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Showing posts from September, 2007


Photo: Tulip, my garden (not a native plant) Words to walk with: From Sylvia Plath's haunting poem written from a hospital room, Tulips "Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby. Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds. They are subtle: they seem to float, though they weigh me down, Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their colour, A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck. Nobody watched me before, now I am watched."

Nothing is so beautiful ...

As I exited from the national park I saw the pink grevillia shown in yesterday's post , threatened by a creeping jungle of Convulvus (Morning Glory) -- a weedy escapee from nearby gardens. Among its purple flowers was a clump of freesias. I clambered through the tangle to pick the cream flowers and draw in their lovely fragrence. At home I added to the bunch, leaving them aside while I chased the elusive spinebill . Photo: Freesias, my garden (Not a native flower) Words to walk with: From Spring by Gerard Manly Hopkins "Nothing is so beautiful as Spring — When weeds in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing; The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling."

Pretty in pink

I know the blog is turning into a Botanica right now. But it really is hard to ignore the flowers at this time of year. Here are a couple of pretty pink ones I saw while walking back from Edinburgh Castle Rock. The first one is a grevillia, I am rather fond of these. I photographed another two different types of grevillias in the lower mountians a couple of weeks ago . The second photo is of Pink Swamp Heath ( Spengelia incarnata ). I took this in a section of swamp the track passes through. Photo: Grevillia sericea , Wentworth Falls Words to walk with: Sorry I can't back this poem up with pictures of firetail finches as well. It is some years since I have seen finches in my garden. I just checked the bird list and firetails are rare and uncommon here. From Grevillea and Firetail Finches by Geoffrey Dutton "The morning redefined red With a quick puss of wings, Ten firetails lifting from a grevillia To the sheoak by the fence. Coral antlers, Feathers of flame, And the wind-sig

Blue mystery

Walking too and from Edinburgh Castle Rock I kept an eye out for new flowers to add to my list. I noticed a tiny blue bud, and then another, an another. In fact there were lots of them. All of them tightly wound. There was not a single flower among a hundred or so. This had me mystified. Were all of these only just beginning to flower? Were they a species that curled up in the day time? Were they all spent and beginning to fade? I still don't know the answer. The only one remotely like it in the flower book is Patersonia sericea, Native Iris, but it has flowers, not this twisted bud. The book says the flowers are fragile and last only one bright day in a succession of flowering from late winter to spring. Obviously it was not my day.

Bonny flowers

Photo: Boronia ( Boronia ledifolia ), Edinburgh Castle Rock, Wentworth Falls.

And many a hill between

Some years ago we went for a walk down the Valley of the Waters track. The descent is steep and the day was hot. On the tedious return climb I spotted a sign to the Nature track -- easy grade it said. The option was just too tempting, we chose the easy path. On and on and on and on we trudged. The path never seemed to end. On and on and on it went. How much further I gasped to every walker I passed and noone gave a sensible answer. It climbed, and descended only to climb again. Up and down until we burst out on the cliff top at a place called Edinburgh Castle Rock. I will never forget my horror (and rueful amusement) that day, when looking across the distance we saw our destination, now kilometres away. This week I decided to revisit the rock, using a much shorter side track to get there. Photo: View from Edinbugh Castle Rock, Wentworth Falls Words to walk with: Today I thought it fit to have a Scottish poem by Robert Burns. "Of a' the airts the wind can blaw I dearly like th

The chase

Along with the silvereyes a little honeyeater has taken up residence in the garden. He flits from tree to tree -- wings beating, poking his long thin bill hungrily into blossoms. He's been eluding me, zipping over to the neighbour's trees whenever I get close, flashing back to the cherry at the top of the garden while leaving me lumbering around the bottom garden, flying high in the trees when I am on the ground, flying low when I was in the house trying to catch him in the canopy. I decided to hang around the middle of the garden and struck it lucky at last. Photo: Eastern Spinebill in crab apple tree, my garden

They're back

Photo: Silvereye in maple, my garden Along with the bees and blossom the little birds are back in the garden. The silvereyes passed through here in Autumn and now seem to be on their return journey. Flocks are flying in, fidget among the fresh new leaves for a while, then rise in unison and move on. Words to walk with: Silver by Walter de la Mare "Slowly, silently, now the moon Walks the night in her silver shoon; This way, and that, she peers, and sees Silver fruit upon silver trees; One by one the casements catch Her beams beneath the silvery thatch; Couched in his kennel, like a log, With paws of silver sleeps the dog; From their shadowy cote the shite breasts peep Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep; A harvest mouse goes scampering by, With silver claws, and silver eye; And moveless fish in the water gleam, By silver reeds in a silver stream."

