Saturday, July 1, 2017

Oh what a lovely little holiday

Well, this has been a very quiet little gardening blog of late. Nothing since May 6, nothing at all in June, and here we are in July already. Pammy and I are now back from our little holiday up north and we have some photos to show you of the lovely day we spent with our friend Judi at the Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens in Brisbane. 

If you're a garden lover and find yourself in Brisbane for a few days, set aside at least half a day to take in this really fascinating subtropical garden. It's quite close to the city itself, lots of buses go there if you are relying on public transport, and of course it's free to visit.

This posting is mostly going to be photos and captions, and so I thought I'd start off with a "pretty" one of Aloes in bloom. There's a very substantial section devoted to cacti and succulents here, but as I know lots of readers aren't big fans of them, I will leave the spiky ones till last. 

One thing I wasn't expecting at Mount Coot-tha was superb bonsais, but they have a whole open-air "house" devoted to them, and they are stunning.

This one is a cluster of Port Jackson figs (Ficus rubiginosa). It's given me the idea to turn my curry tree bonsai (it's still alive!) into a little stand of trees, rather than just a single one.

And this shapely one is a black pine (Pinus thunbergii).

But my favourite was this gnarled ancient forest giant, a Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum). So much skill over so many years to create something like this.

Wandering around the gardens, one of the highlights was not just the look of the many stands of golden bamboo, but also their sound. There was a slight breeze that day, and as the bamboo stands waved slowly the hollow stems clunked together in a strangely musical song, a bit like 50-foot-high wind chimes.

This Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris) is a baby, but already it's taking on that bulbous shape in its trunk. Seeing how these develop over the years is reason enough to bring me back for more visits in coming years.

This screw pine (Pandanus) will just keep on growing and developing its astonishing multiple lower trunks as well.

And now folks, we come to the spiky guys ...

This Euphorbia ingens stands several metres tall and dominated the succulent and cacti garden.

A large grey-leaved Agave americana rules its patch.

I think I have a small potted version of this outrageously painful Agave parrasana in my garden, and no matter how careful I am when I am working near it in the succulent patch, it usually manages to get me.

Last of the painful spikies for this posting is this forbidding sight, Euphorbia lactea 'Cristata'. Apparently hedges of spiky euphorbias are quite effective at keeping lions and leopards away from your house/hut/campsite in Africa, so they have their uses after all.

Rather than finishing off on a note filled with lions, leopards and screams of agony as you tumble into the euphorbia patch, this pond represents a much fairer picture of our lovely little holiday. Though you can barely see her, at the other side of the pond there sits a tiny little figure on a park bench, and that's Pammy all set up with her watercolour painting kit, doing some travel sketching with her friend Judi.

And across the other side of the lake was me, happy as a garden lover at a beautiful botanic garden, photographing some ducks' bums.

Now we're back home there's a bit of gardening catch-up to be done. Lots of little midwinter jobs, plus some babies I've been raising have finally grown up enough and are ready to be transplanted to their new home ...

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