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Posts Tagged ‘nature photography’

A small rural village in Queensland’s Samford Valley marks the site of our home. Here on Australia’s east coast, surrounded by two state forests and four rugged mountains, we enjoy exploring ways to engage with the beauty of our natural surroundings.

One favourite destination is a large mountain, Mount Glorious.  It rises to a height of 600 metres above sea level. In the oppressive heat of our high summer we often head to its crest and cooler temperature, where we spend a comfortable day.  Driving through the mountain’s splendid scenery we are always amazed at its abundance of native rain forest cover—mighty trees, tall palms, and numerous ferns. Flocks of tropical birds, white cockatoos, and brilliant parrots often fill the skies.

On a recent visit, a sign post entitled, The Westridge Outlook, caught our eye. Exiting onto a dirt road we followed this to a car park. Here a wide board walk, enclosed by a fence of metal railings stretched ahead. This walkway was built to encircle an immense rocky outcrop.

Strolling along we admired a mixed forest of grey gums, spotted gums and tall tallowwoods.  Long ago these original timber forests were harvested by timber cutters using only axes and cross-cut saws. The fallen trees were loaded onto wooden carts and pulled by a team of oxen to the nearest sawmill. Thankfully this deforestation was discontinued, and today its remains are protected as a reserve for public enjoyment.

Reaching the half-way mark, the boardwalk expanded into a large viewing area, to expose an open outlook. The rims of distant mountain ranges, shrouded in a blue haze, framed the horizon. We stood in awe at the view of Lake Wivenhoe, our main dam and water catchment area. The upper reaches of the Brisbane River snaked through the landscape, as the D’Aguilar State Forest spread its abundant natural beauty beneath us. It was a breathtaking sight.

   We finished our walk around the ancient rocky escarpment, to end at the point of our beginning. Hopefully other visitors will also discover this hidden treasure, and the magnificent views on offer at the Westridge Outlook.

 

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Native floral image 1

Although our late winter landscape may appear barren, the first new buds are beginning to appear. Trees, shrubs and flower stems are slowly shrugging off their winter blues, just waiting for the life-giving spring rain and warmer days to carry us all into a new season. But what can we do when neither a flower nor a bloom has awakened to spread its scent and colour throughout our homes?

Search no further than the magnificent spread of foliage that is always available and can look stunning when arranged artistically in a container. The early new leaf colour of the eucalypt, arrayed in bright red will eventually darken to become its olive green leaf , yet a single branch, displaying all its colours, creates a beautiful table decoration.

Native floral image 4

Stones, timber pieces, gum nuts and pine cones combine well with native plants to create a pot-pourri of textures and colours. Even something as simple as a collection of leaves and branches from the same tree, arranged in a striking vase, can lift the decor of a room. Many of my nature-loving friends carry garden secatures in their cars, to harvest the interesting greenery growing near the roadside. There is often great beauty in these plants that generally remain unnoticed, bypassed or unloved.

While we wait patiently for spring flowers to appear, nature still provides the materials with which to create an attractively decorated home. Branches and leaves displayed together in unusual containers also ‘do the trick,’ so head outside and become a creative foliage collector.

Natural foliage cropped

Next blog post entered on 2nd September.

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Bark and leaves

This tree may have been planted as early as 1917 when the first settlers arrived in Samford Village. A beautiful, very old eucalyptus tree, Eucalyptus mellidora, stood in the bottom corner of our land, bordering the street near our mailbox. It had a large trunk and many branches, always covered with shards of hanging, paper-like bark. Its dark green leaves were long and slender—typical of all eucalyptus foliage.

Eucalyptus mellidora

When our tree blossomed, short bristles of white stamens erupted from its green seed bulbs. It was an amazing sight when white garlands festooned the entire tree. In its prime the magnificent canopy must have been very large,  but when the overhead power lines were installed along the street its crown was deemed to be, ‘too high.’ Off went its entire canopy, leaving this mighty tree wearing what appeared to be a crew cut. With the passing of time more and more branches were trimmed away until the original form of the tree had been completely altered. By the time we purchased the property, our tree resembled a  wounded and shapeless warrior – one still clinging tenaciously to life.

Marked for death

During this past year a neighbour informed us that he had reported our tree to the local council. “Could be dangerous, as when I back my car out onto the street someone might hit me because they couldn’t see me. It won’t be long now until the thing is gone.” Several days later my heart sank at the discovery of a large, blood red circle painted on its trunk. Our proud, wounded warrior had been officially marked for execution.

It didn’t take long for the council trucks to arrive, to hear the the chain saws gnaw into its main trunk, and to watch the branches being sheared away as all was fed into the hungry maw of a wood-chipping machine. Whenever we collect the mail or leave home, passing the space where a once-proud eucalyptus tree had grown, all that remains is its stump. It still leaves a pang of loneliness.

Tree stump for the blog

I miss my tree.

From now on I will be publishing one blog post every two weeks. The next post will appear on August 19th.

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Down the Stream for Blog

Love beauty – it is the shadow of God
over the universe.

Gabriela Mistral

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Billabong, 3

Beauty is the promise of happiness

Stendhal

Winter’s biting cold and bitter westerly winds have created a bleak landscape. Nature is shrinking in upon itself as it rests before the arrival of spring. Instead of complaining about the weather, I’ll focus this month on the theme of ‘beauty.’ Enjoy these five installments.

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Snow bush

As our cold and windy winter settles in again, right on cue the Hawaiian Snow Bush bursts into its garment of white. In gardens everywhere this delicate shrub or small tree, the Brenia nivosa, provides us with the closest visual suggestion of snow that we could experience. Native to the Pacific Ocean Islands, its papery-thin leaves produce leaf tips of the purest white, giving the impression that the bush has been dusted with drifts of soft snow. As we follow the leaf tips down toward the trunk, its leaves beneath are a rich, dark green.

Snow bush detail 1

One may be tempted to think that the Snow Bush is covered with white blossoms, but hiding under the lower foliage nestle its tiny green flowers. Another variety of snow bush, the Rosea Picta, adds pink to the white and green foliage, leading one to a false impression of a flowering shrub. As winter progresses, the white or pinkish-white leaf tips slowly turn green. And as the Hawaiian Snow Bush loves water, if kept moist it rewards us with its beautiful disguise of winter’s snow.

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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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