The lovliest of trees

Photo: Flowering cherry, my garden (not a native plant) Words to walk with: The Loveliest of Trees by A. E. Houseman "Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride Wearing white for Eastertide. Now, of my threescore years and ten, 5 Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more. And since to look at things in bloom Fifty springs are little room, 10 About the woodlands I will go To see the cherry hung with snow."

Native bees [ooops hover flies]

While I was taking yesterday's photo I saw that some of the bees were different -- these are native Australian bees. [Correction: I now believe this is a hover fly, not a bee at all. I've still got a lot to learn] Photo: Hover fly

Blossom and bees

In my garden -- blossom bursting and bees humming. Words to walk with: From 89 by Emily Dickenson "Some things that fly there be -- Birds -- Hours -- the Bumblebee"

Never quite alone

Sitting in solitude on a rock -- contemplation broken by distant calling to the tiny rock climber, young boys bouncing by to the music in their headsets, voices of walkers silhouetted on the neighbouring clifftop, and the cheerful chatter of an older couple stepping slowly along the track. Then back to silence.

Rock climber

We sat on a rock at Walls Lookout, taking in the big silent distance, then noticed a tiny figure climbing the vertical cliff. Photo: Rock climber, Walls Lookout Words to walk with: From the Holy Bible New International Version Romans 8:39 "Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

High walls

On the drive back from Mount Tomah we took a walk out to Walls lookout. Photo: Grose Valley from Walls Lookout Words to walk with: From The Barren Ground by Nan McDonald "I think of it, the high, bare place in the mountains, Always under a cool grey blowing sky Where the eagle hangs back black and alone -- clean wind whistling Through tussock and long low swell of scrub, and through Hollows the rainy centuries have worn In the huge ruinous heaps of silent stone"

Sweet spontaneous

It was a beautiful sunny day. On the spur of the moment we decided to have lunch at Mount Tomah botanic gardens -- the cold climate gardens, now dressed in spring display. Photo: Restaurant, Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens Words to walk with: From O Sweet Spontaneous by E. E. Cummings O sweet spontaneous earth how often have the doting fingers of purient philosophers pinched and poked thee ,has the naughty thumb of science prodded thy beauty .how often have religions taken thee upon their scraggy knees squeezing and buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive gods (but true to the incomparable couch of death thy rhythmic lover thou answerest them only with spring)

To Daffodils

Words to walk with : To Daffodils by Robert Herrick "Fair Daffodils, we weep to see You haste away so soon; As yet the early-rising sun Has not attain'd his noon. Stay, stay, Until the hasting day Has run But to the even-song; And, having pray'd together, we Will go with you along. We have short time to stay, as you, We have as short a spring; As quick a growth to meet decay, As you, or anything. We die As your hours do, and dry Away, Like to the summer's rain; Or as the pearls of morning's dew, Ne'er to be found again."

Setting seed

Photo: Wattle seed pods While the flowers grab all the attention in the springtime, I noticed our our walk in the national park at Glenbrook that plants that cheered our autumn and winter have now set seed.
The deep gorge of the Nepean River has been formed over millions of years. The upper layer is Hawkesbury sandstone.

Wax flowers

We also saw these pretty pink flowers. Photo: Pink Wax Flower ( Eriostemon australasius )


Driving through the streets of Glenbrook, on the way to the national park, I saw a garden shrub with a very showy spring display of large yellow grevillias. In the bush the grevillias are much more demure, typically small and mauve pink. During my walk I also found this interesting one hiding in the greenery. Photo: Green spider flower (Grevillia mucronulata) Words to walk with: Design by Robert Frost "I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth -- Assorted characters of death and blight Mixed ready to begin the morning right, Like the ingredients of a witches' broth -- A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth, And dead wings carried like a paper kite. What had that flower to do with being white, The wayside blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that height, Then steered the white moth thither in the night? What but design of darkness to appall?-- If design govern in a thing

More pea flowers

The drive through the national park at Glenbrook is very pretty at the moment. The forest understory is dotted with golden yellow pea flowers (like those I showed in late August ), pale yellow wattle and every now and then these larger flowers. I've figured out the name of this one. Photo: Large Wedge Pea ( Gampholobium grandiflorum ) Words to walk with: From Spring, the Sweet Spring by Thomas Nashe "Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king, Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing: Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!"

