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.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

A Splash of Spring Colour


Thankfully, spring's arrival this year has been uneventful. Whilst one week had us reaching for our coats and the next, summer wear, we haven't had the soaring temperatures and winds that brought horrific bushfire conditions last year.

Here in sub tropical, SE Queensland, very few gardens have spectacular floral displays, unlike those where many of my blogger readers are from. The drought conditions of 2005 and 2006 resulted in garden lovers choosing to plant  hardy, native shrubs and plants. At present our bottle brushes are quite spectacular, but they don't give that dense colour palette, of a temperate garden. 

During the past few weeks I've spotted glimpses of colour here and there.  

Natives on our Somerset Trail hike, Mt Mee.

Lone trees on a suburban walk.

Golden glow in an acreage garden.

This lovely potted colour was discovered when I changed the usual route for my morning walk.

A couple of years ago the groundsmen of the golf club planted bottlebrushes [calistemons] around the 6th green which we overlook. They aren't well looked after, but this spring they have burst into colour. Here they are in the early morning light.

The wind has played havoc with my orchids, when they have just finally bloomed.

One of the upsides of not being able to travel this year, is that I have spent more time in my garden, and am actually here as spring arrives. 

Little pockets of colour here and there, are enjoyed as I move around the house.

These are the traditional freesia, and their strong perfume wafts through the garden.

The potted colour seen here, was created for a friend for her return from staying with her daughter during Covid. I'm loving them, but missing her.

Note the orchids in the background. 8 purple! I've only ever had one flower before. 

Native, King Orchid

Our Grevillea, Misty Pink, reaching for the sunlight.

We get to enjoy our neighbour's Grevillea, Ivory Whip.

Last week I joined three friends for  an early visit to Toowoomba. Its annual, spring 'Carnival of Flowers 'is the longest running floral event in Australia.  Only 1 1/2 hours drive from Brisbane, its elevation of 691m, makes a big difference temperature wise, with the gardens a riot of colour. This colour will be shared in my next post.

I would love to read your comment.