Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Australian Garden

What can I say about the day I went to the Australian Garden, but that it was unforgettable. I was prepared to be inspired by this "uniquely Australian garden", with its wildflowers and the arid landscape, and I was!

With the wind blowing and the glaring, bright sun in my eyes, taking photographs was an experiment in haphazard photography. My hat would be flapping over my forehead, and my sunglasses prevented me from having a good view of what I wanted to capture, and I had to walk far more than I had intended to. The reason for that  will be revealed to you, as I take you on a tour of this very different botanic garden.

Lots of Shadow Shots to be found here. My shadow followed me everywhere!

The Red Sand Garden:
Stretched out in front of me, where I was standing on the viewing deck, was the iconic Red Sand Garden! Just as in the promotional pictures which I had seen, the garden is indeed unique. It was probably more luxuriant in springtime, but it has more character in autumn.

hoarse pleas for water
arid tears drip on parched land
green shoots claw out of red sand

for Sensational Haiku Wednesday

Rockpool Waterway:
I imagine that this was engineered to provide some irrigation for the arid landscape, but it was a soothing presence, in contrast to the dry surroundings.

 precious legacy
man's sojourn on earth is brief
water ageless flows

for Haiku Heights 

The Arid Garden:
It is planted with native bushes, which I couldn't begin to learn to identify, even with the labels, as they were unfamiliar to me. I could appreciate their shapes and textures, and took lots of photos, of which I shall share these favourites of mine:

Water-saving garden:
Even in a dry climate, you can have a garden with the right types of plants and water management.

The Home Garden:
I like the mock-up designs of home gardens - simple but effective to encourage people to use Australian native plants in their garden landscaping.

The Children's Garden:
Really good idea, using tree trunks to create a playground facility for kids to explore.

Leaving the Exhibition gardens, I actually went on a trek all around the   Australian Garden, crossing the dry river bed...

...and seeing the fascinating forms of the Grass trees, Xanthorrhoea johnsonii.

And then, I had this 'great' idea of trekking to Trig Point, just to see the view from an elevated vantage point.

It says 200 metres to Trig Point, so off I went. That afternoon was a quiet day at the garden, as I had seen only one other visitor, apart from us. I was with my sister, and she had opted to wait for me at the cafe as I trotted off to get more photo opportunities. 

On both sides of the track were bush land like in the photo above. It was so quiet, and I suddenly recalled reading a sign earlier on, with instructions as to what to do when we encounter a snake or snakes! The garden, I had read, was home to several species of snakes, and it would not be unusual to spot the venomous Copperhead and Tiger snakes sunning themselves on the tracks!!! It sounded that I would be deemed lucky if I could spot a  sun-bathing venomous snake.
The acceptable mode of conduct, the notes read, was:
1. Do not approach the snake. (???)
2. Wait for the snake to move off the track. (I wouldn't wait. I'd say, Runnnnn, Rosie, runnnn!)

I didn't encounter any snakes on the way to Trig Point, but I practically ran there, praying that no right-minded snake would come out to sun itself in autumn. But the sun was shining that day, and it was a particularly hot afternoon. That thought sent shivers up my spine. So, it was a great relief when I got to the Point, and climbed up to where snakes would not be able to climb...or would they?

For a while, I forgot about slithery reptiles up on that circular construction, high above ground. There was a lone photographer up there, and she didn't look at all perturbed, or flustered. After taking some photos, I took my leave of that safe haven, and went down to the track. My only preoccupation was to look to the right and left of the track as I beat a hasty retreat. After some time, I realized that I had taken the wrong turn, when I caught sight of a sign that showed that I had almost travelled 700metres in the wrong direction. I had to turn back! More risks of coming across the sun-bather, oh no! Finally I reached familiar terrain. I saw the photographer I had met earlier heading my direction, and upon seeing me, she turned back to head for the exit. Could she have intended to look for me, thinking I had lost my way, and seeing that I was safe and sound, she went to her car at the car park? All in all, I must have covered 4 km that afternoon, half the time running away from nothing!

Oh, did I mention that there is a garden shop there?

Here I am this morning, safe from any slithery encounters, having my morning coffee in this mug with a red gymea lily painted on it...looks familiar? 

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