I've known rivers

After a shopping trip in Penrith we called in at the national park at Glenbrook. I wanted to get a shot of the Nepean River which runs along the foot of the mountains on the eastern side. I love this river but never seem to do a good job of capturing its serenity. Here we are high above its smooth waters. Photo: Nepean River from National Park, Glenbrook Words to walk with: The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Lagnston Hughes "I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. I've known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the riv


While other plants have been in hibernation the daisies have spread their cheer all throughout the winter. The colour scheme in today's photo seems very 1970s to me. Photo: Daisies in my garden (not a native plant) In case you haven't noticed 1970s design is very big again right now. Back then the song Daisy Daisy was a perrenial favourite with the old folk in their sing-a-longs -- I thought sooo embarassingly silly -- but who would have predicted the popularity of karaoke, spawned in the 1970s. Words to walk with: From Daisy Bell by Harry Dacre written in 1892. "Daisy, Daisy Give me your answer do I'm half crazy all for the love of you It won't be a stylish marriage I can't afford a carriage But you look sweet Upon a seat Of a bicycle built for two"


When the Japonica flowers I am reminded that I have let this prickley plant thrive another year in neglected corners of my garden -- and I am pleased. Photo: Japonica, in my garden (not a native plant) Words to walk with: From Ixion by Lex Banning "Turning and re-turning The wheel returns once more, .... There is never any reversal the axe achieves the block denial produces only the crowing of the cock, turning and re-turning no one stops the clock."

Tall timbers

After afternoon tea at one of the local tea houses we returned home via Hartley Vale. Here the mountain cliffs stand tall over tall trees. Photo: Near Hartley Vale Words to walk with: From Freedom by Leonard Mann "I tell you a poet must be free To sing in any tree he likes ..."


I love the faded white of ash blond wintery grass. Soon it will spring up green. Words to walk with: From The Idllyl Wheel - September by Les Murray "Early in the month, the valley was a Fresian cow: knobbed black, whitened straw."

Hartley Courthouse

Hartley Courthouse, designed in Greek revival style, was built in 1837. It served its role of judgement over petty criminals and convict absconders until 1887, leaving behind an empty but impressive building. Photo: Court House, Hartley Words to walk with: From Hartley Courthouse by Mark O'Connor "Bay windows behind the sentencer prove that justice is beauty"

The feet of ghosts

I like this perspective on Shamrock Inn -- the feet of many people have passed this way. Photo: Shamrock Inn, Harley Words to walk with: From Sitting Room, Strezelecki Homestead by Ian Mudie "When it was closed the sand crept in the windows, leaned its shoulder against the glass, crashed through, and trickled slowly in upon the carpet (bought for a city bride) until the pattern was hidden and the chairs were set paddling in its sterile anonymity, and muted were the sounds of the feet of the ghosts who once laughed here."

Over the hills and far away

When the sun shines and the weather gets warmer I feel the urge to head over the mountains to the west. I am not sure why. We didn't have time to go far so visited the historic village of Hartley which nestles at the bottom of Victoria Pass on the western escarpment. The village has impressive sandstone buildings -- a court house, 2 churches, 3 inns and a small number of private homes. Photo: Shamrock Inn, Hartley The Shamrock Inn started as a family home in the 1840s, became an Inn in the 1860s during the Gold Rush and later became a family home again. Words to walk with: From Country Towns by Kenneth Slessor "Country towns, with your willows and squares, And farmers bouncing on barrel mares To public houses of yellow wood With "1860" over their doors, And that mysterious race of Hogans Which always keeps the General Stores…. Country towns with your schooner bees, And locusts burnt in the pepper-trees, Drown me with syrups, arch your boughs, Find me a bench, and le

And then my heart with pleasure fills

Welcome to the first day of spring – the season of sensory overload. Fresh shoots are swelling, daffodils dancing, songbirds singing. And the photo and poem today are oh so predictable! Photo: Daffodil in my garden (not a native plant) Words to walk with: From I wandered lonely as a cloud by William Wordsworth I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze ... For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils."