Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Chill Out in Style

Japanese Lake

Whew—it has been so hot for so long now. Some time ago we promised ourselves a visit to Toowoomba, our garden city, where we could cool down in its high altitude setting. Here we discovered a gorgeous Japanese themed garden, a treasure that became the perfect place in which to relax in comfort.

A formal ‘sister city’ agreement between Toowoomba and the Japanese city of Tokatsuki was officially established on the 13th November, 1991. A signed Declaration of Friendship agreed to deepen this relationship through mutually beneficial exchanges in educational, sporting, cultural, and commercial areas.

Japanese Pagoda

As Toowoomba is also the central campus for the University of Southern Queensland, its Japanese walled garden has paid a magnificent tribute to its sister city. The garden’s 3 hectare site includes elements of a mountain stream and waterfall, a dry stone garden, a central lake, azalea covered hills, and 3 kilometres of paved pathways. Many species of Japanese and Australian native trees and plants combine in seamless and restful harmony. Its name, Ju Raku En, means, ‘to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place.’

Japanese Bridge 1

Several small pagodas and wooden bench seating add spaces for rest and contemplation. Splashes of colour will also greet you in this stunning haven. While other Japanese gardens have appeared Australia wide, Ju Raku En is the largest and most developed.

In closing, I was attracted to a red Japanese gate I couldn’t resist photographing. I discovered it some time ago in the Cable Beach Resort Garden at Broome, in the Australian Kimberly Region. Its distinctive architectural form and blaze of colour cried out to me, ‘I am proudly Japanese.’ As it seemed to belong here I have included it.

Red Gate

 

Advertisements

Summertime

Misty sunrise 1

a rising sun
bathes the summer landscape
in soft mist

the community barbeque
a mass gathering
of mosquitoes

one whining mosquito
patrols our quiet bedroom –
no sleep tonight

Bush Fire, 1

sudden lightning strike
tinder dry bushland
explodes

summer solstice
a new tube of sun screen
and wide brimmed hat

in burning sun
mid day becomes
unendurable

summer moon
captive in a cage
of branches

 

 

When I introduced my blog in 2011, I hoped to publish 50 posts before I ran out of ideas. What has carried me far past that goal is the development of a sketch book: crammed today with new ideas, topics, websites, scraps of poetry, and nature photos galore. It has helped me reach post 200 which features the art of photo/poetry.

The Japanese art form of Haiga, is one in which a short poem is accompanied by an image. The art lies in the relationship between the two. The image is not an illustration of the poem, nor is the poem a caption for the image. Each should stand alone, yet in juxtaposition the two must resonate to create a deeper and more complex meaning.

Traditionally haiga included two parts: an ink brush image (sumi-e), and a haiku, hand-lettered on the same paper. Today the development of digital imagery and the internet have allowed haiga to expand into new realms. Drawings or paintings are now scanned and presented with little or no adjustment, or they are manipulated in Photoshop and other software until the original is nearly unrecognizable. Photographs are often used as a starting point, or a purely digital image is created from scratch. The poem can be hand-lettered, scanned and pasted on the image, or applied directly over the image using the software’s font capability.

Below is a gallery of  my new and old selected haiga images. You may even decide to play with photo/poetry yourself, and I’d enjoy receiving samples of your work. Send your images to:  km3highnote@bigpond.com 

these leaves
once breathed sunlight and rain
into life-giving oxygen

here they rest
fallen, scattered, and torn
these leaves

So Bloomingly Beautiful

The hills are alive with the sight of blossoms. Our early summer presented us with an abundance of flowering trees, dressed in clusters of gorgeous colour. Is this the result of all those recent summer storms that gave everything a good drenching? I suspect it is.

First to blossom are the Jacarandas, Jacaranda mimosifolia. These stately trees produce exquisite clusters of lavender blooms. Each individual bell shaped floret combines into groups of similar flowers that smother the branches. Delicate fern-like green leaves surround the blossoms. Not only do these stately trees create a superb display when they are mass planted, but Jacarandas also look stunning on their own.

We mistakenly think that Jacarandas are natives, as they adapt and grow profusely in all tropical and warm temperate zones. Originally found only in Brazil, these trees are deciduous. They briefly drop their leaves at the end of the dry winter season, then bloom and leaf up again when the warm spring rains return.

As the Jacaranda flowers fade and fall the Tabebuia trees burst into bloom. They decorate themselves in clusters of frilly, bell shaped flowerets—similar to the Jacaranda blossoms. Their colour and profusion creates a jaw-dropping spectacle, through the rich pink of the Tabebuia rosea, to the vibrant yellow gold of the Tabebuia aurea. These beauties are a genus of flowering plants in the family, Bignoniacae.

