11 November 2014
A DAY WITH SOME VERY HEAVY GARDENERS
... and then we ...
Yangarra friends Stephen Forbes (current chair of the Council) and Tony Kanellos brought the group to pick Michael Lane's remarkable mind on matters to do with viticulture in general, but biodynamic and organic management in particular. That High Sands vineyard was planted in 1946, just by the way, in deep æolian sand, which is wind-blown, and not marine. The vineyard has never been watered.
After touring the Yangarra and Clarendon vineyards, we dined and drank, then travelled across the Fleurieu Peninsula to visit the astonishing Currency Creek Arboretum of Dean Nicolle. Overlooking the Murray Estuary and Lake Alexandrina, this specialist eucalypt arboretum is established by Dean to research Australia's most dominant natural group of plants of the genera Angophora, Eucalyptus and Corymbia.
Dean Nicolle in his 'zoo of trees'. Dean started collecting and planting this collection of over 900 species and sub-species when he was sixteen years of age. The arboretum, which is largely self-funded, now has over 7000 individual plants - more than double the number of eucalypt taxa grown on any other site. Major plantings continue.
Dean runs a very busy consulting business, assisting with road plantings, gardens, parks, windbreaks and reforestation. Vignerons with creeklines to fix and keen to replace missing vegetation in an intelligent way should seriously consider engaging him.
I am currently wading through his most recent publication, the excellent Native Eucalypts of South Australia, which you can find through his website.
Below are some photographs I have taken of individual plants which caught my attention. Some of these were taken on a previous visit in midwinter. Pretty trippy, eh?
Interestingly, the arboretum is planted in the same sort of æolian sand as the High Sands Grenache, and it's never been watered. The arboretum is not open to the public, except on special visitors' days, which are advertised on the website. Below is a map showing the sites from which Dean has collected his seeds. That's a helluva lot of walking!