On Location—The Garden Steals The Show

Rippon Lea House & Garden

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

My local PBS station is promoting a new Australian series in the fall lineup, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries set in 1920’s Melbourne. Miss Phryne (Fry-nee) Fisher returns from England after serving in the hospital corps in WW1.  Phryne, an independently wealthy, independently spirited, glamorous lady detective speaks multiple languages and seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything. I find period dramas remain endlessly fascinating as the characters recreate the dress, manners, and behaviors of another time as the setting reinforces the story....   Continue Reading

Signaling Welcome

“Signs, Signs, everywhere there’s signs,

messin’ up the scenery, breaking’ my mind.”

(The Five Man Electrical Band) 

Public gardens welcome curious visitors from all over the world. They enter eager to learn about the land, plants, trees and rocks of a particular place. Many gardens proudly highlight the entrance with an eye catching sign, often nestled among a beautifully landscaped bed of flowers.  Once inside, posted signs act as the voice speaking directly to visitors. When it comes to signs everywhere, some are creative offenders and a few are just plain offenders.  ...   Continue Reading

Garden Conservatory – A Crystal Palace

It is citrus season.  Outside my door the oranges are ripening on an overloaded tree providing a surplus of the sweet fruit. If you don’t have a tree right outside your door, you can still find an abundance of the succulent fruit right down the street at your supermarket....   Continue Reading

Plants of Ice & Fire

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden

A few years ago I had no idea where Tasmania was.  I remembered the Looney Tunes ® cartoon character of the Tasmanian Devil, but beyond that I knew little else.  Until this year, when I found myself in the Tasmanian Royal Botanical Garden in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, over 8000 miles from my garden....   Continue Reading

Floriade Nightfest

 In ancient times much of the world paused in their work to celebrate flowers.  Weary of winter and with food supplies running low the Roman Goddess Flora was celebrated. In the spring a Maypole was erected, ribbons streamed down and the dancing began.  Young women wore crowns of flowers in their hair. The beauty of life, flowers and fertility was thoroughly celebrated with the hope of a great harvest in the Fall.  The celebration lasted several days with games, performances, feasting and drinking.  Australia’s Floriade does just that!  By day the festivities are lit by the sun and by night lights multiply the magic of the celebration....   Continue Reading

Floriade, a Celebration of Spring!

Floriade is a annual Spring celebration of flowers, held in Commonwealth Park, Canberra, the Australian Capital. The month long celebration has been held for 27 years from mid Sept. to mid October. Over 1 million flowers are planted in the park and when the show opens this incredibly diverse community streams in with friends and family to inhale the fresh scent of spring weather. There is a huge ferris wheel designed to give riders a view of the patterned plantings and also a grand view of the city center. Carnival rides, seminars, lectures, musical performances of choirs, dancers, jugglers, are all part of the offerings. Yet in spring, flowers are the big show. Tulips, pansies, ranunculus, daffodils, hyacinths, flowering cabbages, iris are just some of the blossoms used in the designs. Parents pose their children in front of the beautiful colors struggling to get them to hold still and look at the camera. Then for just a moment realize as they look through the lens they are truly seeing the most beautiful elements of life, their children and nature’s glorious blooms. The park was filled with people, walking, pointing at the flowers, admiring the combinations of colors, eating ice cream, and talking as they experienced a beautiful day. Around lake Burley Griffin the deciduous trees are leafing out in bright green. An annual celebration of spring is a beautiful thing....   Continue Reading

Chinese Friendship Garden

In September it is spring in Sydney Australia and when we walked into the 2.5 acre Chinese Friendship Garden for a moment I thought this will be the same as other Chinese gardens. There were the quite wonderful textured rocks and the bonsai collection in the entry but there was something more, the garden was a full of color! There were orange clivias, lining the paths, rhododendrons and azaleas in shades of pink, and ruffled white. ...   Continue Reading

Roma Street Parkland

It is said that great cities have great parks and as I travel I see this proved true again and again.  But I would add, great cities have citizens who realize the value of their parks and come to them to rest, relax, revive their spirits and reconnect to the important things in life.  Here I saw a father pushing his son in a stroller.  As he passed the mass single color plantings of pansies his little boy practiced identifying his colors, yellow, blue, green.  The father praised the little guy  and together they shared a simple moment made more beautiful in the garden. ...   Continue Reading