Friday Flowers: Aussie Gardens

On Monday Aussies are celebrating their national day…in the way they love best…with a long weekend. To celebrate I thought I’d be a little lateral in my approach to Friday Flowers and focus on Aussie gardens and revisit aspects of my earlier posts. Most of these photos have been used before either in my A to Z Series in 2013 or my 365 Project in 2012.

As a welcome to today’s post, we’ll walk through the gates of an Open Garden from a few years ago. As with many Darwin gardens the Balinese influences are apparent.

Welcome to the garden.

Welcome to the garden.

 

Kayaks lillies and shadows_edited-1From Balinese influences to a typical Territory bush scene of another Open Garden...paper bark (melaleuca) trees through a billabong decorated with waterlilies.

From there to the unfurling of a bat plant in my own garden. Sadly I’ve since had to move the plant as a large tree, which provided shade, had to be removed. Since then it’s become a shadow of its former self.

what am I day 2

batplant maturing

Yet another Top End Open Garden, the Mosaic House, revealed its Balinese flavour with an almost Spanish influence. The shades of cool green offer a counter-balance to the tropical humidity.

Open Garden, Mosaic House, Parap, Northern Territory

Open Garden, Mosaic House, Parap, Northern Territory

For many Darwinites, a trip to the Parap markets is a Saturday morning activity involving the purchase of weekly tropical flowers for about $7 a bunch.

Buy a bunch of tropical flowers for under $10.

Buy a bunch of tropical flowers for under $10.

In trips to the billabongs and waterways of Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage Area, the colour from lotus flowers adds a vibrant zing to the day, not to be counterbalanced by the threat of saltwater crocs lurking in the same waterways.

cropped-436-waterlily2.jpg

DSC_1099And of course what are gardens and parks without a little avian interest? Above we see one of my favourite birds, the rainbow bee eater – it’s iridescent beauty is best seen as it flits through the air chasing its snacks of insects.

Did I give him indigestion?

I think I gave him indigestion, chasing him for his picture.

And there’s the cheeky cockies (cockatoos) which are seen everywhere at this time of the year. This fellow was photographed on Australia Day 2012, snacking on a berry from a palm.

On that same Australia Day we had huge storms and winds which salt-encrusted the trees along the beach-line, turning them brown for months. There really wasn’t much need for the sunscreen, hat or umbrella but the bug spray was handy.

Not much need for the sunscreen or the NT News giggle hat but the bug spray was handy today.

Not much need for the sunscreen or the NT News giggle hat but the bug spray was handy today.

Starting with a Balinese influence, we end with one as well. I love the vibrancy of the colours against the tropical sky at another of Darwin’s Open Gardens.

Bali vibe in Darwin

Bali vibe in Darwin

Happy Australia Day to all my genimates. I hope this week’s flowers and gardens have brought colour and sunshine to your day and the week ahead. 

 

 

Shadow Shot Sunday: The shadows of slavery

Sunlight masks a sober sculpture

The cruel shadowed history of slavery

Men and women, wrapped in chainsslave sculpture

Trapped in dark cellars

Whipped to test endurance

Silence increasing their priceSlave whipping point

Shipped far away

A legacy of lost heritage

Pain, Courage, EnduranceSlave chambers

This is written and inspired by my friend Kristin and all her fellow African Americans whose ancestors suffered similar fates.

This memorial to the slaves is in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The site of the old whipping point is behind the altar of the Anglican Cathedral, and the former cellars under a nearby building.

This post is my contribution to this week’s Shadow Shot Sunday.

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday: Up, up and away

It’s Shadow Shot Sunday so why not pop over and see what others have written and photographed.

Shadow Shot Sunday

While we were in Kenya we woke up one early to do a hot air balloon flight – another first for me. I don’t like heights, or more specifically edges, so I wasn’t sure how I’d go but I loved it!! Of course we were floating so low we could almost have jumped out, except for those voracious and carnivorous critters.

567 balloonist and light

571 Balloon filling low

Blurry trees in the pre-dawn morning light. You can see how low you can go.

Blurry trees in the pre-dawn morning light. You can see how low you can go.

Shadow Shot Sunday: Sunset Giraffes in the Masai Mara

How could I resist adding a giraffe photo or two today? My friends on Facebook are all having a go at a riddle, which if you get wrong, you have to change your FB profile to that of a giraffe to three days. Now I don’t see an issue with that, given giraffes are pretty handsome creatures!

© Pauleen Cass 2013

© Pauleen Cass 2013

So going along with the theme, here is today’s post: not my favourite photo of giraffes on our recent trip, but an appropriate end-of-day photo. These two guys were snapped as the sun set over the hills. They may look like they’re feeling rather amorous but in fact they’d been engaging in a protracted bout of necking. Unlike the 1960s human version, this is actually a way of ascertaining dominance of one male over another. Our guide said these fellows were not very old (teenagers maybe?) and were really practicing rather than taking it seriously.

© Pauleen Cass 2013

© Pauleen Cass 2013

In a serious bout, which this had looked to me, there’s a lot of bashing of necks going on. If the fight was severe enough it would be entirely possible to break the other guy’s neck.

So, an initially serene scene with a hidden tension.

