“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





11 November 2014


The Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens came to visit Yangarra on Sunday. Here's our bonnie green thumbs cadre in the High Sands Grenache. Left to right: Peter Hardwick, Nimbin (Jock Zonfrillo's Orana restaurant bush food explorer and advisor), Professor Tim Entwisle, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Stephen Forbes, Director, Botanic Gardens of South Australia, Mark Webb, Director, Kings Park &  Botanic Garden, Perth, Dr Judy West, Director, Australian National Botanic Garden, Dr Brett Summerell, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Michael Lane, viticulturer and farm manager, Yangarra and Hickinbotham Clarendon Estates, the author, Yangarra tenant, Carrie Moss, Manager, Public Programs, Botanic Gardens of South Australia, and Tony Kanellos, Manager, Cultural Collections, Botanic Gardens of South Australia.

... 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 ├Žolian 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 ├Žolian 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!

1 comment:

GUMNUT MAN said...

What an amazing man is Dean Nicolle! And what a website! I was lucky to visit his arboretum on a visitor's day earlier this year. I urge everybody to book in for the next open day. The whole exercise really is mind-blowing. As you say, "PRETTY TRIPPY." The research possibilities Dean has made possible are endless. I could not believe the work he's done on bushfire and the heat each species can generate. To think that he's done it all off his own bat: it's a remarkable achievement and a life of untiring community service. RESPECT.