Posts Tagged ‘floral photography’


This is my final blog post for 2016.
Have a fantastic Christmas and
here’s to a big and beautiful new year ahead.


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The sun feels warmer on our backs and the days are spreading out. Its time now to get adventurous and enjoy the delights of the early summer. Toowoomba, one of Australia’s garden cities, is located west of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane. A university and cathedral city, Toowoomba’s residents also enjoy its 150 spectacular parks and gardens. Situated high on the crest of the Great Dividing Mountain Range, with its cooler climate and rich volcanic soil, ‘Absolutely everything will grow here,’ say the locals. By way of celebrating their love of all things horticultural, a Carnival of Flowers is offered every year during September.


   To savour the delights of this festival, our first stop includes the magnificent grounds of the Laurel Bank Park. Here an incredible free-growing meadow has been planted. Visitors wander amongst a cacophony of colour as they stroll through tulips, daisies, pansies, and an arbour festooned with lavender wisteria.


   Our next stop at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, leads to a room where landscape and botanical paintings from the gallery’s collection have been hung. Scattered among the pictures are stunnng sculptural works, created by members of the Toowoomba Ikebana Group. Decorated in the Japanese style, each piece showcases fresh flowers, leaves, and branches – all appearing in their individual beauty.


   After a tasty lunch and a strong coffee, we decide to spend the rest of the day in the city’s heart. Here lies Queens Park, Toowooba’s premiere site. This key landmark is the focus for the 176th Carnival of Flowers, its Flower Market, the Food and Wine Festival and a Live Concert Series. Many activities are happening here.


   We enter  the park through a lovely cherry blossom walk into the expanse of a typical 19th century Victorian park land and botanical garden. It has been styled as a parterre garden, presenting an arrangement of ornamental flower beds in various sizes, shapes, and colours. All are contained beneath a canopy of stately trees and between areas of expansive green lawns.


   During the 2015 Carnival of Flowers, 100,000 visitors flocked to Toowoomba from far and wide. It was a delight to see so many with us again this year, absorbing the beauty and peaceful ambience of the park. Cameras and smart phones were snapping away in every pair of hands as the children roamed and played freely among the parterre beds. The weather had also been kind as the day was warm and sunny. We finally left the park on a botanical high, and next year we plan to do it all over again.


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(a corn flower, also known as the bachelor’s button)

At last, its finally arrived! Our long awaited spring has blest us with sun-drenched days, and a cacophony of bright blooms decorating gardens, shrubs and trees everywhere. While meeting with friends at a garden centre cafe, we exclaim over the palette of yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and white blossoms on display. Then one of us poses a question that makes everyone stop and think. ‘Why are there so few blue flowers here? Is it because nature doesn’t produce them?’

I venture a reply. ‘There are many blue flowers available for the garden from deep royale blue to a pale pastel blue. Do a Google search for “blue flowers” and you’ll be surprised at what’s on show.’

Below I have listed several blue flowers I really love. They include the blue hydrangea, the morning glory, the statice, and the iris.




Last but not least is my very favourite blue flower, the Himalayan Blue Poppy. Once you have seen it, you will never forget its heavenly shade of blue.


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Simplicity in yellow.JPG

Several  years ago I experienced the pleasure of participating in a 3 week workshop. The program featured Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. This art form involves so much more than simply putting flowers in a vase as it is steeped in the philosophy of developing a love of nature while working in a meditative way.

Ikebana, GGC, 2

Ikebana is finally being acknowledged as a form of fine art as it qualifies in the same sense that painting and sculpture do. This practice has a long recorded history; it is supported by articulate theories and is concerned with aesthetics and creativity. In my search for the workshop, the only place it was  offered was at the Brisbane Institute of Art.

 Ikebana, GGC

Ikebana unfolds in its creative process within certain rules of construction. Its materials are living branches, leaves, grasses and blossoms. At its heart lies the beauty resulting from colour combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the meaning within the total form of the arrangement. It is disciplined, refined, uncluttered  and fulfills the dictum that ‘less is more.’ And what a joy it is to work creatively with living forms of nature.


File written by Adobe Photoshop? 4.0

Mary IkebanaWorkshop, 4

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Yellow roses, Carrington

We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.

Mary Oliver

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Cottage garden 2

Whenever you create beauty around you,
you are restoring your own soul.

Mary Oliver

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A garland splendid

Flowers . . . are a proud assertion
that a ray of beauty outvalues
all the utilities of the world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

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Stuart Pea portrait

From my first glimpse of the Sturt Desert Pea, I was nearly blown away. So dramatic and strangely beautiful is its appearance, one could believe this flower found its way here from another alien world. Its common name honours Charles Sturt, who first recorded seeing large quantities of the flowers while exploring central Australia in 1844. The Desert Pea, (Swainsona formosa, previously known as Clianthus formosis,) is also recognized as the state floral emblem of South Australia. Its iconic status and striking beauty has ensured its use as a popular subject in art work and photography. The Desert Pea has appeared in several releases of postage stamps depicting Australian floral emblems, and it features in Aboriginal legends.

Native Koori groups refer to the Desert Pea as the ‘Flower of Blood.’ This title comes from a story which tells of a young woman who escaped marriage to an old man by eloping with her young lover. The shunned man and his friends tracked, found, and killed the couple together with the relatives that sheltered them. Years later the old man returned to the killing field only to discover the ground was  covered with scarlet flowers we know as the Sturt Desert Pea.

Stuart Desert Pea

On his first sighting of the Desert Pea, the 19th century botanist and collector, William Baeuerlen wrote, “To discover the Desert Pea trailing its long roots over the red sands, with its soft ash-grey leaves and large clusters of magnificent flowers rising from the level of the sand, will behold a sight he is not likely to ever forget.” Famous for its blood-red, leaf-like flowers, each with a bulbous black centre called the ‘Boss,’ the Sturt Desert Pea remains one of Australia’s best loved wildflowers.

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Tiger lily

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand, and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread  grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake, Songs of Experience

Tiger lily 1l

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Lillium, The Trousseau

The beautiful white Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) is a true lily that grows from a bulb to produce large trumpet shaped, outward facing flowers. These long flowers appear in a range of colours to include: white, yellow, orange, pink, red and purple, and occasionally they decorate themselves with  spots and brush strokes. Many other plants have ‘lily’ in their common names, but are not related to true lilies. Though most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, they have also made their way into the southern hemisphere sub-tropics where they thrive in abundance.

Lilies, Hobart

Lilies are exquisite as a cut flower—are long-lasting, look elegant in a vase, and their perfume is divine. The Lilium longiflorum is known as the Easter lily, as in the Christian tradition it has become the chosen symbol of Christ’s resurrection. Jesus himself, referenced this flower saying, “Consider the lilies and how they grow: they toil not, they spin not: yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these.” (Luke  12:27) Whether on not Easter is part of your tradition, I  send my Best Wishes to you and yours, for a Peaceful and Happy Easter, filled with blessings.

Tasmanian while lily

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