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Showing posts from October, 2007

Fountain of youth

We wandered around Norman Lindsay’s garden looking at the various fountains and sculptures. Photo: Fountain, Norman Lindsay Gallery garden Hugh McCrae was another poet in Norman Lindsay’s circle of friends. Words to walk with: From Rakes Song by Hugh McCrae “The fresh and lively all must fade, The painted and the sung ones, And Time – when they are in the shade – Consoles us with his young ones. Then, let the girls grow old apace, And wander into heaven … I’ll love a twenty-summers’ face When I am ninety-seven! So waste no sympathy upon Pale lovers idly wailing … For every naughty lass that’s gone There’s fifty more availing.”

Norman Lindsay Gallery

We were feeling a little lazy and not much up to doing a long walk so drove down to Norman Lindsay’s place at Falconbridge. Norman Lindsay is an Australian artist whose depictions of nudes caused much outrage in the 1930s and beyond. His home “Springwood”, where he lived a bohemian lifestyle and established a lovely garden dotted with his sumptuous sculptures, is now a gallery and museum. Photo: “Springwood”. Norman Lindsay Gallery, Falconbridge Norman Lindsay included poets in his circle of artistic associates. One of these was Kenneth Slessor. Words to walk with: From Burying Friends by Kenneth Slessor [ … “for a little of our vital essence goes into the grave of a friend” – The Succubus, Norman Lindsay] “Only it seems not a burial Of irrelevant sods, But a lopped member From this my body; Almost, in fact, a tiny amputation, A paring of biography, thrown in there. And he has thieved his own life away And something from mine. Farewell, thou pilferer!”

Afternoon tea

I know I said yesterday that I was pretty much over yellow pea flowers. However, today’s picture is of the flowers that were together with the Matchheads I showed yesterday. The dainty blooms and soft blur of both of these shots reminds me of hand painted china, and genteel afternoon tea. Photo: Golden Glory Pea ( Gomphoblobium latifolium ) Words to walk with: From The Book of Household Management by Mrs Beeton “Afternoon Tea should be provided, fresh supplies, with thin bread-and-butter, fancy pastries, cakes, etc., being brought in as other guests arrive.”


On Mount Hay road I noted some shrubs covered in purple flowers offset against yellow pea flowers (I am a bit over them). I was keen to stop and take a photograph on my way home because at Jenolan Caves the previous week there had been many shrubs covered with a myriad of tiny purple pea flowers and I was annoyed at having ruined the photograph with camera shake. I thought I would get a shot of the same thing here. Well it turned out to be totally different, very pretty and not a pea flower at all. Photo: Matchheads ( Compesperma ericinum ), Mount Hay Road Incidentally, the flower I missed out on at Jenolan Caves was Australian Indigo (Indigofera australis). So I thought I would use the indigo instead or purple yet again for my title today. I don't think I would know the colour indigo but for it being one of the colours of the rainbow. It is between violet and blue. Words to walk with: From the Holy Bible, Genesis 9:13-15, New International Version "I have set my rainbow in

Blue beauties

Photo: Sun Orchids ( Thelymitra ), Mount Hay At the chemist in Leura the other day I saw a calendar with a photograph of a blue spotted sun orchid on it. It was so pretty, I hoped that I would see one in real life one day. When I was photographing all the different flowers I could find out at Mount Hay I saw a cluster of purplish blue flowers and was set to dismiss them as a Rush Lily ( Sowerbaea Juncea ) one of the purple flowers I couldn't name the other day. The other by the way was a Spade Flower ( Hybanthus Vernonii ). I found their names on Waratah Software site which I've recently discovered has good pictures of lots of Blue Mountains flowers. Anyway, I decided to go and take a picture regardless and was glad to have done so when I found it to be an entirely different type of flower. It was not until I got home and looked as the pictures more closely I realised to my delight that it was a Sun Orchid. The photo and poem below are of other blue beauties -- I don't kn

The maker

I am always surprised at how such seemingly bare and windswept places produce such abundance. Words to walk with: Psalm 121 , Holy Bible, New International Version "I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."

Spring snow

So many little white flowers. I can't begin to identify them. [I have come back to try and name a few of these. Here's what I think are their names - first one is a heath ( Epacris ); the second and third may be a Calytrix; the bubbly one around the middle a Smokebush ( Conospermum ); second last one is a Heath ( Epacris ) as is the long thin one; last one a Eriostemon as is the other five petaled one further up. ]

Treasure trove

I was pleased to be driving out on Mount Hay road because the open forest and windswept heath is usually a treasure trove of flowers. I was not disappointed. Look at the detail in these tiny bouquets I found growing near the waratahs. I don't have a name for them. [I think I've got the name now. It's Sprawling Smokebush ( Conospermum tenuifolium )] Words to walk with: Using the word bouquet in my post reminded me of an old fashioned soap and talcum powder fragrance from my childhood -- Cashmere Bouquet. Check out the vintage advertisement .

