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Posts Tagged ‘gardens’

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

 

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picnic-point-1

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.

laurel-park-2

   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.

laurel-park-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.

ikebana

   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.

cherry-blossom-walk

   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.

queens-park-2

   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.

  queens-park-tulip-time

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Dear friends, writers and fellow bloggers,

Regretfully this will be my final blog post to Nature as Art and Inspiration. I began writing this blog in 2012 and to date I have published weekly. As my 81st birthday has recently come and gone and the constraints of time are upon me, I have decided that  the day has arrived to hang up my blogger’s hat. Nature as Art and Inspiration will remain online but no new material will be added. While its creation has been a labour of love and brought me great joy, the time has come to pursue other activities.

I have enjoyed meeting so many of you through your inspiring blog posts. May your endeavours continue to attract new followers. I’d like to express my thanks to WordPress for providing an internet platform for us to meet and share our creative work. It has all been great fun!

Thank you for supporting this blog.
My best wishes to each and all for your continued success.

Mary Mageau
Writer

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Carnival of Flowers

   “A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in—what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him, the stars.”

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

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Bloomomg bed

   “The beauty of that day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing.”

Dan Simmonds, Drood

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The gardner's rest, 1

 

” … a Tennyson garden,
heavy with scent, languid.
The return of the word, swoon … “

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

 

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Image
Midnight Blossoms, William Kilburn (1745 – 1818)

… Phlox, lilac misted
under a quarter moon,
with sweet smells
of night-scented stock.
The garden is very still
.
It is dazed with moonlight,
contented with perfume …

Amy Lowell

 

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