Dec 29, 2010

A fresh Sea Breeze to clear the cobwebs away...

The Christmas tree has 
been sent off for mulching, 
and now the glorious summer beckons
on the stunning Mornington Peninsula
{a gorgeous spot just outside Melbourne}.
This is the time when,
it seems, 
everybody wants to imbibe a little 
of the magic of 
*sea breezes, 
*the dusty deliciousness of sandy toes,
*the cool blue perfection of summer water,
*days spent languidly on boats,
*surfing the wild seas at Gunnamatta Beach
*or paddling rockpools with snorkels. 
And evenings spent gathering 
family and friends 
for simple feasts of fresh seafood and salads
with wonderful local wines from Red Hill.
 Perhaps picking some fresh 
cucumbers from the front garden
to throw into a salad to share...
All of this is so 
DOable
because this gorgeous house, 
{called Nagari}
just happens to be for sale. 
Would you like to live here 
for Summer in dreams?
 Or, if you are lucky, 
in wishes come true?


Dec 20, 2010

Ah! The romance of 20 years....

Romance can be a delicious distraction 
from the day to day craziness of everyday life. 

Last month, as I casually 
asked my husband where he would like to 
spend our upcoming 20th wedding anniversary dinner,
he replied "the Boathouse".  

"But that is in New York City", 
I replied. 

"Exactly," he smoothly responded. 

So, as spontaneously as that, I didn't book the 
usual Melbourne restaurant, 
but began researching a completely unexpected,
deliriously decadent, week in New York in December, 
without the children....
Why not travel half way around the world for lunch?

We did, indeed, have lunch at the 
fabulous Boathouse in Central Park, 
 all dressed up for Christmas with poinsettias on the tables...
And a Christmas Tree in a row-boat, 
frozen in time, in the lake outside.
As we left our lovely romantic lunch, 
and strolled around to the other side of the lake to 
pinch ourselves that we really had done 
this crazy thing, a beaming couple stopped to ask 
if I would take their picture because he had just proposed.

I told them we had just popped over to New York to 
celebrate 20 years of marriage, 
and that we wished them much happiness. 

"What's the secret?", the beaming fiancee asked my husband, 
looking for a man-to-man ode of wisdom. 

"Whatever her question, 
the answer is always yes!", he confided. 

So that's how he does it! 

Dec 5, 2010

Tra-la-la, Off to the Sea we go....

In a perfectly delicious 
part of the world,
tucked next to the sea,
{at Portsea, near Melbourne}
there is a most amazing house for sale. 
Does this tickle your fancy
for a Christmas present?
Ilyuka, meaning "by the sea"
was built in the sophisticated 1920s.
Ahh, the casual elegance...

       You could watch the 
ships and yachts sail past, 
perhaps while sipping a G & T?
Or you could pop into your 
very own Beach Box,
at the bottom of the garden. 
With golden days of summer 
just around the corner in Australia, 
this is a perfectly magical spot. 
Would you like to live here?

Image credits and agent details: kay and burton

Dec 1, 2010

On the first day of December, my true love sent me Gold...

Having an obsession with all things gold
and yellow at this Christmas moment...
So I thought, perhaps gold and yellow
for Christmas decorations this year...
mixed with a touch of creamy bark for an earthy touch...
A native Hakea branch {with a little gold}
 would be just perfect 
for an Advent Calendar tree
{each golden bag holds a Seahorse chocolate}.
The wreath is wrapped with paperbark 
from the garden, 
oh, and a couple of our pet Rainbow Lorrikeet's feathers
{no, I didn't pull them out, 
he kindly left them on the floor 
to add to our decorations}.
While the Christmas tree is simply 
glamourised with scrunches 
of gold and yellow tissue paper.
These colours are just 
gorgeous for an Australian summer Christmas,
only problem is, 
on this first day of summer, 
its raining outside! 

What colours are you decorating with this year?

