Featured Artist #1: Victoria Bradbury

Rock inspired ephemeral environmental art

Is it art, decoration or an environmental statement?

My artist friend, Victoria Bradbury, who gives Jimmy the Poodle oodles of love while Col and I are away, also gave me a wonderful artistic homecoming gift. The rough stepping stones that are a short-cut  from the veranda to the backyard had come alive with beautiful swirls in subtle earthy colours that seemed to emanate from the stone itself.  Vicki used the surrounding sandstone pebbles  as her “crayons” so the pigments did literally come from the stones.

I absolutely love using stones in garden design, hence my rustic steps, but the shape of the large flat paving stone leading from the veranda particularly draws me. 

Years ago I used it at the background on which to photograph the coloured glow sticks used to attract fish to trawler nets. The sticks that wash up on our beaches, some of which still have coloured liquid in them, add to plastic pollution of the ocean and shoreline. Despite their negative impact on the environment, they did seem to have artistic possibilities. At the time I was doing a photo collage art project using rubbish collected from the beach.


Guardian of the garden

Snakes in the pool, snakes in the trees, snakes crossing the path, snakes in the grass. Warm weather and rain brings abundance. I call this snake the guardian of the garden.

With a skin made of shell, l created it with the beautifully patterned python in mind.

Tale of a mermaid

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The little girls who helped their father build her are young women now. Time has rusted away her marmaid tail but she still has pert Madonna breasts. She’s growing old gracefully, with a garland of yellow flowers blooming, crown-like around her head in the spring. Once apon a time she had the letterbox suspended above her head too.   Now the postie obligingly leans down from his motor bike to deliver the mail, a concession to an ageing beauty.

Hedge Hogs

You enter Coombe Yarra Valley Restaurant through this imposing hedge that protects seven acres of gardens surrounding Coombe Cottage. The restaurant, which uses fabulous local produce, and can turn out beautifully cooked dishes for 150, incorporates the old stables and garages. 

Coombe Cottage, the main house, was the home of world renowned opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931)  in her later years. She purchased the 60 acre property in 1909. Architect John Grainger, father of composer Percy Grainger, extended the existing small house which was then renamed Coombe Cottage. Melba commissioned the long-serving second director  of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens,William Guilfoyle, to design her garden.

There is a sense of drama about the garden. A long avenue of trees form an imposing driveway to the house, which, though surprisingly modest,  surely witnessed many illustrious guests. Charlie Chaplin is reputed to have jumped stark naked into the pool precluding further invitations.

Coldstream is 47km from Melbourne. There is a small museum and cellar door at the restaurant, as well as guided tours of the grounds. Well worth a visit.

Tea garden




Tea and Treasure is the the name of a quaint cafe in an old weatherboard house with pretty verandas in Port Macquirie, New South Wales. The tiny ‘tea garden’ along the fence delighted me almost as much as the pet galah that the owner produced from the ‘birds nest’ under the counter.

Nature’s “crumbs”

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This is my fairy table replete with a rock sandwich that my husband found in a load of rockery stones. I love the orange fungus that grew on the table top in the last bout of rain.

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Mosaic Stepping Stones


You don’t have to be a practising artist to add artistic touches in your garden. 

 This stepping stone is part of a family series created with the help of grandchildren. Each child has their own step and of course there is Grandma.

If you have a creative bent, you can design your own pieces, like the mosaic man who sits in a patch of Bracken Fern in a totally natural bush garden.


Mosaics are a wonderful way to enhance a garden by providing a focal point, and they work beautifully with the informal, relaxed look of native gardens.


 Thank you Micky for sharing your work.