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Posts Tagged ‘trees’

The hinterland town of Tamborine Village, perched high above the rolling hills of Mount Tamborine, plays host to 5,000 permanent residents and an endless flow of tourists. Settlement is centred here in three village communities: North Tamborine, Eagle Heights and Mount Tamborine. Crisp mountain air mingles with the aromas of coffee, local wine and beer, while friendly chatter is exchanged alongside fresh produce sourced directly from the farm gate.

With its breathtaking scenery and mountain views, Tamborine has become a haven for creatives: painters, crafts people, writers, and photographers. Fine chefs also ensure the cooking and eating opportunities are second to none. This entire vibrant community thrives on its creativity and inclusiveness.

Located on South East Queensland’s Scenic Rim, the name, Tamborine, has nothing to do with the musical instrument. Its origins were derived from a local Aboriginal word, Goombirren which means ‘wild lime.’ No doubt this refers to the finger lime trees that grow abundantly on the mountain and form a staple food in the Aboriginal diet. 

Gardening is a much loved pastime and magnificent spreads of flowers, fruit trees and vegetable patches abound. A beautiful collection of dahlias grows in the back garden of St Bernards Hotel and is always a special delight to visit. In addition to several hectares of manicured lawns and colourful garden beds, St Bernards is a genuine historic hotel, established in the 1880s. Its mountain top site offers magnificent views of Guanaba Gorge and the Gold Coast. The dining rooms also serve fabulous food, seven days a week.

It may be only an hour’s drive from Brisbane, but Tamborine Mountain makes you feel as though you have entered a magical world far away. With its stunningly beautiful national parks and rain forests, this picturesque area in the Scenic Rim is home to some of the most fertile land in Queensland. A host of accommodation offers misty mountain views, where we enjoyed our morning coffee from the veranda of our cottage. Watching the sunshine slowly burn off a cloud of morning mist has remained a cherished memory.

If you ever visit, pack a camera. You’ll be needing it!

 

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Tired? Stressed? Too much work, shopping, and time spent tethered to a screen? Perhaps a break is needed in which to do some quiet forest bathing.

Forest bathing first originated in Japan where it is known as shinrin-yoku. There are no fluffy towels, soy candles, or scented soaps involved because shinrin-yoku is a slow and tranquil walk through a pristine wilderness. It can become an uplifting experience – one with many well documented health benefits.

Alone or in a small group, select a forest with shrubs, ferns and a good density of old established trees. Stand among them for several moments, breathing slowly to release your mental chatter. When you feel a sense of inner quiet, place your attention on the natural world and begin a deliberately slow walk.

Try to engage all your senses by touching the textures of plants and tree trunks, listening to the quiet murmur of the forest environment and the occasional ring of birdsong. Focus your eyes on the surrounding scenery as you inhale and taste the aromas of the foliage. Essential oils are emitted from plants and trees to protect them from insects and predators, and this phenomenon has been described as, ‘natural aromatherapy.’ Through the stillness and your sense of immersion in nature, an experience of inner peace will grow within you.

The Japanese have a word, karoshi, which means death by overwork. There is so much stress among ordinary Japanese people, they were the first to recognize this problem and develop a way to deal with it. Studies have been conducted in Japan by Dr Quing Li, an Associate Professor at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School. His scientific data has proven that forest bathing can lead to a boost in one’s immune function and mood. A forest walk has also been hailed as a legitimate therapy for preventing hyper tension, depression and stress.

Here in Australia another initiative that aims to connect people with nature is found in the organization, Healthy Parks – Healthy People. Check out its website, one that is both interesting and information rich, at www.hphpcentral.com

To gain maximum benefit from a forest walk, rest when you feel tired and drink water if you are thirsty. Take plenty of time to sit and engage with the scenery, or read a book. Forest bathing is freely available for everyone to enjoy. Shinrin-Yoku’s central idea is to allow nature the quiet time and space in which to work its magic on you.

 

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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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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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Illawarra flame tree full shot

As we move into September, my anticipation begins to grow at the thought of the flame tree’s arrival. It won’t be long before our magnificent Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerfolius) drops its leaves then comes into flower. What a scene it displays—covered with a mass of rich scarlet bells. So intense is its colour that the tree appears to be on fire. As the flowers and fruit fall, its leathery green leaves—resembling the five lobed maple leaf—regrow to cover the tree again.

Flame teree wikimedia commons

Is there a downside to all this splendor? Unfortunately these unique trees—native to Australia—produce invasive root systems. In addition they scatter their litter of leaves, buds, flowers, and dry seed pods to create a thick blanket beneath them. Yet this inconvenience is a small price to pay for the joy of seeing the flame tree appear again in all its radiance.

Illawarra Flame Tree

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Bare trees

A winter solstice has come and gone.
Pale sunlight sweeps over the land
as frosted leaves and grass
fade into dull grey-green.
The cold returns.

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