A word a week photo challenge

New Zealand Highlights…

Of course the top highlights of the three-week visit to New Zealand was the wedding of my son and his lovely partner and meeting a new extended family of in-laws. Also spending time with my daughter in Tauranga.

Between visiting and socializing I did find time to see some interesting places to explore and, naturally, a garden was top of the list.

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Wrights Water Gardens has been created in a disused quarry covering 7 acres. The gardens are rustic, rambling and wild. tracks meander around the ponds and waterways and through the different levels leading to the 30 foot Mauku waterfall. I fell in love with this garden and spent nearly 3 hours wandering around and, of course, the photo opportunities were endless. The light was perfect and I took almost 200 shots. Hard to pick my favourites.

I hope you enjoy this walk around with me and my camera…

It is mid spring and I was amazed at the colour and diversity of the leaf colours and the way the light shone through them highlighting the veins and making them glow.

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The tracks wind through the abundant drifts of perennials and shrubs opening up to ever more delights.

The flowers are in full bloom, the very best time to be in a garden.

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Wisteria flowers create a carpet of purple. Can you see that strange figure? (no not Jack!!!) This one is sitting down.

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What an imaginative way to use old phones…

I think it is time to take a seat and just enjoy the surroundings. This bench is for you Jude. They had put lots of benches around.

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There were also lots of sculptures, but this was my favourite, she looks so relaxed.

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Around another corner and I find an oriental garden.

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A water wheel trickles water over the bank into  the waterlily ponds below.



The water lilies are just starting to come out and the lotus flowers, that this garden is famous for, are still waiting to burst into bloom.

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Tracks follow the stream trickling over rocks and swirling into ponds. Everywhere the plants jostle together creating drifts of colour and the weeping willow branches droop daintily down to the streams surface.

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The rocks were covered in fascinating forms of lichen and I thought of Meg who shares all the delightful flora and fauna from her part of Australia on her blog, enjoy it here, “snippets and snaps“.

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After seeing tantalising glimpses of the waterfall as I slowly savoured this magnificent garden I now stood and enjoyed the full force of its beauty.


Restless Jo takes us on fascinating walks every week and she has a happy band of followers, so I would like to join you again this week Jo with a New Zealand garden walk.


Categories: garden, garden, Jo's Monday walks, New Zealand, photos, Wright's water garden | Tags: , , , , | 38 Comments

My Garden, My Muse : Weekly Photo Challenge

Brie Anne asks us this week

So what’s your muse — what subject do you turn to frequently, more inspired each time?”

This is so easy for me to answer. I am surrounded by “my muse”. Every day I walk round the garden noticing the changes, marvelling at the beauty and colour, seeing flowers slowly fade and new ones take their place.

This morning I took my camera for a walk with me, as I often do, and these are just a few of the things I noticed.

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This apricot poinsettia has been flowering for weeks and shows no signs of wilting.

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The sun throws vibrant shadows of this crucifixion orchid on the new fence. Below it a new bud is opening to take the place of the slowly fading flower.

As the flowers come and go the foliage, in many shades and hues, fill the garden beds with colour the whole year.

The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.

Gertrude Jekyll


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These ants are only about 1 centimetre long and they were covering the flower buds on this jade plant. Do you see that other strange-looking spiky caterpillar? It is so small I only noticed it when I downloaded the photos.

Finally I went round the corner to say hello to our blue tongue lizard as he lay draped over the rock sunbathing.

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He was almost camouflaged among the bromeliads and rocks.

The glory of gardening:

hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.

To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

Categories: Australia, garden, muse, photos, post-a-day, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

Gardening in the Round.

I have mentioned that I love gardening and one of the pleasures I get from house sitting is to see and learn from other peoples gardens. Every one is different, every one is a joy to look after.

Now this garden is probably one of the most challenging. Being so close to the ocean the soil is pure sand. I’ve mentioned the strong winds (see my previous post here about the leaning trees) Great for wind surfers and sky divers, but plants hate the strong, sand ladened winds. To top it off it is a very dry climate. I don’t know when they last had a decent rain here, but of the 3 large rain water storage tanks only one has a small amount of water left in it.

Naomi also loves gardening, she likes to grow her own organic vegetables and being a very resourceful person she has installed old corrugated water tanks and created raised beds.

Come for a look round

, Come for a look round

Gardening in the round

Gardening in the round

This summer has been exceptionally hot and dry and at the moment not many veggies have survived, with the exception of chilli bushes, lots of them, lemon grass and a few other herbs. Before Naomi left she scattered seeds around. The weather should be getting cooler and normally some rain arrives during the winter months. But so far it has just been clear blue skies, sun and relentless wind. I water the raised garden beds each evening and amazingly seeds are popping up every where. At this point I can’t identify them so treat them all with loving care.

Can you see the beans?

Can you see the beans? look carefully and you will see the Indian Ocean…

A couple of the beds are still empty so on Sunday at the markets when we came across a delightful bloke called “Freddie Fresh” who specialises in seedlings of all sorts we bought some lettuce, basil and 2 tomato plants. That evening, when the heat had gone out of the day we carefully planted them. First digging a large hole, incorporating compost and soaking the area before tenderly bedding them in.

Mescalin and cos lettuce with an existing plant of eggplant. A very healthy dragon fruit is climbing the trellis

Mescalin and cos lettuce with an existing plant of eggplant. A very healthy dragon fruit is climbing the trellis

Have you ever tried Dragon fruit? They are delicious and this plant is laden with them. I hope they ripen soon.

More lettuce and basil, with the tomato planted against the back pole

More lettuce and basil, with the tomato planted against the back pole

They are all going to need more help if they are to survive the 30c+ temperature of the sun. These beds are in the full sun. So to give them a helping hand until they have settled in we searched around and found some shade cloth that Jack put up.


Maybe doesn't look very attractive, but it should do the job

Maybe doesn’t look very attractive, but it should do the job

Follow me around the side of the house.

The side garden. Can you see the Huge spider web?

The side garden. Can you see the Huge spider web? Lets take a closer look…

 As I said before this house is built on sand and the back of the garden is a large sand-hill. Naomi has come up with a clever solution. Using old tractor tyres that she has sourced from a tyre firm in town, collecting them in a trailer, pulled by Troopy, then, one by one, rolling them into place. (Go here to read about Naomi’s hard labour in creating this monument.)

This is finally taking shape, “the great wall of Drummond’s”

First roll the tyres into place

First roll the tyres into place

Rendering comes next

Rendering comes next

Still a lot more to do...

Still a lot more to do. The hole in the sand is going to be a pond with a waterfall cascading into it.

I feel tired just thinking about all the work.

So let’s go back up to the deck to watch the sun set.

The garden shows a collection of Naomi's interests.

The garden shows a collection of Naomi’s interests.

Looking out to the west the setting sun lights the deck in a golden glow

Looking out to the west the setting sun lights the deck in a golden glow

Have a glass of wine and watch the sun set

Have a glass of wine and watch the sun set


The inspiration for this post has come from Sue of “A word in your ear” this week her challenge has been the word “ROUND” that has popped up from her dictionary.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk with me around the garden.

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, garden, Geraldton, house sitting, photos, round, sunsets, vegetable garden, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

A Word a Week Photo Challenge : High

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In 1998 we bought a house in the beautiful tropical paradise of the Goldcoast. It had been a rental property for many years surrounded by a patchy and weedy area of uncared for lawn. It was a challenge and we started creating a tropical oasis. First plants to go in were the majestic and stately Alexander Palms. They would create shade for the under story of ferns and other shade loving, tropical plants.

That was 15 years ago. Look at them now. They have become towering giants. They are so HIGH they look down on our two-story house and drop their huge fronds onto all the ferns and other plants they were put in to protect. They produce thousands of seeds that drop and then grow in the fertile soil of the garden. They create a lot of work.

Sadly the time has come to say goodbye to these tropical beauties.

Enter Big Jim and his team of skilled arborists.

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With spiked shoes and a strap around the trunk, Guy shimmies up to the top of the palm and makes short work of demolishing these giants. Look carefully at the bottom of the photo and you will see the roof of our 2 story home.

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The team collect the logs and fronds to take them away.

The team collect the logs and fronds to take them away.


Big Jim feeds them all through the mulcher

Big Jim feeds them all through the mulcher


Oops one of the branches drop over into the neighbours place

Oops one of the branches drop over into the neighbour’s place

No trouble Guy reaches over to haul it back and I help by holding the ladder...

No trouble Guy reaches over to haul it back and I help by holding the ladder…


In less than an hour Jim and his team had demolished 5 palms, one tree-fern and a decaying Ivory Curl tree. Leaving the garden open to more sunlight and me with the job of relocating a number of plants that all of a sudden had the wrong growing conditions.


Sue of “A word in your ear” opens her dictionary each week to find a word to challenge us with. This week it is HIGH. How appropriate for me as today we had these very high palms cut down.



Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, Goldcoast, high, photos, tropical garden | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Word a Week : Two by Two

Major Mitchell Cockatoo

Major Mitchell Cockatoo, I’ve got my eye on you


Young magpies

Young magpies


Jabirus changing of the guard on the nest


I love our beautiful Australian birds and many of them mate for life so I immediately thought of these birds when Sue of “A word in your ear” opened her dictionary at TWO this week.



Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, birds, two | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

A Word a Week : Fur

Romeo is a real lover-boy

Romeo is a real lover-boy

Mungo, my bed companion

Mungo, my bed companion

Have you ever felt anything as soft and warm and sensuous as the fur of a Ragdoll cat? You can run your fingers through their coat and they will purr with delight, before rolling over for a tummy rub. They are affectionate and playful. Living with 5 of them is a constant delight. Watching the interaction between them, sometimes loving and then in a flash a mini spat will erupt with fur flying and ears back, but it is quickly over and they are all friends again.

These are just 2 of the boys. When Sue of “A word in your ear” gave us “FUR” as the word from her dictionary I just had to take another couple of photos to show you.

Another couple of weeks and we will be heading home and I will take fond memories of these lovely cats with me, plus a folder full of photos


Categories: A word a week photo challenge, fur, house sitting, photos, Ragdoll cats | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

A Word a Week Challenge : Just 2 Sleeps left…

The challenge this week from Sue of “A word in your ear” is SLEEP.

How appropriate this is for me as I have just 2 sleeps before I fly off to Tasmania. When I mention I am going to Tasmania at this time of the year I get some funny looks. You see I live in sunny Queensland and at the moment the temperature is 26deg and has been that warm and sunny for over a week now and this is almost winter. The garden is at it’s best with many plants coming into bloom.

Bromeliad in glorious bloom

Bromeliad in glorious bloom

Swamp banksia opening

Swamp banksia opening in uniform style

While down in Tasmania it is 17-18deg…

I have been told by many people about the beauty of Tasmania. It is a world apart from the rest of Australia, both in scenery, climate and economy. It has a slower pace of life. Tasmania promotes itself as clean, green and pristine. Well known for the wines and fruit it produces.

According to Peter Timms in his book “In Search of Hobart“;  “Tasmania along with Outer Mongolia and Timbuktu has long been the symbol of remoteness, whether of the mysterious, the enticing or the cruelly comic kind”. He also mentions that “when you climb to the top of Mount Wellington the city is spread-out map-like below you, but turn round and face west and over the vast expanses of forest toward the ocean the nearest human habitation is 11,000 kilometres away in Patagonia” Now I find that a stunning thought….

So to me it is presenting  a variety of contradictions and I am looking forward to being there. House sitting and living in Hobart for 8 weeks is an ideal opportunity to discover the city and hopefully find out just what Tasmania is like from an insider’s perspective.

We will have two new four-legged friends to explore with. I’m looking forward to brisk invigorating 🙂 walks along the beach with them. Finding interesting shops and cafes and, of course, lots of photo opportunities. I am even taking a tripod and hope to try out some of the new techniques I have been shown.

Sleeping with Rimfire the Jack Russell, at a previous house sit in Cairns.

Sleeping with Rimfire the Jack Russell, at a previous house sit in Cairns.

Now I just have to finish packing and have 2 more sleeps…… ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, house sitting, photos, sleep, Tasmania | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

Dancing in the streets at the Tauranga Jazz Festival

jazz tauranga jc 134, originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.

I just gotta dance..

This post is inspired by Sue at “a word in your ear” and her challenge of the word “dance”

For more of my dance photos go to my “memories are made of this” blog

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, dance, travel | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

A Word A Week Challenge : Zoom

Skinnywench from “A word in your ear” opens her dictionary at random and out pops a word. The challenge is to interpret it in either words or photos. This week the word is zoom.

The zoom lens creates so many photo opportunities and creative possibilities I would be in a photographic wilderness with out it. Capturing wild life would only be a blob on the horizon as it is so hard to sneak up close to them. As for birds they are up and away as soon as they see you. So for this challenge I am going to show case a gallery of bird photos I have zoomed in on over the years.

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, birds, photos, zoom | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

A Word a Week : Garden (take 2)

Gardening is one of my passions. It gives me joy and peace at the same time to watch the evolving seasons and the different flowers come and go. The garden has changed over 15 years. We started with an almost blank canvas. This place had been a rental property for years. So it was easy maintenance, surrounded by lawn with a couple of struggling cane palms and one glorious Bauhinia tree in the centre of the lawn. Sadly it died during the drought of 1999 to 2009.

In New Zealand we had a cottage style garden, but many of the plants grown in New Zealand could not tolerate the hot, humid conditions of the Queensland summer. So when we moved to Queensland we enjoyed the years of planting and developing a lush tropical garden to suit the climate.

Here is a gallery of some of the flowers and plants and a couple of birds that regularly visit…

Thank you Sue for picking this word from your dictionary this week. Visit “A word a week” to wander round many more gardens.

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, garden, photos, Queensland, tropical garden | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

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