Images: 1, 7-14 Blue Fruit; 2: Vogue China; 3: Penelope Peacock available from Domayne; 4 & 6: via a la parisienne blog; 5: via Living Etc. 

Nov 25, 2010

A Little House for Christmas?

If you would like to watch 
the sunny afternoon breezes
gently tease the palest of grey linen curtains, 
by this beautiful pool in Uruguay...
Or perhaps to set up your Christmas tree by this 
magnificent stone fireplace...

Or to sleep in heavenly dreams in a bed
under a glittering chandelier...

Then you may want to purchase 
this fabulous little number, 
just in time for Santa's requests,
because it is for sale. 
Would it fit in your Christmas Stocking, 
do you think?

Punta del Este, for sale through Reynolds Properties




Nov 22, 2010

Genius Loci... there you are!

It is often said that the first, 
and most essential, 
principle in landscape architecture
is to "consult the genius of the place"
or the Genius Loci.
The Genius Loci originally literally meant 
"spirit of a place" in Roman times, 
but its use in modern architecture & landscape architecture 
comes from a gorgeous ode written 
in 1731 by the English poet Alexander Pope.
Did I say modern???
Well, all is relative, I guess...

Consult the genius of the place in all;
            That tells the waters or to rise, or fall;
            Or helps th' ambitious hill the heav'ns to scale,
            Or scoops in circling theatres the vale;
            Calls in the country, catches opening glades,
            Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades,
            Now breaks, or now directs, th' intending lines;
            Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.
In this incredibly, achingly-beautiful property 
at Kew {Melbourne}, the garden, the house 
and the surrounding landscape are as one. 
Alexander Pope would be impressed.
Hard to tell where the garden ends and the bushland starts...
Just to simplify matters, 
Pope also helpfully penned 
an explanation of his poem, 
to make sure we fully get how to do things properly...

"The chief proof of it is to follow Nature, 
even in works of mere luxury and elegance. 
Instanced in architecture and gardening, 
where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, 
and the beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it.” 
I think that in the most beautiful, 
the most quiet, 
and the most "ahh"-inducing gardens, 
the Genius Loci has been found, met, chatted with 
and celebrated.
In this shady, cool garden in Deepdene {Melbourne},
full of wonderfully gnarled old trees,
the Genius Loci has been wittily personified with 
rusty iron columns, heavily planted, 
which reference the tree trunks. 
And wittily celebrated too, by encircling another old tree
with a starburst of sleepers. 
The overall effect?
A respect for the Genius Loci - or the old trees, in this case. 
Another garden, 
so another spirit of place...
This time, in the coastal town of Mornington, 
where old redgum sleepers have been bound with 
rope and placed ceremoniously amongst the bottlebrush trees.
Isn't it beautiful?
When a garden appears to effortlessly 
ground the architecture, 
it is a combination of repeating elements of scale, 
referencing colours & textures,
and adding a touch of wit. 
Nestled in the picturesque 
 Mornington Peninsula, at Portsea, 
this quiet garden 
by Sam Cox
exudes a sense of timelessness. 
Perhaps it is the discipline of only native plantings, 
or perhaps it is the wonderful reed-filtered swimming pool
{more billabong than pool}
or perhaps it is the fine eye for scale and proportion, 
but this garden has absolutely nailed the idea of 
the spirit of the place, or the Genius Loci.
Alexander Pope would be very happy 
to sit in any of these gardens, I reckon,  
and reflect on how his ideas are being used in 
modern landscape design, 
almost 300 years later. 

All images were taken by the author during the Garden Design Fest in Melbourne, last weekend.
Gardens shown:- Images 1-4: Redmond St, Kew by Mark Browning of Cycas Landscape Design; Images 5-8, Barnsbury Crt, Deepdene by Richard Bellemo of RB Landscapes; Images 9 & 10, John Rowell Lane, Mornington by Philip Dyer of Garden Living Space; Images 11-13  Blair Rd, Portsea by Sam Cox of Sam Cox Landscape.
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