013, 11am

This line of topiary marks the boundary between the relatively formal, and often exquisite, Cloudehill Gardens and the wildly triumphant Rangeview Gardens with their flashes of historic Rhododendron, stretching high into the canopy. We also chanced upon a tall stand of very old Kurume Azaleas, wonderfully tangled in the branches and planted in Australia at about the same time the breed was first arriving in Europe from Japan. Some of the exceedingly tall specimens of, for example, the American Tulip Tree, pines and Auracarias, certainly topped fifty metres.

One makes one’s way through these historic plantings on a labyrinth of dark pathways and steep steps, marked by hoary stone walls and leading to sudden bright openings in the canopy. Here in Spring is where abundant splotches of colour, dare I say, gladden the heart. It seems altogether appropriate that this is one of the few remaining habitats of the glorious lyre bird, thought by David Attenborough to be the world’s greatest mimic. (His wonderful take on the bird is found on Youtube.) If you’re lucky, you might just see the bird’s display dance which surely surpasses that of the peacock. By good fortune and for a reasonable consideration, it is still possible to stay at the finely re-appointed 1920’s cottage of the original owners.

Amidst all this enchantment, one catches glimpses of several great English gardeners’ influence and, in the Cloudehill section, memories of the 17th century French gardener Lé Notre.

Paul and Cassie said thanks.

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David Wade Chambers

Born in Oklahoma: 30 years in US. 6 years in Canada, 40 years in Australia. Academic field: history and philosophy of science. Currently, teach indigenous studies online at Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM) and Brandon University (Manitoba). Come visit our B&B on Australia's Great Ocean Road. Mate's Rates for Hi community! (

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