(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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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.
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.
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.
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 – 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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Posted in Nature, tagged art, beauty, essay, flowers, gardens, nature, nature photography, poetry, Prose, trees on October 11, 2015|
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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.
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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.
Spikes include snapdragons and larkspurs that display tall spires of double flowers, together with the elegantly vertical hollyhock, so much loved by our grandmothers.
For disks, think of sunflowers, that thrive in summer’s heat, together with multi-coloured field flowers and daisies.
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.
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.
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“And the day came
when the risk it took
to remain tight inside a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took
(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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