More waratahs

These flowers are so special they deserve a second post. As a child in Queensland stitching embroidery of the state floral emblems, I wondered what this strange flower was like in real life. They don’t grow in Queensland Photo: Waratah ( Telopea speciosissima ) Words to walk with: The Department of Environment and Water Resources provides the following information on the Floral Emblem of NSW “The generic name Telopea is derived from the Greek 'telopos', meaning 'seen from afar', and refers to the great distance from which the crimson flowers are discernible. The specific name speciosissima is the superlative of the Latin adjective 'speciosus', meaning 'beautiful' or 'handsome'. 'Waratah', the Aboriginal name for the species, was adopted by early settlers at Port Jackson.”


When driving on bush tracks over the past couple of weeks I have been keeping my eye out for waratahs in flower. These are the king of the native flowers, majestic in colour, size and beauty. They have become a popular garden plant, and are available from florists as a cut flower, but there is nothing quite so joyous as seeing their great crimson heads in the wild. Photo: Waratah, Mount Hay Road, Leura Words to walk with: From the Waratah and Wattle by Henry Lawson 1905 "Though poor and in trouble I wander alone, With a rebel cockade in my hat; Though friends may desert me, and kindred disown, My country will never do that! You may sing of the Shamrock, the Thistle, and Rose, Or the three in a bunch if you will; But I know of a country that gathered all those, And I love the great land where the Waratah grows, And the Wattle bough blooms on the hill. Australia! Australia! so fair to behold While the blue sky is arching above; The stranger should never have need to be told, That t

Where lovers meet

The light was beginning to fade and the air getting a little chill so we left our grassy rest to retrace our steps along the River Walk. At Caves House we sipped a warming cup of coffee/hot chocolate and remembered, for like so many before and after us we honeymooned at Caves House. Words to walk with: From Two in the Campagna by Robert Browning "I wonder do you feel today As I have felt since, hand in hand, We sat down on the grass, to stray In spirit better through the land."


I saw these on the Jenolan Caves River Walk. Words to walk with: From the Holy Bible 2 Corinthians 5:17 New International Version "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"


Photo: Weir, Jenolan Caves River Walk

Gone fishing

At the end of the River Walk at Jenolan Caves there is a weir that forms a pool of clear water. Apparently it was build as a hatchery dam for trout -- there is a fish ladder on the other side of the wall. The building houses a hydro electricity plant. This is a lovely peaceful spot to rest a while before retracing steps back home. Words to walk with: From The Fishermen at South Head by Les Murray "They project their long light canes or raise them up to check and string, like quiet archers."

The substitute

There is a rock on the River Walk where water dragons usually sit and bask in the sun -- I was looking forward to photographing them. Perhaps it was too cool for them this week because there were none in sight. I had to be satisfied with this little skink. Words to walk with: I wanted to find a poem about a lizard but am tired, too tired even to find a substitute.

River walk

At Jenolan Caves it was a cool sunny day, perfect for walking. We followed the River Walk which is a gentle stroll beside a babbling stream shaded by River She Oaks.


On the weekend we drove out to Jenolan Caves. At the Blue Lake where crystal clear waters emerge from the cave system I sat on a bench and reflected. Photo: Blue Lake, Jenolan Caves Today with thousands of others this blog is participating in Blog Action Day writing on the theme of the environment, which I do every day simply to relive and share the joy of my discoveries! Words to walk with: From The Holy Bible Romans 1:20 New International Version "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. "


My final discovery at Evans Lookout were these tiny flowers emerging from the sandy soil. I think they are a Lomandra. It looks like yellow grains of sand have been sucked up the stems of the plant. Words to walk with: From Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold "Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in."

Gum leaf

I believe the blisters on the leaf are caused by a mite. Not so nice for the leaf but they make an interesting photograph. Words to work with: From This Land by Ian Mudie "Give me a harsh land to wring music from, brown hills, and dust, with dead grass straw to my bricks."


The drumsticks are flowering. I love their symmetry. Photo: Drumsticks (Ipsopogon anemonifolius), Evans Lookout Here is what they were looked like after the fire. Words to walk with: Lyrics The Rythmn of Life from the musical Sweet Charity. "And The Rhythm Of Life is a powerful beat, Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet, Rhythm in your bedroom, Rhythm in the street, Yes, The Rhythm Of Life is a powerful beat, To feel The Rhythm Of Life, To feel the powerful beat, To feel the tingle in your fingers, To feel the tingle in your feet"

More purple flowers

I am beginning to feel quite foolish. The blue mystery flowers (Native Iris) I wrote about recently are everywhere. I have been living in the mountains for 15 years, why haven't I noticed them before? I think the simple answer is I haven't had the gift of time or the disipline to observe and go back again, again to see the subtle changes. And I have never taken the care to name the things I see. Back in the very beginning I wrote a disclaimer that said "This blog is not about knowing, it is about finding what to know." This is proving so true. At Evans Lookout, while I was looking past the now ubiquitous native iris flowers I noticed two other purple flowers that were new to me. Sadly, I can't find either of them in my flower book so I can't put a name to them, though the first reminds me of lobelia and the other of onion flowers. Words to walk with: From The Lobelia by Mary Gilmore "Thou who didst waken from her sleep The blue Lobelia to creep On barr

Flower spike

Here is a picture of the grass tree flower spike in close up. Though not all that close up because the plant was clinging to the edge of a very deep unfenced cliff.

