lady in hat with flowers
Australia, Gardening

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

If you have stopped here for information on the Carnival, you may be disappointed. I missed the Carnival of Flowers itself, so there are no pictures of the annual parade, but what I did see is stunning floral displays that are the dominant feature of this event in Toowoomba, a large country town, about an hour’s drive west of Brisbane, Australia. I arrived two days after the festival officially concluded. By the looks of the displays, the flowers are quite oblivious of the carnival’s end date.

The city of Toowoomba sits atop a mountain range and is blessed with cooler temperatures and rich volcanic soil, perfect for horticulture. The major horticultural event, The Carnival of Flowers, draws thousands of visitors to the city’s generous parks and gardens.

Whilst the historically wealthy country town has monolithic bluestone churches, funky alleys and quirky street art, it is the stunning floral display in late September that draws most of the region’s visitors.

Laurel Bank Park

Amongst neat and tidy lawns and prolific flower beds at Laurel Bank Park, on Hill Street, you will find plenty of seating for those who need a rest from taking a multitude of floral camera shots that one is apt to do given the spectacular displays.

Displays of Tulips, Poppies, Foxgloves and Hollyhocks take me back to memories of Denmark or The Netherlands, albeit without the rainy weather.

This is Australia, remember. The continent where it forgot how to rain!

Like many parts of Australia, Toowoomba has experienced, for many years, a severe water shortage. This has resulted in the Gardeners, at Laurel Bank Park, adopting stringent water-saving strategies and switching to growing more water-tolerant plants in order to maintain the floral displays to the expected standard. It seems that they have succeeded in their quest.

Topiary elephants, seals and the Leaning Tower of Pisa add a fantasy element to the gardens. Can you guess what this topiary represents? It is rather Australian and Danish!

Toowoomba Botanic Gardens

Cherry Blossoms line the Toowoomba Botanic Garden’s at Queens Park. The entry path offers the visitor a visual explosion of multi-coloured Ranunculus, inviting you to explore more of the gardens. The pathway then opens to rows and rows of flowering beds with daisies, violets and pansies.

It seems one lonely tulip bulb missed the memo.

Snapped at the right, or perhaps, the wrong moment. Street photography in Toowoomba can be surprising.

I have so many questions about the man’s pickle. Not a sign of a picnic basket or lunch box anywhere. Where was he keeping it? So random and fun!

There is so much our country towns can offer us. We only have to look closer, before lamenting we can not travel outside our own borders. This is another of the country towns that offer unique experiences, similar to Amandine Lavender farm at Bargara, near Bundaberg, which I posted about recently.


Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro – Fern frond

The beauty of nature, in a fern frond

Taken with a Galaxy S4

Fern macro sally's challengeFern frondGlistening in the gentle, sunshine of Spring

Delicate, fresh, primordial moment frozen in time.

Macro challenge gives one a chance to delve deeper and examine nature’s complicated evolution on another scale to that which our eye can see.

Linking to Sally’s D’s Mobile Photography Challenge Post and more superb photos here

Other entries from Sally’s challenge for  this week:

Macro Photography is fun to ponder about

xanthostemon chrysanthus
Australia, Community

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge – Macro [Xanthostemon]

Golden Penda - Xanthostemon chrysanthus

Macro week

Xanthostemon chrysanthus are stunning native Australian  flowers in bloom this month. We are lucky to have flowers and bursts of colour all year round – even in winter, but the heat is difficult in summertime.

Something for the eyes to ponder on


Black and White Sunday – Cape Gooseberry

Cape gooseberry

First fruit from my garden. It reminds me of being a child and playing in my Grandmother’s garden, where Gooseberry like this grew wild. The paper cases are a delight to pull apart and inside you will find a delicious berry.

Taken and adjusted slightly with Moldiv and the Nexus 4 Phone camera for Paula at Black and White Sunday


Something to Ponder About

Community, Gardening

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Daily Post is looking for interpretations of “Inside”  –  I found this in 2 different photographs: Art created by Man:


reindeer art

The reindeer is encased INSIDE glass balls, an art installation at GOMA

caught inside!

and   “Natural”

Canterbury Bells

A delicate yellow stamen in the indigo flower that is called Canterbury Bell. I marvel at nature’s colour palette.

More at Daily Post

Something to Ponder about.

Community, Gardening

The Middle of Middle Earth – New Zealand

Windy Wellington is what they call it, for good reason. Although  a stunning day was served up for our afternoon arrival, the evening and next day had weather forecasts predicting 130km/hr winds northerly gale.  Well, Wellington is the only capital city located in the ‘Roaring Forties‘, so it  is hardly surprising.

New Zealand 12013

Still, a pretty stunning welcome from Wellington. I love that Aqua blue water, and there was no sign of plastic bottles and litter floating about the edges, which I see, all too frequently, in big cities. Mind you, Wellington is not a big city, by any stretch of the imagination with less than 400,00 people according to Wikipedia. But it is the capital city and the hub of the political sphere in NewZealand.

NormandaleNew Zealand 2013 411

How is this for a view from your living room window? This is what some of my family look out to every morning.

One of the first things I like to do, when I stay somewhere, is go for a walk in the local area. I guess I am a bit of a sticky beak, but I do like to see how others live and their surroundings. The houses, the streets, the people are all so interesting. Here are some pics from my walk in Whitby, a posher area, just outside Wellington city. Whitby is separated into 3 different areas, by the locals that live there. They call each of them ‘Richby, Ditchby and Shitby’, apparently. I was lucky I was staying in Richby, but did walk over to Ditchby which borders Shitby. The houses with the views below are part of Richby! I’ll leave ‘Shitby’ to your imagination.

Whitby New Zealand 2013

Imagine looking out to these hills every day of your life? They look as though a giant hand poured a whole lot of sugar/sand onto a plate and then rolled grass green fondant over the top shaping valleys in the folds of where the sand lay. Magical!

New Zealand 2013 414

We have “Tree ferns” in Australia, but there rarely get to the height one sees in New Zealand, in the sub-tropical climate where I normally live. Apparently, Kiwis call them “Ponga” trees. ( sounds like punga)

tree fern

Ponga is the Maori name for the native New Zealand tree fern. It was once a valuable source of food, building materials and weapons. The silver fern is well known as a national symbol, there are ten species of tree fern in New Zealand according to

Over the next two weeks, we found some stunning cool climate plants in and around Wellington. However, our first stop was a road trip up in Hastings and Napier in the North Island. But that is another story for me to write. Something I’ll ponder about tomorrow.