It’s Shadow Shot Sunday so why not pop over and see what others have written and photographed.

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday Samburu and Kudu

Today is once again Shadow Shot Sunday and I thought I’d start the photos from my recent trip to Africa – Kenya, Uganda and Zanzibar in Tanzania.Shadow Shot Sunday

We were very fortunate to do a few of safaris while in Kenya, the first in the Masai Mara National Reserve, one to Lake Nakuru where we saw flamingos, and one at Samburu National Park further north. What was great was to be able to see different species of animals, and ones that differed between the parks. The scenery varied quite a lot so we were so pleased to have the time and opportunity to take more than one safari.

A male Greater Kudu in Samburu. © Pauleen Cass 2013

A male Greater Kudu in Samburu -the shadows dapple his striped coat. © Pauleen Cass 2013

We were impressed to note that our pilots on the flight to Oryx airstrip at Samburu National Park were both young Kenyan women. One of our guides, Anthony, was there waiting for us in the ubiquitous open-sided Landcruiser and we set forth on mini-safari en route to Elephant Bedroom Camp.

A female Greater Kudu with her pretty face, and striped coat snacks on the tree.  © Pauleen Cass 2013

A female Greater Kudu with her pretty face, and striped coat snacks on the tree. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Anthony was a Samburu man and I think that their multi-generational knowledge brings so much interest to each drive. His keen eyesight soon picked out a few Greater Kudu grazing among the shadows.  Initially we didn’t realise this was such an important sighting as we’d seen a wide variety of antelopes already. However it’s fairly unusual to see a Kudu as they are quite shy and generally stay in more mountainous areas.

They have beautiful markings and the males have quite impressive horns. The multiple twists of his horn suggest that he’s quite old but with his young ladies around he certainly wasn’t solitary as our animal book indicates.

In the midday heat they were enjoying snacking in the shade of the trees – can you blame them?

Breaking from the shadows the male shows  the "war paint" across his nose. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Breaking from the shadows the male shows the “war paint” across his nose. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Shadow Shot Sunday: Cycad and waterlilies

Another Open Garden, another tranquil spot.

Waterlily shadows_edited-1

Waterlilies and a magnificent cycad add drama to this scene.

Shadow Shot SundayCheck out the other amazing photos in Shadow Shot Sunday.

Shadow Shot Sunday: The ringer and the butcher bird

Australia really is a remarkable place with a wealth of amazing scenes, though I suppose the same could be said for most places. All that it requires is that we open our eyes to see the detail and beauty in what’s before us, wherever we are.

One of the stops on my road trip was Longreach which featured here in my A to Z posts.

It was nearly 20 years since we stopped to look at the Longreach Hall of Fame and as I had a friend with me this time, we prioritised a visit. Sadly we felt the venue needed updating to more multi-media interfaces but it’s still worth visiting to learn more about the outback, yet so much more could be made of it. We left towards the end of the day and I captured the shadows over the building and on the face of the ringer. It seems appropriate as if he’s heading back after a long day in the saddle.

Shadows lengthening Ringer Longreach_edited-1

Look closely and you’ll see that he seems to be carrying a butcher bird along as a pet. Pure chance that the bird landed just there as I was about to take the photo, and flew away straight afterwards. I like the contrast between his strength and the fragility of the bird.

The ringer and the butcher bird_edited-1

Check out the other amazing photos in Shadow Shot Sunday.

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday: Tropical Tranquility

Another photo from Jasmine Jan wonderful bush garden near her inspirational artist’s studio. Darwin people can take watercolour workshops and classes with Jasmine if they aspire to be artists themselves. I’m going to work up my courage and have a try myself next year.

Kayaks lillies and shadows_edited-1

Quiet paddling

Among paperbarks

And snowflake lillies

Natural tranquility

Shadow Shot Sunday

Check out the other amazing photos in Shadow Shot Sunday.

Shadow Shot Sunday: Yin and Yang

Another photo from last weekend’s Open Garden which was so full of magnificent shadows, and some interesting contradictions.

While yin and yang is not entirely appropriate for Buddhism, nevertheless it reveals light and shadow. Similarly it’s interesting the Balinese-influenced gardens here so often include a Buddha, yet Bali is predominantly Hindu. That oracle of all things, Wikipedia, says “Balinese culture is a mix of Balinese Hindu/Buddhist religion and Balinese custom”

Yin and yang

Light and Shadow

Buddhist and Hindu

Balinese tranquility

In Darwin gardens

Yin and Yang, Light and Shadow

Yin and Yang, Light and Shadow

Shadow Shot Sunday

Do have a look at the other wonderful images posted under Shadow Shot Sunday.

Shadow Shot Sunday: Tropical shadows

Yesterday we visited our final Open Garden of the year. The weather is turning and what we call the Dry (elsewhere it’s winter) is steadily running out of puff with the temperatures and humidity kicking in. However this weekend’s Mosaic Garden would be a perfect spot regardless of the weather with tropical shadows and shady nooks.

Open Garden, Mosaic House, Parap, Northern Territory

Open Garden, Mosaic House, Parap, Northern Territory

Tropical shadows

Glimpses of green

Cooling breezes

Draw me in.

Shadow Shot Sunday

See other Shadow Shot Sunday posts here.