Grass trees in flower

From Evans Lookoug I walked around to the Valley View Lookout, which looks down on a rocky outcrop where a group of grass trees ( Xanthorrhoea ) are growing. Here is what it looked like in February. And what it looks like today -- they are in flower.

Evan's Lookout

We drove out to Evans Lookout this weekend. We were last out there in February, not that long after the big fires of last summer. It is interesting to see what the spring brings in renewal. Photo: View of Grose Valley from Evans Lookout Evans surveyed the first road over the mountains. Words to walk with: From Appassionata by Mary Gilmore "I feel the soft wind on my cheek, I turn to meet it with my mouth; O wind from out the south, Thou are his messenger Upon my mouth! I have been lifted up as a bird On the wind, Because of a word, Because of a whisper I heard. The trees bent down to cover it, The shadow of night drew over it; Love spelled it, heart held it; Now as a bird on the wing In the spring Am I stirred."


The weather is warm and it sounds like summer, the cicadas are singing loudly. But when I listen more closely also hear the sound of spring, from a nest high in the pine tree currawong chicks are calling for food. Photo: Cicada shell, left after the cicada climbs out of the soil, clings to a branch then emerges to fly and sing. Words to walk with: From Fire in the Heavens by Christopher Brennan "Behind the veil of burning silence bound, vast life's innumerous busy littleness is hush'd in vague-conjectured blur of sound that dulls the brain with slumbrous weight, unless some dazzling puncture let the stridence throng in the cicada's torture-point of song."

Joseph Banks

I am always excited when I see a different native flower, or put a name to one. I think I know a little of what it must have been like for Joseph Banks, the botanist on Captain Cook's ship that landed here in 1770. [I have come back to try and name these -- I think we have Sprengelia monticola , Epacris reclinata and Bauera rubioides Words to walk with: From the Five Visions of Captain Cook by Kenneth Slessor -- writing of them sailing along the Great Barrier Reef. "Flowers turned to stone! Not all the botany Of Joseph Banks, hung pensive in a porthole, Could find the Latin for this loveliness, Could put the Barrier Reef in a glass box Tagged by the horrid Gorgon squint Of horticulture."

Pom poms

I found other shrub flowering profusely around Wentworth Falls. I think, after some research that it is Pomaderris which seems an appropriate sounding name as the flowers remind me of pom poms. Let's celebrate --it's my birthday today. Words to walk with: From The Patriot by Robert Browning "It was roses, roses, all the way, With myrtle mixed in my path like mad. The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway, The church-spires flamed, such flags they had, A year ago on this very day!"

Mystery solved

Do you remember the blue mystery of a week ago . Here is the answer - it was a bright sunny day and they were flowering everywhere on the path to Den Fenella. Photo: Native Iris ( Patersonia sericea )


Near the tiny orchids in yesterday's post, I was thrilled to discover this little greenhood orchid. Apparently greenhoods are also known as helmet orchids -- I didn't know that when I selected yesterday's poem. Photo: Granite greenhood ( Pterostylis tunstallii ) Words to walk with: From Orchid and Black Boy by David Campbell "Nodding greenhoods from the stone Like contemplation grow:"

Tiny orchids

When I crouched down to take a photo of these small flowers growing in the dry sandy soil beside the forest path I was blown away to discover that they were tiny orchards. Photo: Pink Fingers ( Caladenia carnea ) Words to walk with: From Helmet Orchid by Douglas Stewart "Oh such a tiny colony Set among all eternity Where the great bloodwoods stand!"

Den Fenella

Back in March I walked some of the tracks around Wentworth Falls. At that time I went down the Den Fenella track but didn't take the 15 minute side track to the Den Fenella lookout so I decided to do that yesterday. It's a relatively easy walk, despite the inevitable steps, that passes from the dry forest down through rainforest with a stream and waterfall before popping out at the windblown cliff face. Photo: View from Den Fenella Words to walk with: Here's what I found about the original Den Fenella in Scotland "A romantic ravine traversed by a burn. It tooks its name from Fenella or Finvela daughter of the Earl of Angus. Its beauties of crag and chasm and wooded bank have often been celebrated in prose and verse; near its mouth is a beatiful waterfall 65 feet in leap; and its stream is spanned by a handsome bridge and by the viaduct of Bervie railway."