Friday, June 26, 2009

Green in the Gardens

With more heavy rain in Brisbane last week, the Australian Plant Communities area at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is a palette of lush, vivid green. Sunlight turned canopies to shades of golden green and reflected off the shiny new growth of several trees. In shaded areas of the path 'green' took the form of moss carpets spreading in the damp conditions, similarly lichens on bark were illuminated.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June Walk in the Gardens

A highlight of my walk this month around the Australian Plant Communities area of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt.Coot-tha were the stunning Grevillea flowers on show. The flowers range from fine and delicate to bold and vibrant. I particularly loved the hanging red tendril flowers of Grevillea wichamii subsp. aprica. and their contrast against silver green foliage - very striking.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Crow Activities

I have noticed the crows at home have been very active the last couple of weeks. Larger than usual groups gather in tree tops jostling for position, then take off in swooping intertwined flights. Loud calls from the group caught my attention; I took several photos of their aerial manoeuvres. I am left wondering if it is breeding season, or if all the passionfruits they have eaten from the chook house roof has affected them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Japanese Garden Room

'May in the Japanese Garden Room', ©2009, acrylic and ink on canvas. 60 x 60cm.

When undertaking an artist residency or visiting an unfamiliar place with the intention of working on your art practice; you can have some ideas, even plans; but I find it is often an experience of going with the flow of the place, being open to inspiration that presents to you, and delighting in the unexpected treasures you find on the way.

The Japanese Garden at the Mt.Coot-tha Botanic Gardens has provided just this experience. I chose to set up my table and work in this space for very practical reasons - there is a covered roof in the event of summer heat or rain; it is a popular area with visitors which provides the opportunity of engaging in discussion about art and various other subjects. The calm, ordered surroundings presented a very pleasant work environment; several people have claimed I have the best job in the world, or at least the best workplace to do it. (I don't mention the less attractive aspects of being an artist....but that is another story.) But really there is more to this place than just calm and order. Part of what makes it special is that it is a garden, by that I mean it is more than a collection of plants and species. Seasonal changes are beautifully evident, with various plants highlighted in flower or new growth.

I have sat in this place working on pieces developed from the Australian Plant Communities area. Even though I have not been directly observing or intending to work in response to the Japanese Garden, I have absorbed it. So an unexpected series of works is developing, these are more memories or impressions of the feel of the place, than direct representations. It comes from the gut and heart I guess, I am glad the residency has provided this opportunity of experience.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Preview - 'Calls from the Canopy'

'Calls from the Canopy' (detail) ©2009, mosaic collaboration - design artist Nicola Moss & mosaicist Emma Boys.

I received some 'sneak peak' images yesterday of the mosaic panels as they reach completion and will soon be installed.

'Calls from the Canopy' was created by design artist Nicola Moss and mosaicist Emma Boys.
The completed mosaic panels will be installed on the Bandstand in July 2009 as a significant artwork in the Rainforest Hide 'n' Seek Children's Trail at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt.Coot-tha.

The Children's Trail will be officially launched on 12th July, 2009, as part of the 'Kids Big Day Out' activities at the Gardens.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Patterns of vegetation in the Mt.Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. I enjoy looking closely at the individual characteristics of different plant structures. The Australian Plant Communities area includes a wonderful collection of palms edging the large lake and a looping walk through the Palm Grove. Hanging seed tendrils create fabulous patterns in shades of cream, khaki, red and green. On a bright day, light filtering through the rainforest canopy creates stunning silhouette patterns against the sky.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


For the last three years I have been recording bird species I see in my home garden. So far 43 species have been identified. Some species are permanent residents, others pass through as seasonal or unseasonal visitors. As the garden has grown and matured, bird numbers and varieties have increased. I garden in the 'Jackie French' style, which is not so neat but productive. Grasses left to mature to full seed attract many small birds for feeding during Summer. A variety of honeyeaters feed on flowering shrubs throughout the year. And little quail dart about the vegie garden in Summer after watering in the late afternoon. I love to watch birds in the garden and am excited to see new species each year.
Above is a Dollarbird, I have only seen these once; wonderful turquoise blue plumage and striking white circle (dollar) under their wings.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Flowers, Seeds and Pods

Some of the flowering and seeding plants in the Australian Plant Communities area of the Mt.Coot-tha Botanic Gardens in May.
Taking the same walk each month around this garden area, I have noticed how much plants change in one month. Perhaps when I look at my own garden, seeing it most days, the changes are incremental and I hadn't consciously thought how much can change in the time of a month. Trees previously unnoticed in the Botanic Gardens were covered in flower this month, standing out in the canopy. Trees photographed in April laden with fruiting seed pods were now bare with remnants of compost on the ground. I am finding these seasonal changes interesting to observe, my lack of familiarity with these gardens makes for wonderful surprises each month.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Creatures in the Gardens

My May walk around the Australian Plant Communities area of the Mt.Coot-tha Botanic Gardens revealed several creatures. Near the lakes edge a couple of tortoise perched on a fallen pandanus tree trunk, very still. In the canopy movement caught my eye with bright orange butterflies contrasting against the green vegetation. Further on a Bush Turkey climbed and flapped its way high into the tree branches. Layers of Life.