botanic gardens

An incredible Japanese Garden…

 

On our recent road trip to the farm we are presently looking after, we stayed 2 days in Dubbo. A township in the western outback of New South Wales. Miles from anywhere but a bustling and busy centre where 5 main road systems bisect.  It is linked by national highways north to Brisbane, south to Melbourne, east to Sydney and Newcastle, and west to Broken Hill and Adelaide. Trucks far outnumbered cars on the road.

It also had a Botanic Gardens, always a magnet for me.

Within the gardens was a Japanese Garden.

“Shoyoen” is the name of the Garden. ‘Shoyoen’ means ‘strolling and refreshing garden’. Shoyoen is recognised as being one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens in Australia. It was gifted to Dubbo by our Sister City Minokamo, Japan.

I was entranced by the beauty of this garden and spent hours wandering around absorbing the perfection and tranquillity.

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 Every where the attention to detail and the love of gardening was evident and I stopped to talk to this gardener.

He told me that a team of gardeners came from The Japanese sister city, Minokamo, each year to prune and train the Japanese Black Pine into large forms of Bonsai and supervise the training of the local gardeners in Japanese methods.

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As I strolled around I thought of Jude and her love of gardens and passion for benches. Look how many I found here.

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It was a morning filled with pure sensory delight. The shapes, the textures, the gentle perfume from the many

gardenia, the play of shadows across rock, the ripples across the pond, the sound of the waterfall as it cascaded over the rocks.

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This is the best Japanese Garden I have seen in Australia…

On the way out past the sensory garden look what “EYE” saw…

 

Categories: Australia, bench series, botanic gardens, Dubbo Japanese Garden, eye, outback, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

Bench Series : January Garden Benches #2

Jude’s new bench series is very popular and has benches to sit on all around the world. Go to Jude’s post to see them.

Here is my number 2 entry, a peaceful, serene seat among the peace lilies in the Townsville Palmetum Gardens. To revisit those gardens click here

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Peace lilies glowing white in the under growth

Peace lilies glowing white in the under growth

 

Categories: Australia, bench series, garden benches, Palmetum, Townsville | Tags: , , , , | 38 Comments

I’m totally immersed in the splendour of Spring.

I LOVE to visit Botanic Gardens and I have been holding back a visit to the Canberra Botanic Gardens waiting for Spring to warm the air and coax the trees and blossoms from their winter slumber.

It was worth the wait.

Come with me for a walk around. These Botanic Gardens are special as they capture the diversity of all areas of Australia. Only native Australian plants are showcased. It has the world’s most comprehensive display of living Australian native plants. A place for recreation, inspiration, science and learning. 

Welcome! To the world of Australian plants, botany and horticulture!

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The light is magic, perfect conditions to take in the glory of nature.  This is going to be a day to savour, so first we fortify with a shot of caffeine.

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A snack on the deck

A seat near the frog pond

A seat near the frog pond

The motorbike frogs are in full voice as we pass by.

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Botanic gardens 2 PC sx40 034_4000x3000

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The atmosphere of the rainforest is damp and cold, like the rainforests of Tasmania. The many broad leaf plants of the tropical rainforest are also in this area but they cannot replicate the steamy jungle feel of the tropical rainforest. Soon I will be back home in that tropical climate, I think I will miss the freshness of the Canberra climate as I sweat through the heat and humidity of summer.

Back into the sunlight and the Banksia are in flower. Beacons of light and full of nectar for the birds.

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Tracks and paths meander in all directions. Everywhere is a rhapsody of spring. I am in photography overload.

Xanthorrhoea plant

Xanthorrhoea plant

These are unique and interesting native plants, pop over to Madoqua’s blog, “Have you ever” she has actually grown some from seed, an amazing achievement, and you can read about them.

Another path and another region of Australia.

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Can you spot Jack taking photos?

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Jack feels at home in this area, born in Sydney he spent his childhood wandering through the bush with his little dog Pinto. Most of that bush is now suburbia. Botanic Gardens are needed to preserve what is rapidly being lost to urban development.

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They have even recreated the iconic red centre, not easy to achieve in this climate.

Then everywhere are the magnificent gum trees. For me the gum tree shouts Australia. So many varieties and 67 of those varieties are spread through these gardens. The soft silver trunk splashed with all the colours of the spectrum. Others with bark thick and knobbly. Pioneers were amazed to see these trees that shed their bark and not their leaves. Round every bend they towered over the surrounding bush, calling to be photographed, again and again…

 

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Beautiful trunk colours

The wattles have been flowering around Canberra for weeks. The happy splash of yellow brightens all the suburbs and they are also on show through these gardens.

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This has been a day to remember, walking through nature is good for the soul. The beauty of these gardens highlights how diverse the plants are in this huge land. From the rainforests to the deserts and vast grasslands they are all represented in this Botanic Garden. A definite must see if you are in Canberra.

Could not resist adding one more photo...

