Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wattle seed

You can still see several wattle trees in flower at the moment, but the trees that flowered earlier in May and June, now have wonderful displays of seed pods.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Arid Region Plants in August

The Arid Plants region at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha is a spectacular display of vibrant colour this month. A wide range of plants from groundcovers to tall spiky clumps are displaying flowers in vivid colours contrasting against shades of lime to grey-green. I love the textures and wonderfully unusual growth forms of these plants.

Monday, August 24, 2009


'La Nina Summer, Ground Ecology'. ©2008. Nicola Moss. 1120x1520.

This weekend I savoured the taste of the first ripe mulberry for the season. The change of seasons is something I really enjoy, a continuous pattern of changing produce from our home garden; different birds visiting, the fragrance of flowering plants. I could go on, but essentially what makes it special for me is that these seasonal occurrences are not all year round; they may occur for a couple of weeks or months and then it is time for something else to flourish. There is an ongoing cycle of savouring what is happenning now and anticipating what is about to come.

So Mulberry season is just beginning, this means I will have about a week of eating before the birds work out fruit is ripening. Then I need to be up at sunrise and down to the tree if I want my share of the crop. I don't mind sharing, as long as I get some. When the Mulberry tree is in fruit our garden is visited by birds, such as figbirds, that we don't see at other times of the year. I wonder how they know, is our tree mapped in their GPS systems some how. Does a little bell go off in their seasonal travels telling them it's time to visit our garden?

In my mind Mulberry season means that the eagerly anticipated Asparagus season is very close. In my opinion you cannot have too much asparagus growing in your garden. The first beautiful green spears are eaten straight from the ground, so sweet they don't need cooking. Following on from this will be broad bean season and Costa Romanesque zucchini season, and so on....this is the kind of yearly calendar I like to live with.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Work in Progress

Nicola Moss. ©2009. 'Mimosaceae Family Diversitree' (inprogress detail).
The idea of ordering some of my works on paper in collections responding to botanical family groupings has been very inspiring. The above pieces are part of a series featuring diversity within the mimosaceae family. This family group includes Acacias (Wattles), Salmon Bean, Red Sandalwood and Snow wood trees. Apart from the obvious inspiration of golden yellow colour, the mimosaceae family has wonderful diversity of leaf shape and size, fabulous forms of split seed capsule and vibrant coloured flowers and pods. When I walk around the Australian Plant Communities area at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha, I am looking a lot more intently at the plant labels now. Apart from the visual characteristics that strike me as seasonal highlights, I am also interested in the family groups that species fit within.

The pieces in progress above will form a large work titled 'Mimosaceae Family Diversitree' when completed.

Drawing in the Sky

I love deciduous trees, especially when they just begin to sprout new leaf growth. New leaves form amazing little tufts on branches, while some trees flower on bare branches, which also looks spectacular. When I look skyward at the silhouette it looks like drawings in the sky to me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

If you LOVE Magnolias...

Now is a great time to see Magnolias in flower in the temperate plant region at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha. The flowers vary in shades of hot pink, lilac and pale pink to white. With leaves only starting to emerge the flowers stand out beautifully on branch tips, I love the sculptural qualities these form.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Feels like Spring

Despite the date on the calendar, I felt last week that Spring had arrived. In my home garden lemon, lime and orange trees are full of delightfully scented blossom. Low chill apple trees have fruit forming and the mulberries are beginning to ripen. It's a great time to be out in the garden, beautiful sunny days and little humidity.
Two other sightings indicated to me that Spring has arrived. A strikingly beautiful copper coloured small snake with black markings, I disturbed while watering, and a fruit fly in the vegetable garden. Both will be the first of many for the season ahead.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Growth in August

Love the colour of new leaves on this Rose Tamarind above.

More Fabulous Foliage

Walks in another area of the Australian Plant Communities at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha, revealed more fabulous foliage. From the very delicate to large vivid green and stunning silver-white backed leaves, the range is beautiful. The afternoon sunshine added with wonderful backlighting.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Work in Progress

'May in the Gardens, Flindersia Benettiana' ©2009. Nicola Moss.

Artworks developing from my residency at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha are starting to come together. I have been looking at the many in progress works on paper I have created over the last six months and realised I would like to develop some order in my response to the vast diversity of plant and seasonal changes occurring in the Australian Plant Communities area. If you have been looking at photos on this blog so far during the year, you will have hopefully noticed the amazing variety of form, foliage, fruit and flower that plants have.

So it made sense to me that one way to make some order in my works would be to use the same system of classification used to group plant species in botanical science. At least for some of the works, other groupings may respond to seasonal change and vegetation features of a particular month. And I might pick a few favourite plants and develop works focused on the attributes of one species.
It's quite exciting to begin making sense of all the bundles placed around my studio. Below is an initial layout of one work in progress, plenty more to do before it becomes a finished work.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bark Diversity

In my mind I now think of the tree above as having 'morse code' bark, lots of distinctive dots and dashes.

The bark above is from the Gastonia tree, one of my favourites (amongst many) in the Australian Plant Communities area. I love this trees tall slender trunk and magnificent rosette crown of growth. Each month without fail I take another photo of the crown silhouette against the sky, it's just so beautiful to me. This month I took some time to look at the bark, lovely patterns like running water.

Fabulous Foliage

Although this foliage is all golden in colour it was really the wonderful shapes and structural form of the plants that caught my eye. The leaf shapes are interesting and the form that is created by the way they grow from stems.

August in the growth

My August walk around the Australian Plant Communities area at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha revealed some beautiful new growth. Young glossy leaves were highlighted in lime green, deep red and salmon pink. Artwork from my artist in residence experience is developing with a focus on leaves and diversity within the Australian Plant Communities area. I often think of leaves as being a bit like finger prints for trees, each one slightly different, individual. Speaking with one of the botanists at the gardens last week, I was very interested to see how leaves are used as part of the process of identifying plant species.