Posts Tagged ‘Prose’


Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore.

There is always something to make you wonder

in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.

Albert Schweitzer


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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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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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The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles – oh, what a view!
From a vantage point high on the coastal cliffs, Australia’s Great Southern Ocean stretches away. As the ocean heaves, it smashes mighty white capped waves against the limestone cliffs. A fierce wind, straight from the Antarctic continent, carved these cliffs into razor sharp formations. Centuries of strong gales have sculpted weathered inlets, small islands, and archways that frame amazing views of the turbulent sea. To my left, a rolling bank of dark clouds announces the arrival of a coastal scud. This sudden, localized storm sheds grey curtains of rain that blend the sea and sky into a pewter coloured horizon. The water-washed sky above the cliffs offers no relief either, as it may be days before the warmth of the sun can lift the heart again.

Above this coastal drama, the Great Ocean Road—a two lane highway—threads its way along the Victorian cliffs. Stretching from Port Fairy in the west to Moonlight Heads in the east, a strip of beach known by all as the Shipwreck Coast, meanders below. The wreckage of some two hundred ships rest here beneath the waves. Dense fog, strong gales, high seas, human error, and even foul play, have caused the destruction of these vessels. Sadly only a few survivors lived to tell their stories.

To the east of the Loch Ard Gorge a group of famous limestone stacks appear—the Twelve Apostles. Carved into grotesque shapes, they stand offshore in the pounding waves. These magnificent structures were formed when the raging sea undermined the soft sand and wet limestone foundations. One by one they separated from the cliffs only to shrink and finally collapse. Once there were twelve of these grand vertical structures until erosion, the elements, and passing time, reduced their number to eight.

Here in the wild heart of the coast, tourists travelling down the Great Ocean Road toward Port Campbell can follow the Historic Shipwreck Trail. This has been marked by twenty-five signposts of the best known wrecks where deadly weather, strong seas and a rock-lined shore created a perilous journey. Even the early Australian explorer, Matthew Flinders, has declared, “I have seldom seen a more fearful section of coastline than this.”

If you have not visited the Shipwreck Coast yet, put it on your bucket list. Once this magnificent scene is viewed it will never be forgotten.


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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

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Stanthorpe poppies

In nature, annuals appear in open spaces as they grow, bloom and set seed within one short season. Annuals give gardeners great flexibility, particularly when gaps appear after spring flowering plants all finish their show and have been cut back. Many annuals come into season in late spring or late summer, to fill these spaces with a vibrant display of colour. As one example – Flander’s poppies provide a touch of brilliant scarlet to energize a tired garden. The poppy range also includes colours of pink, yellow, salmon and white.

For an aesthetic garden design, different shapes and styles of annuals include: fluffs, spikes, discs, and climbers. One example of a fluff is Queen Anne’s Lace, with its wde heads of delicate white flowers. These beauties can quickly fill a space and are easy to cultivate.

Queene Anne's Lace 2

Spikes include snapdragons and larkspurs that display tall spires of double flowers, together with the elegantly vertical hollyhock, so much loved by our grandmothers.

Tasmanian hollyhocksFor disks, think of sunflowers, that thrive in summer’s heat, together with multi-coloured field flowers and daisies.

Straw daisies, Hobart

Climbers like sweet peas only require a little support to help them reach for the sky, while nasturtiums gain the top then cascade down in a symphony of yellow, orange and red.

Nasturtiums jpg

Despite their many useful qualities, annuals have been overlooked by gardeners today, who often favour the formal garden bed. Yes, annuals are large and bright, but they bridge the gap into autumn beautifully. And who knows – in time annuals may even become fashionable once again.

Tasmanian snap dragons

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Rose flower,Carrington Hotel

“And the day came
when the risk it took
to remain tight inside a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took
to blossom.”

Anais Nin

(I incorrectly appropriated this quotation to Anais Nin. My thanks to Steve Schwartzman for bringing it to my attention. This Risk poem has been written by Elizabeth Appell.)

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Shipwreck Coast cover for Amazon

My latest eBook, ‘The Shipwreck Coast – A Traveller’s Tale,’ was inspired by a road trip along Australia’s Great Ocean Road. The powerful memories of many shipwrecks claimed there by the Great Southern Ocean, lingered for years to form the basis of this short novella.

The Blurb:

The Shipwreck Coast—claiming Antarctica as its nearest neighbour—borders part of Australia’s Great Southern Ocean. Turbulent seas, dense fogs, and underwater reefs make navigating this stretch of coastline one of the most dangerous on earth. During the years when clipper ships were celebrated as ‘Kings of the Seas,’ more than two hundred of these majestic vessels met their fate along this treacherous route.

One crew member, together with a female passenger travelling first class, survive the wreck of the Scottish clipper, the Loch Kyle. While each survivor has a different tale to tell, both stories share common threads of courage and endurance in the face of a total disaster.


Two Reviews:

“As usual, Mary Mageau writes in her gentle style. She is able to convey scenes and to evoke the feelings connected with places and people. This story, set in the days of the racing clippers, commences in Scotland, moves to Ireland and thence to Australia. The outcome was not as anticipated – a delightful change from many historical novels!

Another to add to your list of books to be read if you enjoy accurate historical adventures.”
Margie Riley


“The adept Mary Mageau has done it again, this time in a novella set in the time frame of the clipper ships. Mary takes this time in history and makes it come to life; a master at painting a picture for all to see, courtesy of her words. I lived this tale of a story based on the ill-fated Loch Kyle.”
Michele Doucette


This book can be purchased from Amazon’s Kindle store in the USA by clicking on

The Shipwreck Coast

In Australia, visit Amazon then click on kindle books and  type in, The Shipwreck Coast.
Happy reading!

I have some health issues to settle so my next blog post will arrive on Thursday, August 19th.

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 Red Vine 1

This exotic beauty was discovered by accident, on a ramble I was taking along the unused rail trail at the back of our home. There I found a medium-sized tree covered with sage green leaves and amazing red buds. A crimson velvety spathe, or pointed hood, enclosed each flower. Several short hairs protruded from the tip of every tube-like spadix, growing from the centre. I had seen nothing like it before. Fortunately my camera was at hand so I snapped a few photos of this glorious tree.

The Erythrina indica—often called the coral treeis not native to Australia.Most likely it was introduced from South Asia: India, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand where it flourishes everywhere.Erythrina comes from the Greek word for red, eruthros, alluding to the showy red flowers of the Erythrina specie. The Erythrina indica is also considered to be an invasive weed as almost any part of it will grow into a new tree. Broken branches, bits of bark, even wood chips from mulched coral trees will produce another copy of itself.

Erythrine indica

During the following months a group of “Green Warriors” moved along the rail trail, energetically clearing the banks and shoulders of weeds, so as to replant them with natives. They tidied up the environment but when I returned to check on the Erythrina indica tree, I was heart-broken to discover it had been dug out and completely removed. Its unique beauty is gone from this place forever but thank goodness, I can still admire it in those treasured photographs.

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