I'd phoned brother Tony to ask if a friend and I could stay overnight with him and the lovely Leanne and use their home outside Ballina as our base for visiting the fabulous Byron Writers' Festival last weekend; the orchids were a bonus.
We were a bit late leaving Brisbane on Saturday, so we went directly to the festival, but I got up early Sunday morning to give myself a quick tour of the garden, and especially those orchids.
Tony had already headed to the beach for a surf, so I didn't get the full run down on names, but generally speaking there were two main types in flower, the strappy-leafed Cymbidiums and the daintier-flowered Dendrobiums, including his 'speciality' the Australian native Dendrobium speciosum.
|Orchids were everywhere.|
|A dendrobium orchid|
|Dendrobium (not in flower) on the upper branch, and a cymbidium on the lower fork of a frangipani in the front garden.|
|D. speciosum in various stages of flowering in one of the orchid houses.|
|One of my favourite cymbidiums - I think I gave this one to Tony.|
|The dendrobiums are epiphytic and happily grow on tree (or palm) trunks or rocks.|
|More D. speciosum about to flower|
Elsewhere in the garden, the always reliable bromeliads were in flower.
|This bromeliad is Guzmania wittmarkii|
|Bromeliad Aechmea gamosepala is known as the matchstick plant.|
Tony and Leanne's house was named 'The Magnolias' by its previous owners. Although sometimes these beauties get a bit lost in all the tropical growth, this is their time to shine.
|Heliconia 'Red Christmas'|
... and the festival itself? We had a fabulous time in a beautiful setting at Belongil Beach, just outside Byron Bay.
|Indonesian writer Ahmad Fuadi. His novel 'The Land of Five Towers' was my only purchase on the day, but I have added some other great books to my wish list and hope to get a chance to track them down and read them later in the year.|
And just over the hill from the festival, we were able to take in a final dose of beauty before heading home to Brisbane.
|Looking towards Byron with its famous lighthouse on the distant ridge just to the right of the couple on the beach|
|Julian Rocks with Belongil Creek in the foreground.|