Thursday, 29 September 2011


The incredibly beautiful waratah is the floral emblem for New South Wales - Queensland's neighbouring state. The NSW border is only an hour's drive from Brisbane and yet, until recently, I hadn't seem bunches of waratah for sale in any of my local florists. Last week, I picked up these beauties at the Farmers' Market in the City.

Telopea speciosissima

But although this variety don't grow locally, just a few blocks away from the markets, in the City Botanic Gardens, the Queensland rainforest native Tree Waratah, Alloxylon flammeum, was ablaze of flowers.


Friday, 23 September 2011

Sound the trumpet!

Apart from the bauhinias that I mentioned in my last post, another magnificent group of flowering trees that are in bloom at the moment are the Tabebuia or Trumpet Trees.

This pink one, Tabebuia rosea ,is in Brisbane's City Botanical Gardens but they are in flower all over the city.

And, if you are after a change from the pastel tones, there is a stunning golden version that I adore.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Coconut ice

Among the early harbingers of Spring in cooler climates that I really miss here in Brisbane are the blossoms. Where I spent my very early years, in Queenscliff, south of Melbourne, we had a backyard full of fruit trees that were a vision to behold in early Spring. Mum always had vases of flowering peach or japonica in the house.

But, it isn't as if we miss out on those beautiful pastel shades here when we have Spring-flowering trees like Bauhinias. Most of the trees around my neighbourhood are either pale pink or white, but there is also a lovely deep pink form.

One of its common names is the orchid tree, but the flower reminds me more of an azalea.

This white bauhinia was on campus at Queensland University.

Another visitor to campus was this handsome currawong in the still-bare branches of a frangipani. I think this would make a great subject for a lino-print.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Till next year

These are the last of my succulents to flower for the year. Although I'm sure there will be plenty more to console me now we are in Spring, I will miss their tiny blooms. They were one of the few plants to flower in my winter garden.

I'm not 100% sure of the name of this one, probably a sedum, but I think it's my favourite. I love the combination of the plump blue-ish leaves with almost pink buds and dainty white flowers.

Sedum pachyphytum


Friday, 16 September 2011

A country drive

The pace is starting to pick up for my writing and editing course, and sometimes it is a bit of challenge to keep all the balls in the air at the same time and to maintain a semblance of order across the work, study, and home fronts. But nothing clears the cobwebs like getting out of the city. Even though I had an online test looming, I jumped at the chance for a country drive last Saturday with my friend Rachel.

We were heading for a couple of display gardens, part of the Open Garden Scheme, but we took a wrong turn at Dayboro, just went with the flow and had a brilliant day - antique shopping, lunching at Ocean View winery, and just enjoying the beautiful countryside.

Rachel is heading a bit further afield this weekend; she's off to Paris.  Have a brilliant time!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


I love flowers in the house, especially home-grown ones, but it looked like it might prove to be a challenge on the weekend. It's still fairly early spring and there isn't much out yet, but with a few sprigs from a sedum, the ever reliable pentas, and a spray of salvia, I had the makings of a tiny posy - a nosegay perhaps.

A chipped but dearly loved jug that once belonged to my grandma was the perfect finishing touch.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Kuala Lumpur's Orchid Garden

The Lake Gardens in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, are home to some of the city's most popular tourist attractions including the Bird Park; the Butterfly Park; the hibiscus garden, Taman Bunga Raya; and the Orchid Garden, Taman Orkid, where over 600 varieties of orchids are represented.

A stroll through the garden provides a wealth of ideas for landscaping with and displaying these most exotic of blooms. And I will know for next time not to try to squeeze all the sights in the Lake Gardens into just one visit.

I had a few camera problems on this trip so apologies for the fuzziness of the images.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Native Aussie

With sunrise earlier and the temperature warmer, it has become easier to jump out of bed in the mornings to take Onslow and Miss B for their daily visit to the off-leash park.

A couple of days ago, we were there just after dawn, a wonderful time to enjoy the plant and birdlife. This beautiful flower, which reminds me of lily of the valley, is an Australian native, Blueberry Ash, Elaeocarpus reticulatus. There are a number of them in the park and they are all a mass of flowers at the moment.

It is a small, very hardy tree; the specimens in the park are about 15 to 18 foot high. The tiny flowers are followed by beautiful, blue berries, which are very popular with the local birdlife.

It is easy to see why its common name is Fairy Petticoats.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Walking Iris

These beautiful flowers are Neomarica northiana. They are known as Walking Iris because of the unusual way they reproduce. After the flower has died, a small plantlet begins to develop in its place. As it gets bigger, it weighs down the flower stem, and when that eventually touches the ground, the plantlet takes root.


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