Tabebuia trees are native to tropical Central and South America and they flourish from Mexico and Cuba to Argentina. In summer their flowers burst into dazzing pink or yellow, with small green leaves following the blooms later. Everyone loves them.

Now that a new year is upon us, all these trees have left their glorious colour behind. When they do bloom again we must savour their beauty, as each flowering season is so brief. Jacarandas and Tabebuias are marvellously photogenic, and once their blossom time is over, it is a long wait for the next breathtaking display.

 

Back to 1770

After our first visit to 1770, nearly 40 years ago, we recently enjoyed a return trip. No, we are not time travellers, able to move freely into our future or past. 1770 is a hinterland town located on Queensland’s northern coast. It is the only town in Australia whose name is written as a date, in a sequence of four numbers. Thankfully 1770 has remained untouched by developers, and can rightly boast of its pristine beaches, several unspoiled national parks, a spread of wonderful scenery, and an amazing look-out, constructed atop Round Hill. It is a perfect beach holiday spot for those who enjoy roughing it.

Why has this settlement been named 1770? On Wednesday the 23rd of May 1770, an auspicious traveller, Captain James Cook arrived. Happily for us he decided to pay a visit. It was his second and final landing on our Australian shores. The following extracts from the log of Cook’s vessel, the HMS Endeavour, give us a lively account of this stopover.

Wednesday 23 May
“Early next morning I went ashore with a party of men to explore the country. The country here is manifestly worse than Botany Bay: the soil is dry and sandy, but the hills are covered with palm-nut trees. Upon the shore we saw a species of the bustard, one of which we shot. It was as large as a turkey and weighed seventeen pounds and a half. After roasting it we all agreed this was the best bird we had eaten, and in honour of it we named this inlet, Bustard Bay.”

Accompanying Captain Cook were several soldiers and the botanist, Joseph Banks, who spent his brief time ashore collecting 33 new plant species. Captain Cook was always on the move so on the following day, Thursday the 24th May he noted –

“At four o’clock in the morning, and with a gentle breeze south, made sail out of the bay.”

At the top of a hill directly above the actual beach where Captain Cook landed, a large stone cairn has been erected. Many travellers enjoy not only this pristine natural environment, but come to experience a place of significance to our early colonial history. The monument is a fitting way to mark the achievements of the 18th century’s finest navigator, Captain James Cook, the Father of Australia.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season.
My next blog post will appear in mid-January, 2018.

 

Into the Hills

The hinterland town of Tamborine Village, perched high above the rolling hills of Mount Tamborine, plays host to 5,000 permanent residents and an endless flow of tourists. Settlement is centred here in three village communities: North Tamborine, Eagle Heights and Mount Tamborine. Crisp mountain air mingles with the aromas of coffee, local wine and beer, while friendly chatter is exchanged alongside fresh produce sourced directly from the farm gate.

With its breathtaking scenery and mountain views, Tamborine has become a haven for creatives: painters, crafts people, writers, and photographers. Fine chefs also ensure the cooking and eating opportunities are second to none. This entire vibrant community thrives on its creativity and inclusiveness.

Located on South East Queensland’s Scenic Rim, the name, Tamborine, has nothing to do with the musical instrument. Its origins were derived from a local Aboriginal word, Goombirren which means ‘wild lime.’ No doubt this refers to the finger lime trees that grow abundantly on the mountain and form a staple food in the Aboriginal diet. 

Gardening is a much loved pastime and magnificent spreads of flowers, fruit trees and vegetable patches abound. A beautiful collection of dahlias grows in the back garden of St Bernards Hotel and is always a special delight to visit. In addition to several hectares of manicured lawns and colourful garden beds, St Bernards is a genuine historic hotel, established in the 1880s. Its mountain top site offers magnificent views of Guanaba Gorge and the Gold Coast. The dining rooms also serve fabulous food, seven days a week.

It may be only an hour’s drive from Brisbane, but Tamborine Mountain makes you feel as though you have entered a magical world far away. With its stunningly beautiful national parks and rain forests, this picturesque area in the Scenic Rim is home to some of the most fertile land in Queensland. A host of accommodation offers misty mountain views, where we enjoyed our morning coffee from the veranda of our cottage. Watching the sunshine slowly burn off a cloud of morning mist has remained a cherished memory.

If you ever visit, pack a camera. You’ll be needing it!