Friday Flowers: By the pool

Today’s Friday Flowers is another from Darwin’s Open Garden scheme, now sadly defunct.

This garden was one of our favourites in 2014, with its hidden corners and plants, and this idyllic spot by the pool. Who wouldn’t enjoy “chilling” by the pool with a flowered cup of tea, scones and multi-coloured flowers on the table.DSC_1973

For us a winning Open Garden was one which let us see great landscaping, wonderful plants, and somewhere to enjoy the view with a cuppa and cake. This one certainly hit the spot!

I hope today’s Friday Flowers bring sunshine to whichever day you view them.


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.


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: 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.

Garden flamboyance

Flowers and flags_edited-1
Before I started visiting Open Gardens it wouldn’t have occurred to me to add “artificial” colour and sculptures to the garden. I’m now a convert and love the additional splashes of colour. Tropical light and gardens welcome vivid colours. Balinese flags appear in almost every garden.

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.

O is for the Olgas ( Kata Tjuta) and Open Gardens

O is for the OLGAS

The Olgas or Kata Tjuta, as this rock formation is now known, is part of the Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park. Kata Tjuta’s more famous big sister tends to take the highest profile but if you’re heading for the Red Centre you should allow time to do both parts of the park. This national park is truly Australia’s red heart and is smack bang in the middle of the country and probably encapsulates the sense of the Outback more than anywhere else.

The Olgas from a distance. ©Pauleen Cass 1994

The Olgas from a distance. ©Pauleen Cass 1994

Kata Tjuta is all curves as each rocky dune looms against the vivid blue of the desert sky. The contrasting colours are magnificent with the green of the Spinifex looking almost lime-coloured on film and in some light. It provides its own dot-painting effect against the vivid ochre red of the rock formation. Tucked among the rocks are hidden spots where the desert animals can live, survive and even thrive. A quiet bushwalker has the benefit of hearing the birds and may even see some creatures as well.

On the Valley of the Winds walk. ©Pauleen Cass 1994

On the Valley of the Winds walk. ©Pauleen Cass 1994

The track through the Valley of the Winds is peaceful and restorative, as well as tiring! This is certainly an experience best savoured in the cooler months of the year when overnight it can be decidedly chilly, especially in a tent or swag. Those hot summer months (about October to April) are best avoided as most people will find them unbearable. Do plan to hang around at the Olgas towards the end of the day so you can see the setting sun light the dunes with varying shades of pink and red. Just magnificent!

068 Kata Juta moonrise and sunset


Welcome to the garden.

Welcome to the garden.

If you love gardens it’s always worth keeping an eye out for the local Open Gardens events   when you travel – they’re a great Opportunity to see new and different garden designs as well as plants you may not be familiar with.

The 2013 season Open Gardens NT commenced last weekend and we have a feast of Top End gardens to choose from throughout the Dry. It’s one of our favourite weekend activities to visit a garden and have a coffee and cake while soaking up the ambience. You can see my stories and photos from 2012 through this link.

Why visit: To see a unique natural wonder of Australia and the amazing colours, vegetation and animals of the Outback.

FYI: There are a couple of maps on my A to Z planning post which will help you to pinpoint where today’s tourist spots are situated


On the turps: big drinking session

Old mate: A NT special gradually soaking into the vernacular elsewhere. A generic expression meaning, roughly, bloke, someone you don’t know. So old mate drove his (Land) Cruiser through the creek….

Outback: Australia’s vast interior. The iconic idea of Australia often completely unfamiliar to its many coastal dwellers. The people are typically unemotional and physically tough and laconic.

Ordinary: not the usual meaning of “normal” but also in the Aussie sense can mean sub-par, inferior, not much good. How’re ya going mate? Feeling a bit ordinary today…

I wonder where the letter P will take us tomorrow? How about back into the Kimberley?

Open Garden Finale 2012

Like the carnival, the Open Gardens are over for another year. Sadly there’ll be no more fun of that sort until April-May next year.

We met up with some of the family down at the last one and enjoyed seeing more flowering plants and the kids loved the animals as well. The shaded arcades of heliconias were just delightful as the weather had just started getting humid.

Looking for algae and fish (shades of the Octonauts)

Admiring the gingers.

Up close and personal with the chooks.

Starbursts of gingers.