The Crisp Galleries
(30 January 2014)
I recently attended a function at the lovely Crisp Galleries on 31.01.2014 located on the Hume Highway near Yass. I found myself in an astounding oasis, surrounded by an open and often challenging landscape. The venue is a creative wonderland, with so many things to see and do including: Glass Gallery; Pelargonium and Geranium Nursery; a function, concert & exhibition hub; and most exciting of all, extensive gardens to enjoy and ‘just be’ in.
The Crisp family purchased the property in 1970, which then consisted of a main homestead and small cottage. It was devoid of greenery aside from several robust and enduring trees. The family began work on the five acre garden space during the early 1990’s and have been pottering with vigour and enthusiasm ever since. There are lots of exciting areas to explore such as the Waterfall, Hillside, and Rill gardens; a sprawling lavender field (is being re-established in near future); and a bamboo garden (not open to public just yet but watch this space with great anticipation).
An impressive range of artworks and sculptures have been thoughtfully placed throughout the gardens, created using varying media comprising of timber, metal and stone, to name but a few. So well incorporated into the landscape are these pieces that they are an innate and seamless component of it, one which you could not possibly imagine any other way.
The use of both still and moving water are also an integral feature, and the scale of the family’s vision is simply breathtaking. A particularly spectacular example is the stone cairn, which has the base of an old windmill at its centre. Construction of the structure is fascinating and consisted of the following:
A truck rim and tyre were welded onto the top of the windmill while it was laying on its side, before standing it upright onto a large footing and filling it with concrete. A string line was then hung from the tyre and used as a guide to ‘rock up’ around it. Once at the top, the tyre was removed and rocks were placed around the truck rim to complete construction of the cairn. All I can say is wow, you need to see it to believe it, and if you haven’t, do so, at your earliest possible convenience.
I must admit though, the most unexpected and memorable surprise for me was the extensive pelargonium collection, all of which were in full flower at the time of my visit. I was led along a meandering garden path (a well-trodden cliché, I know, but it’s true) and was confronted with several glasshouses bursting with over 1300 varieties of what I would have previously described as ‘old fashioned granny plants’, but have since promptly revised. I was informed the collection was borne from humble beginnings – a single cutting in fact – left by a little garden fairy and nurtured into a lovely specimen, which showed its gratitude by producing vibrant red flowers. An ensuing passion was born, and now the rest, as they say, will go down into Crisp Gallery folklore.
The Crisp Galleries are open Friday to Monday from 10am to 5pm.
For more: www.petercrisp.com.au