After growing up on a 7000 acre sheep property, adapting to the fast-paced Melbourne was a drastic but liberating change! Now a media-communications graduate, editor and journalist, I'm eager to share my return to a beautiful life in the country.
Published November 18th 2015
Find sculptural serenity amongst nature
As though on a scavenger hunt where the rewards are awe and serenity, each turn within the Mica Grange Sculpture Garden brings with it yet another artwork waiting to be discovered. From dainty ceramic toadstools, life sized warriors fashioned from cast iron and machinery parts to larger-than-life nests fashioned from rusted barbed wire (complete with stone 'eggs'), there is no set formula for the sculptures displayed. To wander through the garden, up and down stairs and under flowered trellis' and proud gum trees, is to experience the essence of creativity outside the confines of a traditional gallery.
Each Sculpture Exhibition involves up to 15 sculptors and more than 60 different exhibits with different sculptures exhibited on each occasion ensuring new works are always on display.
The view from the Mica Grange gardens extends over the scenic mountains and gullies of the Sutton Grange/ Harcourt area
Perched atop Mount Alexander in the heart of Victoria, the view from the Mica Grange property is tough to rival. The scenic grounds of the sculpture garden, however, generate a similar sense of wonder that ,when coupled with it's surrounds, highlights the beauty of each. With perfectly manicured gardens brimming with blooms, the sculptures of local artists are arranged throughout to best complement the backdrop, enhancing -rather than competing with - the natural beauty of the area.
The decked area and cafe provides a quiet place to gaze out over the garden
Within the garden itself, the seemingly odd combination of roses, succulents and native trees are woven together flawlessly to create a maze of vibrant colour and scent. The Mount Alexander area is well known for it's granite soils with vast sheets and boulders of the stone forming natural sculptures throughout the garden. Similary, the area is famed also for it's wineries and cideries with Henry's of Harcourt, Blackjack, Butterfly Crossing and Sutton Grange Winery just a small selection of the offerings dispersed accross the foothills of Mount Alexander. Venturing to the gardens can easily be made into a day trip or weekend, just 80 minutes drive North of Melbourne and 15 minutes from the Gold Rush town of Castlemaine and close to the regional city of Bendigo.
A hand-made glass disk sits prominetly on a granite ledge, ready to capture the sunset with spectacular colour
If relaxation is your goal, enjoying morning or afternoon tea on the deck alongside the Mica Grange cafe is the ultimate remedy. As though at a British countryside manor, you can enjoy scones with jam and cream, sip tea and let the trickling of water features and peaceful songs of native birdlife soothe away the stresses of the working week. With such a wide array of sculptures on display in a natural setting, it is easy to imagine how each piece may fit into your own garden -the deck provides an ideal place to mull over such decisions and cast another gaze across the grounds.
A metal cutout butterfly sculpture appears to flutter up the walls of the on-site cottage
To extend the relaxation process that much further or bring some of the creative flair of Mica Grange to your own abode and garden, garden art and sculptures are available from as little as $15. My personal favourite is a sculpture by local artist Michael Parker titled "Love birds" and I can only hope it makes an appearance in a rather oversized christmas stocking this year *hint hint family, friends and boyfriend* -the heart wants what it wants!(pun intended).
The wonder and delight of the 40 hectare Mica Grange property is open to the public four times a year, for a period of approximately six weeks each season at a cost of $5 entry . While the 2015 Spring open garden and sculpture exhibition closes on November 22nd, the Autumn 2016 season will run across each weekend from the 12th of March until the 17th of April 2016.