Happy Easter

Living where I do, I’m often the first to offer seasonal greetings. 

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 1.01.24 pmAustralia sees the dawn before most countries, with the notable exception of New Zealand. I’m hopeful, therefore, of being the first to wish you all a Happy Easter. Whether you’re a Christian or not, it’s the time of new beginnings, if Wikipedia is to be believed:

“Ostara, or Eástre, seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing…”

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 1.02.02 pmThe name Eástre, or Eostre, has been adopted by the Christian Church to signify the celebration of the Church’s greatest event, the Resurrection.  For others, a festival at this time signifies rebirth, renewal and a celebration of the return of the sun.  Here in the southern tropics, it marks the change of season into the relief of cooler winter weather, as well as its religious significance for me personally (Matthew 28:6).

Whatever your beliefs, I wish you a happy, peaceful and productive day, spent the way that pleases you best.

Oh, and plenty of chocolate…

Words under Pressure #18

For many, perhaps most of you out there reading this blog, Spring is coming, a welcome relief from arduous weather conditions and the start of gentler things. For me, Autumn is on the way, offering its own relief as the weather moderates, cyclone season passes, and cool mornings remind me of my childhood.

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 5.05.17 PM6.00am

Do you know that rush
Of powerful, heady happiness
You get on mornings in Spring,
When your blood is green?

Do you know the singing
That lifts the top of your head,
The scent of sunlight,
Prompting unreasonable joy?

Do you feel the miracle
Of daybreak, after good sleep,
And your skin fits –
Though your heart is the size of the world?

I am older now, but I still long
To run like the child I was
In the hill’s blowing grass,
Clean, whole and hopeful.

I hope Spring comes soon for you all…

Happy Easter!

Ginger lily from Hunte's Gardens

It’s a time for new life to be celebrated. For flowering things to put out their most glorious display.

Down here in the southern hemisphere, we’re drifting into autumn, but are still blessed with colour, scent and lush foliage. In the northern hemisphere, you’re looking for buds, the first green growth, spring flowers and baby animals.  We both have beauty to enjoy.

I’ll be back on track soon with the blog, but until I get my sewing machine back, I don’t have a whole heap to show.  The garden is   beginning to get ready for the dry season, a good time for me to plant and plan, so look out for more of that.

Have a very happy Easter, whether it’s a religious celebration for you or simply a marker of the changing seasons and a welcome break from bad weather.

Words Under Pressure #13

It must be relief at getting the last quilting job done, but I seem to have come over all verbal…


Come, illuminate me again.
Paint the sky in morning colour,
Roll out before me
Spring’s tender green carpet.

Show my autumn heart
A new, triumphant gold
Gleaming among the clouds,
A warm finger touching the earth.

Banish the grey and dust,
The discarded husks of past years.
The glorious butterfly
Waits quietly in her cell.

Flames rekindled

Spring is well under way, and everywhere, Nature is breaking out her brightest reds.  Top of my favourites list are the Flame Trees, but as you’ll see from the rest of the images, she’s got more than one red in her paintbox.

A row of young Flame Trees (Brachychiton acerifolius) beside the lagoon at Mackay's Botanic Gardens

A row of young Flame Trees (Brachychiton acerifolius) beside the lagoon at Mackay’s Botanic Gardens

A close-up of the flowers, contrasting nicely with the blue sky behind

A close-up of the flowers, contrasting nicely with the blue sky behind

Another scarlet starlet, flowers of the Poinciana (Delonix regia)

Another scarlet starlet, flowers of the Poinciana (Delonix regia)

A triumphant scarlet Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

A triumphant scarlet Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

One of my all-time favourite succulents, the Flapjack Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora)

One of my all-time favourite succulents, the Flapjack Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora)

The Desert Rose (Adenium obesum), a survivor with beautiful flowers, but watch out for the poisonous sap

The Desert Rose (Adenium obesum), a survivor with beautiful flowers, but watch out for the poisonous sap

Watch this space.  I’ll be making time for blue flowers too.

50 shades of Autumn

I know all you northern hemisphere people are coming into Autumn/Fall (call it what you like, the days get shorter and colder…), so I thought I’d have a little gloat and point out that down here, it’s Spring.  Longer, warmer days (OK, in our case, bloody hot days), flowers, things peeking out of the soil in the garden, and the sun beating on the back of your neck as you do the weeding.  So to celebrate our difference, I’m giving you an image of what autumn colour looks like in the cooler parts of Australia.  Damn, I’m going to miss that…


Up on the New England plateau in northern NSW, we get cool autumns and an amazing range of colours. These leaves were all picked up in my garden.

We’re having an unusually hot and dry spring.  Some fairly old records have been broken.  The farmers are happy because it has mean the sugar content in the cane is high, and they’ve been able to get the crop in without the harvesters getting bogged.  Already many of the harvested fields have been cleared and ploughed, and there are rows of little cane billets happily sprouting away.  They’re going to need some rain soon…  Inland, the fire risk is through the roof, and the cattle country is officially in drought.  They’re doing it tough out there.  For us, it’s meant having to start irrigating the garden and running the air-conditioning much sooner.  Strictly urban hazards.  I count myself lucky.

Nothing new to report from the Gardens of Chiconia, but my two phalaenopsis orchids certainly know it’s spring, and are flowering heavily.  They sit on the windowsill in my study/sewing room (aka the Black Hole of Calcutta for its propensity for swallowing things up, never to be found again). One is white and one is a rudely vivid shade of purple with a speckled heart.  I could probably move them outside, but it might be a bit hot and bright; they like filtered light.

Note to self: I have GOT to start carrying my camera around with me more.  We had a picnic lunch at the beach today, and I spotted a beautiful group of paperbarks twisting and twining around each other.  I may have to go back tomorrow, because I can’t get the image out of my head.