Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘trees’

 

During this year I completed two short photo/prose essays entitled: For the Love of Trees and Back Roads and Byways. After submitting them to the editor at https://naturewriting.com – one of the leading  nature writing sites in the United States, I was delighted when the website published my two books online. Links have also been added to allow readers to download, print, and share my eBooks. If you are interested click on the following links.

https://naturewriting.com/for-the-love-of-trees /

https://naturewriting.com/back-roads-and-byways

Scroll down these pages and click the link at the bottom to access the free PDF files. A browse of this website will also amaze you with the rich content and scope of all the writings.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Bauhinia variegata

Aren’t they lovely―our Hong Kong orchid trees―when they flower in multitudes of  blossoms? The five-petaled flowers, resembling orchids, appear in shades of white, pink, mauve and crimson. While this tree is native to China, it grows abundantly in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world.

Another distinctive feature of the bauhinia lies in its unusual bi-lobed or twin lobed leaves. The resulting heart shape has given rise to the Afrikaans popular name of kamelpoot, meaning camel’s foot.

The pink and cerise toned flower of the Bauhinia blakeana, is the source of its name, Hong Kong orchid tree. An added pleasure this tree provides is the fragrant scent of its blooms. Such is its popularity that it has become the official floral emblem of the Chinese colony of Hong Kong.

Bauhenia red

The scarlet coloured blooms of the Bauhinia galpini, add a wonderful splash of colour to any garden. Growing to a height of 5 – 6 metres, when mass planted these Bauhinias create a superb hedge or a stunning line of street trees. Even after vigorous pruning they keep right on growing and blooming throughout early summer into late autumn. It seems they have the ability to carry their flowers for long periods of time.

Bauhinia variegata 1

The white Bauhinia variegata,  provides a good example of how multiples of blossoms can also decorate a single branch of this amazing species. The sight of an entire tree covered with flowers makes it quite a show stopper. Happy are those who can enjoy the pleasures provided by the Hong Kong Orchid tree.

Read Full Post »

In the tree tops 2

When we were children, we may have had a special tree.  My own tree was located in our Southside Park, a block away from our home. Many times I climbed to its second fork, there to dream and gaze at the sky through its lace-like canopy of leaves. This tree became my refuge, and in its branches I experienced my first connection to nature and to all of life.

Great bark shot

Our park was planted with an abundance of old, established trees. These became our playground where we freely skylarked in this perfect place for hide and seek—ducking in, out, and around their broad trunks. I loved to study the shapes and textures of tree bark, letting my fingers travel over imagined roadways and discovering pictures of funny faces hiding in the rough surface. I was always happy when I spent time among the trees, and when something made me sad I cried into their trunks.

Queen's Park 1

Over the years I have studied and photographed trees, watched them grow, be felled, chipped and burned. We plant saplings to create green corridors, and embed new trees to mark the memory of someone we loved. Trees shelter us from sun and storm, their timber is used in a hundred different ways, and their beauty and strength always inspires. Trees will always remain and everything must be done to protect them and ensure their healthy living. After all – we depend on the trees breathing in sunlight and breathing out life giving oxygen to sustain our very own lives.

 

Read Full Post »

The hills are alive with the sight of blossoms. Our early summer presented us with an abundance of flowering trees, dressed in clusters of gorgeous colour. Is this the result of all those recent summer storms that gave everything a good drenching? I suspect it is.

First to blossom are the Jacarandas, Jacaranda mimosifolia. These stately trees produce exquisite clusters of lavender blooms. Each individual bell shaped floret combines into groups of similar flowers that smother the branches. Delicate fern-like green leaves surround the blossoms. Not only do these stately trees create a superb display when they are mass planted, but Jacarandas also look stunning on their own.

We mistakenly think that Jacarandas are natives, as they adapt and grow profusely in all tropical and warm temperate zones. Originally found only in Brazil, these trees are deciduous. They briefly drop their leaves at the end of the dry winter season, then bloom and leaf up again when the warm spring rains return.

As the Jacaranda flowers fade and fall the Tabebuia trees burst into bloom. They decorate themselves in clusters of frilly, bell shaped flowerets—similar to the Jacaranda blossoms. Their colour and profusion creates a jaw-dropping spectacle, through the rich pink of the Tabebuia rosea, to the vibrant yellow gold of the Tabebuia aurea. These beauties are a genus of flowering plants in the family, Bignoniacae.

Tabebuia trees are native to tropical Central and South America and they flourish from Mexico and Cuba to Argentina. In summer their flowers burst into dazzing pink or yellow, with small green leaves following the blooms later. Everyone loves them.

Now that a new year is upon us, all these trees have left their glorious colour behind. When they do bloom again we must savour their beauty, as each flowering season is so brief. Jacarandas and Tabebuias are marvellously photogenic, and once their blossom time is over, it is a long wait for the next breathtaking display.

 

Read Full Post »

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!

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »