Visions of Green (man)

Greenman tags

Post by Gareth Hart.

Terrariums and miniature gardens are wonderful creations for Winter – the perfect way to satisfy your green thumb, whilst rugged up in your pyjamas and never taking off those moccasins!

I met with Carol Tregonning, who creates stunning terrariums and miniature gardens from her delightful studio in Sassafras.

Carol is a very giving soul, I left her beautifully peaceful studio with many gifts from the kindness of her heart and the lushness of her garden, which is ironic, because her sellable creations would be a beautiful gift for anyone.

“It’s like a meditation for me. Being here, making them up, and caring for them and watching them grow. It’s really peaceful.”

Carol Tregonning is an art therapist, who works with dreams and art therapy and considers making miniature gardens as a little like the art therapy she does with herself. Her passion oozes through her designs, and whilst not a designer per se, or having studied design, Carol does enjoy the design aspect of her work. This design element is very strong in her creations.

“I just love nature, and I love design. I would have loved to have done design.”

Carol Tregonning terrariums Carol Tregonning terrarium

Her gardens are created with delicacy and intricacy, using a range of unique plants, and often accompanied by the rich green textures of moss, baby tears or duck weed.

They are never the same. I don’t make them up all the same. I just make them as I go and see what comes through, instead of having an idea about them. And then people have their own individual bowl/terrarium. I like people to be able to come in and say ‘I love that, so I’ll have that one’. And then they have their own garden to take home.”

The name Green Man alludes to a mythical nature spirit that is found across all ages and cultures of the world, representing a symbol of rebirth, which is associated with nature, wild life and plant growth. Carol was inspired to call her business Greenman after she herself saw a green man in a vision. Carols own Green Man, her trade mark business name, allows others to see into the microcosm of her world. And as many of her terrariums are predominantly housed in glass, you can see right into them, right into the miniature worlds that Carol creates. Through these creations, I have a sense that Carol allows her clients to see a tiny part of her original vision.


You can find Carol’s creations at a range of stores locally including The Courtyard (Sassafras), Quirky Werx (Mt Dandenong), and the Mt Dandenong Organic Shop.

Greenman terrarium

So how do they work? gives us the insight we need:

Bottle gardens [terrariums] work because their sealed space creates an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem in which plants can survive by using photosynthesis to recycle nutrients.

Light is absorbed by proteins containing chlorophylls (a green pigment). Some of that light energy is stored in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that stores energy. The rest is used to remove electrons from the water being absorbed from the soil through the plant’s roots. These electrons then become ‘free’ – and are used in chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates, releasing oxygen.

This photosynthesis process is the opposite of the cellular respiration that occurs in other organisms, including humans, where carbohydrates containing energy react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, water, and release chemical energy.

But the eco-system also uses cellular respiration to break down decaying material shed by the plant. In this part of the process, bacteria inside the soil of the bottle garden absorbs the plant’s waste oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide which the growing plant can reuse.

And, of course, at night, when there is no sunlight to drive photosynthesis, the plant will also use cellular respiration to keep itself alive by breaking down the stored nutrients.

Because the bottle garden is a closed environment, that means its water cycle is also a self-contained process. The water in the bottle gets taken up by plants’ roots, is released into the air during transpiration, and condenses down into the potting mixture, where the cycle begins again.





Hills in colour

hills in colour

Post by Shelley Krycer.

I had the idea for this curated colouring-in set for all ages featuring artists’ work about six or seven years ago. For me this is a nice reminder to feel ok about not realising all the ideas I have just as I dream them up. The good ideas will still be exciting to work on later down the track. It can take time for all the right elements to come together and to find the right people to work with! Creating this set with visual artist Emma Johnson allowed us to transform this concept into reality. Our different strengths complement each other and it’s been great working with a like-minded creative.

Hills In Colour (Just Add Colour) is about rethinking how we engage with artworks. It brings together ten black and white artworks by ten artists from the hills printed on beautiful loose-leaf fine art paper. Rarely, if ever, do we have the opportunity to take an original work of art on lovely paper and make it our own. It gets us really looking at it and noticing what it is the artist has done to make it just so unique and beautiful in a way that isn’t really possible without pencil in hand! And since they’re at a standard A4 size, these artistic collaborations could find happy homes in frames as well as on fridges.

Emma and I had a really fun time selecting works that relate to each other yet feature a range of different styles that reflect what is happening in the Dandenongs artistically. We imagine groups of people of all ages sitting around together colouring in different artworks. The back page gives you bios and the website details for all the artists included in the set, so if you like their work, you can see what else they’ve been doing.

EJ and SK-1

As an artist myself, I often have people tell me that the art activity they miss the most is colouring in…. and that they secretly pick up kids colouring-in books to get their fix. With the elegant, playful, beautiful works in this set, I think this might help secret colouring-in-ers colour loudly and proudly. The secret is out!

Hills In Colour (Just Add Colour) is available for sale for $10.

Stockists so far include:
London Art Company, 1660 Burwood Highway, Belgrave,
Limerence, 2/1642 Burwood Higway, Belgrave
Burrinja, Crn Glenfern Road and Matson Drive, Upwey
Mountain Ash, 1536 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda
Ripe, 376 Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, Sassafras
Lululoft, Shop 4, 47 -53 Olinda  Monbulk Rd, Olinda
Kallista Tea Rooms, 103 Monbulk Rd, Kallista

They’ll also be available at the Forest Picnic market stall at End Of The Line festival Nov 30th in Belgrave
Online shop will soon be available at the (not quite fully set up yet facebook page)
We’d love you to colour and share at our facebook page too!

Emerge Where You Are: the creative process

Post by Sue Guzick.

When considering a response to the ‘End of the Line’ Burrinja stage concept and site, I felt a truer gesture would come from within the experience. What does it feel like, and what emerges through the movement to the end of the line? What are ways to mark and describe the discoveries?

For those of us who have spent time traveling by train we recall the ebb, stream, repetition, anticipation, and out-flow into the destination. The Belgrave line has its own characteristics, feelings, and lush explosion of nature and community at the end. Initial studies were created to sense, mark, and reflect.

Guided imaging is one of the methods I used to capture the experience of the Belgrave Line. It gave me a starting point for the creative process.

The Burrnja Stage will be located in Belgrave at Earthly Pleasures Café. Earthly Pleasures Café has a distinct aspect of place, another out-flow: food, warm people, and a nurtured historic building and garden. Stage placement responds to the site with glimpses from the street, views from the café, and a relationship to a great old tree. The installation further emerges from ideas of line, culmination, heightened awareness, colour contrast, and the form of gum tree barks. Community making, and their personal experience will broaden it.

The empowering thing about arts, place, and being human is that we all have access to the experience. We each have different discoveries and ways of marking them. Significant and unexpected things emerge when we uninhibitedly look at any environment we are in.