Manjimup’s Lost Aboretum: Finsbury House

 In Land Stewardship, Life Library, Life Stories, Plants & Trees, Soul Gardening

walnuts, finsbury

Driveway to Finsbury House, Manjimup: Walnuts

Finsbury entrance web1

We went exploring at Finsbury House (est. 1906) a few weekends back, on invitation from cousin Paula “Paulsie” McKennay and her Mum, Aunty Carol “Cags”, both consummate florists and gardeners. The original founder of the property was John Frederick Kammann. He was married to his wife in Finsbury, London, and that’s where the name of the farm came from.

Finsbury Homestead front angle web

The old Finsbury Homestead

Being with Trees.... MMMMMmmm

Delirious with tree love,
having one of the best mornings for the year with my aunt, Carol “Cags” McKennay, at Finsbury.

Things That Make You Go MMMmmmmm small

Exploring around the delapidated original Finsbury Homestead

The founder was our friend Katie Kammann’s great great grandfather.  She gathered with relatives to celebrate the Finsbury centenary back in 2006, and learnt a bit about the place. When she saw this photo, she told me the story behind the beautiful old concrete form. It’s said that once upon a time, a terrible storm tore through the property. With it, an enormous tree fell, leaving a gaping hole in the ground. It was decided rather than fill the hole, a concrete form pond would be created where the tree once stood.

finsbury homestead web

Finsbury House in its hey day old photo web

Finsbury in its heyday was obviously a beautiful homestead, with waxed jarrah floorboards and a home library.

Thank you to Yvonne Dare and Paula McKennay for the photo.

finsbury homestead 2

homstead roofline Finsbury old tin finsbury web

An old tin of Antiseptic Pastilles on the ground by the Homestead door … for Clergymen Public Speakers Singers etc

roofline for web

Much of the structure was built out of local Karri wood, before it was known to be a poor choice for building. Sadly, the white ants have come off better.

Gasp. Finsbury, Cags and Cin web

My Aunt Carol last visited the garden some 30 yrs ago, with a local gardening group to do some stewardship work. I stood by in a kind of tree-love induced delirium. She was astounded at the change, and delighted to see how well the trees were doing. She did have a few ideas for a little stewardship though, firmly pointing out which pines “had to go” to allow room for other tree canopies to expand.

how vainly men themselves amaze to win the palm, the oak, or bays... (small)

“How vainly men themselves amaze,
to win the palm, the oak or bays…”

 

(from Marvel’s The Garden)

dear plant lover small

Cousin “Paulsie” Paula McKennay
Freelance Florist & Gardener

Paulsie is more consistently and abundantly full of enthusiasm for life than any person, or garden, I’ve ever experienced.

Thanks for inviting me along Paulsie – it was among the most gratifying mornings of my entire year, nay, life.

tree love

standing here in the night

we are turned to a great tree,

every leaf a star,

its roots eternity.

(Judith Wright)

copper beech web

Cop this beech

With great thanks to the present owner of Finsbury, Brad Ipsen.

You might be left wondering, then, will become of Finsbury? Well, I have a hunch that this is a story worth tracking.

Stay tuned to Stellar Violets to see what becomes of this precious, marvellous place.

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