Saturday, 26 September 2020

This is Spring!

Tuesday 8 September

I was delighted to accept an invitation to join friends on an early visit to Toowoomba, to view the spring gardens. Toowoomba's annual Carnival of Flowers were still a fortnight away, but this early colour without the crowds, was still a joy to see.

An hour and a half's drive from Brisbane and an elevation of 691m, makes a big difference when creating cottage garden colour. This year, because of Covid restrictions, individual gardens could not be visited, this allowed us more time to relax and enjoy the 3 port of calls on our list.

Spring Bluff Railway Station

In 1914, Queensland Railways launched a garden competition to encourage railway staff to beautify their stations. In the 30's and 40's Station Master Ralph Kirsop and his wife Lillian, took up the challenge. This started a tradition for the station, although over the years, it wasn't always in perfect condition. What a joy to visit now.

"Ralph, Lillian and their Night Officers removed 50 tons of stone and gravel in a wheel barrow to level the foundations, removed a bank 300 feet long and 20 feet high for better perspective, terraced the whole garden with 120 tons of blue metal supplied by the Department and planted thousands of Iceland poppies, roses, bulbs, azaleas, sweet peas and tulips."

Decommissioned in 1992, the Spring Bluff Station Trust was formed to preserve and maintain the grounds and station. A caretaker was employed to continue the stations gardening excellence.

It had been a chilly, windy morning, so on our arrival, we were delighted to relax in warm, windfree sunshine with our morning tea, enjoying the gardens colour .

A collage by Jocelyn.

The garden bed immediately in front of our 'picnic' was filled with livingstone daisies. They were a draw card for a swarm of bees. Their happy hum can be heard on the video below. Be sure to turn up your volume as you watch them on their mission.

Botanical Gardens

Difficult to spot, but sitting beside the far garden bed, are 5 or 6 gardeners deheading the pansy bed. It will take them all day, but must be done so that the bed will be in full colour, in time for the festival.

Laurel Bank Gardens

A highlight of these gardens is the creation of themed beds, in quite a vast space. A viewing platform allows one to enjoy the theme, but is impossible to capture the full story. This year's theme was 'Family Time' - Can you see the piano being played and cricket wickets? 

The tulips here, were yet to bloom.

Finally, a rose bower and a photo to send to Ben - Granny with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. Ahhh...glorious blooms, so many colours and varieties. Full bloom for most. There’s lots of work required there! Just beautiful.

  2. I so enjoyed all your photos of the beautiful spring flowers!

  3. Ooh! Ahh! Wow, Helen, what splendid gardens!
    I am biased of course, I love these views because they could be from Europe, from some wonderfully designed and cared gardens. :)
    I'm scrolling up and down but can't choose the most beautiful view, the photos are all lovely.
    The first photos made me think of the fact that in those times (about 100 years ago) our State Railways were an important promoter of gardening in Finland and they were also growing plants. Now everything is outsourced, of course...
    Thank you for the lovely post. Stay well!

  4. I've seen pictures of the station before-- yours? Doesn't matter. I love the station and the gardens. I can't help wonder if the trains still run through there even though the station is de-commissioned. The tracks look very well maintained. As always thanks for your post.

  5. Beautiful splash of colour to brighten up my day

  6. These gardens are absolutely amazing! The colors are so vibrant. The colors of spring are such a contrast to our landscape, which is beginning to feature the muted colors of fall. Beautiful!

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  8. Oh my goodness! What can I say? YOur spring has sprung!