Friday, 29 March 2013

On the road to ... Ubud

A few posts back I mentioned that my plans to post my favourite photos from 2012 had gone awry. The reason for this was that when I started to review my photos, I realised there were quite a few I still hadn't posted.

One of the images that was foremost in my mind was this Balinese lady picking flowers (marigold and gomphrena). I don't know that they are the greatest of photos, but the subject and the colour palette appealed to me. I think if Monet had ever visited Bali, he would have loved it too.

I spotted the flower gatherer while I was hurtling at breakneck speed between the main tourist drag in Bali and my favourite place, Ubud, up in the hills.  On my two short visits last year, I was based near the beach (Kuta for a work conference, then Sanur for a long weekend), but, on both occasions, my friends and I hired a driver for a day trip and left it in their hands as to what points of interest we stopped at along the way.

When one of the drivers suggested a waterfall,  the one we visited exceeded my expectations. Just lovely!

Many of the villages along the way specialise in a particular craft, and one of the most spectacular is the stone carving. The sculptures are exquisite and made me plot mad schemes involving shipping containers that I didn't go ahead with, but what a fabulous feature any of these would be in the garden.

We called in at a village temple.

This lovely lady was making temple offerings, and I couldn't resist the photo opportunity.

Further along there were shops selling beautiful kites. I'll definitely investigate how these fold up on my next visit. I love the butterfly one!

We saw demonstrations of how batik and ikat fabric is made. The building below is a jeweller/silversmith's shop. The decoration on the building featured ceramic plates.

Another favourite stop was this artists' compound with beautiful orchids in bloom throughout. I didn't actually buy a painting there on the day, but I have bought one nearby each visit and just love them.

A few mad hours of shopping in Ubud, followed by lunch, and the return drive.

A beautifully decorated shrine in the restaurant.

Another tiny shrine with marigolds adorning the deity and a tiny water feature.

Koi at the restaurant 'The Three Monkeys'

A flawless waterlily spotted on our walk.

If you are interested, you can see more of Ubud and the surrounding area by clicking here and a number of other posts (check the labels under 'Bali').

Sunday, 24 March 2013

City Botanic Gardens

It took a building evacaution a fortnight ago, with a Botanic Garden building assembly point, to remind me that it had been a while since my last visit to Brisbane's City Botanic Gardens - silly really when my office is only about four blocks away. So, last week, I headed back with camera in hand to see what is in bloom in early Autumn.

Brisbane is lucky enough to have two botanic gardens: the original is in the city beside the river, and, in the 70s, the Mount Coot-tha botanic gardens were established at Toowong, an inner Western suburb, after the river broke its banks in the infamous 1974 floods.

The garden provides a tranquil oasis for city workers and students from the adjoining Queensland University of Technology.

One shrub, widely planted throughout the garden that was in full flower was the Brazilian Red Cloak Megaskepasma erythrochlamys here with Spathiphyllum in the foreground.

Although a different colour, the flower of the the Golden Candle plant Pachystachys lutea is similar to that of the Red Cloak. In both cases, the white flower appears in closely arranged coloured bracts. 

Spectacular buttress roots of a Moreton Bay Fig, native to the East Coast of Australia.

Pink mussaenda behind a bed of the striking foliage of calathea.

The Australian White Ibis - photogenic but a bit of a pest in Brisbane 

The stunning Bismarck Palm

My presence was making this young swamphen chick nervous

Hot-footing it across the lily pads to escape

Adult Purple Swamphen

Swamphen family with even younger chick

Scarlet cannas

More Brazilian Red Cloak

An ibis and swamphen on the rocks in front of a bank of Philodendron

If you look closely, you can see that the rock on the right is inhabited.

Here is lizard-in-residence, a handsome Eastern Water Dragon.  I had a close encounter with one of his brothers in my previous post about the Gardens here

Another fancied a branch as his vantage point.

Tree fern frond

Brugmansia in flower, with I think the Caricature Plant Graptophylum pictum  the mauve-toned shrub in the foreground

A tall Ixora

Yellow ixora

Cordyline flower

Another cordyline with both flowers and berry-like fruit

Old Parliament House at the end of the garden and start of the University.

Pentas and bromeliad

This mauve flowered largerstoemia or crepe myrtle had just abut finished blooming.

Selection of bromeliads

Pentas, gaura, bromeliads.

These beds were growing a kind of legume as green fertilizer.

One of the showiest of the autumn blooms in Brisbane, the Tibouchina.

As in my own garden, the daylilies are just finishing off.

Hope you enjoyed your visit. I definitely won't leave it so long before I head back again.


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