Could not resist adding one more photo…

 

Now for another coffee stop before we head home.

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I am joining Jo’s cyber walking group this week. Jo leads people from all over the world as they walk us around their home towns and other places of interest.

walking logo

Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, Canberra, Canberra Botanic Gardens, gum trees, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

A Word a Week Challenge : Garden, Townsville Botanic Garden

The theme that Sue has chosen from her dictionary this week is GARDEN. I know there will be lots of post’s submitted on this theme. Go to Sue’s blog “A word a week” to see all the different gardens from around the world.

It  would be my all time favourite subject. When we travel I always search out the Botanical Gardens in each area. Today I am going to take you for a stroll around the beautiful, small but exquisite Queens Gardens in Townsville, Australia.

 

Initiated in 1870, Queens Gardens is the oldest Botanic Garden in Townsville and is heritage listed. Now covering 4 hectares, reduced from an original 40Ha, it is considered a fine example of a tropical colonial garden of that era. Originally established as a trial acclimatisation garden for European settlement, in which potential food and economic plants were trialled during the era of colonisation.

 

Today the gardens are a lush green oasis set against the dramatic pink granite cliffs of Castle Hill, and offer a quiet cool retreat from the nearby city centre. The emphasis of the current plant collection is on colonial ornamental plants with colourful, attractive flowers, foliage or fruit.

 

Townsville residents use its luxuriant gardens for leisure and recreation, while the City Council and community groups use its green splendour to stage a variety of special events.

 

 

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, botanic gardens, garden, Townsville | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

A native and dry tropics experience…

This is the third Botanic Garden in Townsville and the largest. Anderson Botanic Garden is 25 hectares and was originally an arboretum so it is home to a magnificent and outstanding collection of tropical trees. Set in sweeping lawn areas these stately rainforest trees have room to grow to their full impressive height and width.

It is now more than an arboretum, it has been extended to a true botanical garden with interesting collections of plants. As we entered we first wandered through a collection of tropical lushness. This was the Cape York Peninsula Collection. Palms, creepers and vines competing with the rainforest trees. butterfly’s were a feature in this area. Fluttering around and teasing us as we tried, unsuccessfully, to photograph them.

A school was on the boundary of the gardens and we ate our lunch (a tuna, salad roll we bought at “Subway”), sitting on a bench under the shade of a huge rain tree listening to the happy sounds of children at play. A blue winged kookaburra perched in the branches above waited patiently for any crumbs. We could only see one other couple and the gardeners as we looked across the expansive lawns. The gardeners told us the park was well used in the early morning and evening by excercisers and dog walkers, but now we had the 25 hectares almost to our selves.

We walked on. The lotus pond offered a photo opportunity. With ducks, water lilies, reflections and of course the lotus flowers and their enormous, plate-like leaves. It was almost the end of the lotus flowering season but a few lingered on in their fading glory.

We walked along grand avenues of trees and then found a corner of the park devoted to a world collection of cycads. There were 300 plants.(I didn’t count them it told us the details in a pamphlet), from 4 distinct zones, Africa, Asia, Americas and of course Australia. These are amazing plants and some of the oldest known species going back to the time of the dinosaurs.

A tropical orchard had many fruit trees I had never heard of before. Elephants nuts anyone?

It was a very interesting and well designed gardens. The helpful, friendly bus driver put us out at one end then told us how we could walk right through to the other end, then where to catch the bus from that end, to save us walking back to where we started. We really appreciated that because after almost 4 hours every short cut was welcomed.

I recommend a visit to all  the Botanic Gardens in Townsville, they are so different to each other…

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Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, photos, slide show, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

A Tropical Experience

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It is very difficult to capture the atmosphere of a place with photos. The photos show the beauty of it, but it is the smells and sounds, the feel of the soft, warm tropical breeze brushing over your skin, the foliage rustling, the constant squeaking of the bats and their offensive, putrid smell, the flash of a bird and butterfly as they float by that add so much more to an experience.

I look at these photos and I am transported back to this unique place.

Tumbetin Lodge was built in 1934 and is predominately constructed with silky oak it was originally a school room for the Roman Catholic Church. Now it is a delightful café, information centre and art gallery. It was our first stop for a reviving cuppa and delicious savoury muffin. What a great way to start our exploration of the gardens…

Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, Palmetum, photos, slide show, Townsville, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

The bus drivers that went above and beyond the call of duty

Palmetum carpark

Today we decided we would visit the second Botanic Garden in Townsville. Checked the bus timetable then walked down town to catch the 11-15am bus. Just as we turned the corner we saw it pull out. We waved to attract his attention, but I don’t think he saw us. Oh dear, it was an hour before the next bus left.

Then one of those things happened that really restores your faith in human nature. Another bus driver saw us and asked where did we want to go.

“Hop aboard” he said, “I can radio ahead and get him to wait for you. I’ll be able to catch him up.”

So as he drove along, still having to stop and pick up and put down passengers, he rang the depot and passed on the message, which was then relayed from the depot to the driver of bus 209, the one that we had just missed.

Sure enough 10 minutes later we caught up with 209 where he was waiting for us. But that is not the end of the story. When we told the driver of 209 where we wanted to get off, he said, “There isn’t a bus stop there, but I will drop you as close as I can.”

Well 20 minutes later I saw the sign for the Palmetum and wondered how far from the entrance there would be a bus stop. Well to my amazement and absolute delight the bus driver turned into the car park of the Palmetum and dropped us right at the front gates.

These two men really made our day.

Tomorrow I will send a card and letter to the council in appreciation of the employees that went out of their way to help us.

The gates into a Botanic wonderland

This Botanic Gardens was totally different to the Queens Gardens, we were immersed into a tropical wonderland and, of course, we took more and more photos, trying to capture that magic. Now I have to sort them out and tomorrow I will take you into this special Botanic Garden.

When our tired legs finally carried us back to the hostel we decided to have a roast pork pub meal at the heritage Shamrock Hotel, it is just a 5 minute walk from the hostel. With a glass of wine and a beer for Jack it was the perfect end to the day.

Shamrock Hotel

Categories: Australia, australian travel, botanic gardens, photos, Pubs, Townsville, travel, tropical garden | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Queens Gardens Townsville Botanical Garden

I have shown you a video of the rainforest part of Queens Gardens but there is so much more, ( and I took 100’s of photos ).

In Botanic Garden terms it is small and compact, but there is so much to see and it is beautifully maintained. A team of gardeners were working and we took a few moments to chat with them. Not many people around but the few that were here were making the most of the perfect weather and peaceful garden.

So come stroll with me, here is a slide show of more views of this garden.

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The photos of the family and the gardeners were taken by Jack. He is very good at capturing people. You can see more of his photos on jacksjottings

He has just posted a poem on aging, it is very good, worth having a look at…

Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, Castle Hill, photos, slide show, Townsville | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Travel Theme : Foliage

Ailsa’s of “Where’s my backpack” theme this week was perfect timing for me as on Friday I had spent 4 hours strolling around Queens Gardens in Townsville. This delightful 4 hectare Botanic Garden is a haven of beauty, foliage over-load. Enormous trees, flowering shrubs, cactus and succulents in a hot dry corner, herb garden a sensory mingling of perfumes, a large collection of frangipani trees sending out their unique sweet scent that sings of the tropics, and all along one side a path leading you through a tropical rainforest.

So much foliage. What to choose? I took 100’s of photos…

So this week something different I have put in a short video of part of the rainforest walk. I hope you enjoy the stroll with me.

Categories: Australia, botanic gardens, foliage, Townsville, travel, travel theme, video | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Couch surfing hosts are very special people

Stephanie in her community garden plot

We love couch surfing. It is a great way to meet local people and really get to know an area. Cities always have quite a large number of hosts to contact. Darwin is different to other cities as it is the end of the line for back packers, or in some cases the start. They have bought an old van and travelled around Australia or just along the popular east coast and now it is time to sell the van and fly out to the next destination. What better way to end the Australian adventure than staying with a CS host. Also most of them are very “cash strapped”.

Most hosts get upward of 50 requests a week, so we considered our selves lucky to be accepted by Stephanie, her husband Regis and their adorable young daughter.

The very nature of couch surfing means a host must be a very trusting and accommodating type of person. They are opening their home and heart to complete strangers. The CS hosts we have stayed with around Australia have all been very interesting people. Most have travelled widely and have lots of interesting stories to swap. Generally they are interested in conservation and we have learnt a lot from them.

Stephanie believes passionately in recycling, re-using and conservation. She practices what she preaches in her blog www.frugaldownunder@blogspot  Visit her blog for lots of money-saving tips and ways of making every thing go further. We went to see the vegetable plot they have in the Darwin Botanic Garden, Snake Bean community garden. It is shared and run on permaculture principles by approx 29 people and was a riot of lush, edible goodies. I helped harvest tomatoes, a number of different varieties, eggplant, snake beans, cucumber, rocket, spinach and a number of herbs. All manner of things are collected by Stephanie to be recycled. It was a revelation of frugality.

We were also very lucky to have Regis as our own personal guide for an hours tour around the Darwin Museum. To be given the back ground history and stories behind the exhibits was a special privilege and brought the museum alive for us. Of special interest was the fishing exhibition which Regis had curated and personally put together. I never knew that there were so many different lures that could be used in fishing. Fishing is a passion for Regis and he has a blog on that subject  <theramblingexpat@blogspot>

We spent a week parked in the car port outside the apartment. It had a shade cloth roof that was high enough to push the roof of the van up so we could sleep in Matilda and it was cool in the evening.

Snake bean community garden

Categories: accomadation, australian travel, botanic gardens, comunity garden, couch surfing, Northern Territory | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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